Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center Auxiliary Honors Claire Villanova with Esther Werner & Helene Barter Scholarship

May 2, 2023

Photo:  Judy Shahin, right, scholarship chairperson of The Auxiliary of Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, presents the Esther Werner & Helene Barter Scholarship to Claire Villanova, an employee of the Child Advocacy Center of Niagara.

NIAGARA FALLS, NY – The Esther Werner & Helene Barter Scholarship, awarded annually by The Auxiliary of Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center (NFMMC), has been awarded to Claire Villanova, a forensic interview specialist at the Child Advocacy Center of Niagara (CAC).

Villanova holds a bachelor’s degree in public health and human services from the University at Buffalo and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in social work, which she expects to complete in 2025. In addition to her work at the CAC, which responds to reports of physical and sexual child abuse, Villanova also coordinates the center’s child fatality review team.

The scholarship, given in memory of Esther Werner, Memorial’s first social worker, and her sister Helene Barter, a long-time medical center volunteer, has been awarded since 1989. This year’s recipient was selected by the scholarship committee, chaired by Auxilian Judy Shahin.

“We are thrilled to award this scholarship to Claire Villanova, who has demonstrated a strong commitment to improving the lives of children who have experienced abuse,” said Shahin. “The Esther Werner & Helene Barter Scholarship is a testament to the important work of social workers and volunteers at Memorial.”

The Auxiliary of NFMMC is a non-profit organization that supports the medical center through fundraising, volunteerism, and advocacy. Since its founding in 1905, the Auxiliary has donated millions of dollars to support patient care, education, and community health initiatives.


Founded in 1895, Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center (NFMMC) has a long tradition of serving the Niagara community. NFMMC’s hospital and primary stroke program are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Health Care, and its primary care network is accredited by the National Committee for Quality Assurance. Memorial’s inpatient services include a cardiac/stroke unit, a medical–surgical unit, an ICU, a Labor and Delivery unit, and an Adult Inpatient Psychiatry unit, the only one of its kind in Niagara County. Memorial serves as a Center for Community Health by operating five primary care centers, a large outpatient adult mental health clinic, a Health Home, and several innovative community-based services.   Thanks to a partnership with Catholic Health, Kaleida Health, and Erie County Medical Center, NFMMC operates the only cardiac catheterization laboratory in Niagara County. Memorial is also home to the Golisano Medical Oncology Center, which operates in collaboration with Roswell Park Comprehensive Care Center.

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