PHOENIX, Sept. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Association for the Healthcare Environment (AHE), of the American Hospital Association (AHA), and Kimberly-Clark announced the first recipients of the Heart of Healthcare Awards, honoring outstanding frontline environmental services professionals who make a difference for patients and long-term care and assisted living residents. The award is part of the Heart of Healthcare campaign developed by AHE and Kimberly-Clark, which recognizes and elevates the critical role that frontline environmental services technicians play in the healthcare environment. "Environmental services professionals and their technicians perform important roles in supporting their facilities' safety, quality and patient satisfaction initiatives," said Patti Costello, AHE executive director. "We are honored to recognize the Heart of Healthcare Awards winner and honorable mentions. The technicians were nominated by their managers and have shown immense dedication in creating exceptional healthcare environments. We are also thrilled with the interest and the response the Heart of Healthcare campaign has garnered this first year; it has really exceeded our expectations and we look forward to growing the program to recognize team members who so richly deserve recognition." Heart of Healthcare Awards Recipients Nominations were submitted by managers, supervisors, co-workers and members of other in-house departments in hospitals and long-term care facilities. A panel of AHE members reviewed all submissions and selected the winners. First Place Awardee: Elsa Enriquez, UESW II, Hunterdon Medical Center in Flemington, N.J. Enriquez has been with Hunterdon Medical Center's environmental services department for 15 years, where she's been recognized by the medical center for her commitment to patient safety. Enriquez views her role at Hunterdon Medical Center as truly important and imparts her level of commitment to the new employees she trains by explaining the role the environmental services technicians play in preventing healthcare-associated infections. Her attention to detail and exceptional level of commitment are an inspiration to her co-workers throughout the medical center.