Local Heroes: Doctors Moneeka Zaman, Peter Hoffmann, Nandini Anandu work through crisis


From left, Peter Hoffman, Nandini Anandu (in center with colleagues) and Moneeka Zaman.

Pelham Examiner readers write about the people in town who are making a big difference during the coronavirus crisis.

“There are three doctors who live in Pelham who have been at the forefront of this pandemic. Moneeka Zaman, Peter Hoffmann and Nandini Anandu, all of whom deserve our thanks and appreciation for their dedication. Moneeka Zaman is a pediatrician dealing with grieving parents and sick children. She goes to work every day at the Westchester Medical Center in Hawthorne with an optimistic attitude, where she is greeted by children who are developing inflammation around their hearts and blood clots. Parents are depressed and grieving. She tries to help alleviate the problems as best she can. Peter Hoffmann, clinical director of pathology at Lawrence Hospital who has been working with Covid-19 patients, said, ‘There is declining evidence of the virus, and if it continues to decline, we will resume surgery and endoscopy on May 11.’ He hopes that the virus continues to decline as we resume somewhat normal lives. Nandini Anandu is a doctor at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco working in the ER department who transitioned back to working full-time during the pandemic. She, too, has found that things have slowed down recently and hopes it continues to decline. She believes our social distancing has been a contributing factor. All of the above doctors put both their families and themselves in harms’ way helping their patients and deserve our gratitude.”

–Toby Marxuach-Gusciora

Jeff Bonanno

“Dr. Jeff Bonanno is a local hero for his work in finding a way to treat Covid-19. Dr. Bonanno, a biochemist at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, is using his expertise in electron microscopy to analyze convalescent plasma and isolate antibodies that bind Covid-19’s ‘spike’ protein. The goal is to replicate those antibodies and create a treatment for Covid-19 patients. Dr. Bonanno continues Pelham’s tradition of leading medical scientists, and he is a Covid-19 hero!”

Kate Pringle

Danielle Marrero

“Danielle Marrero! Danielle has been our family’s primary childcare provider for about a year and loves our children as if they were a part of her own family. And I know a lot of other families can say the same. She is also an anchor on the Pelham community, especially here in Chester Park, tirelessly bringing her enthusiasm and happiness for everything Pelham to all. She is a role model to our kids, is constantly thinking of new ways to include older kids in her activities and a tireless supporter and board member of Pelham Together and it’s wonderful work on behalf of Pelham youth. We feel blessed and fortunate to live just around the corner from her and so thankful for her never-ending good cheer, especially in this challenging time. We miss you, Danielle!”

Katherine Hughes

Andrew Lyons

“Our dad, Andrew Lyons, is our hero! He’s an internal medicine physician who takes care of a lot of geriatric patients in our neighboring assisted living facilities. He is selfless and caring and is loved very much by his patients, family and friends. In the recent weeks of the coronavirus pandemic. he has shown so much bravery to us all. We love you, Dr. Andy!”

Catherine Lyons

Trish Tam Knickerbocker, Mary Anne Ciccotelli, Alisha Welch and others sewing masks

“Trish Tam Knickerbocker, Mary Anne Ciccotelli, Alisha Welch and all the other mask-sewing angels in Pelham! One a nurse practitioner, another a former critical care nurse educator for Montefiore New Rochelle, all these ladies all came forward with their talents and helped my nursing and medical colleagues in our neighboring hospital in New Rochelle. I cannot tell you how touched they all are and the emotional responses we have had because of their handmade pieces of PPE. I know there’s a special place in heaven for all of you #pelhamangels.”

Tara Lyons

Nikolina Markovic

“My local hero is my mom, Nikolina Markovic! She is a physical therapist at the Montefiore Weiler Hospital in the Bronx. At her hospital, more than 75% of the patients are Covid-19 positive, but that doesn’t bother her nor her colleagues who are giving their best when treating them. I’m very proud of my mom and everything she’s doing.”

Stefan Markovic

Tricia Clancy

“Our local hero is Tricia Clancy! She is a registered nurse on the critical care unit at Westchester Medical Center. I would like to take this opportunity to recognize her hard work. Thank you for your physical and mental work in taking care of your patients. From the care you give them, the support and FaceTiming their families and then going home to your family. Thank you for your dedication!! We love you. Mom and Dad Estatico.”

Catherine Estatico

Tod Cross

I think he’d hate to be singled out like this but too bad. Todd Cross, you are Pelham’s biggest fan. You carry a vision of bringing this community together, and it’s that same lens that you apply to your volunteer work with the Pelham Civic Association and even your small business, The Local Branch. Your presence on local Facebook groups keeps everyone informed about grassroots efforts, and your portraits of Pelham small business owners helped lead a groundswell of community support in the first days of the quarantine. You are tireless, selfless, tenacious, generous and talented and full of hope and that makes us one lucky town.”

Liz Farrell

Jennifer Lapponese

“My local hero is my mom, Jennifer Lapponese! She is one of the directors in the transplant department at Montefiore Medical Center. She goes in every day and meets face to face with hundreds of patients. She gears up in full PPE attire and screens them before being seen by the doctor.”

Allison Lapponese

Clive Anderson

“Clive Anderson, owner operator of Pelham Funeral Home. He has been working around the clock helping families who have lost someone to the coronavirus. He cannot provide his typical services but is helping families the best way he can in this time of crisis. His is a necessary service which is often unsung. His volume has increased 300% in the last two months.”

Joan Brisson

J. Stephen Madey

“Steve is the director if the Pelham Children’s Center. He has fought to keep the children at the center safe and healthy. He ensured that all the teachers were fully paid with their health insurance throughout this crisis. He visits the local businesses along Fifth Avenue to make sure everyone is in good spirits. He really makes a positive impact in the lives of the children in Pelham.”

Nick Malone

Sandra Zupicich Ritossa, Laura Caruso and Yelena Dyment

“Sandra Zupicich Ritossa, Laura Caruso and Yelena Dyment for their work organizing Pelham residents in efforts to collect and make protective equipment for health care workers in hospitals besieged by Covid-19 victims.”

Joe DaProcida

Marcello’s Pizza

“The guys at Marcello’s Pizza. They are always in such a great mood despite what is going on in our community. Even when they deliver the food they are so kind and friendly.”

Mandy Vukadinovic

Carmen Orive

“Our local hero is our star agent and dear friend Carmen Orive. Carmen is a certified clinical medical assistant and nursing tech working on the front lines of the Covid-19 pandemic at Montefiore Medical Center in New Rochelle. She is providing life-saving care under incredibly difficult circumstances including insufficient protective equipment and intense emotional strain. We all recognize Carmen’s immense courage and strength of character and are incredibly thankful for her and her colleagues in the medical field. You are angels.”

Kravitz Realtors

DeCicco & Sons and its staff

“My local hero is DeCicco’s and their entire staff. They’ve always served as a social hub in Pelham and right now they’re holding our community together by keeping us well provisioned and safe while shopping. Thank goodness! Because what else is there to do these days but cook and enjoy family meals together?”

Gayle Potter

Dr. Michael Owen-Michaane

“My local hero is my husband, Dr. Michael Owen-Michaane. Dr. Michael is a husband, father and the rock of our family. He is on the front lines as we battle Covid-19. Dr. Michael is an attending physician at Columbia New York Presbyterian Hospital on 168th Street in Manhattan. On a daily basis, Michael treats many patients, but now, in concert with his team at the hospital, they are focused on helping all those with Covid-19. His bravery, patience, knowledge and humanity has been exceptional during such a difficult time. He went into medicine to help a member of his family who was born disabled, and I couldn’t be more proud of Michael now, with the grace he (and all of his colleagues in health care) is demonstrating under such tremendous adversity. He thanks the Pelham community for all their support, love and outreach during this difficult period.”

Maurice Owen-Michaane

Melissa Ronan

Todd Cross

“Melissa Ronan commits one hundred percent to helping others. I’ve known Melissa for 17 years, and she always steps up to lend a hand to those in need. Melissa is spending her days sewing masks for health care workers. With the help of her family, she sewed 70 masks in just one day! I think that Melissa’s faith sustains her and provides a platform from which she is able to offer support and kindness to everyone in her orbit. Time and time again, she proves to be a tireless helper.”

Leah Tahbaz

Lisa Horten

“Lisa Horten. As head of the Junior League, she has gone above and beyond to help this community and is by far one of the most selfless people I know.”

–Matt Maron

Kimberly Garvey

“My local hero is my daughter Kimberly Garvey. She is a physician assistant at New York Presbyterian Lawrence hospital in Bronxville and puts her life on the frontline to save others. Kimberly is a Pelham high school graduate, class of 2011.”

–Denise Garvey

Who’s your local hero?