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Employee Bios

                                          Stephen Swierczek, RRT

Stephen Swierczek, RRT, is the director of St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center’s Wellness, Disease Prevention, Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation, and Diabetes Self-Management programs. 

Patricia Briest Patricia Briest, RN, MS, FNP-BC

Patricia Briest has served as full-time manager of the Cessation Center at St. Joseph’s Hospital since its inception. Prior to that, she was manager and smoking cessation counselor for The Wellness Place at St. Joseph’s.

A Board Certified clinician, Patt was a nurse practitioner with a private physician and is familiar with provider concerns, professional liability and documentation considerations, and office workflow. She has been employed by St. Joseph’s Hospital since 1999 and is a respected member of the hospital’s management team. She is well versed in hospital administrative and inpatient care considerations.

Patt has worked with the staff and management of every hospital in the Central New York catchment area of Onondaga, Oswego, and Cayuga counties, has met with multiple professional organizations and private practitioners, and is a member of the community cessation partnerships in each of the three counties. Her experience as manager of this Cessation Center has made her aware of the different needs of providers and organizations in these very different counties. She understands and appreciates the diverse concerns and barriers that exist in each county.

Patt’s clinical expertise is recognized by the providers with whom she works. Often requested as a speaker at professional educational events, she has presented to physicians at the Family Medicine Refresher Course at St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center and at the New York State Nurse Practitioner Association meeting for the past three years. She is able to meet the needs of diverse audiences of respiratory therapists, dentists and hygienists, registered nurses, drug and alcohol counselors, and pharmacists. Also an accomplished writer, Patt has developed educational presentations, newsletters, and newspaper columns. Patt is currently enrolled in a post-master’s certificate program in nursing education through the State University of New York. 

Christopher Owens Christopher Owens, MS, Exercise Physiologist
Tobacco Specialist

Christopher Owens is a Tobacco Specialist at the Cessation Center at St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center, where his clinical expertise in lifestyle change and coaching has made him an invaluable resource. A skilled and knowledgeable practitioner, Chris has received substantial education and training in tobacco cessation through the New York State Tobacco Cessation Program. Additionally, Chris has been awarded a Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS) in Health Services Management and Policy.

Chris is an accomplished teacher and presenter as well as an effective change agent for groups and individuals. He currently has a regularly occurring column in In Good Health Newspaper and creates a quarterly newsletter for all partnering organizations.

Mary Anne Carr Mary Anne Carr, RN, BSN
Tobacco Specialist

Mary Anne Carr received extensive training prior to her involvement with the New York State Tobacco Cessation Program. She has developed short-term intervention strategies that have worked well at the bedside of hospitalized patients and within physician offices. She uses a focused assessment that was developed using change theory. She has taught this technique to nurses and other health care providers in the three counties. Mary Ann is responsible for hospital-based education and is a liaison with nursing educators.