Employees of the Month 2014

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Employees of the Month 2014

Join Dean Canterbury in congratulating the 2014 School of Medicine employee award winners. Congratulations!

Deborah Steele, Pharmacology, December 2014


Deborah Steele was the December award winner with a record 22 nominations, praising her grant management within the department!

Nominations for Deborah recognized her outstanding level of poise and professionalism.  It was stated that she is the “one stop shop” for any and all things related to the grants within the department.  It was noted over and over that she is “tireless” and maintains a positive, helpful demeanor at all times.

Carl E. Creutz, PhD, Professor of Pharmacology, stated, “Deborah has capably managed the grants submission process and account management for multiple labs in the Department of Pharmacology for many years…... This is a remarkable accomplishment as she is now supporting 18 active laboratories. She has done this while maintaining the high standards and wonderful personal interactions that have always characterized her work. The more frazzled we become as researchers, the stronger she seems to become and her confidence and reassuring optimism are a solace to us all. “

Barbara Sisk, Neurology, November 2014


Barbara Sisk's teamwork and ‘can do’ attitude make her an essential part of the Education Team of Neurology as she demonstrates a desire to learn “new” things while she maintains her productivity in the “old” things.

According to Amanda Harris, Business Manager for Otolaryngology, “Her support of the regulatory maintenance of the program enables the program directors to focus less on the task related duties involved with managing an educational program and more on teaching our trainees and building our national reputation.”

Amy Harris, Medical Education Programs Administrator, stated, “Working with Barbara every day makes me want to be better myself. No matter what is going on in her life she is here, she is happy to be here and she is a team player. She is a Rockstar!”

Lisa Haney, Microbiology, October 2014


Lisa was very active on the team that assisted Dr. Ravichandran in preparing and submitting a recently awarded NIH Program Project.  Although she’s a technician in Dr. Ravichandran’s lab, her excellent computer skills allowed her to assist the team with the application, working with many collaborators in other departments.

Liz Hupp, Administrative Director Microbiology, states that, “Dr. Ravichandran’s PPG grant received a perfect score, much due to Lisa’s expert work and ability to edit and translate some of the science.”

As stated by Kodi S. Ravichandran, Professor and Chair Microbiology, “Lisa is one of the most meticulous, supremely organized, highly skilled, and exceptionally dependable individuals I have ever come across in my time here at the University of Virginia for the past nearly 19 years.”

Michael Hanshew, Radiology, September 2014


Michael was recognized for his development of many programs and metrics, while coordinating the efforts of the physicians, nurses and technical staff.

James Carnes, Department Chief Operating Officer, stated, “Michael has been instrumental in, and a key impetus behind, the development of a true culture of quality in the department by instituting monthly interdisciplinary departmental/divisional Quality Assurance/Improvement conferences, journal club/ethics roundtable, a clinical faculty peer review program, and a systems-based error tracking tool to ensure follow-up and resolution of identified/reported quality issues.”

And Alan H. Matsumoto, M.D., Professor and Chair, Department of Radiology stated, “He has also developed a very productive relationship with both the Medical Center and physician leadership in our Department to allow meaningful progress in our quality initiatives. Michael has done all of these things with quiet aplomb, as a dedicated member of our team, while helping us to learn to be better advocates for quality.”

Andrea McNeely, Cardiovascular Research Center, August 2014


Andrea McNeely, Programs Administrator for the Cardiovascular Research Center, was awarded the School of Medicine August 2014 Employee of the Month.   Her colleagues highlighted her outstanding level of professionalism, remarkable efficiency, and extraordinary commitment to the institution.  It was also stated that she goes above and beyond her duties to ensure that visitors depart with the most favorable impression of UVA possible.

Norbert Leitinger, Associate Professor, Pharmacology,  stated, “We recently hosted a delegation of about 30 people from the University of Duesseldorf, in the context of a reentry established partnership between the CVRC and an International Graduate Training Program, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).  Andrea's dedication and professionalism to organizing this visit made this a real success. She not only took care of all the reservations that needed to be done beforehand (including hotel, meeting rooms, breakfasts, lunches, audio equipment etc.), but she also was in contact with the visitors to make their trip as pleasant as possible. She put a lot of effort in selecting the appropriate venues for the non-scientific program, including the right restaurant, post-meeting tours, etc.  On top of that she also assisted some of the visitors in finding a car repair shop after their vehicle broke down. “

Mary O'Leary, Medical Education, July 2014


Mary O'Leary, Senior Administrative Coordinator, received recognition for her unwavering commitment to the School of Medicine and Medical Education and her essential support during the LCME accreditation process.  Mary is described throughout her nominations as always wonderful and setting a high standard in her work.

Elizabeth Graham, Director, Instructional Support  stated,  “ Not only are Randy and Lesley two of our busiest faculty, but this has been a particularly challenging year as we get ready for our LCME site visit in the fall.  We have a lot riding on a successful site visit.  As someone who was a bit player in the mock site visit, I was very impressed with Mary’s thoughtful, efficient planning for that preliminary effort—from welcome bags for the site visitors to vegetarian options for staff lunches to ensuring that the 200+ faculty showed up on time for the three-day event.  The mock site visit went beautifully, in large measure due to Mary’s careful planning and excellent organizational efforts.”

Laura Brown, Psychiatry and NB Sciences, June 2014


Laura Brown's colleagues stated that she goes above and beyond her tasks daily and she does it in a kind and professional manner.   There was particular emphasis on how she is a person of integrity and how valuable to the SOM and UVA she is.

Janet Warren, Professor, Department of Psychiatry and NB Sciences stated, “Laura is responsive at all times to everyone in the Department and is always motivated by trying to help each of us accomplish our goals and get our projects and research endeavors launched and successful as they move forward. She does this with the most up to date information and a very modest and sweet attitude. She never complains no matter how complex the request, does not have an obfuscating bone in her body, and seems to care about each employee in our Department. Most recently, she helped me hire 15 temporary employees located along the eastern sea board to code my research data.”

Janine Vallee, Neuroscience, May 2014

picwithDean.jpgJanine Vallee, Grants and Contracts Assistant for the Department of Neuroscience, broke the School's record for the most nominations with 15 total nominations from her leadership team and peers! Her colleagues expressed that she has a great attitude, not only toward her job and job duties, but toward her co-workers as well. She has always been willing to help no matter how small or big the request has been. Her nominations detailed an outstanding work ethic and describe her as a team player who will do whatever is required to ensure that financial, grant and other deadlines are met.

"Sharon Heyka, Grants Administrator, Department of Neuroscience, stated, "Janine has taken over the pre-award portion of the department's grant process and has done an outstanding job keeping track of all the new grants, as well as the renewals and continuations. This has been so successful that we have been able to assume the same responsibilities for the Neurology Department Principal Investigators, who are now in MR4."

Teresa Woodson, Psychiatry & Neurobehavioral Sciences, April 2014

Teresa Woodson, EOM, April 2014Teresa Woodson, Financial Services Specialist for The Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences, was recognized for her willingness to step in and handle additional duties due to reductions in staff in the department. Her colleagues describe her work ethic as outstanding and they stated that she is a team player. There was particular emphasis on how she has proven to be instrumental in navigating Clarity in order to input this year’s budget!

Greg Benham, Chief Operating Officer, Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Science, stated, “Teresa is not only being nominated for her unbelievable productivity, but also her dedication and passion for her job. She is instrumental in maintaining sound financial decision within our department, as her efforts have a positive effect on the School of Medicine and the University.”

Peggy Pasternak, SOM Dean's Office, March 2014

Peggy Pasternak, EOM, March 2014Peggy Pasternak, Secretary to the Dean of the School of Medicine, Administration was awarded the School of Medicine March 2014 Employee of the Month award. Nominations for Peggy recognized her for her going beyond the call of duty to keep the office working smoothly during a very stressful transition of several staff. She brings an understanding of customer service, protocol, and shared responsibility that is critical to supporting the School of Medicine, Administration office.

Dr. Sharon L. Hostler, MCLemore Birdsong Professor of Pediatrics, stated, “Peggy brings her best self to work every day of the week. She cares about the needs and wants of everyone around her and is quick to diagnose a problem needing to be solved. She has endless energy and good humor. I have never seen her grumpy, disinterested or critical of others. In any crisis, we need Peggy as the triage person."

Nicole Vaughn, Department of Radiology, February 2014

Nicole Vaughan, EOM, Feb 2014Nicole Vaughan, Human Resource Generalist in the Department of Radiology, Administration was awarded the School of Medicine February 2014 Employee of the Month award. Nominations for Nicole recognized her outstanding level of professionalism, remarkable efficiency, and extraordinary commitment to the institution. It was also stated that Nicole has truly developed a concierge-type service with an array of Faculty services provided.

Tina M. Pendleton-Fuller, Associate Administrator for Radiology, stated, “Nicole has also exhibited remarkable teamwork with several special projects not directly related to her job role over the past year, serving as a resource to the Clinical Faculty Hiring Workgroup, which is working to streamline the faculty hiring process across the SOM, UPG, and Medical Center, the results of which will significantly reduce the cycle time in hiring Clinical Faculty. We are all very fortunate to have Nicole working with us for the past 20+ years, and we continue to be grateful for her loyalty to the Department and School of Medicine.”

Brenda Lawson, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, January 2014

Brenda Lawson, EOM, Jan, 2014Brenda Lawson, Executive Medical Secretary in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, wasawarded the School of Medicine January 2014 Employee of the Month award. Nominations for Brenda recognized her outstanding level of professionalism, remarkable efficiency, and extraordinary commitment to the institution. It was also stated that her dedication to running all administrative aspects of the Pediatric Orthopaedic Division is absolutely unparalleled.

Dr. Mark Abel, Frankel Professor, Pediatric Orthopaedic and Scoliosis Vice Chair, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, stated, “Brenda’s ability to accomplish and perform like she does is a reflection of total dedication and commitment to the institution and its people. There is no one who deserves the honor of Employee of the Month more than Brenda.”

Emily Feiner, Physician Assistant for the Department of Pediatric Orthopaedics, stated, “I think if I had one word to describe Brenda it would be dependable. We can always count on her to never forget things and to always follow through with requests."