Employees of the Month 2013

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Employees of the Month 2013

Join Dean Dunlap and Dean DeKosky in congratulating the School of Medicine employee award winners. Congratulations!

Sharon Heyka, Department of Neuroscience, December 2013

Sharon Heyka, EOM, Dec 2013Sharon Heyka, Grants Administrator in the Department of Neuroscience, was awarded the School of Medicine December 2013 Employee of the Month award.  Nominations for Sharon recognized her outstanding work ethic, broad activities and accomplishments.  It was stated she always made the needs of the department and its personnel a priority.  She is an essential resource for the department and helps to always lead her team in the right direction.

Kevin Lee, Harrison Foundation Professor and Chair, Department of Neuroscience, stated, “I have worked closely with Sharon Heyka on a daily basis for fifteen years and during that time she has been a leader of her peers and an institutional role model.  It is difficult to imagine anyone who is more deserving.”

“I would like to highlight Sharon’s extreme engagement in encouraging members of her department as well as other in MR4 to be engaged in various community activities that include donations and service.  Moreover, she is always cheerful and friendly, providing an ideal environment for productive science in the School of Medicine,” stated John Lazo, Harrison Distinguished Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Chemistry.

Nancy Rush, Department of Biochem/Mole Genetics, November 2013

Nancy Rush, SOM EOM November 2013Nancy Rush, Assistant to the Chair in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, was awarded the November 2013 Employee of the Month award.  Nominations for Nancy recognized her extraordinary work ethic, organization, and can-do-attitude.  Several nominees described how she helped to save the offices on the sixth floor of Jordan Hall from major water damage, as well as saved the department an infinite amount of money minimizing damage and organizing clean up.  She always manages to keep a cheerful and competent attitude no matter the situation and is frequently complimented for her quick thinking and persistence.  She has become an essential resource for the department and always helps lead her team in the right direction.

Helen Norfleet-Shiflett, Administrative Director, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, stated, “Nancy is extremely organized, competent, and personable.  She addresses issues head on and is determined to solve problems until there is a sufficient resolution.  She is proactive, keeps up with lab cleaning, compliance and training, and is always willing to step in and help the administrative staff on the sixth floor if needed.”  “She is always on the ball, is never fazed, and knows what to do or who to call when a problem arises.  She is friendly, cheerful and competent, so much so that a few of my visitors from outside UVA have over the years jokingly threatened to steal her away after interacting with her,” stated Anindya Dutta, Chair and Byrd Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics.  Many thanks to Nancy for her can-do-attitude and the example that she always sets for others!

Dawn Johnson, Department of Radiology, October 2013

Dawn Johnson, EOM, October 2013Dawn Johnson, Administrative Assistant in the Department of Radiology, was awarded the October 2013 Employee of the Month award.  Dawn was rewarded for her outstanding ability to organize, communicate effectively, and to always go above and beyond.  She organized and planned the Day of Caring Event at Barret Early Learning Center while still completing her duties at hand in a prompt fashion.  It was noted that she was always the “go to” person who always got everything done, no matter the assignment.  She was complimented for being “Jack-and-Jill-of-all-trades”.

Ada Ells, CT Technologist, Department of Radiology, stated, “Dawn organized the Day of Caring for Radiology and she did a great job scheduling people for jobs at the site we were at.  She paid for several supplies such as paint, brushes, and tape (out of pocket).  She even purchased pizza for the volunteers for lunch.  She was very kind and giving, especially when there were so many volunteers asking a lot of her!”

“You’re the cog that makes the wheel turn in the Department of Radiology,” stated Dianne Wilensky, Fiscal Technician, Department of Radiology.  Many thanks to Dawn Johnson for her drive and the example that she always sets for others!

Anita Smith, Department of Urology, September 2013

Anita Smith, EOM, September 2013Anita Smith, Office Services Specialist in the Department of Urology, was awarded the September 2013 Employee of the Month award.  Anita was awarded for her phenomenal ability in assisting others with training in support of the Urology Basic Science program and for her diligent work ethic and enthusiastic attitude.  Whether she was volunteering to cover for other administrative assistants while they were absent or helping to ensure a successful course for the Urology residents, Anita was exemplified for always willing to help others.

Elaine Woodson, Program Coordinator in the Department of Urology, stated, “Anita is always willing to help others; she rises to any challenge or task put before her.  Anita recently helped train the rest of the department in the online OR scheduling system and updated the user manual to reflect more accurate and user friendly instructions.  She suggests changes and is eager to help implement new ways to make the flow of patient care go smoothly and efficiently.  We are glad she is on our team!”  We commend Anita for her ability to always put a smile on someone’s face, as well as maintain such a positive outlook.

Travis Lillard, Cardiovascular Research Center, August 2013

Travis Lillard, EOM, August 2013Travis Lillard, Laboratory Specialist Senior in the Cardiovascular Research Center, was awarded the August 2013 Employee of the Month award.  Travis was recognized for his passion, unique specialized expertise and his unwavering dedication to science and his coworkers.  He was noted for frequently helping others with their projects, while at the same time completing his own work in a timely fashion.  Recently, he turned in his data analysis a full six weeks before it was expected!

Michael Scott, Assistant Professor of Pharmacology, stated, “I believe that Travis’s work with members of my laboratory, in assisting us in the development of a new laboratory research focus warrants recognition, as it embodies the positive spirit of synergistic scientific investigation that we aspire to exhibit at this institution.”  We commend Travis for his ability to focus his energy on his current project, while at the same time being able to work with others, fostering a collaborative environment to nurture our work and progress.

Debbie King, Department of Radiology, July 2013

Debbie King, EOM, July 2013Debbie King, our July 2013 Employee of the Month winner, has focused efforts in looking for ways to be more efficient and productive.  As the General Administration Manager for Radiology, Debbie was credited for improving the Accounts Receivable status of the department’s clinical revenue cycle, most specifically regarding the department’s Teleradiology business.  Debbie found new opportunities for revenue recovery while investigating denial patterns in a report, resulting in the recovery of over $15,000 in outstanding clinical revenue.

According to Tina Fuller, Associate Administrator, “Because Debbie is team and goal-oriented, flexible, and always keeps the University’s best interests and the needs of staff uppermost, she makes life and work easier and more pleasant for everyone who works with her within and outside of the Department, SOM, and UPG who depend upon her.”

Many thanks go out to Debbie for consistently striving to improve functions within the department, while setting a valuable example for her team.

Eva Casola, Clinical Performance Development, June 2013

Eva Casola, EOM, June 2013Congratulations to Eva Casola, Clinical Performance Development (CPD) Administrator, who earned the June 2013 Employee of the Month award!  Those who nominated Eva consistently recognized her dedication to the CPD program, making sure the many details are tended to.  Eva coordinates two concurrent courses which cover over 300 medical students and over 100 mentors.  It was noted in the nominations that Eva has a very professional manner that proves invaluable in her extensive dealings with faculty, staff, students, and patients as she successfully arranges all the details from parking to course materials to room reservations.

Eugene C. Corbett, Jr., MD, said, “Eva is an immensely capable, self-directed and collegial individual who puts her work and the quality of it on behalf of our educational mission at the top of her priority list day in and day out…Her attention to detail is without imperfection and her ability to implement the wide range of educational support activities is definitely a model for peers and an example to all of us.”

Thanks to Eva for being an employee who is highly valued for her expertise and work ethic which has made the CPD program so successful!

Wilda Davis, Biochemistry/Molecular Genetics, May 2013

Wilda Davis, EOM, May 2013With more than 40 years at UVA, Wilda Davis, Grants Specialist for Biochemistry/Molecular Genetics, earned the May 2013 Employee of the Month award.  Wilda was recognized for providing continuity in times of great change, while at the same time, embracing the necessary changes that have allowed the department to be more efficient and productive. Wilda is known for her attention to detail and her colleagues have relied heavily on her subject matter expertise and institutional knowledge over several decades.

As stated by Anindya Dutta, MD, Professor and Chair, Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, “Since my arrival in 2004, Wilda has been invaluable in keeping accurate sponsored program records, ensuring the accounts do not go into deficient, <and> correcting expenditure types when necessary.  Her historical knowledge and understanding of sponsored program accounts both from the University’s and Sponsor’s perspective is one that has been cultivated over several years of experience and is without a doubt a credit to her ability to manage sponsored program accounts.”

Wilda retired from UVA in June 2013 and I am so pleased to be able to provide this recognition to her for her many years of dedication to the University.  Many thanks to Wilda for her years of service!

Laura Simmons, Orthopaedic Surgery, April 2013

Laura Simmons, EOM, April 2013As the Pre-awards Grant Manager for Orthopaedic Surgery, Laura Simmons received several nominations outlining her expertise. She was lauded as being responsible for recently coordinating the visit of the Virginia Secretary of Health & Human Resources on behalf of the department and the Medical Center. When the venue for dinner was canceled at the last minute, Laura spent her weekend researching new locations and securing a great spot for a productive and well-received interaction with this political leader.

Laura's supervisor, Mary-Leigh Thacker, stated that in addition to her duties as Pre-awards Grant Manager, Laura "serves as the department lead for the Dean's Matrix and coordinates promotion and tenure process each year." She willingly takes on additional responsibilities with enthusiasm, timeliness, and an incredible work ethic.  Whether she's working on projects like the residency program, pulling together the Chair’s five-year review materials, or assisting peers, Laura is always willing to help out to keep the department running smoothly.

Michael Boblitz, Chief Operating Officer, Orthopaedic Surgery, says, "Mrs. Simmons' work ethic is beyond reproach." It is this work ethic that continues to move the department and the School of Medicine forward. Thank you to Laura for being a great example of integrity and dedication!

Margaret "Peggy" Nees, Department of Medicine, March 2013

Peggy Nees, EOM, March 2013In nominating letters for the March Employee of the Month, Margaret “Peggy” Nees, Program Support Technician in the Department of Medicine (DOM), was given accolades for creating the current process by which the entire Division of General Internal Medicine produces and disseminates physician schedules. Peggy was also credited with organizing workgroups to make some departmental processes more efficient, saving time on administrative and budgeting tasks. One of the groups that she facilitated was able to find new space and create a new process for servicing surgical patients, giving the capacity to see even more patients, in two different locations, than ever before.

Peggy has been referred to as a "change agent" and "stabilizing force." While leading teams to change and improve processes, she also provided guidance and consistency within the department. Seki Balogun, MBBS, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine, and Associate Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, said that while working for almost nine months on a project to integrate Epic at the Westminster Clinic, Peggy did so in a "spirit of collaboration and true advocacy on behalf of not only me as a physician but on behalf of the Medical Center Nurse Practitioner and Westminster Staff, keeping in mind always first and foremost the care of the patients."

Peggy is eager to take on additional duties as shown in her willingness to serve as the DOM’s Co-Chair of the Staff Advisory Committee. Ira Helenius, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, says that Peggy “is highly motivated to find new solutions for persistent problems and is eager to think outside the box, and go beyond her call of duty.” Many thanks to Peggy for her dedication and eagerness to be a catalyst for ongoing improvements in the Department of Medicine!

Liz Molina, Department of Radiology, February 2013

Liz Molina, EOM, February 2013Liz Molina, Director of Finance, Radiology, was recognized for her ability to foster a collaborative spirit while restructuring work processes and functions within the Department of Radiology.   She received multiple nominations acknowledging her efforts to create a work environment that is conducive to customer service and team spirit while streamlining the workflow.  In addition, Liz helped to organize two financial retreats for the department where it reviews the national, regional, local and departmental economics related to our health care, research and educational missions.

In his nomination of Liz, Dr. Alan Matsumoto, Professor and Chair of Radiology and Medical Imaging, recognized her extraordinary contributions, including providing new quarterly funding reports to allow him to track revenues and expenses for the research mission.  He states, “As Chair, I now have a much better idea of what studies are closed, what costs need reconciliation, what residual indirects are available to re-invest into our research mission, while helping the OSP keep their records more up-to-date with deficits being reconciled in a more timely fashion.”

Many thanks to Liz for her dedication to her team, the Department of Radiology, and the University of Virginia.

Sarah Creef-Baugher, Department of Medicine, January 2013

Sarah Creef-Baugher, EOM, January 2013Sarah Creef-Baugher,  Administrator for the Division of Endocrinology & Metabolism, Department of Medicine, was recognized by her colleagues for her outstanding work in the evaluation of the Rheumatology clinic operations and her hands-on approach to make this such a success in improving access and patient satisfaction.   Sarah received many supportive comments, stating that her efforts have increased employee and faculty engagement and highly improved morale.  She has accomplished this with a positive, “can do” attitude that serves as a wonderful role model for her colleagues.

In his nomination of Sarah, Russ Manley, Chief Operating Officer of Department of Medicine, states, ”The entire health system will benefit from the bridges she is building between the Department of Medicine and Medical Center staffs.”  Thanks to Sarah for her collaborative approach to problem-solving and for her drive to accomplish improvements within her department.