June 11-24, 2004
Vol. 34, Issue 11
Back Issues
Reunions Weekend 2004
Gilliam’s sense of place
Pay raises
Headlines @ U.Va.
Outstanding employees
Years of service
Doctor remembers Ronald Reagan
Klarman: WWII, not Brown, catalyst for Civil Rights Movement
Learning abroad: Becoming citizens of the world
Heritage Repertory Theatre now in 30th season
Reality TV wants you: Get political with Larry Sabato
Holidays for 2004
Attic find sheds light on life of WWI nurse
Outstanding employees
Leading by example

Each year, U.Va. honors employees for their dedication, exemplary service and ambassadorship. This year’s Outstanding Contribution Award-winners are no exception. The 11 staff members chosen this year don’t just do their jobs well, they take the initiative to fill office and community needs, leading by example. Their colleagues, and even their supervisors, look to them for advice and revere them for their passion and problem-solving skills.

The winners, who each receive $1,000, were honored at an annual awards banquet on June 3.

One of U.Va.’s winners this year, nurse practitioner Dyan Aretakis, was also selected to receive a Governor’s Award for Public Service. She was recognized May 5 in Richmond along with several other employees from across the state.


Robert W. Adcock
Heating plant maintenance supervisor, Facilities Management

Genevieve L. Grosbaum
Reading program coordinator, Learning Needs and Evaluation Center

Patricia L. Harlowe
Associate director of career services, School of Law

Bobbie L. McClemens
Business manager, Parking and Transportation

Mary-Leigh Thacker

Billing and accounting manager, School of Medicine Department of Orthopaedic Surgery

Medical Center

Sarah L. Anderson
Forensic nurse examiner program coordinator, Emergency Department

Dyan A. Aretakis
Nurse practitioner project director, Teen Health Center

Pamela D. Dennison
Advanced practice nurse, Acute Cardiology/Heart Center

Kathleen M. Rea
Clinical nurse and interim patient care services manager,
5 Central/5 West Medical Surgical Care

Gloria V. Smith
Office manager, Health System Administrative Services

U.Va.’s College at Wise

Lyndale Branham
Equipment services & repair technician, Facilities Planning and Management

Dyan Aretakis: Dedicated to empowering teens

Dyan Aretakis Dyan Aretakis serves a tough bunch of customers — teenagers and does such a great job providing their health care that she has been recognized not just as a U.Va. Outstanding Contribution Award-winner, but also as one of seven employees whom Gov. Mark Warner honored during Public Service Week May 3 through 7.

Aretakis, a U.Va.-certified nurse practitioner, co-founded the Teen Health Center in 1991 to offer reproductive health care to local, mostly medically uninsured adolescents. James Kennan, associate director of the Virginia Health Policy Center, whom Aretakis cites as her mentor, remembers her tirelessly advocating and raising funds for the place. He described her as “a true problem-solver who understands her patients’ perspective and ‘meets them where they are’ at a particularly vulnerable time in their lives.”

Her supervisor, ambulatory care manager Rachel Holmes, added, “She has been an outstanding ambassador from the University Health System in partnering with multiple local and state agencies in shaping adolescent health care and policy. Dyan has never let limited physical space, resources, reduced budgets or others’ doubt or pessimism dim her vision of future generations of healthy, productive and child-free adolescents.”

The rate of teen pregnancy in Charlottesville has dropped in the recent past, from 437 teen pregnancies in 1995 to 297 in 2002, and now the center is considered a primary care provider. The staff of seven doctors, nurses and others also treats allergies and sports injuries, as well as sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. Aretakis also trains medical and nursing students who rotate through the clinic.

Appointments include time built in for talking with, and educating, young patients, especially promoting pregnancy prevention and abstinence.
“ A true tribute to her capabilities and qualities is how her patients feel about her — and how much they trust her with their health care,” said Dr. Nancy McLaren, medical director at the Teen Health Center for four years.
“We want to get to know [the teens] well enough to help them make better choices that will be empowering,” Aretakis said.

To expand that effort, she organized a Teen Culture Conference that will be held for the fourth time this fall. It focuses on how health care professionals can foster a more positive transformation for their teen patients — or customers — as they journey into adulthood.

— Anne Bromley

Robert W. Adcock
A ‘can do’ attitude

Robert AdcockWhen a fellow employee retired, Robert W. Adcock, the heating plant maintenance supervisor, was willing to assume the employee’s duties and do both jobs, which have since been combined. With that kind of attitude, it is not surprising that his supervisors and co-workers nominated him as an outstanding contributor.

In praising Adcock, heating plant manager Anthony W.
Motto said, “Robert’s years of experience coupled with his ability to lead others has resulted in improved heat plant performance and the continuous supply of heat energy products — a remarkable and often overlooked achievement. Robert’s ability to ‘predict’ mechanical failure is one of his strongest assets.”

Adcock, 48, of Whitehall, was surprised by the award.

“I’m just trying to do my job to the best of my ability,” he said. “This kind of caught me off guard.”

Adcock, who has worked at U.Va, since 1985, plans maintenance and times fuel deliveries, but does not lose sight of people. He treats people as he would like to be treated and leads by example.

“He is a very dedicated employee, and demonstrates his sincere concern for the plant and the personnel on a continuous basis,” said Darlene C. Webb, heating plant office manager.

— Matt Kelly

Genevieve L. Grosbaum
Helping learning impaired students

Genevieve L. GrosbaumDozens of students who are visually impaired or have learning disabilities depend on Genevieve Grosbaum, who provides a constellation of services through the Learning Needs and Evaluation Center.

Grosbaum, who has been the center’s reading program coordinator for almost 15 years, organizes the provision of class materials to students whose disabilities interfere with using standard books and handouts.

“The nature of her work is under the radar. … But for the students who depend on her effort, she is a star,” wrote Polly Ewell, chief of staff for the dean of the School of Medicine.

Ewell, who nominated Grosbaum for the Outstanding Contribution Award, is a five-year member of the reading army of some 50 volunteers Grosbaum marshals to provide a variety of texts on tape for 15 to 20 visually and learning impaired students per semester, each of whom may be taking up to five classes.

Grosbaum also “steps up to the microphone,” Ewell said, adding her voice to recording academic material whenever it’s needed to meet students’ deadlines.

— Anne Bromley

Patricia L. Harlowe
A commitment to excellence

Patricia L. HarlowePatricia L. Harlowe is “the heart and soul” of the office, said W. Stevenson Hopson IV, senior assistant dean of career services in the Law School. “She is a stickler for perfection, has an unparalleled commitment to excellence and, as a result, employers consistently inform us that the service they receive from U.Va. is far and away the best of the major law schools they visit.”

Harlowe, associate director of career services at the Law School, has worked at U.Va for 39 years and takes her award in stride.

“It’s an honor and a privilege,” she said. “Over the years I have worked for the students and for the University, and I have thoroughly enjoyed it.”

The Alumni Association recognized Harlowe’s dedication in 2001 with its Distinguished Service Award.

“Pat is an extremely dedicated, loyal, hardworking and reliable employee who makes work enjoyable and efficient,” said Priscilla K. Lawson, associate director of career services. “In the spring, Pat and her staff set up interview dates for thousands of employers and offices for the fall interviewing season. … Pat’s diligence and leadership resulted in a seamless interview season, which provided job opportunities for over 90 percent of the second-year class, and many third-year students in the job market.”

— Matt Kelly

Bobbie L. McClemens
Going the extra mile

Bobbie L. McClemensEven paying parking fines is less aggravating for customers who encounter Bobbie L. McClemens, business manager for the Department of Parking & Transportation Services.

“Bobbie offers her help to any division of the department in need, doing everything from strapping on a cash apron to process cars at the garage on a football game day to manually correcting electronic files that were accidentally corrupted,” said Rebecca White, the department’s director.

“This is such an honor primarily because it was my own staff that nominated me,” said McClemens, 60, of Charlottesville, who manages the department’s $13.3 million budget and simplifies Oracle for other departmental users, among other duties.

“Bobbie is a strong believer in ‘good customer service.’ With a positive attitude and outlook she goes the extra mile for countless customers,” said co-workers Ruby Hutchinson, Paula Howard, Betsy Thompson and Karen Terrell in a letter nominating McClemens for her award. “Bobbie has been a manager, adviser, leader, friend and mother to many. She has been and still is an inspiration and mentor to us all.”

— Matt Kelly

Pamela D. Dennison & Kathleen M. Rea
Pamela D. Dennison & Kathleen M. ReaLaying the groundwork to attract and retain nurses

Kathleen Rea had the idea. Pamela Dennison had the connections. Together, they are making the U.Va. Health System a better place for their fellow nurses — and for patients.

Rea was taking graduate courses when she learned of the American Nursing Credentialing Center’s Magnet Nursing Services Recognition Award, a designation given to hospitals that meet a long list of strict criteria. Studies have shown that hospitals achieving magnet status attract and retain nurses better than nonmagnet facilities, and that patient outcomes are also better. More than 100 hospitals have achieved magnet status in the 10 years in which it has been available, including two in Virginia. But not U.Va.

Rea decided to change that.

She presented the concept to Health System leaders, and picked up a key ally in Dennison, then president of the Professional Nursing Staff Organization. They got the leadership’s backing and were appointed co-chairwomen of the Magnet Recognition Steering Committee.

In addition to the demands of their own clinical duties — Rea is an interim nurse manager on 5 Central/5 West, while Dennison is an advanced practice nurse on 4 East — the dynamic duo went about making presentations, conducting worklife surveys, improving procedures and organizing educational sessions.

Then there was the application itself, a 2,200-page monster. “They were in their small office in McKim [Hall] day and night, seven days a week, completing this five-volume work,” noted Heather Turner, coordinator of the Stroke Unit.

While the nursing association opted not to visit U.Va. this year, Rea and Dennison’s efforts have made a difference, said Kimberly Elgin, president-elect of the Professional Nursing Staff Organization, including “strengthened voice of nursing leadership in policy making, continued cultivation of a positive relationship between clinical and administrative staff, creative & flexible staffing model standardization, increased value placed on professional growth of nurses, detailed focus on nurse-sensitive quality indicators, and concerted efforts to retain and recruit professional nursing staff during a time of ‘nursing shortage.’”
Dennison said the Health System will continue the quest for magnet recognition.

— Dan Heuchert

Sarah L. Anderson
Compassionate care for sexual assault victims

Sarah L. AndersonRape is a horrible experience, sometimes exacerbated by the examinations and treatment its victims undergo afterward. Sarah Anderson, an emergency department nurse at the U.Va. Medical Center, has made it her mission to make the ordeal more bearable for rape survivors. She helped create and directs U.Va.’s Forensic Nurse Examiner/Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner team.

Before 1994, rape victims often had to wait hours in the emergency department to be seen by a physician. Now, victims are engulfed with support upon their arrival. Anderson led the formation of a team trained to care for victims and collect forensic evidence. She also initiated a team approach that includes police, victim services agencies, local prosecutors, the Women’s Center and U.Va.’s Infectious Diseases Clinic to help survivors cope with rape’s aftermath. She even developed a billing process that alleviates patients’ financial concerns.

Anderson and her team have helped approximately 750 patients from 10 localities in the past decade. She also speaks to many student groups and classes on medical issues faced by sexual assault survivors.

She’s not done yet. Anderson has been involved in efforts to train South African nurses in caring for sexual assault victims, and is leading research on forensic medical evidence in acquaintance rape cases.

“Sarah never saw her job as a nurse as something she just ‘did’ for a living,” wrote Claire Kaplan, coordinator of sexual assault education at the Women’s Center.

— Dan Heuchert

Mary-Leigh Thacker
No project too difficult

Mary-Leigh ThackerIt’s all there in the Girl Scout Law. The values of consideration and caring. The drive to “use resources wisely, [and] make the world a better place.”

Those values illuminate the 21-year career of Mary-Leigh Thacker, a long-time Girl Scout leader and billing and accounting manager in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, who has successfully carried out a daunting array of responsibilities, according to Michael H. Boblitz, chief administrative officer.

Thacker created a computerized information system for the department’s physicians. She helped relocate a manufacturing operation to protect employees’ health. She arranged the move of the adult orthopaedic clinic to Fontaine Research Park, and supervised a $700,000 renovation of McKim Hall’s fourth floor. She also helped launch the sports medicine clinic in the McCue Center.

In her spare time, Thacker earned a master’s degree of business administration and serves the University and Charlottesville communities in other ways, including participation in the Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign.

“I just feel that you need to do the best that you can at anything you do,” Thacker said. “Doing your job is not just about what’s in your job description, it’s doing what needs to be done.”

— Charlotte Crystal

Gloria V. Smith
Problem solver who follows through

Gloria V. Smith“The key to her success is her willingness to take full responsibility for problem resolution and her thorough follow through,” wrote her boss, Dave Gipson, director of the Health System’s Facilities Services, in his nomination letter. “In an organization as complex as the Medical Center, that attitude is absolutely invaluable.”

But Smith’s contributions don’t end there. When the Medical Center lost its full-time arts coordinator, Smith filled the breach.

She also has been a longtime area volunteer for the Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign and last year helped boost the Health System’s participation in the Lawrence E. Richardson United Way Day of Caring dramatically over the year before, wrote Liz Courain, director of volunteer services and the 2003 CVC co-chair.

Smith also lends a hand to other employees interested in advancing in their careers.

“If I can make a difference in someone’s life, I’ve got to do it,” Smith said.

— Charlotte Crystal

Lyndale Branham
Helping hands that can fix anything

Lyndale BranhamCall him Mr. Fix-It. Lyndale Branham is a top-notch equipment services and repair technician at U.Va.’s College at Wise, who’s always lending a helping hand.

“His efforts extend beyond the mechanic’s garage into the entire U.Va.-Wise community, be it during work hours, in the evenings or on the weekends,” said Stan Kunigelis, associate professor of zoology, whose marine biology trips to Florida have been aided by Branham’s skillful van repairs. “His motivation is simple; he cares about his work, about his co-workers and the community in which he lives.”

Branham has been known to make miraculous repairs, even when it means driving several hours to get a College bus or van running again. He’s also a certified welder who saved the College at Wise more than $20,000 by installing a new baseball scoreboard.

“Working with Lyndale on a daily basis is an inspiration as we observe him going beyond his job duties to lend help to everyone in the maintenance department and elsewhere,” said carpenter Ray Asher.

“Anyone who has crossed paths with Lyndale will agree that he is an exceptional person and an exceptional co-worker.”

— Jane Meade-Dean


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of the University of Virginia

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