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
Robert W. Adcock
Heating plant maintenance supervisor, Facilities Management
Genevieve L. Grosbaum
Reading program coordinator, Learning Needs and Evaluation
Patricia L. Harlowe
Associate director of career services, School of Law
Bobbie L. McClemens
Business manager, Parking and Transportation
Billing and accounting manager, School of Medicine Department
of Orthopaedic Surgery
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
Equipment services & repair technician, Facilities Planning
Dedicated to empowering teens
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
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.”
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
Aretakis also trains medical and nursing students who rotate through the
include time built in for talking with, and educating, young
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
foster a more positive transformation for their teen patients — or customers — as
they journey into adulthood.
A ‘can do’ attitude
When a fellow employee retired,
Robert W. Adcock, the heating plant maintenance supervisor,
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
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
is a very dedicated employee, and demonstrates his sincere
concern for the plant and the personnel on a continuous
Darlene C. Webb, heating plant office manager.
Helping learning impaired students
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.
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
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.
A commitment to excellence
Patricia 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.
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.”
Going the extra mile
Even paying parking fines is less aggravating for
encounter Bobbie L. McClemens, business manager for the Department
of Parking & Transportation Services.
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
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.”
D. Dennison & Kathleen M. Rea
Laying the groundwork to attract and retain nurses
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
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.
Compassionate care for sexual assault victims
Rape 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
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
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
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
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.
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.
No project too difficult
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
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
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.
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.”
Problem solver who follows through
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
also lends a hand to other employees interested in advancing
in their careers.
I can make
a difference in someone’s life, I’ve
got to do it,” Smith said.
Helping hands that can fix anything
Call him Mr. Fix-It. Lyndale Branham
is a top-notch equipment services and repair technician at
at Wise, who’s always lending a helping hand.
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
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