While Mr. Jefferson’s magnificent architecture is recognized around the world, the true and enduring character of the University is defined by the people who work within it,” wrote politics professor Larry J. Sabato, in support of one of this year’s 10 Outstanding Contribution Award-winners. After reading the nominations for this year’s recipients, Sabato’s statement holds true for each of them. They all play a role in improving the quality of U.Va. And for their contributions, each will receive $1,000 and be recognized on June 14 at a dinner at the Omni Hotel, along with those who have worked for U.Va. 25 years or more.
ASK FOR HER’
OF THE HEAT PLANT’
A ‘REAL LEADER’
In her 29 years with the University, Maggie Short has held many posts — nurse, manager, director and administrator.“ Maggie loves patient care and in every interaction with a patient or family … it is obvious that deep in her core she is a bedside nurse,” wrote Mary Miller, nurse liaison with Continuum Home Health, in nominating Short for an Outstanding Contribution Award.“ I have worked with and for Maggie for close to 10 years, and her dedication, creativity and productivity are astonishing to me. … She recognizes that health care at U.Va. is a complex web of bureaucracy that can be hard to change, but she absolutely is not afraid to take it on. Sometimes we joke that when something is important to Maggie to change, she is like a dog with a bone — she will not let go until she gets it done, no matter what!” Miller said.
For the past 10 years, Short has provided “outstanding leadership and management of Continuum Home Health Care, among other duties,” wrote Pamela F. Cipriano, chief clinical officer for the Health System. “This past fall, Continuum achieved a perfect evaluation by both the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.
This achievement is practically unheard of in today’s regulatory environment,” Cipriano noted.
How does Short respond when congratulated on this accomplishment? “‘It’s not me, it’s the staff. I’m so proud of them,’” recounted patient epresentative Sally Booker, adding, “In my book, [that] is what a real leader says.”
For her work, Short also received a 2006 Governor’s Award for Public Service by State Employees. Gov. Tim Kaine presented the award to her on May 4 at the Science Museum of Virginia in Richmond.
BIG SMILE, WARM HELLO,‘ CAN-DO ATTITUDE’
Systems Operations Technician Godfrey Branche has been “involved with U.Va. for more than 15 years and has also been an amazing asset in dealing with Pyxis (a drug cabinet that’s a cross between a vending machine and an automatic teller machine) as well as other IT issues,” wrote Inpatient Pharmacy Supervisor Virginia W. Barton in nominating him for an Outstanding Contribution Award. “Not only does he assist the pharmacy personnel with everything from e-mail to troubleshooting the inner workings of the robot, he takes the time to patiently guide and instruct nursing units with Pyxis issues,” she wrote. A few months ago, “several floors were having difficulty charting patient medications … Mr. Branche took immediate action by questioning the nursing staff, going through narcotic sheets to see if the medication was documented, looking through Pyxis records to see what was given to the patient and then notifying Pyxis support of the exact problem… The nurses and I were amazed by his thoroughness … and skills to pinpoint the exact problems,” wrote clinical staff pharmacist Jean Conner. “I never fail to see a smile on Godfrey’s face and a can-do attitude in his heart,” wrote Kelly Robins, patient care services manager. “I have absolute confidence that whatever challenge or concern I lay at his feet, there will be immediate action taken,” she said.
THE ‘GLUE’ OF STUDENT AFFAIRS
Tamara Robinson, an administrative and office specialist III at the University’s College at Wise, is “the glue that holds our many, diverse activities together in a strong, cohesive and consistent manner,” Dean of Students Jeff Howard wrote in his letter nominating Robinson for the award.
“Tamara has raised the bar and set a standard of achievement for those who will follow her,” he said. “From her positive attitude, to her self-motivation, to her high degree of professionalism, Tamara is a true leader. She does an excellent job at balancing her duties, all while being actively involved in the campus community. Tamara has demonstrated a true commitment to U.Va.-Wise and is well respected by our students, faculty and staff alike. She gives 110 percent to everything she does.”
began her U.Va.-Wise career as a student worker in financial
1989 until 1993 when she earned her
degree in business and public administration.
Immediately after graduation, she
accepted a part-time job in the housing
office. She has been a full-time member of
student affairs since 1995. “My favorite
part of the job is the interaction with students
and the team of people I work with,” Robinson said. “For
me, a good day at work is when I know that I made a difference
in a student’s life.”
For 38 years, Lynda Birckhead has “honorably and brilliantly served” the administrations of four University presidents: Edgar Shannon, Frank Hereford, Robert O’Neil and John Casteen, wrote politics professor Larry J. Sabato in nominating her for an Outstanding Contribution Award. Sabato first met Birckhead when he was an undergrad and she was working for his mentor, President Shannon. “Then as now, her belief in, and loyalty to, the principles that define the University is inspiring,” he said.
have watched her … support this institution and its
with a passion that is reserved only for those places and things
which one truly loves.” She does what’s needed,
regardless of her job title, which is currently manager
and administration in the Office of the President.
In fall 2003, for
example, Hurricane Isabel reaked havoc on the Lawn.
the storm, the basement of Pavilion IV was flooded. “I
in the process of moving in,” wrote Sabato, “and
many of my personal
It wouldn’t be the last time Birckhead battled the elements. On a Sunday this March, she arrived at her office in Madison Hall to catch up on some work. When she opened the door, a flood of water was rushing through the building; frozen pipes in the ceilings had burst. She single-handedly covered files and desks, moved furniture and mopped up gallons of water.
the course of a day, I have seen her effectively advise vice
presidents, field questions from distinguished alumni, respond
to a concerned parent and listen to employees in need of
advice,” chief of staff Nancy Rivers wrote.
‘INVENTING CREATIVE SOLUTIONS’
He started as a temporary employee, “hired to provide technical support to our research projects,” wrote Robin A. Felder, director of the Medical Automation Research Center, in nominating Steven W. Kell, MARC’s robotics laboratory manager in the Department of Pathology, for an Outstanding Contribution Award. That was July 2000. Felder now considers Kell the center’s “key employee” and often asks him to “oversee operations in my absence.”
Kell “stepped forward to manage projects that were in jeopardy of being abandoned when two of our PIs advanced to other positions. Five years later, these projects form the cornerstone for our nationally and internationally recognized Eldercare Technologies program,” Felder wrote. Kell has also“ helped invent creative solutions” that have secured additional grants and patents — five in all, Felder said.
“Steve is dedicated to all the [center’s] projects, but I know he has a passion for the eldercare work … [where] he has excelled at taking the concept of a ‘smart home’ from the researchers’ bench side to pre-commercialization,” wrote MARC business manager Margaret Margin. This “suite of technologies, designed to allow elders to age in their preferred living setting … could help solve the medical and social crises we are about to encounter as the baby boomers reach retirement age. … Steve will be instrumental in turning the research prototypes… into a product that can truly benefit the aging population,” Margin said.
‘SELFLESS, ENERGETIC, ORGANIZED … ’
In the short time she’s been manager of community relations, outreach and service, Mary Ann Himes Fields has advanced the profile of the Health System “within our community and beyond,” wrote her supervisor, Shannon Janney, administrator of Health System Marketing. Since Feb. 2005, Fields’ office has touched more than 26,000 individuals through its activities.
“This could not have been accomplished without Mary Ann’s leadership and perseverance, commitment and effort that far exceeds the normal expectations of her position,” Janney wrote. One of the first tasks she undertook was to “establish tracking mechanisms to determine the impact her department and employees of the Health System as a whole, have on our community, the region and the state,” Janney said.
Fields also developed the Health
Line Program, a toll-free telephone
Fields also coordinates the Health System’s annual participation in the remote Area Medical Clinic, helping bring care to more than 2,500 patients in Southwest, Virginia. “She does not go to bed until every volunteer has been fed and all of their needs taken care of,” Janney wrote. Fields came up with a more efficient method for seeing patients that enabled the clinic to serve 25 percent more patients in 2005, Janney noted.
COMPUTING SYSTEMS … PAYNE ‘FIGURES THEM OUT’
From avant-garde to mainstream, computer systems engineer George Payne has been a key leader in creating and implementing the Law School’s computing needs.
Throughout the school’s 10-year, three-phase wireless connectivity project, he took the lead in all areas. His work has been on the forefront of wireless access at the school and at U.Va. “Throughout the project, Payne had to solve many problems not yet solved in the industry,” said Gay Francis Banks, Law School chief technology officer. “His service makes the Law School the envy of other top law schools in career services, alumni services, student services, wireless networking services and in other areas.”
Cary Bennett, assistant dean for academic services and registrar, praised Payne’s contributions to the development of an in-house course enrollment system that included management measurement tools. “George’s patience, insight, programming/systems knowledge, ability to predict problems and sensitivity to the end-user were invaluable,” Bennett said.
When Laura Monroe, director of alumni relations, approached Payne about developing needed software in lieu of purchasing it, he created a “finished project that was above our expectations and it was much more tailored to our specific needs,” Monroe said. “Instead of saying we can’t, George is known around here for saying ‘I will figure it out.’”
PATIENT CARE IS PARAMOUNT
a clinical social worker
plan of care
The big picture
Described by her colleagues as an advocate, broker, mediator, counselor, facilitator and educator, she is praised and trusted by colleagues, patients and their families. “Wren often serves as the ‘eyes and ears’ of the general medicine service for our recently discharged patients. Patients and families alike recognize her abilities and trust her as their primary contact with U.Va.,” wrote Dr. Zachary M. Bush of internal medicine.
For 25 years, Olivier has thrived in an area where job stress is common and turnover and burnout are the norm, approaching her job with tireless diligence and uncommon passion, noted Dr. Andrew E. Darby, also of internal medicine.
Olivier is an advocate not only for patients but for others in need. Earlier in life, she was a Peace Corps volunteer and most recently returned to her home state of Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina to lend her knowledge and expertise to assisting in the rebuilding and reopening of several schools in the New Orleans area.
2006 by the Rector and Visitors