Each year, Larry J. Shapiro, MD, executive vice chancellor for medical affairs and dean of Washington University School of Medicine, surprises employees with the highest accolades given to staff: the dean’s service awards. Winners are nominated by their colleagues and selected based on their exemplary service.
Top among the honors is the Dean’s Distinguished Service Award, which recognizes employees who excel in their jobs, help create a positive working environment and improve the community. This year, that honor went to Shirley R. Vaughn, executive secretary in the Department of Anesthesiology.
Vaughn, who began working at the School of Medicine in November 2010, has an “amazing attitude and positive spirit,” wrote Kelly Nessel, clinical operations manager for the anesthesiology department, in a letter nominating Vaughn.
“Shirley is a top-notch employee, and we are grateful for all that she has contributed to the department and to our community,” Nessel wrote.
Vaughn’s community involvement activities are wide-ranging, including cleanup efforts in Ferguson, organizing a shoe drive to fund freshwater initiatives in Africa, and volunteering with local organizations such as St. Louis Crisis Nursery, Covenant House Missouri and Saint Vincent DePaul Parish.
Research support, operations staff
The Dean’s Research Support Award and Operations Staff Award each recognize employees for exceptional service and outstanding leadership.
Rebecca E. Patton, clinical research coordinator in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, received the Research Support Award. Patton was nominated in part for her collaboration with Ken Yamaguchi, MD, professor of orthopaedic surgery, on a long-term study that required follow-up visits by research participants.
Noting the personal connection Patton has with patients, Yamaguchi wrote in a letter of nomination, “Many have been returning on yearly visits because of a chance to renew their acquaintance with Rebecca.”
This year, two staff members received the Operations Staff Award: Stella Ann Elder, record specialist in the Department of Human Resources, and Lori Deen Maloney, program coordinator in the Department of Pediatrics.
Elder oversees faculty appointments for the School of Medicine, processes payroll for selected departments and collaborates with information technology specialists to maintain and improve the Human Resource Management and Self Service System (HRMS). Elder also is the driving force behind the department’s community-outreach activities, including school-supply and holiday donation drives.
In support of Elder’s nomination, Thomas G. Kraft, manager of compensation and HR programs, wrote, “Practically anyone can call Stella with a request for information, and at times the volume is large, but Stella continues to exceed expectations and is always willing to help.”
Maloney juggles a variety of administrative tasks for the Department of Pediatrics but also seeks out ways to improve efficiency and professionalism in her office. She completed coursework to improve her software skills and then created several time-saving database-management tools.
“One of Lori’s greatest qualities is her ability to problem solve by thinking creatively and critically while using available resources,” wrote nominator Brittany R. Klauser, special project administrator.
Added Nichole Hayes, senior research administrator: “Her sound judgment and leadership skills are of tremendous value, and she goes out of her way to provide a pleasant working environment for everyone around her.”