Meet your Michigan Medicine gold medalists

August 5, 2021  //  FOUND IN: Our Employees,

Over the past two weeks, the Summer Olympics in Tokyo have delivered incredible performances and examples of outstanding teamwork.

From basketball to judo to swimming, track and field and beyond, athletes in dozens of disciplines have put forth efforts that landed them a spot on the podium.

Recently, Headlines asked which of your colleagues are also deserving of such recognition — which ones would earn a symbolic gold medal for the work they do each day.

The response was overwhelming, with nearly 200 submissions coming in from across the organization.

Below is just a sampling of the faculty and staff recognized by their coworkers. All other nominees are at the bottom of the page.

Congratulations to all the gold medalists at Michigan Medicine! 

Individual gold medals

Ashley Jaworski, call center representative

Ashley goes above and beyond for her colleagues, patients and anyone who reaches out for help. She often is proactive when she sees an issue, has innovative ideas and always has an inclusive, caring demeanor for everyone she deals with. She does not hesitate to try new things, embraces change at every level and has an “I can do it” attitude. Thanks, Ashley!

Billie Norman, administrative specialist, hematology/oncology

Billie’s leadership and guidance continuing through COVID-19 has been unfailing. She has encouraged communication while working remotely with “Coffee Talks” and book club meetings to educate and share ways to understand racism and affect change in our roles and work areas across the university.  She has actively listened to concerns and allows the autonomy to learn at our own pace and ask questions when needed. I deeply appreciate Billie’s support!

Raja Issa, nursing supervisor, CVICU

Raja is always going above and beyond for CVICU 5. He is detail-oriented and ensures processes are well communicated. He supports the staff and helps admitting and caring for patients. If he does not have the answer, he seeks it out and helps to problem-solve the issue at hand. Raja, your work is much appreciated even though much of it goes unnoticed. Thanks for all you do!

Alex Patterson, guest services specialist

Alex brings a unique skill set to the guest services program. He routinely goes above and beyond to ensure patients get what they need or what they are looking for. He excels at working in all parts of the hospital and its clinics, such as West Ann Arbor. Alex’s enthusiasm is contagious and he makes his coworkers better with his happy-go-lucky attitude. He is an excellent trainer and continues to train the bulk of new employees working at the hospital. Keep up the great work, Alex!

LaSonia Patterson, technical delivery manager, HITS

LaSonia has been instrumental in setting up Workforce segments in our new SharePoint Online environment. This allows the entire team to go to one place to receive updates and collaborate on documents, presentations and other project materials to ensure that common ground is laid. LaSonia, your efforts in bringing together this group have been greatly appreciated! Thank you for being a gold medal-worthy leader.

Paul Schenk, registered nurse, cardiovascular disease management

If there could be a gold medalist of nursing, Paul would certainly be that champion. Few possess the kindness, determination, natural leadership and hard-working spirit that Paul brings to the heart failure team and his patients daily. From the moment he stepped into his role, others quickly saw his transformative leadership capabilities and such qualities have been instrumental in improving teamwork and patient care. He deserves this recognition, as he is a humble and outstanding nurse.

Steven Bearinger, administrative manager, Taubman specialty clinics

Since his takeover of the 3rd floor Taubman ACU specialty clinics, Steve’s primary focus has been the wellbeing of his employees while encouraging excellent patient care. He has proven himself to be the best manager I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. He is always professional, caring and approachable. He treats his staff with respect and his staff has always shown respect to him, as well. Thank you, Steve!

Yihan Sun, Pharm.D., clinical pharmacist specialist, research pharmacy

Yihan, you are a pharmacist that we can always count on. You go above and beyond to make sure the job is done correctly. We appreciate you more than words can describe. Thank you for being a team player and always bringing in treats for us — keep up your hard, incredible work!

Alexis Lezak, medical assistant, MedSport, Domino’s Farms

Alexis provides gold medal service daily to both the patients and providers she interacts with. Her communication is clear, concise and professional. She is able to identify potential scheduling inefficiencies, which optimizes patient care and clinic flow. Thank you, Alexis, for all you do at MedSport!

Charles Drummer, custodian, Environmental Services

Charlie is a fixture of the hospital that I see nearly every time I walk through the halls. He has a great attitude and an amazing work ethic! He has been so helpful and goes above and beyond whenever our office needs anything. We so appreciate him and his welcoming smile!

June Insco, regulatory manager, regulatory affairs

June deserves a gold medal for her performance and skill through a heart-stopping year. Like skateboarding, this year involved numerous obstacles which seem set up deliberately to test the adaptability, flexibility and endurance of a master. Only a veteran of 20+ years of service to Michigan Medicine, who has set up multiple programs to meet changing government requirements, could pivot with breathtaking speed and respond to these new needs with such agility and grace. Thank you, June!

Kevin Griffith, perfusionist

Kevin has been a perfusionist at Michigan Medicine for more than 27 years and is known for his high standard of performance and exemplary education and instruction. He displays the morals and ethics that all individuals should strive to incorporate into their profession and lives. Kevin cares for patients and family members with the upmost professionalism, compassion, respect and dignity. He is an irreplaceable asset to this hospital.

Team gold medals

Clinical Trial Support Unit, Blue Team

By working together, the Blue Team and Terri Jobkar (an honorary member) have been able to overcome the challenges faced during COVID-19 and meet the needs of our cancer research patients, allowing them to still participate in vital clinical research. For this, every member of the Blue Team and Terri are Michigan Medicine gold medalists! THANK YOU to each and every one of you!

Radiation Oncology Simulation/Treatment team

The Radiation Oncology Simulation/Treatment team consistently displays all of the most desired qualities at Michigan Medicine. Their tremendous degree of teamwork has allowed them to achieve new levels of safety, efficiency and an unprecedented record of billing accuracy, while providing remarkable patient care every single day. Despite the challenges we all face, their commitment has been unwavering and should serve as an example for all. Thank you to everyone who makes this team great!

Other nominees:

  • DCA team, Revenue Cycle
  • Milk Room team
  • Pediatric Emergency Services team
  • Eugen Alpareanu, MiChart application coordinator senior, HITS
  • Madhavi Anne, operations manager, Back and Pain Center
  • Suzanne Armiak, administrative assistant senior, nursing clinical support
  • Theresa Arnold-Robinson, social worker
  • Linda Bashaw, BI analyst senior, HITS
  • Suhana Begum, radiation therapy technician, radiation oncology
  • Kelly Berg, senior instructional designer, HITS
  • Cassandra Bicknell, check-in/check-out, Brighton Center for Specialty Care
  • Sherrill Bird, clinic office manager, neurosurgery
  • Robert Birdsall, systems architect senior, HITS
  • Thomas Bishop, Psy.D., M.A., assistant professor of family medicine
  • James Bologna, quality analytics manager
  • Kimberly Bottenberg, research pharmacy intern
  • Shaney Bowers, administrative manager, pediatric specialties core
  • Dawn Brown, business systems analyst senior, MICHR
  • Lori Bruce, research application coordinator, HITS
  • Nick Bryngelson, registered nurse, 7W
  • Erin Bubb, patient services intermediate, general surgery clinic
  • Amy Buege, administrative specialist, ambulatory care
  • Sara Busam, student, research pharmacy
  • Stephanie Chamberlain, patient services senior lead, orthotics/prosthetics
  • Judith Chill, research pharmacist specialist
  • Rebecca Cholak, administrative assistant senior, GSA administration
  • Emily Collins, administrative manager, care management
  • Brieana Commons, guest services specialist
  • Bernice Dankwa-Wiredu, nurse, East Ann Arbor operating rooms
  • Jessie DeVito, operations director, Virtual Care
  • Rachael Gallant, patient services associate, surgery pre-op
  • Kathleen Giles, clinical business analyst senior, nursing informatics
  • Jaimee Gauthier, clinical research project manager, orthopaedic surgery
  • Sonja Grant, medical assistant, West Ann Arbor-Parkland Plaza internal medicine
  • Lisa Ferguson, IT project senior manager, Department of Learning Health Sciences
  • Kimberly Ficaro, administrative director, Weiser Food Allergy Center
  • Gabriel Forster, systems architect, HITS
  • Myranda Grim, administrative assistant senior, Canton Health Center dialysis
  • Maria Hagan, registered nurse, HomeMed Pharmacy Infusion
  • Nathan Halsey, patient care technician, radiology
  • Sarah Henning, project associate manager, Mott administration
  • Margaret Holtschneider, registered nurse, pediatric ortho clinic
  • Jacob Jager, patient care technician, C&W radiology
  • Charlotta Jared, business systems analyst, anesthesiology
  • Teodora Jevtic, applications programmer lead, data management
  • Jaclyn Jirasek, registered nurse, Adult BMT and Leukemia Clinic
  • Samantha Judkins, nurse supervisor, 8D
  • Christine Kauffman, end user computing specialist, HITS
  • Scott Keppler, guest services coordinator
  • Erin Khang, social work manager
  • Candace Kolars, quality assurance and informatics
  • Jennifer Kopeck, marketing and communications specialist, human genetics
  • Tiffani Langford, fundraising communications lead, development
  • Sarah Leonard, student, research pharmacy
  • Cindy Lewis, registrar, Emergency Department
  • Matthew Lorincz, M.D., Ph.D., clinical professor, neurology, co-director, NeuroSport
  • Janet Loveless, medical assistant, OHS
  • Erin Manno, ophthalmic technician senior, Kellogg Eye Center
  • Danielle Martin, L.P.N., Brighton Center for Specialty Care
  • Jenny Matos, patient services associate senior, HomeMed Pharmacy
  • Missy Mazur, nursing supervisor, CVC 7W
  • Chrysta Meadowbrooke, research area specialist, Depression Center
  • Marcia Militello, IT project senior manager, quality administration
  • Dana Munson, patient services intermediate, neurosurgery
  • Awa Ndiaye, nurse, internal medicine
  • Jamie Ngai, student, research pharmacy
  • Alexander Nosnik, strategic planner, faculty affairs
  • Steven Orlowski, end user computing specialist, HITS
  • Theresa Parkkila, administrative specialist, ambulatory care
  • Roderick Perkins, 7B
  • Jennifer Pieknik, L.P.N., Taubman dermatology
  • Christine Pionk, nurse practitioner, OHS
  • Denise Propes, pharmacy technician coordinator
  • Edward Radwan, financial specialist senior, neurology
  • Melissa Rennells, administrative assistant senior, Weiser Food Allergy Center
  • Kelly Roe, nurse practitioner, radiology
  • Rhonda Rorke, polysomnographic technician, KMS Sleep Lab
  • Shelagh Saenz, project senior manager, Wellness Office
  • Stephanie Scheer, communication specialist senior, Department of Communication
  • Laura Schmehl, revenue cycle coding supervisor
  • Elizabeth Sielicki, team lead, surgery pre-op center
  • Cory Smith, Pharm.D., pharmacist, research pharmacy
  • Teresa Spiegelberg, EMC technologist senior, PM&R
  • Nicole Stowe, medical assistant, South Main Orthopaedics
  • Karen Sturtz, administrative manager, human genetics
  • Jennifer Sullivan, administrative manager, outpatient psych clinic
  • Helen Tamer, Pharm.D., clinical pharmacist
  • Hank Vanderploeg, ULAM
  • James Wagner, guest services specialist
  • Sara Pschigoda Wagner, certified orthotist and prosthetist
  • Kristen Ward, Pharm.D., clinical pharmacist
  • Amy Watson, administrative coordinator/project coordinator, operations
  • Douglas Weaver, administrative director, revenue cycle
  • Stephanie Weaver, panel manager supervisor, care management
  • Monica Webster, business systems analyst, HITS
  • Andrew Wechter, pharmacist, ambulatory care pharmacy
  • Heather Williams, insurance referral coordinator, PT/OT
  • Jennifer Williams, employee communication manager, Department of Communication
  • Jeffrey Williams, student, research pharmacy
  • Deborah Workman, medical assistant, Taubman medical specialties
  • Salundia Yarbough, call center representative, Rogel Cancer Center
  • Caitlyn Young, Pharm.D., pharmacy resident

RELATED STORIES