They’re golden: Colleagues honor peers for outstanding work at Michigan Medicine

February 17, 2022  //  FOUND IN: Our Employees,

For the past two weeks, Olympians from around the globe have showed off what they can do in Beijing, China. The athletes have proven to have drive, perseverance, commitment and, of course, talent.

It just so happens that all of those features are also found among Michigan Medicine faculty, staff and learners.

In honor of the Olympics, Headlines asked readers to nominate their most outstanding colleagues as “Michigan Medicine gold medalists.”

The response was astounding, with nearly 300 nominations sent in.

Here is just a sampling of the faculty and staff who were honored by their coworkers. All other nominees can be found at the bottom of the story:

LaShawn LaFleur, ambulatory care manager, neurology

LaShawn is the backbone of Taubman Center neurology and she goes above and beyond to ensure all the staff in the clinic have what they need in order to provide high quality care. She is kind and thoughtful to everyone’s needs and truly always has a smile on her face (even behind her mask) when supporting the team. Kudos to you, LaShawn!

Cynthia Gonzalez, nurse, urology clinic, Livonia

Cynthia always goes the extra mile for her team. She is a great resource to go to for help with patient questions. Cynthia is always willing to ask, “how can I help?” That makes her an excellent nurse and an asset to the Livonia team. It is a pleasure to work with her!

Evan “Buzz” Nau, manager of service operations support, HITS

Buzz is the traditional picture of a stoic hero — his quiet demeanor, his thoughtful approach and his steady resolve to deliver on a goal are all admirable qualities. He leads a team of sharp analysts and system admins, and under his leadership, they have achieved more than teams double their size. I count myself lucky to be able to learn from him every day and our collaboration is something I cherish.

Dayna Ryan and Mina Nourbakhsh, physical therapists

Dayna and Mina helped to save one of our patient’s lives recently when he arrived at our OP clinic unresponsive and not breathing. The two performed CPR on the patient while he was in a transport van. This is just one instance, but they work tirelessly to provide exceptional patient care every day!

Anca Avram, M.D., clinical professor of radiology

Dr. Avram is one of the kindest and most caring doctors at Michigan Medicine. She has taken care of my daughter for more than 15 years. During that time, she has always been available for the hundreds of questions I had as a mom whose child was dealing with cancer. I knew she always had my daughter’s best interest at heart. Now that my daughter has become a mom — and I have become a proud grandmother — she is still taking care of her.

Terri Jobkar, clinical care coordinator

Thank you, Terri, for wearing so many hats in support of the O-CTSU Clinical Research Group Study Coordinators. You are our education coordinator, SWAT coordinator, process implementer, trainer, mentor and someone who is always thinking of honoring our research patients’ choice to participate in our oncology trials. Thank you!

Madhavi Anne, operations manager, Back and Pain Center

Madhavi goes above and beyond to support the Back and Pain clinic. She ensures the clinic has all the resources it needs to provide safe patient care. The clinic is a “well oil-machined” as it has very streamlined processes that Madhavi has built into everyday practice. Kudos to you, Madhavi, for your hard work and dedication. You are appreciated!

Kimberly Vnuk-Kronick, nurse anesthetist, Mott

Kimberly, you are simply the best. You are the pediatric nurse anesthetist with the best ideas and the most compassionate care. You ask the hard but thoughtful questions which always revolve around fairness and equity and exemplary patient management. And your idea to pit the CRNAs against the anesthesiologists in a contest to raise funds for those in need has taken off! Thank you for always caring so much.

Jeff Weiss, food service manager, C&W

Jeff has worked especially hard over the last year as a Food Service Manager in C&W Room Service. He recently took a lead on food procurement, which has been a challenge due to vendor shortages and substitutions. Jeff also plays an active role in assuring regulatory readiness and with planning a variety of projects. Thanks, Jeff!

Shae Zilke, social worker

Shae has been part of the Guest Assistance Program through the Social Work Department for more than 10 years. When I joined this team in October, I was in awe of the knowledge she shared and the consistency of information she provided. She encourages others to remain open in communication and friendly. Thank you, Shae!

Sin Man “Connie” Yiu, student, Nutritional Services

Connie is a very hard worker. She is the first to help everyone on the team and provides the best customer service. Connie is continuously willing to work as many hours as she can to provide the most coverage possible and provide the best care to our patients. She is an extraordinary asset to the Milk Room!

Mary Banks, administrative coordinator, Dean’s Office

Mary, thank you for working tirelessly to promote DEI at Michigan Medicine. For example, you proactively provided the venue for Chinese language and culture sessions, which have benefited hundreds of colleagues. You exemplify a remarkable DEI leader with genuine passion, unwavering dedication, and immense compassion. Thank you for your extraordinary work!

Team awards

4C Nurses

Jennifer Bageris, Chingyee Fry, Heather Gilroy, Melissa Keresztes-Fischer, Lauren Pinson

I’d like to recognize and give my sincere and heartfelt thanks to a group of 4C nurses who went above and beyond to form a “care team” for a highly-complex patient who has had a prolonged hospital stay after his cardiac operation. These nurses recognized the special needs of the patient and how a care team would create consistency and optimize outcomes. It is nurses like these who make Michigan Medicine such an amazing place for patients to get their care!

Brighton Center for Specialty Care Patient Experience Champions

Tina Cottrell, Lois Crossman, Emily Crouson, Paula Jensen, Sandra Mitter, Karen O’Donnell

This team recently facilitated their first workshops for their peers! All of them have gone beyond their regular work duties to become skilled in sharing their expertise in delivering an excellent patient experience with their colleagues. They have been dedicated collaborators in this work and I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with them!

Other nominees:

  • Connie Adams, medical records specialist
  • Michelle Alexander, R.N., neurology
  • Diogenes Almendras, manager, UMMG Project Management Office
  • Alexandria Amponsah, medical assistant
  • Sarah Anderson, R.N., neurology
  • Anny Arana, project manager, UMMG Project Management Office
  • Deidre Armstead, medical assistant, neurology
  • Alicia Ash, Taubman Medical Specialties
  • Jamie Ashley, R.N., East Ann Arbor operating rooms
  • Rebecca Avedisian, patient services associate, Livonia
  • Anne Baetzel, M.D., assistant professor of anesthesiology
  • Melinda Ballarin, L.P.N., neurology
  • Kate Balzer, project manager, Office of Patient Experience
  • Bettina Barillas, informatics research area specialist
  • Cherelle Barksdale, R.N., Depression Center
  • Christy Barnes, administrative specialist, Department of Communication
  • Lisa Bayoff, physician assistant, pre-op center
  • Tamica Bell, patient services intermediate, neurology
  • Sheila Bennett, central sterile reprocessing department manager
  • Skye Benson, medical assistant, pediatric specialists
  • Shrikant Bhagwat, app programmer/analyst senior, HITS
  • Edivina Boland, instrument processor, operating rooms
  • Queen Bolden, medical assistant specialist, neurology
  • Lindsay Bowen, dietetic technician
  • Rachel Bresnahan, project specialist, anesthesiology
  • Lisa Brown, administrative specialist
  • Julie Bruce, physician assistant, hematology
  • Amy Buege, administrative specialist
  • Andrew Burghardt, senior instructional designer, HITS
  • Daniel Burmeister, Central Supply Sterile Procession supervisor
  • Luchuan Cai, database analyst, Quality
  • Steven Carr, pharmacy technician, inpatient pharmacy services
  • Nicole Certo, medical coder outpatient, revenue cycle
  • Stephanie Chamberlain, patient services associate lead, orthotics and prosthetics
  • Carmen Chisholm, instrument processor, operating rooms
  • Dawn Cicero, patient services associate/assistant, Rogel Cancer Center Maize
  • Robert Christensen, M.D., associate professor of anesthesiolgy
  • Jocelyne Clancy, food service manager
  • Chris Cole, network architect, HITS
  • Jessica Connolly, organizational effectiveness consultant
  • Kelsey Cousino, call center representative
  • Carrie Covington, administrative manager, Taubman Medical Specialties
  • Dominique Craig, medical assistant, neurology
  • Sharyn Dagher, allied health senior supervisor, C&W pulmonary
  • Marie Dajos, patient services intermediate, Rogel Cancer Center Blue
  • Steven Davis, R.N., CVC4
  • Amy Dazio, medical assistant, neurology
  • Ryan DiStefano, central sterile processing educator
  • Vick Divecha, project manager, UMMG Project Management Office
  • Carole Dodge, occupational therapy supervisor
  • Natalie Dooley, clinic lead, psych clinic outpatient
  • Kyle Dornan, business analyst, annual programs
  • Jayna Duell, R.N., neurology
  • Jason Engling, instructional designer
  • Payton Evitts, medical assistant associate, neurology
  • Ann Fisher, director, annual giving and data services
  • Kelsey Fisher, medical technologist, histocompatibility
  • Mary Fisher, clinical information analyst, Quality
  • Lylian Fons, clinical operations project senior manager, UMMG Project Management Office
  • Jane Foote, business systems analyst
  • Christy Ford, patient services intermediate
  • Kimberly Ford, health information business systems analyst
  • Amanda Fowler, clinical documentation specialist
  • Annette Fox, administrative assistant, ambulatory care nursing
  • Kimberly Garver, M.D., assistant professor of radiology
  • Judith Geiger, medical assistant
  • Jill Gerber, administrative manager, PM&R Commonwealth
  • Rose Glenn, chief communications and marketing officer
  • Simon Glynn, M.D., associate professor of neurology
  • Cathy Goldstein, M.D., associate professor of neurology
  • Talisha Gower, R.N., South Main Orthopaedics
  • Dawn Graham, medical assistant
  • Princess Grantham, L.P.N., MEND, Domino’s Farms
  • Shelly Green, CVC4
  • Edwin Griffin, facilities coordinator/manager
  • Leah Grogan, R.N., Medical Short Stay Unit
  • Gretchen Handy, provider training specialist
  • Olivia Hannosh, financial/business analyst, operations
  • Samantha Hart, assistant director, annual programs
  • David Harwood, administrative specialist, UMMG Project Management Office
  • Sherry Hawkins, medical assistant, medical specialties
  • Tara Hearns, administrative director, neurosciences
  • Alicia Hendrix, multifunction services supervisor, operating rooms
  • Matthew Heyman, perfusionist
  • Rebecca Hong, M.D., assistant professor of anesthesiology
  • Allison Honstain, clinical operations project manager
  • Karinna Hoover, L.P.N., medical specialties
  • Glenn Houcke, director of operations, radiology
  • Lidong “Shirley” Huang, database analyst, Quality
  • Elizabeth Hunsche, inventory control clerk, Mott anesthesia
  • Jordyn Imhoff, public relations representative
  • Audrey Jackson, research area specialist
  • Angela Jennings, clinical documentation specialist, anesthesiology
  • Angela Jiga, patient services intermediate, otolaryngology
  • Catherine Johnson, clinical nursing director, CVC
  • Janene Johnson, R.N., Livonia urology
  • Jamie Judd, medical assistant associate/assistant, Rogel Cancer Center Blue
  • Samantha Judkins, 8D
  • Sarah Juntunen, educational nurse coordinator, radiology
  • Reema Kadri, research area specialist, family medicine
  • Neeraj Kaplish, M.D., associate professor of neurology
  • Leigh-A Karpinskas, physician assistant, cardiovascular surgery
  • Elizabeth Katz, science communicator, family medicine
  • Jodi Kay, Michigan Medicine compliance
  • Reta Kazlauskas, R.N., neurology
  • Debra Kellen, clinical operations project senior manager, UMMG Project Management Office
  • Kayse Kelp, medical assistant preceptor, medical specialties
  • Alexandra Kennedy, project manager, Ambulatory Care Services
  • Claire Kerpet, medical assistant, Rogel Cancer Center Maize
  • Karen Klingensmith, administrative manager, thoracic surgery
  • Umamalini Konanur, database administrator lead, Quality
  • Michelle Kubik, patient services associate, Rogel Cancer Center Gold
  • Nancy Kuemin, patient experience coach, Office of Patient Experience
  • Avnee Kumar, M.D., chief fellow, pulmonary and critical care medicine
  • Erin Lavey, lead cardiac sonography non-invasive tech
  • Sandra Lemkin, clinical care coordinator, neurology
  • Suzanne Licht, medical coder outpatient
  • Elizabeth Lindsley, MiChart billing application coordinator
  • Cathi Linton, medical assistant
  • Jamie Lock, clinical care coordinator, otolaryngology
  • Shannon Lopo, patient services associate/assistant, Rogel Cancer Center Maize
  • Carolyn Lowery, billing clerk, C&W administration
  • Patrice Lyons, project manager, UMMG Project Management Office
  • Andrew Marsh, physical therapy clinic specialist
  • Kristina Martin, administrator, clinical and anatomic pathology laboratory
  • Tracie Martinez, C&W operating rooms
  • Laura Mason, educational nurse coordinator
  • Susan Masri, nursing supervisor, ACS
  • Christinna Masters, nurse practitioner, neurology
  • Jason Matuszkiewicz, business systems analyst
  • Shannon McCarren, patient services associate, Rogel Cancer Center Gold
  • Craig McCool, communications manager, Global REACH
  • Merrit McDonald, revenue cycle coding manager
  • Nichole McLaughlin, pharmacy technician, Research Pharmacy
  • Danielle Merritt, L.P.N., neurology
  • Christine Messner, clinical care coordinator, outpatient surgery
  • Christiana Miles, patient services intermediate
  • Stacy Miller, Mott operating rooms
  • Shannon Mitchell, medical assistant preceptor, Rogel Cancer Center Blue
  • McKenzie Modigell, pharmacy technician, research pharmacy
  • Lisa Moisan, inpatient unit clerk, CVC clerical services
  • Kristin Munson, patient services senior, back and pain center
  • Allyson Muraco, administrative/project coordinator, otolaryngology
  • Rochelle Music, medical assistant, Rogel Cancer Center Blue
  • Lori Neal, administrative manager, Sleep Laboratory
  • Dava Nelson, advanced practice professional, Rogel Cancer Center Maize
  • Theresa Nurmi, medical technologist, immunology
  • Natalia Oleksy, patient care technician, CVC4
  • Steven Orlowski, end user computing specialist, HITS
  • Jennifer Pantoja, MiChart Research Team
  • Theresa Parkkila, administrative specialist, UMMG Project Management Office
  • Paresh Patel, M.D., Ph.D., professor of psychiatry
  • Chrystal Pickering, clinic lead, BMG Primary Care
  • Lori Pierson, revenue cycle coding manager
  • Elizabeth Plank, patient services intermediate, dermatology
  • Kim Poches, call center representative
  • Sarah Primm, call center representative
  • Jocelyn Provident-Wisniewski, medical assistant, psych clinic
  • Carrie Punches, project manager, UMMG Project Management Office
  • Gretchen Quinn, call center representative
  • Sobia Raja, M.D., assistant professor of internal medicine
  • Jenna Rakotz, administrative assistant, operations
  • Paula Ramm, anesthesia support analyst
  • Jahred Rapin, project manager, UMMG Project Management Office
  • Erica Raymond, medical assistant, Rogel Cancer Center Maize
  • Monique Rickel, R.N., neurology
  • Christine Rigney, administrative manager, clinical and anatomic pathology
  • Amanda Roberts, call center representative
  • Sarah Roring, medical coder compliance specialist
  • Kimberly Rupert, medical assistant, West Ann Arbor-Parkland Plaza
  • Deborah Ryba, patient care tech associate, East Ann Arbor
  • Eman Sahloul, M.D., clinical instructor, pediatrics
  • Amanda Santistevan, patient services intermediate
  • Theodore Schaefer, business systems analyst, Development
  • Nicole Schidecker, patient services associate, neurology
  • Shelly Schoen, panel manager, care management, UMMG
  • Kathryn Scott, medical assistant associate, Ypsilanti Health Center
  • Robin Scott, nurse, psychiatry
  • Mary Sdao, MiChart credentialed trainer, HITS
  • Stephannie Seidl, data warehouse programmer analyst, Quality
  • Susan Sell, project manager, UMMG Project Management Office
  • Linda Selwa, M.D., professor of neurology, ambulatory care clinical chief
  • Vanessa Shamany-Fakhoury, nursing services senior director, ACS
  • Shaila Sharmin, medical assistant associate, neurology
  • Mary Sharpe, medical coder outpatient, revenue cycle
  • Benita Shivers, instrument processor, operating rooms
  • Jane Simmermon, R.N., Domino’s Farms dermatology
  • Devon Sitterley, R.N., neurology
  • Laura Snyder, R.N., East Ann Arbor operating rooms
  • Tracy Snyder, clinic manager, Med Inn Sleep Clinic
  • Suzanne Sorovetz, embryologist
  • Kayla Splan, medical assistant associate, Rogel Cancer Center Blue
  • Travis Stein, assistant manager, husbandry operation
  • Angela Stovall, clinical resident project manager, neurology
  • April Strace, medical coder
  • Briana Strode, project manager, UMMG Project Management Office
  • Jennifer Sullivan, administrative manager, pysch clinic
  • Erin Swearingen, embryologist
  • Savanah Swift, patient services associate, urology
  • Tammy Szakal, R.N., psych depression
  • Aimee Taylor, medical assistant
  • Kellen Taylor, call center representative
  • Laura Thomas, research intern, psychiatry
  • Adrienne Trentacosti, physician assistant
  • Donna Urodo, project manager, UMMG Project Management Office
  • Kava Vale, development research analyst
  • Emory Valley, nurse practitioner
  • Shannon Vandervennet, administrative assistant, pediatric neonatal/perinatal
  • Madeline Van Remmen, email and web developer
  • Lisa Vitale, M.D., assistant professor of anesthesiology
  • Jasmine Walker, patient care tech assistant, operating rooms
  • Rose Walton, medical assistant, Rogel Cancer Center Blue
  • Marika Waselewski, project manager, family medicine
  • Ronald Wasserman, M.D., associate professor of anesthesiology
  • Jacob West, project manager, UMMG Project Management Office
  • Julie West, andrology/hormone assay technician
  • Monica West, R.N., MedSport
  • Tammy Weyer, P.A., hematology
  • Katheryn White, Botox referral coordinator, neurology
  • Lisa White, call center supervisor
  • Zachary White, dietetic technician
  • Jennifer Williams, employee communication manager
  • Kelly Williams, clinical information pharmacist
  • Marsha Williams, R.N., neurology
  • Mike Wilk, associate director, fundraising communications
  • Donna Wilson, clinical business analyst
  • Dustin Wise, patient services associate, neurology
  • Taryn Wright, medical assistant, ob/gyn
  • Karen Wutke, administrative specialist, compliance
  • Larrea Young, multimedia designer and grad student instructor, Quality
  • Erik Zempel, IS director, HITS

RELATED STORIES