HSC celebrates 2021 Valubility of the Year Honorees

By Sally Crocker 

2021 Valubility of the Year Honorees hold their awards with President Williams

Since its beginning in 2015, the HSC Valubility of the Year celebration has become one of the most anticipated events around campus.

This year, more than 700 people attended lunchtime watch parties and joined via Livestream to cheer on four selected individuals and one team of three as they received recognition for living Our Values related to Serving Others First, Integrity, Collaboration, Respect and Being Visionary.

Through the power of values, HSC team members work together to reach our goals and impact the lives of others.

“This is one of my favorite events to be a part of each year because it’s about our people,” said HSC President Dr. Michael R. Williams. “An organization without its people is just a building, but at HSC we are family. I continue to be proud every year to celebrate the different ways that all of you do your work in special and very meaningful ways.”

Jeanie Foster, Vice President of Culture & Experience, explained the significance of these annual awards in this way: “The Valubility award celebrates people who make an impact through living Our Values in extraordinary ways.  Several nominees said, ‘I was just doing my job…’ and ‘I didn’t think about my job or department as being noticed for values.’ Yet, often it’s in the little things that living our values makes the biggest difference to others.”

Following are HSC’s 2021 Valubility of the Year Honorees, with edited excerpts from the nominations for each: 

Dr. Emma Handler, Assistant Professor, Physiology and Anatomy, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences 

Along with her dedication to collaboration, Dr. Handler has been visionary in bettering the learning environment for students. She is dedicated to creating a collaborative academic environment for students of all walks of life to study, learn and grow into future health care providers together. She brought HSC’s Values into an online environment during the pandemic that could have felt disconnected, instead creating a respectful environment for collaboration and learning. She embodies respect, empathy and integrity. She has been an active member of GSBS committees focused on improving distance education and helped develop HSC’s online undergraduate BS in Biomedical Sciences program. It was exceptional for an early-career faculty member like Dr. Handler to take on the significant and challenging work of developing a novel online curriculum during the pandemic, and she truly went the extra mile by facilitating excellence in teaching among her colleagues and advocating for our students.

Dr. Kimberly Meyer, Executive Director, Academic Innovation  

Dr. Meyer is the leader everyone wants on their side. She is kind and compassionate, welcoming of different thoughts and opinions, appreciative of others’ work and is always there to celebrates others’ successes. She’s an ever-present resource for insight and advice. Even during a pandemic that has challenged all of us to adapt to new needs and requirements, she has led her division with grace and skill. Through all the changes of the pandemic, the merging of two departments and subsequent new division created, she led with vision and focused on building the best for her team and our culture in innovative ways while serving others first. Dr. Meyer cares about everyone on the team, showing trust and encouragement. She actively seeks opportunities for collaboration both within and outside our team. She is an incredible leader who always makes us feel seen, heard and valued, and she challenges all of us to think about what could be.

A.J. Randolph, Vice President, Finance & Administration, HSC Health 

A.J. is a forwarding- thinking leader who actively engages with team members, intently listening to their Ideas and considering all input. He serves others first and helps empower people to be their best. He inspires teammates to learn, grow and be all they can be. The way A.J. lives Our Values helps remind us of why we are here, the importance of what we do and the values we find in our working relationships. His actions truly impact the service and education mission of HSC Health, from helping to secure grants for expanding the Project ECHO community health program for older adults, to his work on drive-up COVID testing, to his everyday actions on behalf of the HSC clinical practice. He is truly an inspiring leader. 

Three TCOM colleagues 

  • Carolyn Anderson, Academic Program Specialist, Academic Health Centers 
  • Dr. Nusrath Habiba, Associate Professor, Pediatrics & Women’s Health 
  • Dr. Priya Bui, Interim Chair & Associate Professor, Pediatrics and Women’s Health  

This team embodies HSC values and positively impacts both students on rotation and the future patients of those providers in training. The team designed and implemented innovative TCOM training programs to meet students’ needs during the pandemic, including those in the Rural Program and pediatric core rotations across remote sites, via virtual clinical rotation-teaching models, individual mentoring through Zoom, telehealth experience and didactic sessions online. Without this team’s tireless efforts to provide the students with this very collaborative and solid training, our students would have struggled to obtain the necessary elements for completing their rotations. The work of this team is advancing medicine and changing how future physicians are being educated and trained.

Dr. Jamboor K. VishwanathaHSC Regents Professor and Vice President, Diversity and International Programs 

Joining nine HSC faculty and staff from across campus were national nominators as well, representing Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the University of Wisconsin. Some of their edited comments are as follows: Dr. Vishwanatha embraces HSC Values through his visionary work collaborating with partners across the country to serve others, address nationwide health disparities and make a difference in the lives of many individuals, including those who have been historically marginalized. He is dedicated to advancing health equity and mentoring the next generation of biomedical researchers. Through his work on the Texas CEAL project – to reduce the burden of COVID-19 among disproportionately affected communities and address misinformation regarding COVID-19 and vaccinations – Dr. Vishwanatha has exemplified inspiring leadership and collaborationHe provided leadership to develop an institution-wide Center for Diversity and International Programs and serves as Principal Investigator (PI) of the NIH-funded National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN), a program aimed at increasing diversity in the biomedical and behavioral workforce, which is an urgent national need. He has led efforts for the Texas Conference on Health Disparities and has been a role model in the growth of so many careers, exemplifying the HSC value of working together to achieve shared goals. 

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