Valubility of the Month: September 2017

October 19, 2017 • valubility, VOTM

The September recipients of Valubility of the Month bring stories of serving others first, being visionary and collaborating with others.

These recipients of the Valubility of the Month honor were selected from among dozens of nominees that a UNTHSC committee reviewed.

Nominate a teammate for Valubility of the Month


Andrea Gordon, Student AffairsAndrea

Andrea Gordon, Assistant Director, Enrollment Services, saw students with a basic human need and Served Others First by taking the initiative to fill it.

Says her nominator, “Andrea recently approached me with an idea to expand the Student Food Pantry services to have food and water accessible before exams. Her idea helps to ensure that students have a better chance of being well as they enter into high-stress, high-stakes testing situations. Within a few weeks, her idea became a reality!”

Food insecurity is a sensitive concern facing higher education, and respect has to be at the center of any sustainable solution. Andrea made sure that the Food Pantry extension respected the identity of our students in the midst of sensitive testing situations. Says her nominator, “I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the intentionality behind Andrea working with her team to come up with a plan to ensure that our students could reach out and ask for help, no questions asked.”

The Student Food Pantry at its core is rooted in collaboration. Student Services is able to support students because the UNTHSC campus has rallied behind this program. Andrea saw an existing resource and a current need, and identified an opportunity for collaboration. “I am so proud of the Food Pantry because of collaborations like this,” her nominator says.

Nominated by Emily Mire

Officer Chase Rutledge, UNTHSC Police


Several months ago, Police Officer Chase Rutledge had a brainstorm. What if he and other officers offered everyone a free cross-training workout? It would help people be healthy, giveofficers a chance to engage with team members and the public in a new way, and exemplify our values of Collaboration, Serving Others First and Being Visionary.

He reached out to Student Services Director Emily Mire. She facilitated a collaboration between Wellness Services and the UNTHSC Police Department, then Cross Train With a Cop was off and running.

Bright and early each Monday outside the Fitness Center, you’ll find Rutledge and possibly fellow officers leading the hour-long workout. Officers and exercisers interact “in a non-traditional way that focuses on the relational and trust-building aspects of community policing,” says Mire, who nominated Rutledge.

The public, staff, faculty and students are welcome to Cross Train With a Cop, regardless of  fitness level or Fitness Center membership.

The workout runs every Monday from 6:15 a.m. to 7:15 a.m. outside the Fitness Center on the basketball/tennis court. No advance registration is required, and the locker rooms and showers are available for use afterward.

Officer Rutledge exemplifies the value of Being Visionary. He took a thoughtful risk in implementing a different approach to community engagement.

“After the first workout,” says Mire, “I had several of the participants come up to me saying how much they appreciated the opportunity to get to know and build trust with our police officers through working out together. . . . I’m excited to see the impact this collaboration continues to have within our campus community.”

Nominated by Emily Mire

Jeff Scarpelli, Financial Resources, Assurance and Policy AnalysisJeff

The President’s Council for People and Culture spent about six months devising a fair way to establish base salaries consistent with current market ranges. But it appeared UNTHSC would lack the funds to pay for the increases.

Jeff Scarpelli, Vice President–Finance and Planning, worked tirelessly to convince the UNT System to accept UNTHSC’s payment for centralized services in state funds rather than local funds. The savings was $1.3 million that will go toward giving some team members crucial salary adjustments.

Jeff lived our Value of Respect by putting considerable time and effort into negotiating and collaborating with the UNT System to generate the savings. He understood the importance of these salary adjustments and did not stop until an agreement was reached.

If not for the hard work and Values that Jeff displayed, we would not have the market adjustments. Seldom does the action of one individual affect so many people. He models resiliency and the respectful questioning of “how things are always done.” His work will have lasting impacts far into the future.

Jeff led his team to work diligently and persistently to identify and secure funding for the new compensation program, although he and his team might not have personally benefited. In finding a way to pay for the salary adjustments, Jeff led his team in modeling our Value of Serving Others First.

Nominated by Alex Branch, Woody Hagar, Itzel Pena and Patrick Clay

Sara Wettergreen, Pharmacotherapy

Interprofessionalism brings health professionals from various fields together to share their knowledge and improve education and patient care.Sara Wettergreen, Assistant Professor of Pharmacotherapy, is Visionary, Collaborative and Serves Others First in using her talents to improve this interprofessional sharing among Family Medicine and Pharmacy.

Her team is always willing to spend extra time with a patient, Sara’s nominators say. For Example, Sara helped a student understand how a physician would select a form of iron supplement that a particular clinic patient could tolerate, after the patient had unpleasant side effects from oral supplements.

Even during Sara’s first opportunity to bring her students into the professional clinic setting, everyone gained knowledge and a higher comfort level. A nominator says the Pharmacy students under Sara’s direction “have opened my mind to the possibilities of interprofessionalism and collaboration.”

Sara assisted students in understanding how a physician would help a patient who had problems transitioning to insulin injections for diabetes. “We asked Dr. Wettergreen for advice and she gave us some alternative therapies and then made time in her busy schedule to see the patient and give them the necessary tools and knowledge to be successful,” says a nominator.

In another instance, the clinic needed assistance with a patient who had multiple medications, some of which might not be necessary, and who spoke a language unfamiliar to the staff. A rotating student of Sara’s helped the physician sort out the medications in order to provide the best care.

Sara led her team of Homero Silva and Aisha Raza in another action that exemplifies Collaboration and Being Visionary. They collaborated with Sugula Neelakantan at the Patient Care Center to initiate a regular lunch meeting among medical students, pharmacy students, physicians and pharmacists. They discuss the latest diagnostic and treatment protocols for common diseases, making many attendees more aware of factors such as medication costs and other problems patients may have in taking prescribed medication.

Nominated by Jonathan Shumway, Austin Baker, Justin Haloot, and Didi Ebert

Valerie Swartzentruber, Student, Physician Assistant Studies


Valerie has a servant heart, always lending a hand when needed. She generously donates her time serving as treasurer for the Physician Assistant Student Association, making sure various events stay within the budget.

Valerie kindly shared her Quizlet flash cards as a study aid for Medical Interviewing, which was extremely helpful to fellow students. She thoughtfully ordered whiteboards in bulk for the class for Pharmacology, which a lot of people found useful.

Valerie is also known to surprise her classmates with delicious desserts just to make PA school better! Valerie is truly a hard worker and serves others. She helps her fellow classmates in whatever way she can. Says a nominator, “She shares her work — as well as yummy treats — to help us get through the day.”

She volunteers her time to pick up and drop off supplies when the students are collecting donations for charity. Says a nominator, “She’s a great friend and is always willing to help in any way possible!”

Valerie’s dedication to serving others seem to come naturally. In addition to making and sharing treats, she also displays leadership qualities such as determination to work hard and to collaborate as a great team player. Her nominators, fellow students in Physician Assistant Studies, agree: “We are grateful for her.”

Nominated by Mary Tran, Patricia Stafford, and Jessica Moore