Published: October 7, 2019
The Augustrecipients of Valubility of the Month live out UNTHSC’s five core values on a day-to-day basis.
These recipients of the Valubility of the Month honor were selected from among dozens of nominees that a UNTHSC committee reviewed.
Joshua Christian, Medical Education/Simulation
In Joshua “Josh” Christian’s role as Simulation Administrative Specialist, his major responsibility is to facilitate the facsimile situations in which students encounter patients, both human and robotic.
He sets up skills labs where students learn procedures such as suturing, manages members of the public trained to act as “standardized” patients, and gives tours to outside groups, interested in the robotic manikins that simulate emergency symptoms.
Christian lives the Value of Serving Others First. As he conducted a tour for high school students, one of them fainted. She hit her head on a table and got a large cut under her lip. Christian’s nominator says he kept everyone calm, summoned emergency help, and managed the group while Dr. Nancy Tierney assisted the injured girl.
Christian also lives the Values of Integrity and Collaboration, never evading challenging situations. An example was when a faculty member reported that a standardized patient became unwelcome due to perceived disrespect toward students and underperformance of some duties.
Christian first spoke with the standardized patient to hear her perception of the situation. Then, says his nominator, “He met with her and me, and supported her while discussing her actions that led to the report; he then suggested ways to improve.” Christian then talked with the faculty member and related the action improvement plan set out for the standardized patient, who “remains part of our program, thanks to Josh’s handling of the situation,” his nominator says.
Christian also leverages opportunities to increase UNTHSC’s visibility in the community and find outside partners to use our space. He enlisted a Fort Worth photographer to take professional photos of the department and campus to be posted on the official website of the City of Fort Worth. Says his nominator, “This will expand our visibility and mission to the community as well as those seeking to come to Fort Worth.”
Nominator: Nancy Tierney
Elizabeth Heyerdahl – School of Public Health Biostatistics and Epidemiology
Not content to do only the routine daily tasks, Elizabeth Heyerdahl makes the working environment friendly and comfortable for all. “She is always seeking ways to help out in the department,” says her nominator.
As Senior Administrative Associate, she notices how to help her team in matters both large and seemingly small. Not least, she greets everyone with a warm smile.
As the workday wears on, she provides a boost to her team. “Every day, Mrs. Heyerdahl sends out a message to faculty on the sixth floor letting them know that she has made a special pot of coffee to help everyone get through the day,” her nominator says. “This is a small gesture, but it really makes everyone look forward to the afternoon versus hitting an afternoon slump. It definitely helps our mental well-being, and it also gets faculty out of their offices to chat and get to know each other.”
Heyerdahl goes beyond the call of duty in keeping the research lab stocked. If a team member can’t find an item in the supply closet, Heyerdahl goes out of her way to locate it – “even if it’s from her own desk,” her nominator says.
Sometimes, it’s the pleasant little surprises that help team members know their concerns are taken seriously. Recently, a team member needed a desk hand sanitizer for the conference room in the lab, but the supply closet had none. Heyerdahl provided one from her own desk and told her teammate to keep it until the next order came in. “Just a few days later she stopped by my office, which is a floor above hers,” says her nominator, “to deliver one of the new bottles.”
Heyerdahl finds answers to all questions and “makes our research lab feel taken care of,” says her nominator. “We know we can depend on her, from managing payments to managing logistics for events.”
Nominator: Diana Cervantes
Michele Whitehead, Library
Senior Librarian Michele Whitehead puts the needs of her teammates and department above her own. She manages transformative tasks such as joining two departments and positioning the Library to serve the new MD school, and still steps up for shifts on the Service Desk when nights or weekends need to be covered.
Her nominator says, “When several part-time employees left Service Desk positions unexpectedly, Michele volunteered her normal working schedule to cover shifts on nights and weekends while new employees were being hired.”
In many projects, she reaches across schools to create a cohesive and comfortable environment for the students and staff. She serves on the MD curriculum committee and has made student success a priority by collaborating directly with MD School faculty, ensuring the Library had all necessary materials ready to go on Day One.
Whitehead lives the Value of Collaboration. She gives her employees the opportunity to use their gifts to accomplish projects as a team, including Research Appreciation Day, the university needs assessment and collaboration with the Center for Academic Performance.
Her nominator says Whitehead is actively engaged in supporting her team members’ career plans and growth, “always looking for new ways to help us accomplish our goals.”
Whitehead’s interpretation of our Value of Being Visionary leads her to seek long-term results. Thus she helped join Research Services and the Circulation Team into one cohesive department called Research and User Experience. She sought feedback from all her team members about how the new department should function.
Her Collaborative approach “focused on inclusiveness,” says her nominator, “so those of us who work the service desk are now more part of the library team–serving on committees and getting the chance to share our own ideas with the rest of the department. This is a recipe for a stronger team with a built-in desire for continuous improvement.”
Nominator: Brook Amen
Joe Hicks, Family Medicine
Whenever Joe Hicks, Medical Assistant in the Family Medicine clinic, has a spare moment, he seeks ways to assist co-workers or additional patients. His co–workers give him kudos for this personification of the Values of Collaboration and Serving Others First.
He also lives the Value of Respect–even if a patient is being difficult, Hicks remains calm and respectful.
One co-worker appreciates Hicks especially for helping her adjust to a new shift in a new department after a reorganization. “It was my first time meeting Joe,” she says, but without hesitation he took it upon himself to help her feel welcome. He used humor to put her at ease and gave her pointers on how to maximize quality care and efficiency. “He showed me how to make the best out of an unfamiliar situation,” she says.
Hicks’ talent for helping others see the bigger picture leads him to share thoughts and ideas to improve the experience for his whole team.
“He’s a great listener and believes powerful communication has a great impact on the success of a relationship or team,” says his nominator. “He’s great at coming up with solutions and incorporating every idea we share to assist in a plan that has the potential to bring us a win.”
Nominator: LaShundra Marshall
Ann Wingard, TCOM Student
“Since day one of medical school, Annie Wingard has always been an advocate for her classmates,” says her nominator, a fellow TCOM student. “She has always put our well-being and needs ahead of hers throughout the entire year.”
Wingard instructs free yoga classes on Sunday evenings for UNTHSC students in an effort to promote mental health and self-care. She welcomes everyone who attends the classes, regardless of their level or experience with yoga, providing feedback to all.
Students appreciate the opportunity for a break from the constant pressure of school, especially on Sunday evenings, when many medical students are preparing for another busy week, says her nominator.
Wingard has collaborated with Physician Assistant and Physical Therapy students in the planning of social events, promoting the idea of One University and helping various students and classes get to know each other.
“Annie has one of the most understanding and open minds I have ever come across,” says her nominator. “Her passion for people is evident within the first few seconds of meeting her, and her love for TCOM and what this university stands for is something that she always raves about.”
Wingard never hesitates to volunteer to help with various student events, including the Mr. TCOM Pageant Fundraiser, where she acted as the emcee.
Wingard is seeking a way to incorporate philosophies of osteopathic manipulative medicine into future yoga sessions, encouraging mental and physical well-being while simultaneously preparing students for their careers with an additional way to apply their studies.
Nominator: Virginia Lowe