Celebration was in the air on March 27 as faculty and staff gathered at the NEW Center Ballroom for a combined employee recognition ceremony and presentation of faculty service awards.
Many of the 47 NEOMED employees who reached milestone years of service as of December 31, 2017, were present to be honored for their dedication to the University.
The awards celebrated two special employees who have served the University for three decades. Angelo DeLucia, Ph.D., an associate professor of molecular virology and cancer, and Mary Sherman, an administrative assistant for the Department of Family and Community Medicine, were congratulated for reaching their 30-year milestone with NEOMED.
Also honored were Betty Gowan, business manager for the College of Pharmacy, and Karen Greene, business manager for the Department of Integrative Medical Sciences, who have each served NEOMED for 25 years.
Employees with 20 years of service (left to right) Mary Shick, Rey Notareschi, Margaret Sanders, Deborah Myers and Denise Kropp
Service Awards Presented
Mary Jane Kelly Award for Service Excellence
Mary Sherman and Mary Schick, the co-winners of last year’s Mary Jane Kelly Award for Service Excellence, presented this year’s award to Megan Storey-Workley, senior laboratory coordinator in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology. Storey-Workley was hailed for her contributions ranging from procuring experimental data and assisting in grant-writing efforts to training new technical staff and assisting newly hired faculty members to design and equip their labs.
President Gershen with Megan Storey-Workley (Mary Jane Kelly Award), Mary Shick (20 years' service) and Mary Sherman (30 years' service)
Saltzman Community Service Award
Glenn Saltzman, Ph.D., a charter chair of the Department of Behavioral Sciences, and his wife, Ruth, established the Saltzman Community Service Award in honor of their son Jon. They attended the March 27 event and had a chance to talk afterward with this year’s recipient, Dana Peterson, Ph.D., associate professor of anatomy and neurobiology. Dr. Peterson founded the Northeast Ohio Regional Brain Bee, teaching young people in preparation for the regional step of the national neuroscience competition.
As Dr. Peterson’s nominator noted, her work makes a huge impression on students, many of whom go on to major in neuroscience or other STEM fields when they enter college. Dr. Peterson is also an active member of the Society for Neuroscience. Elaine Guregian, assistant director of the Office of Public Relations and Marketing, presented the award.
Olson/Blair Award for Administrative Excellence
Carolyn Lanier, chief of staff and vice president for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, called on technology and an element of surprise for her presentation. She showed a video clip documenting how she and Richard Kasmer, Pharm.D., J.D., dean and vice president for academic affairs for the College of Pharmacy, presented the Olson/Blair Award for Administrative Excellence to its delighted recipient: Heidi Terry, executive director of the Office of Enrollment Services and Registrar. Knowing that Terry would not be able to attend, the pair surprised Terry in advance.
Faculty Awards Bestowed
Junior Faculty Award
Amy Lee, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A., professor of family and community medicine, presented the Junior Faculty Award to Lisa Noelle Cooper, Ph.D., assistant professor of anatomy and neurobiology.
Not only has Dr. Cooper received a major grant from the National Science Foundation on understanding the mechanism of why bats do not lose bone like humans and other mammals. She has also gained a reputation for excellence in teaching among students in NEOMED’s Human Development and Structure course, said Dr. Lee. In addition, Dr. Cooper shares her knowledge with the community by educating high school, elementary and pre-school students about bats. She has become known across the state as "The Bat Doctor."
Liebelt-Wheeler Award for Faculty Excellence
Fayez Safadi, Ph.D., professor of anatomy and neurobiology, presented the Liebelt-Wheeler Award for Faculty Excellence to J. Ronald Mikolich, M.D., professor of internal medicine and chief of the cardiology section, calling him one of the major pillars for NEOMED’s success with clinical partners. Dr. Safadi noted that more than 300 fourth-year students have benefited from Dr. Mikolich’s expertise over the last 38 years, including students in his popular Practical Cardiology M4 Elective.
Holding the award high, Dr. Mikolich called it “a tribute to professionalism’’ and thanked his wife, Lynn (also a physician, seated in the audience), for supporting his medical career while raising their family and managing her own practice.
Outstanding Faculty Research Award
“Research is a team sport,’’ said Outstanding Faculty Research Award recipient Rebecca German, Ph.D., professor of anatomy and neurobiology. Living up to her words, she named the three people who work alongside her each day and asked them to stand to be recognized, too.
Jeff Wenstrup, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology and associate dean of research in the College of Medicine, presented the award to Dr. German, noting that when Dr. German came to NEOMED in 2013 from Johns Hopkins University, she had already developed an international reputation in the mechanisms of feeding in mammals. She already had amassed more than 15 National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation grants and more than 80 publications. Since coming to NEOMED, she has built impressively on this body of work, currently focusing on studying swallowing dysfunction and the protection of respiratory airways in pre-term infants. Dr. German’s research with the youngest population has potential applications for the elderly, who often develop swallowing problems along with neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s.
Dr. Wenstrup applauded Dr. German as "a tireless supporter and promoter of young scientists."
The University faculty council partnered with the department of human resources for the employee and faculty recognition event.