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2024 UTGSM Employees Recognized for Excellence

From left to right: Abagail Pujol, Kristi Roe, Patty Hamilton, and Melinda Klar

The University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine celebrated the exceptional achievements of its employees with the 18th Annual Employee Excellence Awards program. Nominations were solicited from colleagues and supervisors, acknowledging employees' remarkable contributions in four distinct categories: outstanding job performance, leadership, courtesy and customer service, and community service. This year's winners are Patty Hamilton (Performance), Melinda Klar (Leadership), Kristi Roe (Courtesy and Customer Service) and Abagail Pujol (Community Service).

Excellence in Job Performance

From left to right: Dean Robert M. Crafti, Patty Hamilton, and Assistant Dean Amanda Wilson

Patty Hamilton's exceptional performance as the residency coordinator for fellowship programs in the Department of Surgery sets her apart as a valuable asset to UTGSM. Her tireless efforts to maintain compliance with regulatory guidelines, coordinate recruitment activities, and support multiple fellowship programs have been instrumental in shaping the success of the department. Patty's dedication, attention to detail, and commitment to supporting surgical trainees exemplify the qualities of excellence in performance, making her an invaluable resource to the department and its stakeholders.

Dr. Michael Freeman, Department of Surgery Chair, nominated Patty and emphasized her tireless work ethic, stating, "Patty's dedication ensures our surgical fellowships meet RRC guidelines flawlessly. She's instrumental in recruitment coordination, and her leadership among coordinators is widely recognized." Dr. Michael M. McNally, Program Director for the Vascular Surgery Fellowship, also nominated Patty, stated, "Patty does the work of three people. She coordinates three fellowship programs as well as supports the Department of Surgery residency program."

Excellence in Leadership

From left to right: Dean Robert M. Crafti, Melinda Klar, and Assistant Dean Amanda Wilson

Melinda Klar's exemplary leadership over her 35-year tenure at UTGSM embodies the qualities of an exceptional leader. As the administrative director of the simulation center, Melinda has played multiple roles, including mentor, educator, and researcher. Her dedication to advancing simulation education is evident in her numerous contributions, including the accreditation of the Simulation Fellowship by the American College of Surgeons. Melinda's kindness, effectiveness, and prolific nature make her a role model for leadership, ensuring the success of the simulation center and the well-being of its team members and learners.

Dr. Leonard Lamsen, Medical Director for the UT Center for Advanced Medical Simulation, nominated Melinda, stated, "I think Melinda's greatest attribute is her kindness. She goes out of her way to help people. I have never seen Melinda shy away from trying to meet someone's needs. She steps into whatever role she can in service to others."

Excellence in Courtesy and Customer Service

From left to right: Dean Robert M. Crafti, Kristi Roe, and Assistant Dean Amanda Wilson

Kristi Roe stands out as a beacon of excellence in courtesy and customer service. Her unwavering commitment to providing exceptional support to the UTGSM Institution and its stakeholders is commendable. Kristi's dedication is evident in every interaction, where she consistently goes above and beyond with a positive attitude and confidence that inspires others. Her commitment to excellence truly embodies the spirit of the UTGSM Excellence Award for Outstanding Courtesy and Customer Service.

Jennifer Ferris, Director of Research, who nominated Kristi, expressed, "Kristi is a dedicated professional that takes pride in everything she does. This dedication translates over into all her interactions with various stakeholders, no matter the situation. She consistently demonstrates a deep commitment by going above and beyond to support those that depend on her and those that reach out for her assistance."

Excellence in Community Service

From left to right: Dean Robert M. Crafti, Abagail Pujol, and Assistant Dean Amanda Wilson

Abagail Pujol's exceptional dedication to community service have left a lasting impact on the Preston Medical Library and beyond. Since joining the institution, Abagail has demonstrated initiative and innovation in various initiatives, including creating a research guide to cope with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Her advocacy for safety and risk reduction during the pandemic, along with her contributions to library administrative practices, has been invaluable. Abagail's efforts have not only enhanced library services but also contributed to the well-being of the community, demonstrating her unwavering commitment to making a difference.

Martha Earl, Director of the Preston Medical Library, nominated Abagail and stated, "Since Abagail started working in the Preston Medical Library in 2019, she has consistently demonstrated a strong commitment to community service. Her efforts in creating a COVID-19 research guide and advocating for safety protocols have significantly benefited both our library and the broader community."

"This year's Employee Excellence Award winners exemplify the outstanding team that we have within the Graduate School of Medicine. An organization is its people, and we clearly have the people we need to achieve and maintain excellence in medical education and research," said Dean Craft.

Posted June 3, 2024


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