Celebrating 30 Years of Service

Gail Benson

Department: 
Anesthesia

Gail Benson began her Stanford career working with the ICU faculty, led by anesthesiologist Mike Rosenthal, MD, and helping each yearly batch of four ICU fellows with their research projects. In what is now called the Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, Gail has directed the laboratory of Ron Pearl, MD, PhD, for almost 30 years. In this lab, researchers investigate the molecular and cellular mechanisms of pulmonary hypertension; develop treatments for pulmonary hypertension, respiratory failure, and septic shock; and devise hemodynamic monitoring techniques. Ongoing research is aimed at developing a model of pulmonary hypertension in genetically-altered mice and learning to what extent gene therapy can cure pulmonary hypertension. Dr. Pearl says, “During the past 30 years, Gail has been responsible for a major change in the focus of the laboratory, requiring her to learn multiple new skills and techniques. Throughout this change, what has remained constant is Gail’s enthusiasm, hard work, intellectual curiosity, and outgoing personality.  Working with her has been a highlight of my research career.”

Gail, whose BS is in physiology, has done a superlative job of conducting research studies and helping train undergraduates, medical students, and fellows in research techniques. She has continuously expanded her research skills as the focus of the laboratory has moved from physiology studies in large animals to physiology studies in rats and mice, and now to molecular biology and genetics of pulmonary hypertension and septic shock. She also helps with patient studies. Her work has always been of the highest caliber, resulting in authorship on numerous publications.

By sharing her interests in dogs, organic gardening, and canning homegrown fruits and vegetables, Gail has been the glue that has cemented friendships in the laboratory and made it a success.

To Gail, “Science is endlessly fascinating, especially seeing how old observations + new ones throw out the old conclusions and make entirely new ones! Once we expected a ‘magic bullet,’ but it’s now clear that most diseases we study are incredibly complex. Whereas we once thought DNA couldn’t be affected by anything but a chemical or radiological insult, we now know the environment changes genes’ functions by flipping their switches.”

Colleen R. Chihak

Department: 
Educational Programs and Services

Colleen began her pediatric nursing career at Stanford when she joined the Stanford University Hospital in 1984 as a staff nurse in the PICU. Right from the start, she engaged in teaching through serving as a preceptor. After providing bedside acute care and intensive care for seven years, she began working in the PACU at LPCH where she became an Assistant Nurse Manager supervising six very active clinical departments simultaneously (SDS/PACU, Patient Transport, Pediatric Sedation, Vascular Access, Pediatric MRI and CT Radiology). During these years, she honed her skills in education and added to them experience in quality improvement and compliance related to JCAHO regulations. In 2003, she left clinical nursing to help develop and then staff the LPCH Liaison for Community Physicians Program, which worked to provide community physicians with immediate access and communication regarding the clinical care of their patients referred to LPCH. During this time, her interest in education grew, and she started to design continuing education courses for healthcare professionals.

In this light, in 2008 Colleen joined the Stanford Center for Continuing Medical Education (SCCME) as the Accreditation and Compliance Manager. During her first few years, she worked to revamp the Regularly Scheduled Series (one of the absolutely most challenging jobs in CME) and was a crucial contributor to reorganizing the SCCME team and developing new policies and procedures that would ensure compliance with the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education’s requirements. Those improvements are still keeping Stanford in good stead. With the departure of the Center’s Director in 2013, Colleen stepped up as the Interim Director of CME and kept the office running smoothly until a Director could be hired. Having clearly demonstrated her leadership capabilities, high level of professionalism, ability to build positive and productive relationships, and superb mentoring of staff over many years, Colleen was promoted in 2014 to Associate Director of SCCME. Her patience, calm demeanor, drive for excellence, creative problem solving and attention to detail without a doubt make her the keystone to the Center. We are truly grateful for her many contributions to Stanford. 

Maria Bernardette De Souza

Department: 
Pathology

Maria was born in the British colony of Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe. Her parents emigrated from Portugal to Southern Rhodesia for her father’s employment. She and her two older brothers enjoyed playing throughout the long summer days and having tea at 3pm.

The family immigrated again to the United States and lived in Massachusetts. Maria attended high school and some college there. Her family moved again to the Bay Area. Her first job was at the Stanford University Blood Bank. Her first day was at the blood center building at 800 Welch Road. She worked as a lab technician in Components. She enjoyed all of the social antics that the Components staff was involved in--parties after work and the famous Halloween celebrations at the blood center where everyone was involved, and the costumes were planned out months in advance.

In 1993, Maria applied for and became the Components Lead Lab Technician. In this position, she was the assistant to the supervisor and learned about Lean manufacturing, process flow and staff scheduling. She continues to be the Components Lead and is instrumental in the day-to-day function of the laboratory. Everyone wants to know where Maria is in the lab because she is always here to answer questions and help her coworkers. When she is on the job, the laboratory runs smoothly. Maria would say that she is always growing, learning and instructing others in her position.

In her free time, she is involved in outdoor recreation. She is an avid cyclist and rides her bicycle into work almost every day. She has been involved in speed skating competitions and has been involved in 5K and 10K races in the Bay Area. She has been a staff volunteer for the Stanford Moonlight run for many years.

It is our pleasure to recognize Maria De Souza for working at Stanford for thirty years. Working with Maria has been wonderful, and it has been an honor to recognize such a fantastic coworker.    

- Dianne Geary and Danielle Falconer
Stanford Medical School Blood Center

Sharon C. Dickow

Department: 
Medicine

Sharon has been an invaluable Stanford employee for 30 years. She has 
assisted a wide range of faculty, including a Department Chair, senior 
faculty, a Nobel laureate, and naïve new assistant professors such as PJ 
Utz. Her independence and creativity have been astounding. She has mastered 
all aspects of NIH grants, large and challenging national research 
consortia, IRBs, APLAC committees, ACGME fellowship activities, and lab 
management, through interactions with high school students, graduate 
students, residents, fellows, faculty, and staff.  She is a model employee 
and has served as a mentor to many less experienced staff in the SOM 
throughout her tenure at Stanford. Sharon should be congratulated for her 
exemplary service, and for somehow balancing her commitment to Stanford with 
her family that includes her husband, 2 children, and 3 grandchildren.

Katherine J. Ishizuka 

Department: 
Stem Cell Institute.

Kathi Ishizuka has been the 'center that holds' for the Weissman Hopkins Marine Station lab for the last 3 decades. She has been more than a research staff member. She is a scientist with the deepest knowledge of the life history and biology of the organism we study, Botryllus schlosseri, an animal that is a vertebrate during its fetal life and as a short-lived newborn, but that metamorphoses to an invertebrate for months of asexual reproduction thereafter. As a likely 'link' between the vertebrates and invertebrates, this organism, with its unique lifestyles, and its primitive stem cell and immune system biologies, has revealed much about stem cells, primitive immune systems, genetic lifespans, and the co-evolution of competitive stem cells that pass between members of a colony of many individuals, including genetically distinct kin. Kathi not only invented the way we keep wild colonies in mariculture in the lab, but also meticulously has developed the methods to study them at several levels. Perhaps most importantly, it was Kathi who discovered that many genetically identical individuals and groups of individuals from these colonies, separated from each other at an early stage, often all die within days of each other up to a year after separation into many different mariculture tanks. That is, she discovered that lifespan in these animals is genetically pre-determined in most cases. Because the laboratory at Hopkins Marine Station has no permanent faculty to lead it, the 'memory' of how to work with these animals, and the sustenance of maricultured stocks taken from the wild nearly 28 years ago is the responsibility of Kathi. I rely on her and trust her completely. She is a scientist first, a collaborator second, and a most responsible administrator and mariculturist next. The discoveries she and the itinerant graduate students and postdoctoral fellows and research associates in the lab have made together has revealed secrets of stem cell competitions and lifespan that we had no idea existed, and from these discoveries, competing germline and blood-forming and brain-forming stem cells in mice and humans were discovered; and this led to moving stem cell competitions into the field of leukemia stem cell development in humans. Kathi is a scientist without the formal degrees of the students and fellows she has helped train and mentor, but without her the discoveries would never have happened. 

Vivian F. Jones

Department: 
Office of Facilities Planning and Management

Vivian started at Stanford in February 1984 in the Department of Instructional Resources Information System (IRIS) as an office administrator, where she remained with the group for nine years.  In 1993, Vivian moved to Government Cost and Rate Studies where she was a property administrator.  While working full time, Vivian completed her Bachelor's of Science in Business Administration from Notre Dame de Namur University in 1995.

In June 1999, Vivian joined the School of Medicine (SoM) at the Office of Facilities Planning and Management (OFPM).  Vivian assisted the Property Inventory group in their rounds for every Biennial Asset Inventory.  She was instrumental in moving our building plans from a paper-based system to a digital format, which has turned out to be extremely beneficial to our group’s work.  Vivian also became an instructor and aided in delivering the annual Space Certification training to all SoM DFA’s and Space Coordinators. Her determination to keep on learning and push herself led her to receive her Master's of Business Administration from Holy Names University in Oakland in May 2004.

In July 2011, Vivian moved into a Project Coordinator position in OFPM.  In that role, she has been involved in many projects, including the recently completed C. J. Huang Building, where she helped get the building activated, furnished, and occupants moved into their spaces.  Vivian continues to work on multiple small renovation and furniture projects.  Her zest for learning continues as she just completed the Society of College and University Planners Planning Institute in January 2015 and continues to push herself by taking additional construction management courses.

In addition to all the work she has accomplished, she completed the AIDS/LifeCycle ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles in 2010 and was nominated to walk with the Provost at the Stanford Cardinal Walk in 2012 for her dedication to living healthy.

With all of these accomplishments and relationships she has built across campus over the last 30 years, it is no wonder that Vivian cannot walk across campus without people stopping to give her a big hug and to catch up on old and current stories.   We want to congratulate and recognize Vivian on her successful 30 years at Stanford.

Sharie M. Kumaishi

Department: 
Information Resources and Technology

Sharie joined the Department of Medical Microbiology (now Microbiology & Immunology) in the School of Medicine in 1984 providing support for budget administration and desktop computer support.  Her sharp skills in the novel area of desktop computers was recognized by the central IT group, and she joined the MedISG team to provide IT support to the School of Medicine.  Her skills blossomed and she was soon managing the consulting services team within MedISG.

In the early 1990s, it was recognized that networking all of the School of Medicine's computers together was essential.  Sharie transitioned to manage the new networking team within the newly renamed MedIT.

For the next 20 years, Sharie adroitly managed the entire School of Medicine network, taking it from a rough collection of lab-deployed networks, consisting of coaxial cable strung through the ceilings, to a centrally managed, carefully wired, organized, high speed, reliable, wired and wireless network for the entire School of Medicine campus.

This year, Sharie transitioned her well-honed skills to address the information security concerns facing the School of Medicine.  She is now the Director of Security Programs and is the School of Medicine's Information Security Officer. We are all excited to have her taking on this critical role for the School of Medicine.

Everyone at Information Resources and Technology (IRT) sends our congratulations on 30 years at Stanford University.

- Todd Ferris

Christelle M. Lukrich

Department: 
Human Resource Group

It is a blessing to have an employee with the rare combination of intelligence, skill, commitment, energy, enthusiasm and ability to get successful desired results -- consistently!  Christelle Lukrich is that employee, and it is my honor to recognize Christelle for her 30 years of outstanding service to Stanford University.

On February 2nd, 1998, Christelle was recruited away from Stanford’s adult hospital, now known as Stanford Health Care, to serve as HR Administrator for the School of Medicine’s Human Resource Group (HRG).  At the time of her move, Christelle had been serving as the Assistant to the Director of Personnel at what was then called UCSF Stanford Health Care. During her 14-year tenure with the hospital, Christelle was consistently promoted in recognition of her potential and ability to take on and successfully manage a variety of department and Hospital projects.

After coming to HRG, Christelle continued to assume and effectively handle greater responsibilities for HRG and was promoted in 2007 to the Associate Director of Finance, Facilities and Administration for HRG. In this multi-faceted role, Christelle coordinates a myriad of complex and detailed administrative and program management responsibilities with grace and competence. She is the manager of HRG’s budget--carefully reviewing financial reports and planning strategies for meeting the needs of the department while simultaneously keeping the department’s budgets within a positive variance.  She has responsibility for the coordination and organizational planning for the recruitment of executive search candidates for School of Medicine (SoM) key leadership positions, management of HRG contracts, the DFA performance evaluation process, the new Chair and new DFA orientation process, and oversight of the Finance and Administration Managers’ annual retreat.  In addition, Christelle manages the nomination process for key University and SoM staff awards programs, the staff emeritus appointment processes and, coordination for the SoM of the AAMC New Managers training.  

In addition, as the office manager for HRG, Christelle ensures overall environmental and operational success for a staff of 17, overseeing all department facilities, equipment and infrastructure issues, IT communication and logistics; serving as the department’s Emergency Preparedness planner while providing management, research and analytical support to the Associate Dean for HRG. In fact, if anything needs research, follow up, or if someone is needed to get things done quickly and efficiently--we look to Christelle. She has superb follow through and is the “superglue” that holds the department together.

Christelle is amazing. Twice nominated for the School’s Spirit Award, she is the embodiment of a professional - great work ethic, intelligence, positive attitude, enthusiasm, initiative and outstanding organizational skills. If there is water, Christelle walks on it. Further, always eager to learn, Christelle is often the first adapter to new systems and practices (including use of new Box technology). Regardless of which role she serves, Christelle always makes excellent independent judgments and decisions with great discretion--handling a variety of complex and confidential issues in a timely and discriminating manner. She is very polished and the consummate professional, keeping her eye on the big picture while ensuring all the tactical details are met to ensure success. Her responsiveness and tone make people feel important and taken care of–no matter how big or small their request.

Outside of work, Christelle has many interests–she is an avid gardener, voracious reader, an athlete (yoga and power-walking), a baker (those ginger snaps are out of this world), has an active social network and keeps close relationships with her brother and sister along with several nieces and nephews–upon whom she dotes. It is our good fortune to be part of Christelle’s extended family. We love and greatly appreciate you, Christelle!

- Cori Bossenberry (supervisor)

Sally Mackey

Department: 
Pediatrics

This summer will mark Sally's 10th year with the Stanford-LPCH Vaccine Program and her 4th as its Associate Director. In this role, Sally is in charge of the regulatory submissions for all protocols (we usually have more than 30 active studies with IRB), the clinical data management for all SLVP studies (using MedRio or NIH-determined electronic data capture methods), and the clinical project management for which she makes initial projections for budgeting new studies based on our past experience, monitors all study expenses, sets up the scheduling and flow of our clinical studies and establishes the recruitment plan for volunteers. In short, we can't function without her. Sally's contributions to our clinical accomplishments are rooted in her deep and thoughtful understanding of GCPs' data management principles and proactive consideration of new areas that impact our work (ramifications of public databases on informed consent, new CTRU charge systems, ClinicalTrials.gov rules) while maintaining excellent relationships with the many project team members under the Dr. Mark Davis U19 contracts that depend on availability of the clinical data from our clinical trials. In her spare time, she has served as a reviewer for the Human Subjects Panel 7 and the SPCTRM Research Personnel Advisory Committee that provide a forum for her to pass on her knowledge to other research personnel at Stanford.
 
She joined our team in 2005 after 20 years of clinical research experience at Stanford, most recently as Project Director of the Dietary Modification Clinical Trial at the Women's Health Initiative with Dr. Marcia Stefanick. She has been the backbone of our team since her arrival. Over time, Sally has done an extraordinary job in putting our regulatory house in order and in overseeing the efforts of our staff as we always seem to take on several more clinical trial projects than anticipated. Her calm, quiet, and efficient demeanor has been a model for those working on our team, particularly because we have a young, vibrant, but relatively inexperienced group who could have easily been paralyzed by the enormity of the tasks we took on. Most of our studies involve seasonal influenza vaccines which means that all the trials have to run in September through December each year, making for very complicated scheduling. Much of our work supports the NIH as they have tried to identify (quickly) promising vaccine candidates to prevent pandemic influenza. Sally thrives on a challenge; she took on the challenge of enrolling 290 volunteers into three clinical trials within just a few weeks rather than the usual months -- and accomplished the task with her signature plan. Because success stems from a coordinated team effort, we have benefited enormously from the fact that Sally is a wonderful ambassador for our group -- well-liked and respected by Stanford colleagues on the project team, IRB, pharmacy, other clinical sites around the country that we collaborate with and the NIH. She routinely has drawn rave reviews from the external monitors that review our clinical data during site monitoring visits.

Sally has recruited many CRC and CRA staff members, takes her training and mentoring role seriously, and is careful to explain the reasons why we have to follow the GCP study rules, even when they seem annoying at times. While meticulous in her own attention to detail, she gently corrects others, and is not above flashing a sometimes-wicked sense of humor. The fulfillment we get from our work comes not only from accomplishing our daily tasks, but also from stimulating interactions with colleagues. Sally's contributions have encouraged our productivity, kept us on our toes and helped us enjoy the experience. 

Jacqueline Signor

Department: 
Obstetrics and Gynecology 

Jackie Signor began her Stanford career in Finance, moved to Plastics, and joined the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology more than 15 years ago.  As the coordinator of the Residency Program, her current role, she manages the program with skill, expertise and, above all, humor.  Her representation of the department to Residents is an attitude that warmly welcomes and guides them through their training with a confidence assuring their success.  Her ability to pull the faculty together for the annual Resident selection process and the immense coordination of the interview and match processes are examples of her organization and dedication to the process.  Jackie’s partnership with the Residency Director Dr. Maurice Druzin and Associate Director, Dr. Kate Shaw rounds out a mutually respectful and trusted team.  Jackie’s spirit is contagious.  She is enthusiastic, a team player, and above all a kind, respected and cherished colleague.  Always willing to be put into the game and do her best, Jackie keeps busy with volleyball on the weekends, dressing up for the Halloween party and giving the best White Elephant Gifts!   Jackie is one physically fit dynamo who has kept all of her energy for more than 30 years here at Stanford.  She is a gem and we thank her for the 30 years she has shared with us and look forward to 30 more...she isn't slowing down!  

Susan K. Singh

Department: 
Radiology  

Susan Singh started her career at Stanford in 1984 with the Department of Medicine, Division of Gerontology under the Division Chief Dr. Gerald Reavan who encouraged her to learn and grow. After five years in Geriatrics, Susan moved to Microbiology and Immunology. She moved to different divisions within Microbiology and Immunology as there were promotional opportunities. Susan worked in the Division of Infectious Disease, Division of Nephrology while with Microbiology and Immunology. In 2004, Susan joined Department of Radiology. She is glad that she learned many different Administrative skills in Radiology. Susan likes to encourage everyone to take advantage of the wonderful career opportunities Stanford provides.

Maurice G. Tan

Department: 
Pathology  

Maurice Tan was born in the Philippines and attended grammar school, high school and college there. He had originally planned to attend medical school in the Philippines, but he had an opportunity to immigrate to California. He decided that he would try his luck in the United States and maybe go to medical school here.

He applied to the Stanford University Blood Bank--back when it was part of the transfusion service at Stanford Hospital. His first day was at the blood center building at 800 Welch Road. He worked as a lab technician in Components. He was planning to apply for medical school, but didn’t follow through. He met his beautiful wife on a blind date. His plans changed and he settled down in Union City and started a family. He has five children--four boys and one girl. All are successful in their own professions: one in medical school, one in nursing school, and one in minor league baseball.

Maurice became a Distribution specialist and was the voice that our hospital customers heard every morning when they called for a specific product or order to replenish blood products. He also became the unofficial trainer and biomedical support. He was so handy at fixing machinery used in the Components lab that he was the first person that his coworkers would turn to for help when equipment went down.

In 2007, he became the Components Laboratory Training Supervisor. Because of his calm demeanor and vast experience in Components and Distribution, he was well suited for the task. He was able to train multiple staff at the same time, working on complex processes in a strictly regulated environment.

In 2012, the Components Laboratory Training Supervisor position was eliminated, and Maurice thought that he would like to retire. He had a glorious retirement send off and was planning to do a lot of traveling. After about six months, Maurice found that he was too active and young to retire, so he started looking for another job. Every place that he applied for didn’t meet to the exceptional standards he had grown accustomed to by working at the Stanford Blood Center. As soon as another position opened in the Components laboratory, he applied and came back home to the blood center. He returned to be a lab technician in 2014, and his professional life went full circle.

It is our pleasure to recognize Maurice Tan for working at Stanford for thirty years. Working with him has been an honor and we are glad that the retirement didn’t take.

- Dianne Geary and Danielle Falconer
Stanford Medical School Blood Center

Martha C. Trujillo

Department: 
Educational Programs and Services

Marti is passionate about her work, and no one knows financial aid better! As Director, she has played a key role in helping medical students secure the financial resources they need to complete their medical education and plan their financial strategy going forward. Crises abound in the financial aid area; students need someone welcoming and knowledgeable with whom to discuss their concerns, and Marti fills the bill.  She has trained and mentored a terrific staff in the service of our students.  Marti frequently brainstorms creative new ideas for student support that leverage available resources while optimizing the School's ability to attract and retain the top students and keeping them as worry-free as possible.  Marti is constantly looking out for the interests of each individual student. She is dedicated to optimizing their support and helping us assure that our medical student graduating debt remains among the lowest in the country.

Marti joined the Stanford community in 1984, working with Stanford University Clinics for five years in their Faculty Practice Program and Oncology Day Care Center; in January 1989, she joined the School of Medicine as the Manager of Student Affairs. Since then Marti has held several positions within the Student Affairs group, including the Associate Director of Student Financial Services and her current position as Director of Financial Aid starting in 1998.  She is a delight to work with and one of the most dedicated student supporters around.