Congratulations to the 2012 Recipients

Spirit Award

Walter Damm

Financial Analyst Department of Surgery Exempt Employee

Walter Damm

Walter has been in the department for about 6 years and consistently takes on more and more responsibilities without any prompting to do so. He has become the “trainer” for all incoming division managers and financial staff, providing them with as much training as they need.

He is extremely generous with his time – he holds down the fort for weeks at a time, covering for many while they are on vacation – even though he has his own deadlines and responsibilities to meet. He is continually striving to improve his own performance by asking for critical feedback and taking advantage of classes to further his learning.

Walter has one of the best attitudes – always remaining positive, accepting any work that needs to be done. He is patient, encouraging and helpful beyond measure – he has a super work ethic - the type of person every department hopes for!!

One of the faculty has expressed his gratitude to Walter in these words, "ever since my arrival at Stanford, Walter has been nothing but exceptional – willing to help me get up to speed every step of the way. It’s difficult for one to find their way in such a large institution as Stanford, but Walter was always there helpful in guiding me through, not only the finance, but the Stanford systems as well. He has been my guiding light – his helpful nature, his professionalism and his willingness to make a difference every day!"

Jzesern Tan

Faculty Affairs Administrator/Lead Administrative Associate Department of Molecular & Cellular Physiology Non-Exempt Employee

Jzesern Tan

Brian Kobilka, Chair of the Department of Molecular & Cellular Physiology, has given his wholehearted support to Jzesern’s nomination for the SPIRIT Award! Jzesern has worked closely with Dr. Kobilka on several departmental projects including their recent faculty recruitment and the reappointment of an assistant professor. Jzesern has also helped Dr. Kobilka with several of his grant applications, among them a recent complex collaboration involving two other U.S. universities and one in Germany. Jzesern coordinated the effort between Dr. Kobilka’s lab, the Research Management Group, and three other collaborators to bring the application together. Dr. Kobilka said he could not have made the deadline without Jzesern’s help!

Dr. Kobilka has been quoted as saying, "Jzesern is truly deserving of the SPIRIT Award. He is always looking for ways to help the department, its faculty, staff, students and fellows. His enthusiasm and collegiality invites MCP colleagues to seek his help with a variety of projects. We are never disappointed. Jzesern’s contributions provide the versatility and reliability the department needs in order to run smoothly on a very lean budget."

Jzesern has also received numerous praises from his colleagues in MCP – He assists with the purchase of all the lab equipment and supplies, working with vendors and taking the initiative to find the best conditions and negotiate the best prices for services. Ordering supplies for research labs is not an easy job - tracking orders, ensuring they arrive on time, dealing with returns and exchanges, and a million other issues that arise from time to time. Jzesern has shown himself as a very motivated, meticulously organized person whom you can rely on to manage all that smoothly and with amazing efficiency.

Apart from being a valuable asset for the department, Jzesern also possesses a great personality. No matter how busy he is, he will take time to listen and help with any request, small or big, with patience and a smile and will say "no worries, I'll take care of this". All of the MCP department members agree that he deserves recognition for outstanding service over the years!

Inspiring Change Leadership Award

Rhonda McClinton-Brown

Executive Director Office of Community Health-EPS

Rhonda McClinton-Brown

Rhonda is an exceptional candidate for this award. As soon as she arrived at the Office of Community Health, she started and led the Office through a strategic planning process that aligned the work of the OCH with the mission of the School of Medicine. She has enhanced existing programs and developed new partnerships that support community engaged scholarship.

When Rhonda came on board, after spending some 20 years in the trenches of community health, new wheels started turning at Stanford. Rhonda spent her first months studying, listening, and exploring possibilities. Rather than rush headlong into this new role, Rhonda applied her skills as a process – and relationship-oriented leader, meeting with a broad range of students, faculty, staff and community partners, asking a lot of questions – and listening to the answers! – and getting to know the university terrain.

She engaged others in a uniquely collaborative process to plan the future of the OCH. The results are truly striking: her singular effort to save the student-run Pacific Free Clinic and establish more stable administrative oversight through the OCH; her powerful voice in pushing for meaningful community engagement within the SoM’s multi-million dollar Clinical Translational Science Award (CTSA) grant; her powerful ability to engage community partners in the education of Stanford students and trainees – these are all marks of Rhonda’s creative and collaborative leadership.

In her short time, 6 years, Rhonda has changed the climate in the School of Medicine in its approach to our local communities. She has established and/or strengthened clinical, educational, and research partnerships with more than 25 health-related agencies in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties. She has initiated seed grants to encourage faculty to work with new community partners on research related to chronic and infectious diseases, developed group consultations for faculty and their partners to receive assistance in designing and implementing studies, and created workshops on cultural humility and community-based research. Over 200 Stanford medical students, undergraduates, faculty and community members attended the Community Health Symposium this month that highlighted research that has been conducted under Rhonda’s direction-research at the local, national and global levels. These activities have caused our two local county health departments and numerous clinics and non-profits to see Stanford in a new and much more positive light.

Trust has been developed because Rhonda and her staff have gone into our local communities, responded to their unmet health needs, and leveraged resources at Stanford to help them enhance the health of the poor and underserved. Few people can ever do this in their lifetimes – Rhonda has done this in the short time she has been at Stanford.

No one could be more deserving of the award for Inspiring Change!