The recipients of the School of Medicine’s 2019 Spirit Award are Jackie Bautista and Kelly Adams. Bahij Austin and Loto Reed received the Inspiring Change Leadership Award.
May 29, 2019 - By Mandy Erickson
The 2019 winners of the School of Medicine’s Anne G. Crowe Spirit Award and Inspiring Change Leadership Award have been announced.
Spirit Award winners are selected for their outstanding dedication, initiative, motivation, positive attitude and customer service. This year’s recipients are Jackie Bautista, an administrative assistant in the Department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences, and Kelly Adams, an accountant in the Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine.
The Inspiring Change Leadership Award, which goes to staff members who have implemented processes that improve the school, was given to Bahij Austin, director of curricular affairs in the Office of Medical Education, and Loto Reed, an administrative associate in the Department of Medicine’s Division of Primary Care and Population Health.
Each winner is awarded $3,000.
Helping neurology researchers stock their labs and apply for grants has a personal meaning for Bautista. Both of her parents suffered from dementia, so she appreciates being part of a team seeking treatments for dementia and other neurological diseases.
“The work I do helps support really smart, dedicated people who are trying to find cures,” she said. “It feels good to be part of something that helps people.”
Besides ordering lab supplies and assisting with grant proposals, Bautista keeps track of expenses, helps organize a stroke recovery symposium, coordinates interviews for faculty candidates and tackles a variety of other responsibilities. Her co-workers praise her for efficiently managing many tasks and for extending a warm welcome to department newcomers.
“Often it is difficult to juggle experiments, purchasing and financing, but Jackie makes it much easier to handle,” said postdoctoral scholar Edward Wilson, PhD. “Big or small, Jackie gives every project her full attention.
“It is not uncommon for a late Friday email from Jackie to have a little joke, and a wish that we have a nice weekend,” he added.
Bautista said she never expected or even thought about the award until her co-workers sprung a surprise party for her to let her know she had won it. “I felt very much appreciated, and that’s pretty great,” she said.
She expressed admiration for her supervisors: “My principal investigators are amazing women who are extremely dedicated to science and their research,” she said. “They mentor their students so well they go on to bigger and better things. I’m very fortunate to work for them.”
As the research administrator for the nearly $9 million EMPOWER study, a multistate research project evaluating methods for reducing opioid use among people suffering from chronic pain, Adams faces a slew of hurdles: deadlines to meet, policies to follow and documents to draft.
She maneuvers through them all, and then some, said Beth Darnall, PhD, associate professor of anesthesiology, perioperative and pain medicine and the principal investigator for the EMPOWER study. Adams obtained a rare exception to release funds for the study early and created a payment system that relieved her co-workers of “what would have been a massive, labor-intensive endeavor,” Darnall said.
“Kelly consistently impresses me with her proactive and creative thinking to accomplish goals with maximum efficiency and cost savings,” she said, adding, “She is dedicated in training and supporting new staff with a spirit of taking joy in the success of others.”
Adams, who has been at Stanford for 20 years and in her current role about 10 years, oversees finances for other research projects as well, creating financial forecasting models, preparing budgets and advising on spending.
“I’m fortunate that I work with a really great group of people,” Adams said. “I wish I could share this award with them. I feel overwhelmed that people took the time to nominate me and do this for me.”
She added that she enjoys the mission of helping people suffering from chronic pain: “I just like — even if my part is small — contributing to something that improves pain patients’ quality of life.”
When faculty members decided to revamp the medical school’s curriculum, the task of overseeing the overhaul fell to Austin. He supervises the staff who ensure that the curriculum adheres to the requirements set by accrediting agencies, that faculty have the resources they need to teach their courses, that students understand the graduation requirements and that everyone follows Stanford policy.
“It took a lot of meetings and revisions, town halls and calls for feedback,” Austin said of the Discovery Curriculum, which was fully implemented last fall. “Ultimately, I was proud that we were able to finalize a curriculum with broad support that set us apart from what other institutions were doing and is uniquely Stanford.”
Cindy Irvine, associate dean of medical education, said Austin was a “trusted source of wisdom” as the school took on “the most ambitious curriculum change effort within the MD program in well over a decade.”
“His command of the medical education literature is unparalleled,” she added. “Beyond all of his contributions to the curriculum, he serves as a role model to the staff who report to him; he is unfailingly supportive of their growth.”
Austin, who’s been at the school since 2010, said that the constant stream of new developments in the medical field keeps him engaged: “I learn a lot, and it keeps everything interesting,” he said. He’s especially proud to help the school address social justice issues through medical education: “Whether we’re talking about racism or gender differences, these are issues the new physicians are going to be facing as they work in different communities.”
The award, he said, means a lot to him. “I am so focused on the day-to-day, making sure that everything is on track, I don’t always stop to acknowledge accomplishments,” he said. “So I’m appreciative and humbled that others took the time to acknowledge me.”
Last February, when Reed met with Sang-ick Chang, MD, chief of primary care and population health, for her annual review, she suggested a monthly volunteering activity. It was a goal of the division to develop community partnerships. But there were also a number of new people in the division, and she thought everyone could benefit from some team building.
“He saw that I was excited about it, so he said, ‘Go for it — do it,’” Reed said. Part of her job as administrative assistant is to plan events, so she knew how to make it happen. Two weeks later, she held a brainstorming meeting; a month later, division members were packing lunches at Project WeHOPE, which provides services to the homeless.
Every month since then, the volunteer group — Stanford Community Outreach Partnership Efforts, or SCOPE — has helped WeHOPE and other nonprofit organizations with such tasks as preparing food, sorting produce and collecting school supplies.
SCOPE “has galvanized both the staff and the faculty in our division to engage in community service in a whole new way,” said Stephanie Harman, MD, clinical associate professor of medicine.
Reed, who has been at the job for seven years, said working at Stanford Medicine and starting SCOPE was a natural fit for her. “Wellness and giving back to the community are two passions I’ve had since childhood,” she said.
She appreciates the support she receives from Chang on SCOPE and other ideas she has to improve staff wellness. “He’s very open to ideas,” she said. “It makes coming to work fun and interesting.”
She added that she hopes her award encourages others at Stanford “to plant a seed.”
“Give it a shot,” she said. “You never know what it’ll grow into.”
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