Employee Recognition Reception Honors Members of the Pathology Family

By Elizabeth Walker | August 26 2019

Recently, members of the Department of Pathology gathered to celebrate staff being honored at the annual Employee Recognition Reception. The reception recognizes those who have been with the University 10, 20, 30, and 40 years, as well as those who have received awards via the Department’s Employee Recognition Program for going above and beyond. The event highlights the incredible diversity of the department and the commitment to patient care.

A large team from Clinical Pathology’s Blood Bank received an award for the work they did when a liver transplant required more than 400 blood components. The group worked together to manage a critically ill, bleeding patient while ensuring adequate inventory and caring for the rest of the patients in the hospital. As nominator Terri Downs, said, “The liver transplant case involved issuing incompatible blood products in order to keep the patient alive while additional inventory arrived. This was a stressful situation for staff, and they managed it admirably.” Those recognized included Emily Chadwick, Razma Rudnickaite, Brooke Boone, Holly Wilson, Monica Irelan, Donna Brown, Steve Holden, Nicole Hunt, Amy Clevenger, Meredith Hoag, Jon Schroeder, Karen Schairer, Julie Butcher, Shelby Perry, Lian-Fai Yee, Julia Voss, Li Yang, and Laura Trescott.

Other awards in Clinical Pathology included an award for Shannon St. Andrew in Chemical Pathology who drove to Jackson on her own time to track down a Fed Ex shipment that was over a week late due to inclement weather. She was able to pull critical supplies off the truck ensuring there would not be a delay in testing. “I couldn't say enough about this amazing woman and her commitment to the Chemical Pathology Lab! We couldn't stay operational without her,” says Melissa Boyd, who nominated her for the award.

Finally, Kimberly Gray of Immunopathology spent over 2 hours one morning resetting analyzer parameters after the analyzer computer was replaced and they did not transfer over as they should have. Nominator Mary Lou Erber explained, “Kim rebuilt the printout template, reformatted the desktop display, added missing parameters and many other items well beyond her job duties for that area. It delayed her in her work but she did it effortlessly and without complaint.” Erber believes that if anyone else worked that area that day, testing would have been postponed until service arrived.

In the Division of Quality and Health Improvement, compliance manager, Andrea Arlen, was recognized by Brian Tolle for her strong leadership, broad expertise, and ability to plan, communicate, and execute back-to-back CAP inspections both at the University of Michigan and the University of Pennsylvania. Tolle shared, “Andrea handled both inspections with a high degree of planning, communication, and composure. She used her deep understanding of Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments/College of American Pathologists regulations to properly prepare our staff for these two inspections.”

From the Division of Pathology Informatics, Allen Ano, Bill Hubbard, Oliver Bichakjian, and Ramesh Surisetty were recognized. Dr. Jeffrey Myers nominated Surisetty, Hubbard and Ano for work they did when an IT process update disrupted the printer mappings and caused the printers on 6D to stop printing labels. As Myers explained, “The repairs occurred just after midnight, very early Saturday morning, July 14th, at the end of a very intense work week. Another example of an outstanding effort and your dedication to supporting our patients and their providers with mission-critical IT solutions.”

Ano was also nominated by Clinical Hematology’s Gerry Davis. The lab had an urgent need to reprint more than 100 specimen labels due to numerous issues across the enterprise that resulted in labels that could not be read by the lab’s robotic devices. Ano was consulted, recognized the urgency of continuity of service, and responded within an hour of the request. “He configured a new incremental barcode printer in the lab and placed it in a strategic location, connected to the network, so that we could reprint labels that would read on our robotic devices and maintain our service that evening,” recalls Davis.

Dr. Duane Newton nominated Bichakjian when Clinical Microbiology had a situation occur where a computer running a software program used in daily patient care activities was in critical danger of crashing. Although addressing the fundamental issues causing this was not Oliver's responsibility, he stepped in to rectify the situation, saving the existing clinical data and creating the proper infrastructure to safely support the operation of this program moving forward. As Newton explains, “All of this was done in the midst of his ongoing duties, being dragged from one PRR related issue to the next. The lab and I sincerely appreciated Oliver helping us, never losing his calm, supportive, and helpful demeanor. Oliver consistently has a can-do attitude, and we are very lucky to have him as part of our team.”

Nick Miller and Debra Woodard received awards for going above and beyond in Anatomic Pathology. Peter Ouillette nominated Woodard for her valuable participation in the development of remote microscopy for frozen sections. “Implementation of this method, with the Leica ‘LV1’ instrument and the ancillary technique of UV crosslinking for coverslip mounting, has required that many hands play a role, but Debbie's role has been important, and notable for it being an add-on to her normal duties,” Ouillette explained.

In 2017-2018, the Telepathology Development team solicited Woodard’s support for testing the ultraviolet light-mediated method of cross-linking coverslips to microscope slides as part of the LV1 implementation effort. Woodard learned the new technique and became most familiar with the UV light instrument itself. She ran many slides through the light box so the team could test its limits, efficacy, and suitability in routine frozen section diagnostics. “We value her assistance on this project very much and appreciate her willingness to adapt, learn, and change as we ourselves struggled with how best to implement this new technology in the broader context of Pathology's move to NCRC,” said Ouillette.

Sally Smith nominated Miller for being a stellar example of a team player. He runs the Mott frozen lab every day, unsupervised, coordinating frozen sections for both Peds and Adult patients. Sally said, “He is the master of the LV1 and has been part of training several people. Nick also grosses biopsies at Mott and works overtime every other week to help the lab catch up.” Additionally, Miller is in constant contact with the nurses on the floors at Mott to resolve issues and answer questions and is part of coordinating with the morgue for FE and autopsy cases.

A multidisciplinary team was recognized by Brian Tolle for their role in the On-Site Outpatient Phlebotomy Specimen Tracking Project.  The goal of the project was to improve patient safety by integrating Pathology’s new specimen tracking application, PathTrack, into the workflow of the six outpatient phlebotomy draw sites located on Michigan Medicine’s central campus as well as the primary receiving location for their specimens, Specimen Processing.  This project’s primary focus was on redesigning processes at each draw site to incorporate PathTrack into the routine workflow of sending specimens. Similarly, PathTrack was also incorporated into the receiving workflow in Specimen Processing where phlebotomy-collected specimens are sent.

All six sites were fully operational utilizing PathTrack in their daily workflows by May 1, 2019, a full 8 weeks before the committed completion date to departmental and institutional leadership. The completion of this project has resulted in both locating lost specimens and in decreased wait times for patients, improving the patient experience and patient care. Members of the team receiving this award are Kristina Martin, Beth Lawless, Jodi Kennedy-Stanfield, Melvina Grayson, Mary Deis, Michelle Hunter-Clark, Terrence Barrette, Kathy Davis, Stephen Marshall, Ryan MacFadden, Cindy Straub, Devon Fera, Rita Spiegelberg, Renee Stoklosa, Mary Tocco, Jennifer Slater, Ann Rosin, Thomas Morrow, Eric Jedynak, Joshua Jacques, Sravan Kumar Kilaru, John Hamilton, Brian Royer, Todd Kandow, William Hubbard, Amy Mapili, Jeffrey Lott, and Diana Khiterer.

Members of the Pathology family celebrating 40 years of service with the University are Larry Clayton, Bill Hubbard, and Vicki Pierzynski. Those celebrating 30 years are Terri Bauer, Jennifer Bergendahl, Laurie Chopko, Susan Clark, Annette Collins, AJ Dudus, Jane Ferguson, Robert Jones, and Rebecca Roberts. Celebrating 20 years are Jyoti Athanikar, Kristopher Crosier, Dawn Jucha, Christine Kwierant, Laura Labut, Binita Naylor, Tonya Rauch, Cynthia Schuholz, Javed Sidiqqui, and Lidia Tedla.

Those with the University for 10 years include Ronald Allen, Mary Nel Amr, Ingrid Apel, Jennifer Babinchak, Tamika Brooks, Mary Currie, Beth Gibson, Marie Goldner, Moloy Goswami, Jeffrey Harrison, Pamela Howard, Xia Jiang, Nancy Knott, Lindsay Kochan, John Larock, Roohee Marshall, Leina Mullins, Satya Reddy, Priya Sawhney, Cassandra Snyder, Kristy Wendt, and Timothy Williams.

Congratulations to all our 2019 awardees. Your loyalty and commitment to Michigan Medicine patients makes us the leaders and the best each day.