Several College of Public Health and Health Professions employees were recognized at the UF Superior Accomplishment awards Health Science Center division luncheon February 23. Robert Cook, Richelle Davis, Donovan Lott and Donna Stilwell received Superior Accomplishment Awards. The award program recognizes staff members who contribute outstanding service, efficiency and/or economy to the university, or play a role in the quality of life provided to students and employees.
Michael Crary received the Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace Award. This new award recognizes employees who foster full participation by diverse faculty, students and staff, create a climate of inclusion on campus or in the community and promote diversity to enhance educational, research or other workplace outcomes.
Robert Cook, M.D., M.P.H., an associate professor in the department of epidemiology in the College of Public Health and Health Professions and the College of Medicine, was recognized by his peers for taking on extra responsibilities in his department during a time of transition. Last year Cook served on the search committee for the new department chair and headed the search committee to recruit new tenure-track faculty.
“Bob’s dedication to the department and college has long been evident,” wrote one nominator. “During this transition, however, he responded to the needs of students, staff and other faculty for a positive message and a clear vision on a day-to-day basis.”
Colleagues also noted Cook’s willingness to mentor graduate students and new faculty members in addition to his research and clinical demands.
“His pleasant demeanor is a welcome attribute for many of us who lead very busy lives in our ambition to become successful leaders,” a nominator said. “It’s a rare person who can be a clinician, academic mentor and successful NIH researcher.”
For Michael Crary, Ph.D., a professor in the department of speech, language, and hearing sciences, diversity plays a role in all of his research, education and service activities, nominators said. He collaborates with researchers all over the world, lectures internationally, treats a diverse patient population and mentors students from a wide range of backgrounds.
“Racial and ethnic diversity for Dr. Crary does not just include mentoring students of different backgrounds and teaching them research and English,” said a nominator. “Diversity also includes taking the next step and embracing these different cultures by creating a family-like atmosphere among his students. In a sense he is trying to create a home away from home that eases culture shock and helps students learn about other parts of the world.”
Crary has welcomed several international scientists to the UF Swallowing Research Laboratory, creating a diverse and friendly environment, nominators wrote.
“Dr. Crary has demonstrated extraordinary patience with the many visiting international scholars in our laboratory by working through language and cultural barriers to produce research output of excellent quality,” a colleague said.
Richelle Davis, a senior grants specialist in the college’s grants core office, is described by co-workers as diligent, hardworking and unfailingly helpful.
“Despite a sometimes heavy, chaotic load with a number of faculty to work with simultaneously, she is always cooperative, cheerful and does her work with a healthy sense of humor. All of this is done in the context of cool competence that simply makes my job easier,” a nominator wrote.
Co-workers also noted Davis’ excellent customer service and willingness to do whatever it takes to get the job done, often working long hours to make sure grant application deadlines are met.
“Although she is managing grant submission paperwork and activities for multiple busy investigators in the college, the work is accurate, dependable and timely,” a colleague said.
Donovan Lott, Ph.D., P.T., a research assistant professor in the department of physical therapy, was recognized for his outstanding work as a researcher and his interpersonal skills when working with the parents and children involved in Duchenne muscular dystrophy clinical trials.
“The parents and children all think very highly of him,” said a colleague. “I’ve never seen a time when Donovan did not consistently provide exceptional assistance to all of our participants and the research team, as well as university staff and students.”
In fact, several parents whose children are involved in the UF Duchenne research studies contributed letters for Lott’s nomination.
“Knowing someone will be there to take such good care of your child with dignity, respect and kindness is a true gift,” a mother wrote. “We are so lucky and grateful to have the pleasure of working with Dr. Lott and we know of no one else who is more deserving of this prestigious award than he is.”
Donna Stilwell, office manager in the department of health services research, management and policy, took on new responsibilities in 2011 when she stepped in to fill a staff vacancy in the department of speech, language, and hearing sciences. She now divides her time between the two departments, serving as office manager for health services research, management and policy, and managing human resources for speech, language, and hearing sciences.
“Donna is a person who takes great pride in her work and consistently performs at a level of excellence that might reasonably be considered ‘superior,’” a nominator said. “But in the past year, she has gone well beyond even that level of performance.”
Stilwell is well known for her positive attitude, reliability, professionalism and creativity.
“She is always an embodiment of what a UF employee should be,” a co-worker said. “Donna makes it a pleasure to come to work.”