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January 2020 Employee of the Month - Catherine Thomas

Catherine Thomas Named Employee of the Month for January
EOM Catherine Thomas
Catherine Thomas, ambulatory care supervisor in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, was named Employee of the Month for January. She is currently acting as interim office manager for Family Medicine at Monument Square.
A 20-year employee of the medical school -- 15 of which were with Family Medicine at Monument Square -- Catherine received more than a dozen enthusiastic nominations that praised her dedication, professionalism, positivity and ability to handle and diffuse difficult situations, as well as lauding her as a role model for others.
"She walks the walk and demonstrates unfailing support of the staff and the physicians, always looking to see how she can be helpful and solve problems. She is wonderful with our patients, seeking solutions to help everyone she encounters. She is not only a team player -- she is the creator of the team, the coach, and the cheerleader," said Barbara Jo McGarry, MD, associate professor of family medicine and community health, in her nomination.
"She has been a leader: she ensures that patient care is the priority, keeps the practice flowing in a very stressful environment, demonstrates professionalism in challenges," noted Karen W. Lin, MD, professor of family medicine and community health and assistant dean for global health. "She is the creative soul of the practice, bringing spirit and warmth from the bottom of the heart.... She cares about patients, cares about families, cares about human beings. This is the dream employee for every practice!"
Congratulations, Catherine, on this well-deserved honor!

January 2020 Employee of the Month Nominees


Congratulations to Damian Melendez, who was named Employee of the Year for 2019! Damian is a medical service assistant in the Division of Internal Medicine within the Department of Medicine.

Damian was chosen from the group of twelve staff members who were named Employee of the Month throughout 2019. He was nominated for Employee of the Month by Kathleen Bolmer, RN, nurse manager, Department of Medicine, who said in her nomination, "Damien has been an asset to the Department of Medicine since his 2016 hire date. Recently, I received a written compliment from a physician commending Damian on the way he handled a difficult patient situation. Because of Damien's attentiveness, professional manner and positive attitude, he recognized the patient was upset, angry, anxious and unable to communicate with staff. Damian took the time to calm the patient, and turn the situation into a positive experience in which the patient expressed his appreciation for Damian's kind, reassuring approach."

Damian was presented with the honor by Vicki L. Craig, MD, FCCM, CPHQ, senior associate dean of safety, quality and clinical affairs at a celebratory event on Thursday. In her remarks, Dr. Craig noted Damian's leadership characteristics for which he was chosen and emphasized that leadership happens at all levels of the organization. Quoting the book Extreme Ownership: How U.S Navy Seals Lead and Win, she said, "Junior leaders take charge of their smaller teams and their piece of the mission. Efficiency and effectiveness increase exponentially and a high-performance, winning team is the result."

The event celebrated all of the Employee of the Month award winners from 2019, who were recognized by Rhonda L. Smith, PhD, associate dean for faculty and staff affairs. In her remarks, Dr. Smith noted the shared qualities of the awardees that were emphasized in their nominations, including compassion, helpfulness, positivity and dedication, among others.

Promoted by the Staff Council, the Employee of the Month initiative recognizes staff who have served the medical school in an exceptional manner by exemplifying outstanding service through his or her work and exhibiting a positive and supportive attitude. Visit the Staff Council's website to see a list of all staff members who were nominated in 2019, as well as information about how to nominate an individual. 

Employee of the Month Description
Nomination Criteria