Six Duke teams, seven honored with 2021-22 Presidential Awards


Duke announced the Presidential Award recipients for the 2021-2022 school year, honoring those who have demonstrated a commitment to Duke values ​​and helped shape Duke during the pandemic.

The award, organized by the Office of the President in partnership with Duke Human Resources, was awarded to six team award recipients and seven individual recipients. The winners were selected from submissions from the University and health system communities, according to a March 29 release.

Team recipients

ACTIV-3 Clinical Research Team

This team has been recognized for its research in the development of treatments for COVID-19. Peter Smith, Mary and Deryl Hart Distinguished Professor of Surgery, led a team of infectious disease specialists, physicians, critical care physicians and hospitalists to enroll approximately 450 patients in clinical trials studying monoclonal antibody therapies for COVID-19 hospitalizations.

Smith said ACTIV-3 was an international consortium sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and the Duke team was the primary patient recruiter, contributing about 14% of patients for the trial and 132 different research sites. .

Smith praised the efforts and dedication of the research team.

“This trial ran 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 [days] through weekend nights. And the only way we could do that was with that total commitment,” he said. “That’s, I think, what the award recognizes.”

Department of Sports Facilities, Gaming Operations, Championships and Events

This 11-person team has been recognized for implementing COVID-19 protocols for Duke athletes, coaches, staff and fans. During the pandemic, the AFGO department administered over 150,000 COVID-19 tests. They oversaw approximately 200 game days and 50 campus events in 2021.

“They are problem solvers, strategic thinkers and an extremely dependable group,” said Nina King, vice president and director of athletics.

Employee Occupational Health and Wellbeing COVID Response Team

This team has been recognized for ensuring Duke staff and faculty can do their jobs safely during the pandemic.

Their work was divided into five teams. The contact tracing team communicated with infected and potentially exposed employees and helped answer questions from employees who were hesitant to get vaccinated. The Employee COVID-19 Call Center team answered questions from staff and faculty about COVID protocols, while the Employee Case Management team offered counseling to employees who tested positive. The Employee Vaccination Team oversaw vaccination clinics, and EOHW’s COVID Response Leadership Team created, maintained, and enhanced these employee safety protocols.

Learning Innovation Team

These winners helped the University transition to virtual learning when in-person life on campus ceased. The learning innovation team’s director, Shawn Miller, said the team has helped professors bring classes online and offered resources and workshops to improve remote learning.

“I know everyone has mixed feelings about the online learning experience, but it’s a pretty amazing thing to take thousands of courses and have them online overnight,” Miller said. . “We are helping teachers focus more on inclusive and equitable education for students.

Medical Intensive Care Units

These honorees have worked on the front lines during the pandemic, providing expert care to the most critically ill patients at Duke hospitals.

Kathleen Cooney, chair of the Duke Department of Medicine, noted that the team was able to support not only clinical care, but also research on the COVID-19 virus.

“These are people who are all into it, so even when the going got tough, they weren’t shy about taking on the challenge,” Cooney said. “They were carrying a really increased burden of being there for their patients.”

Supply Chain and Procurement Team

These award winners helped Duke secure security supplies during a global supply chain disruption. The team manages supply chain logistics for the University and the healthcare system.

According to Jim Churchman, vice president of the supply chain and purchasing team, they adapted to the disruptions of the pandemic by joining a group purchasing organization for global purchasing power and changing partners. distribution, which is responsible for bringing in $2 million worth of product each week.

“It’s a great honor for the team,” Churchman said. “They’re on their own path of reinvention, and it’s been an indication to them that [the reinvention] does the right kind of stuff.

Individual beneficiaries

Julia Anderson, cashier at Duke Dining

Anderson was recognized for her friendly service as a cashier at Marketplace, the dining hall on East Campus. She has served in this position for several decades and has helped the Duke community adapt to the pandemic by feeding everyone.

Marketplace dining manager Valerie Williams described Anderson as a “team player” who always has a kind word for first-years who frequent the dining hall, according to the statement.

Maureen Cullins, Director of the School of Medicine’s Multicultural Resource Center

Cullins, Trinity ’76, was recognized for her efforts to help build community among students with marginalized identities in the School of Medicine and Graduate School’s Master of Biomedical Science program. His work is “at the forefront of racial equity initiatives at the School of Medicine,” according to the statement. Cullins wrote in an email to The Chronicle that she is focused on addressing microaggressions and harassment cases.

Kathryn Andolsek, professor of family medicine and community health, said Cullins has been committed to this effort for decades.

“I just think she finds more hours in the day than most of us and more energy to try to deal with some of these really critical situations,” Andolsek said.

“Duke’s ‘outrageous ambition’ must include being a human citizen of our community and an example of fairness to us, regardless of who we are,” Cullins wrote.

Anthony Diez, Data Analytics Lead for Duke Health’s Performance System

Diez was recognized for helping modernize Duke’s data management during the pandemic by creating the online COVID-19 tracking dashboards. He said the project started as a service to the university health system, but grew to work with the state and federal government.

Jeffrey Harger, senior director of performance services, the department in which Diez works, said the dashboard data included information on vaccines, tracking of positive tests and number of hospitalizations. At least 800,000 people have viewed the dashboard.

“[The award nomination] spotlights me, but it allows me to spotlight some of the other people who have also helped with these things,” Diez said. “It took a great team to bring it all together.”

Larry Dunkins, Senior Equipment Operator for Sanitation and Recycling

Dunkins has been recognized for his role as the primary equipment operator for Duke Sanitation and Recycling on college and medical campuses. During the pandemic, the hospital has seen an increased need for sanitation services and Dunkins has played a leading role, according to Bernard Harris, senior supervisor of Duke Sanitation and Recycling.

“I nominated Larry because he takes pride in his work and has a great work ethic and attitude,” Harris wrote in an email to The Chronicle. “[Dunkins] often volunteer to work overtime to ensure we have coverage [7 days a week].”

Carmella La Bianca, director of employer relations at the Sanford School of Public Policy Career Services

La Bianca was recognized for her work in cultivating career and internship opportunities for students at the Sanford School of Public Policy. She wrote in an email to The Chronicle that she leads a team of students to plan events connecting students with alumni and employers. When the pandemic hit, she had to work with employers to arrange virtual internships.

Elise Goldwasser, director of undergraduate internships at Sanford, said La Bianca is “very systematic, although also very accessible one-on-one.”

Jacqueline Pollmiller, specialist in the taxation of foreign nationals in Corporate Tax Reporting & Services

Pollmiller has been recognized for helping Duke international students manage their finances and taxes. She said she has met more than 2,000 international students receiving scholarships, bursaries or grants.

Pollmiller is proud of her work in helping departments at Duke recognize that “if they want to bring people in from other countries, it doesn’t have to be that hard.”

Geeta Swamy, Associate Vice President for Research and Associate Dean for Scientific Integrity

Swamy has been recognized for her contributions to Duke’s research practices and oversight policies. She stressed that university researchers must be intentional about procedures and resources to carry out their work.

Swamy also works at a research faculty that conducts research sponsored by the NIH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and she stressed the importance of leading by example.

“It makes me proud to know that I was seen as someone dedicated to upholding the values ​​of our institution,” Swamy said.

Anisha Reddy

Anisha Reddy is a sophomore at Trinity and associate editor of the 117th volume of The Chronicle.


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