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The Dean’s Performance Awards honor UNC School of Medicine staff members whose exemplary work has contributed to UNC achieving its vision of becoming the nation’s leading public school of medicine.

The Dean’s Performance Awards honor UNC School of Medicine staff members whose exemplary work has contributed to UNC achieving its vision of becoming the nation’s leading public school of medicine.

The awardees were nominated by their peers and selected by the Administration Advisory Council. Each winner or group will receive $1,000 in acknowledgement of their extraordinary efforts.

The 2020 winners are: Nicole Cornett, Diversity Category; Veronica Carlisle, Community Service Category; Brian Velasco, Faculty Category; Janette Goins, Research Category;  Johanna Foster and Anna Brown, Education Category; and Paul Cox, Administration Category.

Diversity Category: Nicole Cornett

There is no manual on how to help our students through the pandemic and racial injustices. Nicole Cornett, Student Services Manager, helped to create and execute a plan to ensure our students felt supported, contacted each student, and ensured that they had the resources that they needed through this time. She has worked with campus partners on creating Mental Health Awareness week of workshops, addressing head on cultural beliefs that discourage counseling and introducing students to campus and community resources. She has grown the Carolina Summer Program by reaching diverse students through partnerships with HBCUs.

Community Service Category: Veronica Carlisle

In 2019, Veronica Carlisle, MPH, CHES, a community health educator, identified and recruited a diverse group of community members across the state, brought together in an environment where their lived experiences and perspectives were valued. She led this group to develop a strategic plan, identify priorities, and advise on ways to increase minority recruitment to clinical trials. This, and many other interventions, have ensured that NC communities disproportionately impacted by cancer are served by and engaged in cancer research and interventions. Veronica is a passionate advocate and has amplified community voices in research and prevention.

Faculty Category: Brian Velasco

Brian Velasco is a Research Technician in the Biomedical Engineering department. He was nominated for his exceptional contributions in faculty support. He routinely exceeds expectations in all areas of the lab’s administration as a key member of his lab. During COVID-19, he has served as the lab essential person, the only lab member to regularly be onsite to maintain critical functions including cell lines, animal welfare checks, etc. He is entrusted to prepare key reagents for the lab, keeping detailed quality control logs. He managed this expanded role in supporting faculty during this time as well as maintaining his heavy research responsibility. Finally, Brian surprises his team with bagels, cookies and other unexpected treats!

Research Category: Janette Goins

Janette Goins, RN, BSN, serves as Director of Nursing for the NC TraCS Clinical and Translational Center. She has made notable contributions to research processes and innovations supporting 208 research studies from 85 faculty. Most recently, she provided essential support and expertise to virtually all COVID-related clinical trials. She provided fundamental operational and logistical support to rapidly adapt the Respiratory Diagnostics Center to accommodate COVID studies. She provided crucial support for trials such as the HERO study and ScreenNC. Finally, Janette has massively supported infectious disease investigators to facilitate vaccine and therapeutic trials, including preparation for multiple facilities for COVID positive patient studies. She was described as the “person behind the scenes that makes UNC researchers shine (and smile).”

Education Category: Johanna Foster and Anna Brown

Johanna Foster, MPA and Anna Brown have worked for over 4 years as part of the LCME operations team preparing for the LCME site visit in 2020. Originally scheduled for March as an on-site visit, they supported us through the transition to the July 2020 virtual visit. They were instrumental in the preparation of the institutional documents needed – well over 1,000 pages. They offered critical support to all participants, including faculty, staff, and students meeting with the survey teams. They were described as “the glue that held the site visit together.”

Administration Category: Paul Cox

Paul Cox is a Facilities Maintenance Technician, and is essential to daily operations of clinical, research and teaching programs for his department. During COVID-19, his role expanded as he played a critical role in maintaining the safety of his department members working on campus. Paul designed, built and installed acrylic shields throughout their laboratories to reduce the opportunity for cross-contamination working on multi-head microscopes, as well as coordinating CPE distribution for faculty and staff in his department. With the demolition of Berryhill this spring, he worked closely with the Planning Office to ensure that impact of Berryhill Hall would be minimal to the particularly sensitive microscopes and equipment necessary to produce accurate research data.

Recognizing the Nominees

With six awards available for distribution, the Committee acknowledges and thanks the other 2020 nominees for their extraordinary efforts this year:

Barbara Alvarez Martin

Jon Angier (HCS)*

Jesse Arp

Gary Bellinger

Laurie Birdsong

Jennifer Blair*

Spencer Brady (HCS)*

Tiffani Cain

Lindsay Castret

Stephanie Catlett*

Elizabeth Clarke

Katherine Croft

Kathy  Crosier

Jill Cunnup

Robert Currin

John Dooley

Ellen Doutt

Edmund Fernandez*

Kayla Gardner

Chrissa Gerard*

Cheryl Goodrich

Tamala Gray

Becky Green

Deen Gu*

Rhonda Haithcock*

Terry Hartman

Matt Hawkins

Stephanie Hoover

Patty Kinneer

Estela Lopez*

Michele Lowe

Candace Lubar*

Mina Majcen

Paul Marini

Catherine Matthieu

Eileen McElhinney

Rebecca Moore*

Pamela Morrison

Dana Mueller

Tonya Murrell

Steven Niezgoda

Abigail Noschese

J. Felix Olivares-Quintero

Patricia Oliver*

Chris Paterno

Kathryn Poe

Elizabeth Poindexter

Rachel Quinto

Randee Reid

Ashwini Roy-Chaudhury

Suzanne Scott (HCS)*

Brendan Sheridan

Sarah Shipp*

Bret Shultz*

Krista Sills

Markia Smith

Elizabeth Steadman*

Sara Stokes*

Patricia Suits*

Rose Thorp

Michael Vavlitis

Tracy Velez

Janice Warfford

Rachel Will

Gina Williams

Terry Wood*

Mary Wright