The annual Dean’s Performance Awards honor employees whose work helps the UNC School of Medicine achieve its vision of becoming the nation’s leading public school of medicine. The 2022 award winners are Margaret Waltz, PhD, Kristine Barnette, Pamela Morrison, Janice McKoy, Martha O. Modlin, Colette Harley and Dawn Morriston, MPH.
The annual Dean’s Performance Awards honor employees whose work helps the UNC School of Medicine achieve its vision of becoming the nation’s leading public school of medicine.
The awards span six categories that are aligned with the School of Medicine’s Forward Together strategic plan: research, service, education, faculty, diversity and administrative infrastructure. This year, 44 nominees were considered for their extraordinary efforts and the winners were announced at the 2022 School of Medicine Annual Staff Summit.
Department of Social Medicine Research Associate Margaret Waltz, PhD
Waltz developed and implemented multiple innovative methodologies with the goal of translating research results to improving patient care and medical trainee education. First, Waltz created a method using audio recordings to analyze patient and provider communication during pediatric genetics and neurology appointments across clinics in North Carolina. This novel research will contribute to the body of literature on patient engagement and patient centered care and translate into improved clinical care.
Secondly, Waltz was instrumental in creating an Observed Standardized Clinical Examination (OSCE) to assess ethical tenets of the ACGME pediatric professionalism milestones, which she published in MedEd Portal. The OSCE includes four ethically challenging vignettes based on actual cases and was piloted with UNC residents and standardized patients. It offers a structured method to assess professionalism milestones and a forum to discuss ethical problem solving.
Waltz also recently became the first leader of the Hospital Ethics Committee’s (HEC) Research Work Group. In that role, she developed a method to use clinical ethics consult data for research purposes to advance ethical care of patients while educating medical student members of the HEC in the conduct of research.
Department of Health Sciences Clinical Laboratory Science Student Laboratory Manager Kristine Barnette
Barnette’s responsibilities include ensuring that all laboratory exercises are working as expected. She performs trials, troubleshoots and makes modifications, as necessary. She provides teaching assistance by answering questions, reviewing results for accuracy, demonstrating procedures, providing instructional guidance, and resolving problems with samples or equipment during instructional time.
The role Barnette plays is crucial to the education and success of CLS students. She interacts with students in every laboratory course and provides one-on-one instruction that enables students to correct their mistakes and build their skills.
She has combined her expertise of CLS practice with her knowledge of instructional design to create a program to assist students in the identification of peripheral blood cells. This interactive module provides a cell library with a minimum of 24 pictures per cell type, all taken with the division’s microscope camera. Also included in the module are helpful cell descriptions, interactive slides that recreate staining issues, and a 100-cell differential with instant feedback.
Department of Health Sciences Administrative Support Specialist Pamela Morrison
Morrison makes significant contributions to her community through her time, actions, talents and dedication. Each year since her arrival, she has led her department’s SECC Campaign and she has been successful in creating fun, interactive activities to facilitate donations from faculty. These activities have included ice cream socials, silent auctions, a bowling night, and the unit’s most popular event, the Annual AHS Chili Cookoff. Each of these events has been successful in generating departmental donations and, importantly, creating additional opportunities for faculty, staff, and students to engage. Since her arrival in 2013, she also has participated annually as an active volunteer in the Carolina Blood Drive.
Morrison extends her community spirit outside of work as well. For her community, Alamance County, she works diligently with the senior population. She is a regular visitor to targeted homes to provide much needed social engagement for homebound seniors and, in many instances, providing and sharing a meal and arranging for household chores to be completed. She also is active with other needy families in her community and assists the local school system in their efforts to obtain donations in the form of school supplies for not only teachers and classrooms, but also for students most in need.
Center for Environmental Medicine, Asthma and Lung Biology Executive Assistant Janice McKoy
McKoy has worked with an innate passion and commitment on developing and implementing a plan for the Center of Environmental Medicine, Asthma and Lung Biology (CEMALB) to achieve the goal of breaking barriers that prevent equity and inclusion in the work environment.
She created the diversity, equity and inclusion statement on the unit’s website and, in addition to continuing her administrative responsibilities, is also the DEI officer for CEMALB.
The actions that illustrate her commitment to enhance diversity, equity and inclusion at the workplace have included bi-monthly meetings with investigators, staff and trainees, as well as panel conversations to discuss important topics and experiences, as well as creating a learning environment for herself and others to explore barriers and solutions in academic research and other spaces.
School of Medicine Director of Business Operations Martha O. Modlin, MBA
School of Medicine Parking Administrator Colette Harley
Parking is an important feature of daily life for UNC School of Medicine faculty and staff. In 2021, for the first time, the SOM centralized parking in the Office of the Dean, with Modlin managing the work. Never one to shy away from a challenge, Modlin dove in and did what was required to optimize the process. An important early step was to recruit and hire a parking administrator for the SOM, Colette Harley.
Through the 21-22 academic year, Modlin and Harley worked extensively to learn about issues critical to prior and current states and to facilitate the creation of the first-ever SOM guidelines to standardize and maximize parking for the most efficient and fair allotments for all departments. This staff team worked diligently with a diverse group of volunteers from across the SOM to incorporate ideas that would honor those serving as leaders and the dedication of longtime faculty and staff – all in their work on behalf of all three missions of the SOM.
Modlin and Harley’s careful preparation of a document to guide the work and slide decks to present the work led to successful approval by the SOM Space Optimization Committee and the Academic Council.
Department of Family Medicine Associate Director of Educational Programs Dawn Morriston, MPH
The School of Medicine attracts talented junior faculty members who must learn how to thrive in the complex environment of an academic health center. Early faculty training enhances professional development, promotes well-being, and improves retention. Morriston understands this and designed the UNC Leadership in Academic Medicine Program (LAMP), which launched in 2021.
This one-year program includes six bimonthly didactic sessions plus six meetings where junior faculty are paired with a mentor guides them to creating an individual professional plan.
Morriston is a self-starter and uses her experience in faculty development to assemble nationally renowned speakers to address topics including emotional intelligence, turning clinical work into scholarship, conflict management, leadership, giving and receiving feedback, presentation, and self-awareness, all taught in a culturally competent manner.
Beyond LAMP, Morriston leads the Department of Family Medicine’s nationally recognized faculty development fellowship, which enrolls up to 21 junior to mid-career family medicine faculty physicians from around the country. Over the past 40 years, physicians from across the country have participated in a year-long blended learning experience that includes in-person sessions, online modules, forums, and group projects. These provide faculty with the knowledge, attitudes, and skills to become primary care champions and leaders in practice transformation, especially in medically underserved communities in North Carolina.
Recognizing the 2022 Nominees:
Richard “Tony” Elsea
Victoria (Wanying) Xu