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The ICARE Award is for employees who demonstrate the core values of UI Health, display a job performance that goes above and beyond expected performance, exhibit a patient-first mentality, are motivated and strive for excellence, contribute to the positive culture in the department and organization, and have made a difference in the life of a patient, visitor, or peer. Click here to submit a CARE Award nomination.

September 2022

Angelique ThomasAngelique Thomas

Training and Development Specialist, Employee Experience

Employee Submission: Cathy Temple
I'd like to recognize the impact Angelique has had on our newest employees. She has tremendous energy and is the welcoming face new employees see on their first day. Her friendly, welcoming, positive demeanor sets the tone for new hires and is demonstrative of our I CARE Values. Angelique takes the time to fully and patiently take our new hires through NEO. And no matter what happens -Sr Exec is a no show, computer crashes, zoom gets funky she maintains the same level attitude and just "rolls with it". Shehas received many compliments and kudos from new hiresafter their NEO experience.

Angelique is a great brand ambassador for UI Health.

April 2022

Angie BuenoAngie Bueno

Submitted by Nehrin Khamo on behalf of a patient:
"Good Afternoon, I am writing on behalf of myself and my mother -----. For the past couple of years, my mom has been a patient at UI Health. During that time the service and treatment we have received from the UIC Specialty Pharmacy have been nothing short of amazing. Specifically, that of the service we received from Angie. My mom would always look forward to her monthly call from Angie where they would discuss getting my mom her refills of her treatment. My mom would always remark about how sweet Angie was and how when dealing with something as difficult and often as heartbreaking as her condition can be, having someone to speak to that is so kind and helpful can make your entire day.

In addition to the incredible service, Angie always provided, a couple of months ago Angie did something that I will forever be grateful for. At the end of last year, my mom qualified to begin receiving Medicare benefit in addition to the Illinois Medicaid benefits she had already been receiving. In anticipation for that change, I had spent months leading up to her Medicare coverage making calls to both Medicare and Medicaid trying to figure out how my mom would still be able to receive prescription coverage benefits at little to no cost given the fact that she also still qualified for Medicaid assistance. I cannot even begin to tell you how frustrating and disheartening it was to continuously be given the runaround, evident that Medicare and Medicaid do not communicate with one another, I often thought if it is that difficult for me to figure out what a nightmare it must be for these patients that do not have someone to advocate on their behalf. I was truly at the end of my rope not knowing how we were going to get my mom prescription coverage similar to what she had been receiving when she was solely on Medicaid when my mom had one of her monthly calls with Angie that changed everything. My mom explained to Angie how difficult of a time we were having getting the prescription coverage figured out with her beginning Medicare and that there might be a possibility that she would have to stop taking her treatment as she could not afford thousands of dollars a month on her prescriptions. It was then that Angie made a three-way call with my mom and Medicare and was able to get everything figured out for us. Even the Medicare representative said she had never seen someone help a patient as much as Angie did. I have to reiterate that I placed dozens of calls to Medicare, Medicaid, and patient advocacy groups that where unable to assist me and literally in one phone call Angie was able to resolve everything for my mom and get her the continuing coverage that she was eligible for. The next month when Angie called my mom to set up her refill I asked if I could join the call to express my gratitude. With tears in my eyes, I explained what a huge difference she made in my mom's life and mine. Had Angie not helped that day, I honestly don't know what we would have done or if my mom would have been able to continue taking her treatment.  

I wish I could scream from the rooftops how amazing Angie is. She is a hero and someone that my mother and I will never forget. UIC needs more people like Angie, the world needs more people like Angie. If there is anyone else I can share this message with please let me know as I would like to tell as many people as possible how incredible Angie is and truly the entire team at the UIC Specialty Pharmacy. Thank you so much."

Debbie RiesmanDebbie Riesman 

(right side of photo)
Employee submission:
 Dr. Jennifer Lloyd & Erin Tobin
From Dr. Lloyd: "I wanted to pass along a shoutout for Debbie. Last week, we discharged a patient from the inpatient Psychiatry unit who needed to follow up for a the second Invega shot with me. We've never had a person follow up in the rare times we've not kept someone in the hospital for second Invega loading dose. However, last Friday I got a text from Debbie letting me know the patient had shown up to the ED requesting his "bipolar shot" and mentioning me. She accompanied the patient to Wood Street pharmacy to pick up his Invega injection and then escorted him to the 7th floor NPI to ensure he could get his LAI. Without her efforts, I don't think the patient would have received his injection, which is a crucial part of him staying safe and stable on the street. I wanted to give Debbie the recognition she deserves. I deeply appreciate and am grateful for her and her dedication to our vulnerable patients."

From Erin Tobin: Debbie had told me about this case the day she worked with the patient Dr. Lloyd is referring to, and this is what she said: "Save time, save money and get the patient what they need...You know, the old social work adage to meet the person where he is." This speaks to the kind of work Debbie does with the patients she sees every day in the ED. She takes a lot of pride in spending the extra time to get them the help they need, whether this means walking them to the pharmacy, walking them to Mile Square, spending 60 minutes with them to fully understand why they came in, and searching high and low for collateral and loved ones. She does all of this while managing an ever-beeping pager!! Not everyone is cut out for her position and we are sure grateful to have her, taking such special care of our vulnerable, lovable patients. PS -she's been doing it for 25 years now! Cheers to Deb!!"

Mary CozzensMary Cozzens

(left side of photo)
Employee submission: Erin Tobin
I wanted to recognize Mary Cozzens for the outstanding social work she does day in and day out on 8E. She goes above and beyond for her patients and all the patients on the unit. In the last year, she has organized a book drive and a clothing drive and has tirelessly kept track of items like hats and gloves for our patients who live on the streets in the cold weather. Last week, Mary went out of her way again. She has been working with a patient who needs a wheelchair, after being hit by a car. He had one before coming into the hospital that the insurance company paid for, but he has been homeless, and it was lost or stolen and insurance would not pay for another. Mary lives in Oak Park and had worked on their Township board and knew they had a collection of donated medical equipment. She contacted the Township and made arrangements to pick up a donated wheelchair from their medical equipment closet and went to pick it up on her way to work on Monday. I saw her that day and she proudly showed off to me the perfectly good wheelchair she brought in to give the patient. This is an outstanding example of going above and beyond for our patients. She went out of her way to provide for a patient, to improve his health and quality of life outside the hospital. She inspires all of us in the efforts she makes for our patients and I am honored to recognize her today!

March 2022

Annexiea BufordAnnexiea Buford

Employee submission
Annexiea Buford deserves much recognition for being the true essence of UI Care Behaviors. On January 10, 2022, I received a positive result for COVID-19. Although I had heard the complications many experienced, it was not until I was stricken with the virus that I understood the impact it could have on one's physical performance. Shortly after reading my results, I received a call from Annexiea at about 9 am following up on a project she and I were working on for Pharmacy. Annexiea has a personality that commands your attention, so it was not optional for me to take her call. Even amidst adversity, she manages a smile, remains cordial, and before the conversation is over, she has you laughing away anything troubling you. She noticed right away that I was not sounding the best and inquired about my health. I shared with her my positive results. Annexiea immediately went into CARE mode. At a time when I had begun to lose faith in CARE behaviors, Annexiea's actions toward my illness rekindled that faith and showed me that there are people among UI Health staff that truly care about the well-being of others. In my experience, when people say "let me know if you need anything", the expectation is that the person experiencing a hardship would say what they needed. Not with Annexiea. She knew what I needed and began to list the items she was gathering in a care package to be messengered to my home. She asked for my address and asked if I needed anything else. Once I gave her my address, she notified me that she had a relative who lived near me and that she needed to visit. Instead of messaging the care package to me, Annexiea brought it directly to my home and placed it at my door. She called me when she was on her way and called again when she arrived. I've only known Annexiea through general conversations related to LMS and other HR-related business. To go above and beyond to bring me medicine and other sanitation supplies is exemplary CARE. Annexiea has restored my confidence, trust, and faith in the UI Health system. She is one who truly values the care and well-being of others and I appreciate her for that.


Employee submission: Ana Lopez
I would like Dr. Edelman to be recognized for demonstrating and exemplifying what it means to go above and beyond for our patients. On several occasions, Dr. Edelman personally assisted in obtaining additional testing for patients that required it before surgery. Without divulging patient identity, Patient A had recently been admitted and was seen by the Anesthesia team, while in-house, for an upcoming scheduled procedure. Unfortunately, the patient was discharged before work up recommended, could be completed. Dr. Edelman felt further testing should be done to safely proceed. Dr. Edelman personally contacted the Vascular lab and the patient was able to have testing scheduled early on the day of surgery. Dr. Edelman contacted the primary surgeon and discussed his recommendations. The patient had their testing and was cleared to proceed with surgery. Alternatively, the patient's surgery may have been delayed due to lack of medical readiness. This is just ONE example of how Dr. Edelman demonstrates compassion and exemplifies how much he cares for our patients. He has done this numerous times. 

 Dr. Edelman is kind and compassionate. He truly loves his work and demonstrates it in the way he cares for our patients. It is a pleasure working with him. Besides being wonderful with patients and an expert in his craft, Dr. Edelman is down-to-earth and funny. We have shared some good hardy laughs. The Pre-anesthesia/Anesthesia Team is an AMAZING group of doctors, nurses, and staff that together work magic to ensure our patients have a safe and stress-free experience. The entire team deserves a big SHOUT OUT! Thank you for your time.

ED DocsEmergency Physicians
Sarah Berg, Sean McCann, Pavitra Kotini-Shah, Brad Bunney, Tim Meehan, Trevonne Thompson, Lisa Gehm, Molly Hartrich, Wes Eilbert, Chris Colbert, Chris Parker, Stacey Chamberlain, Carissa Tyo, Charlie Inboriboon, and Antonia Neimanich

Employee submission: Rhea Begeman
As we know, the recent COVID surge in Chicago during December 2021 and January 2022 has put added stress on the Emergency Room. Shift coverage for physician staffing has not been easy as patient caseload increases and many physicians are intermittently out on leave for testing positive. In addition, to fill ongoing coverage holes in our attending schedule, we have had to implement a secondary backup system. This has been the ongoing marathon for almost 2 years causing constant stress and burnout potential Yet, there are a specific group of physicians I would like to recognize who "again and again" step up to serve our patients and fill in gaps in our physician staffing. We have had an especially tough time in Dec and Jan with our coverage and I would like to recognize the following individuals for their service to UI Health ED and our patients

Morgan ZaranecMorgan Zaranec

Employee submission: Cindy Streeter
Morgan deserves special recognition for being an excellent patient advocate! On 2/11/22, she was on the phone for 40+ minutes speaking to the work comp case managers on behalf of 2 patients. Morgan called the case manager on behalf of one of her post-op shoulder patients and recommended an OT evaluation and an EMG due to complications that developed with her hand since the surgery. The physician dismissed the patient's hand complaints and Morgan spoke to the case manager who is going to send a case nurse to the patient's next MD appointment to advocate for the patient. This would not have been possible without Morgan taking time out of her busy workday to call the case manager. Morgan also called another case manager to provide an in-depth explanation of why this patient cannot tolerate physical therapy at this time. The doctor is insisting on aggressive physical therapy; however, the patient cannot tolerate even light touch on her knee, has constant 10/10 pain, and cries during the entire session. After speaking at length with the case manager, an IME will likely be arranged for the patient and this would not have been possible without Morgan talking directly to the case manager. It should also be noted that Morgan attempted to contact the case manager several times this week and she was finally able to speak directly to her today. I was present during both phone calls and overheard the case managers express their gratitude for the timely communication and for advocating for the patients. 

Morgan is the BEST and it's awesome to work side by side with her!! 2C is lucky to have such a great clinician who takes the time to go above and beyond to advocate for her patients.

Tiffany PernellTiffany Pernell

Employee submission: Alexia Johnson
Tiffany has always been a fantastic partner in helping with bed turnover and housekeeping, but she has risen to the occasion in this latest spike of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although she is the housekeeping supervisor, this morning she was pushing a cart, and cleaning the locker rooms to ensure that our staff areas also were attended, because her staff was too stretched to address this area. This is typical behavior for Tiffany: she ensures that her department is meeting the needs of the hospital community keeping areas tidy, and maintaining accountability for cleanliness, even when staffing is tight, and resources are limited. She never complains, even on the most strapped days, but asks how she can make her department's services better. Her positive spirit makes for a positive work environment, even in stressful times. This morning is not a new occurrence; Tiffany often checks in to see what concerns we have, engaging the nurse leaders to identify areas for improvement and collaborating to create a clean environment for our patients and staff. She listens attentively to our concerns and helps create a resolution plan, without being defensive, but offering partnership and collaboration. She treats her staff professionally and with great compassion, helping when needed, so the work gets done. This has been a great help throughout, as bed cleaning and turnover can be a significant delay in the discharge/admission process. This affects the entire organization, from the Emergency Department to the Intensive Care Areas, as they wait for beds is a continuous challenge.

Our performance as an organization is critically dependent on the services of housekeeping, as prompt and proper cleaning helps get our patients to the correct level of care and ensures that rooms are ready and truly clean. Infection control has been a huge concern of late. Tiffany was instrumental in getting and maintaining additional cleaning resources, like an ultraviolet light cleaning system robot, to be located on the 7E wing, helping make this a convenient resource for the housekeepers to use in the COVID-19 Care Wing, decreasing turnover time by having this equipment readily available in high-use areas. We often celebrate our direct care providers, but we should also recognize those whose mostly silent efforts help create a healing environment for our patients and staff. Tiffany exhibits all the UI Cares behaviors: Compassion, Accountability, Respect, and Excellence, even in the most challenging of times. That's when we need it most!  

February 2022

Alicia TweedAlicia Tweed

Employee submission: Karyn Cueva
"I want to give a big shout-out to Alicia Tweed, our evening NICU nurse technician, for her exceptional teamwork and efficiency. On Friday, 10/8/2021, the unit was extremely busy with admissions, complex patients, and discharges. As one of the evening charge nurses this Friday, I could not have done it without her support. Not only did she take care of her patient load effectively, but she also went around and assisted in feeding other infants while our admissions were being stabilized. In addition, when called to help transfer patients to the mother and baby unit, she was always willing and capable. Lastly, she ensured we had admission beds and supply baskets ready for the next shift. She is truly a great help to our nurses, and every day she gives her best to our tiny patients. We are very fortunate to have her on the evening shift.

Carl BonnerCarl Bonner

Employee submission: Saba Ahmad
Carl is an outstanding MRI technologist. I had the pleasure of working with him in a challenging situation where an infant needed and MRI of the brain, but anesthesia was contraindicated.  Carl was patient and kind and put the family at ease.  He allowed time to get the patient fed and calmed down before the study.  He was gentle and soothing with the infant and helped get him settled and situated to get the best study possible. 

In a challenging situation, Carl showed compassion and empathy for the family and was exemplary in his demeanor and approach.  It is only due to him that the study was completed successfully, and I am very grateful for his kindness and compassion.  He represents the best of UIH.

Elie GhoulamElie Ghoulam

Employee submission: Brian Boulay on behalf of a nurse
Please help me thank Eli Ghoulam for doing a tremendous job for our patient who we sent to ER tonight. He was on his way home, passing through GI when I asked him to help me call a psych resident for the consult so we can take care of a suicidal patient. While I was coordinating with the ER charge nurse and the patient's family/friend, Eli came back and did what he was asked to do. He talked to the patient and evaluated her as well. It was Dr. Carroll and Sandra's patient post-EGD/Colonoscopy but Eli stepped up and assisted me and Diana with the whole process and even helped us bring the patient to ER. He coordinated with the psych resident to make sure the patient would be evaluated that night. I am so grateful for having Eli with us. He went above and beyond and showed he cared for our patients. please let him know that we truly appreciate his help, as always!

Ellen TillmanEllen Tillman

Employee submission: Frances Luna
I would like to recognize Ellen Tillman for really putting in the extra effort to help a patient that was missing items on discharge. Staff from the unit had tried to contact multiple areas the patient had received care to locate his shoes and were unable to find them. The patient was very upset about his shoes being missing, as they were a newer pair for him and he has a hard time finding shoes that fit well. After dropping the patient off in his car, Ellen went to every floor hospital looking for the shoes and she found them! She found them on the 6th floor in a cart in the hallway. A great representation of our UI CARE values- Thank you Ellen for making a difference.

Leslie WillamsonLeslie Willamson

Employee submission: Tawanna Daniels
Leslie arrived for her shift and was greeted at the door by a woman entering the clinic looking for information. Apparently, she was in the wrong location and after further questioning, the woman was looking for an autopsy for a relative. Leslie walked her to our child waiting room while looking up the information so that the woman could get to the correct location. She was on public transportation, cold, and seemingly distraught by the look in her eyes. The woman began telling more of her story and began expressing emotions in the waiting area. Leslie realized that privacy was needed and made the decision to take the visitor to a treatment room. The woman broke down sobbing while expressing a multitude of emotions. What lasted for minutes, felt like hours as it was gut-wrenching. It turned out that her child relative was the victim of a horrific crime that is currently headlining in the news. Many people walk through our clinic doors and you never know their story. The time that Leslie took to help this woman by listening, validating, comforting, and directing her, was admirable and showed the core of who she is as a person and as an employee. Leslie was provided time to decompress and express her emotions as it was painful to watch someone in pain. Her compassion, strength, bravery, and commitment are to be recognized. I gladly nominate her for this employee recognition. She rocks!