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Of the Year Award Recipients Congratulations to Our Winners!

It is with great pleasure that UI Health recognizes the people who have been selected as the 2022 Physician, Resident/Fellow, Advanced Practice Provider, Employee of the Year, and new this year: Joseph V. Abraham Leadership Award!

2022 UI Health Award Winners

UI Health annual award winners put patients first in all encounters; consistently contribute to the delivery of world-class care; are great inspirations to their colleagues; and personify our core values of Inclusion, Compassion, Accountability, Respect, and Excellence.

Desiree Salgado Employee of the YearEmployee Of The Year

Desiree Salgado
Physical Therapy Assistant, Rehabilitation Services

An acute care physical therapist, Desiree Salgado often treats patients who are in the hospital for multiple days, with multiple treatment sessions. She establishes meaningful relationships with her patients by not only providing skilled therapy to improve mobility, and she is a huge comfort to patients who are confused, unable to effectively communicate, or have been in the hospital for an extended period. Desiree is wildly humble, respectful, collaborative, and kind to everyone she meets, and her patience and calm demeanor are universally acknowledged. Desiree does it all with a smile on her face and a cheerful attitude. 

Jeffrey Jacobson Physician of the YearPhysician Of The Year

Jeffrey Jacobson, MD
Medical Intensive Care Unit

Dr. Jeffrey Jacobson is the quintessential doctor's doctor. He communicates with honesty and clarity, and he is respected by all for his gift of explaining complicated concepts in simple terms. Dr. Jacobson led the team of Critical Care physicians to help care for those most impacted by COVID-19; he truly embodies the values of putting the patient first and delivering world-class care to all. Dr. Jacobson has an outstanding breadth of knowledge and shares selflessly with everyone. He has a calm demeanor and displays strong yet kind leadership in the ICU. Dr. Jacobson always ensures that we are doing what is best for the patients and the staff.

Samantha Chirunomula Fellow Of The YearFellow Of The Year

Samantha Chirunomula, MD
Addiction Medicine 

Dr. Samantha Chirunomula is equal parts idealistic and practical, and her extraordinary clinical abilities are further enhanced by a strong work ethic. She delivers evidence-based care in a positive, empathetic, and helpful manner. Dr. Chirunomula is a force for institutional change and is committed to serving the underserved. She works weekly shifts with the Night Ministry, providing medical outreach to people experiencing homelessness. She provides desperately needed care to marginalized individuals who wouldn't otherwise receive it, and she serves as a liaison and advocate for those who need inpatient hospitalization care.

Melissa Duckett Advanced Practice Provider of the YearAdvanced Practice Provider Of The Year

Melissa Duckett, DNP, APRN, AG-ACNP-BC

As the primary Advanced Practice Provider for the Cardiac Cath Lab, Melissa Duckett is responsible for all the Cath Lab outpatients while also attending to clinic patients, covering for other services, and arranging care for a patient population that requires an extraordinary number of resources. She compassionately and respectfully advocates for her patients, ensuring that she allows the time needed for them to understand the procedure, expectation, and delays because she truly wants to participate in their care. Melissa is highly appreciated and respected by her colleagues and patients, and no task is too insignificant or difficult for her attention.

Ronda Dinwiddie Joseph V Abraham Leadership AwardJoseph V. Abraham Leadership Award

Ronda Dinwiddie
Information Services Supervisor

Established in 2021, in recognition of his retirement, this leadership award honors Joe's work and more than 30 years of service in Imaging & Diagnostic Services at UI Health. This award motivated hospital staff to pursue leadership opportunities in Imaging & Diagnostic Services at UI Health.

Ronda Dinwiddie is a caring, competent, and compassionate leader within the Imaging & Diagnostic Services team. The department is fast-paced and has a high volume, but Ronda's attention to detail and coordination with outside departments ensures patients have seamless appointments and receive timely care. Ronda exudes compassion and care to everyone she touches, and she goes above and beyond to support her team.