Call Us 866.600.CARE

CARE Individual Awards 2016

Alice FountainAlice Fountain

Alice Fountain does a phenomenal job when assigned to MICU. She arrives early, always with a smile on her face. Her disposition is always professional and friendly. She genuinely cares and she has such a positive approach to her job. I have never once heard Alice complain about work left from the previous shift. She cleans every nook and corner of our unit from our break room to our bathroom. She mops the floors until they sparkle and cleans our sinks until they shine. She goes over and above what she needs to do. We have visitors 24/7. The way our unit looks makes an impression on our patients, families and visitors and Alice makes our unit look outstanding.

Alice also helps us keep our infection rates down. She rounds on our unit twice during her shift to ensure our garbage is not overflowing. When she cleans our rooms, she makes sure it is completely disinfected and ready for our next patient. She is one of the few people who will empty our red biohazard garbage cans.

Alice is an vital part of our team and we truly appreciate everything she does for us.

Dr. Allan HallineDr. Allan Halline
Gastroenterology & Hepatology

Dr. Halline was on vacation last week and learned yesterday morning that his Sunday flight from Colorado to Chicago was cancelled due to fog. When a later flight could not be obtained, Dr. Halline realized he was at risk of missing a full endoscopy and clinic schedule. Rather than cancel and rebook all of those patients who depend on him, Dr. Halline rented a car and (with his wife) DROVE 16 HOURS FROM COLORADO TO CHICAGO, arriving at 5am today to begin his day of work. This is merely an extreme example of Dr. Halline's already obvious devotion to his patients and colleagues. I feel some recognition is due.

Annie TanAnnie Tan
Department of Pediatrics

Annie has been our coordinator since Oct 2002. Annie is by far the most accountable employee I have ever worked with. She not only treats each and every patient who calls the office with the utmost kindness and respect, but carries that philosophy over to her fellow co-workers. She has developed efficient methods to serve as the practice coordinator for 8 providers and residents etc. She is always aware of issues as they relate to patients' when they call and can update the physicians and nurse practitioners of such. Her work is completed everyday before she leaves and she never complains about any additional work. She always says "no worries" when given additional work on top of her usual work. She never participates in any gossip or dismay and rarely if ever calls in sick. She exhibits the utmost in professionalism and is so committed to the patients, employees and organization. She is a true reflection of the UICARE model!

Dr. Autumn DavidsonDr. Autumn Davidson
Women's Health

I wanted to take this opportunity to recognizes three outstanding doctors that treated my daughter at your facility recently.  My daughter was referred to your hospital from her ob/gyn at the Christ Hospital.  She was treated by Dr. Autumn Davidson and she was absolutely wonderful.  She treated my daughter with such compassion during what was the worst time of her life.  My daughter had a two day procedure and on both days your doctors took an extremely long time out of their day to answer any questions that we had, and address the concerns of our family and reassure us that everything would be taken care of.  These ladies are the finest examples of what health care professionals should be. During these difficult two days, we were treated with respect and compassion as our family dealt with my daughter's pregnancy problems and I can't tell you as a mother how grateful I am for that.  My daughter and her husband were very nervous and unsure of what to expect and these ladies went into a great deal of explanation to ensure that there were no questions unanswered. The compassion, professionalism and just down right respect for humans should be applauded in these women, and I myself with be forever grateful to them for taking what was surely one of our darkest time and making sure we survived safe. 

I have never been to your facility before, but I would not hesitate to come back if these three ladies are an example of the kind of medical professionals you employee.   Thank you to your facility and most importantly to Dr. Autumn Davidson for all she did for our family, may God bless them.

Benny WenigDr. Barry Wenig

My family and I wish to let you know what an absolutely exceptional experience our mother (Mary A. Nelson) and our family recently had when our mother underwent a thyroidectomy. This is the first serious health issue requiring a hospital stay and expert care in which our mother encountered. Our father has had numerous health challenges over the last 25 years including a transplanted kidney, various cancers, and other health issues. Accordingly, we have much experience with high-quality providers and upper-tier healthcare systems. Until recently, we had no contact with the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Science System.

Without a doubt, the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Science System delivered the absolute best care our family encountered and delivered that care in an extremely pleasant environment. Every single person we encountered treated our mother (and us) with dignity, respect, and professionalism. Theirs was not "just a job" - they were compassionate and treated our mother almost as if she was their mother.

We would like to specifically mention and thank Dr. Barry L. Wenig and Dr. Fred A. Zar - both of whom we believe are world class. Not only are these doctors extremely highly skilled in medicine, they are thoughtful, caring and warm individuals. As you likely know, these are rare traits these days - especially in the highly stressful environments these doctors practice. The students and residents studying under Dr. Wenig and Dr. Zar are very fortunate to have such mentors.

We do not take for granted the services of Dr. Wenig, Dr. Zar and all the other individuals who helped our mother. We thought you should know how terrific these folks are and that they are great representatives of the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Science System.

Catherine Griffin & Kurtrina Pitts StewardCatherine Griffin & Kurtrina Pitts Steward
Cashering Operations

I just wanted to express my gratitude for two of your awesome employees, Kurtrina Pitts Stewart and Catherine Griffin!!  Last Monday I brought my brother for outpatient surgery at UIC.  Since he is handicapped we valet my car. 

Once he was done I went to retrieve my car from the valet and pick him up at the front door.  When I went back to the place I dropped my car off, the valet was covering his kiosk around 6:20ish.  I then noticed the signed that stated it closed at 6:30 pm.  He told me to go see the lady in the blue shirt and continued closing down.  That's were I met Kurtrina who was very pleasant and told me I made it just in time before they moved my car to the parking lot.  I was relieved, checked out with her and proceeded back to the kiosk. 

To my surprised the attendant was gone and everything looked closed up.  I went outside to see if he or my car were there, I saw nothing.  At this point I walked back into the empty lobby and saw Kurtrina getting ready to leave as well.  I panicky asked her what I should do.  She too looked outside for the attendant and asked me if I saw my car, which I didn't.  She stated that they probably already relocated my car to the parking garage.  I asked her where it was and she offered to walk over there with me since it's where she parked.  I found that very thoughtful.

When we arrived at the garage she went up to the attendant in the booth and asked if they brought the cars over and he said it should be any minute.  I thanked her for her help and told her she should go, that I was fine.  She insisted on staying with me until my car arrived.  She also tried looking in the lot where they parked the valet cars across the street and we didn't see my car. 

Now I was getting worried.  That's when her boss, Catherine Griffin, drove by and stopped to ask what Kurtrina was doing.  (It was crazy that she was even around since she normally leaves at 5 and now it was 6:50 pm.)  Catherine proceed to drive thru the other lot looking for my car.  She then went back to where I valeted my car and found the attendant and my car waiting for me.

Apparently, while I was checking out with Kurtrina, he went to get my car but never mentioned that to me.  I thought he had left for the day.  Catherine drove back to let me know where my car was, picked me up, explained what happened and brought me to my car!

I was super impressed with both of their concern, customer service and professionalism!!!  They both represented UIC in the most outstanding way!!  You're lucky to have these two outstanding employees who went above and beyond their job descriptions and all after they were off the clock!!

Carol LeeCarol Lee

Carol was the sitter for Mr. Nevins. This admission, he was diagnosed with new cancer metastasis and is dying. The family had decided to place him in hospice care to live out his final days. His 10 year old daughter was at the bedside spending time with him and has had quite a day, close to tears at times, just wanting to be with her father. Carol thought to ask if she wanted ice cream and her face lit up. Carol then proceeded to buy a fantastic looking ice cream sundae and dropped it off to the family. Not only that, she has been a very attentive and positive sitter. Her behavior today definitely exemplifies the UI Health goals of patient and family centered care and deserves recognition.

Conner VinikoorConner Vinikoor
DDS - Pediatric Dentistry

I am the Director of the Comprehensive Assessment and Treatment Unit (CATU: Adolescent Psychiatry 8EAP). We are specifically set up to diagnose and treat the most challenging youth in the State of Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. One of our patients, MB, was a 17 year old boy diagnosed with autism, moderate intellectual delay and numerous neurological deficits. MB was referred to the CATU for extreme outbursts of aggression and frequent falls. The aggression had worsened markedly over the previous several weeks. This young man, completely nonverbal, suffered from two broken incisors after a fall prior to admission to our unit. From our evaluation, we determined that the pain from his broken teeth was the likely cause of his recent behavioral deterioration and referred him to Pediatric  Dentistry for an evaluation and treatment. In addition to the broken teeth, Dr. Vinikoor, the consultant, identified multiple caries. The consultation was completed in a very timely manner, and Dr. Vinikoor communicated his findings and the proposed treatment plan to the inpatient treatment team quite clearly. He worked with oral surgery to arrange for the necessary procedures which had to be conducted under general anesthesia due to MB's behavioral problems. The procedure went smoothly and Dr. Vinikoor remained in close contact with the inpatient treatment team throughout the recovery period. In my mind this is how a consultant should work in a medical center: patient service oriented. Unfortunately, my experience with other consultation services is often not as positive, especially for such challenging youth as MB. And while I think my experience with Dr. Vinikoor vis-a-vis the consultation would be enough to earn Dr. Vinikoor recognition, he has continued his outstanding dedication to patient care and advocacy after this young man was discharged. Since discharge, MB turned 18 which would typically disqualify his from receiving services in the Outpatient Pediatric Dentistry Clinic. Between the time MB was discharged and now,he broke another tooth in an incident at his placement. Upon my request, Dr. Vinikoor advocated with the Dental Clinic to provide treatment at UIC, despite the fact that he no longer met criteria for that clinic. It has been a true pleasure to work with such a dedicated and competent professional who puts the needs of his patients first and goes above and beyond in his efforts to get his patients the services they need. THANK YOU DR. VINIKOOR!

Dalia SantanaDalia Santana

Yesterday, on Thanksgiving Day, Ms. Dalia Santana was working at the Hospital Front Lobby Hospitality Desk. A guest and her husband were leaving the Hospital after visiting someone, and getting into a cab at the front entrance. The guest is an amputee and in a wheelchair. As the guest was trying to get into the cab with her husband's assistance, she fell to the ground next to the cab. It was pouring raining outside at the time. Dalia called Security for assistance. We were able to lift the guest into the wheelchair and wheeled back into the Hospital to make sure she was OK and for her to dry off and catch her breath. Dalia called for another cab because the first cab driver apparently felt that he could not take this person and drove away. After comforting the guest and her husband, Dalia returned to her desk to watch for the second cab. I returned several minutes later to check on things only to find that the second cab had arrived at the front entrance and there was Dalia in the pouring rain assisting the guest into the cab from the wheelchair. This time the transfer was successful and the guest and her husband left for home in the cab. Dalia returned to her desk, soaking wet, and when I thanked her profusely, she said "My pleasure". That was customer service and service recovery at its finest.

Dan AnzaloneDan Anzalone
Staff Submission: Angelica Bueno & Asma Adamji

Dan Anzalone deserves a recognition every day that he works. I say this because every day he amazes me and my fellow co-workers on how he takes control of the hardest situations and finds solutions to what the patients and co-workers need. There is no "impossible" in his attitude when he comes in to work. In fact, early in our shifts before we start our shift, he gives us a speech of "What a GREAT day we will have!" Even though he might be wrong during the day but he keeps reminding us, WE will get through it. Our job at the pharmacy is not all that easy but having Dan it totally makes it a whole lot easier. He is a multi-tasker, go-to-attitude/person, problem-solver, kind, helpful, ever-ready and the descriptions can go on and on. This past Monday, February 29th, Dan with strep-throat and high fever(was sweating and shivering even though the pharmacy was warm) worked his whole shift without complaining nor hesitating in doing his job. I totally admired him for pulling through the busiest Monday i have worked here at the pharmacy while being sick. This is only an example of the countless times I have witnessed Dan go above and beyond his call of duty. Dan is a great Pharmacist that blows balloons for kids when they are being fussy. I mean,a professional blowing up balloons?

Dr. Eden PappoDr. Eden Pappo

Liz I am proud to nominate Dr. Eden Papo for a CARE award. The department of dermatology has many great residents, and Eden embodies many of the qualities that are important to patients, to the practice of medicine and to the University.

Her honesty, empathy and compassion is obvious to both the staff and patients in clinic. She is a great listener and resident, always looking to offer the best care possible by thinking through the diagnosis and tailoring treatment plans to each individual.

She excels at communication, whether it involves taking the time to speak with patients about their condition, or following up with staff about discussions or interesting cases.

She is trustworthy and conscientious, going above and beyond her duties to help the team care for those suffering from skin disease.

She is an excellent teacher to students and a wonderful colleague and friend to her fellow residents. She is motivated to give back to the university and to academia.

She pushes herself intellectually, reading and learning independently.  I am proud to nominate Eden for a CARE award, and congratulate her on her contribution to our department

Eileen RaborEileen Rabor

Eileen stepped into what can be a difficult and challenging position as our sole front office staff member when we opened our doors in October. She acts as our insurance specialist, does all our charge entry, and acts as the only person every patient sees during the course of their care in PT; all in addition to answering phones, checking-in and scheduling patients, and calling patients back.

I think it would be enough to say she's performing all of these tasks competently and completely to qualify her for an award for just good old fashioned hard work, but she goes beyond this in her job duties. It is often in the lack of visible difficulties, that the evidence of excellence in front desk work can be seen. When patients show up or call in frustrated or angry (which, in healthcare, is an easy scenario to envision occurring), she rapidly diffuses the situations and helps them to get the answers they are seeking before it even comes to me as the manager. When she gets insurance authorization for patients to continue their therapy, she immediately calls them to let them know and get scheduled for their follow-up appointments, thus minimizing gaps in care. When a patient comes in with an old referral that won't suit their insurance's requirements, she frequently helps the patient obtain an updated referral rather than telling them that they'll have to go get one themselves, going beyond the call of duty. When a patient comes in and an error is made in any aspect of their experience, she helps them to rectify the error and keeps them and the providers in the loop on the status of the error thus providing excellent service recovery. In addition, she helps to keep us all abreast of changes in insurance policies/requirements, orients new staff and students to insurance procedures, helps direct volunteer duties, and stays in contact with care coordinators to ensure minimal to no gaps in care for our patients, and helps to ensure patients have the best experience by starting and ending their visits well (as she's the first to say hello and the last to say goodbye). Because of all these qualities, I am happy to nominate her; and ultimately, I am very thankful to have her as part of our team.

Elizabeth BaileyElizabeth Bailey
Social Work

Liz Bailey is an incredible asset to this hospital. Based on my interactions with Social Work during residency, Liz consistently goes above and beyond to pursue excellence in patient care. We had one patient in the Transplant Unit who other Social Workers were unable to coordinate outpatient dialysis for, we had given up and were going to have the patient drive 4 hours a day 3 times a week to receive his inpatient HD here at UIH, however Liz came back from vacation and immediately stepped up to the challenge and came to the rescue. The SAME DAY she took on the case she managed to coordinate outpatient dialysis close to the patient's home. The patient was ecstatic, as he had been facing a 4 hour drive 3 times a week. This is just one example of her incredible work. Liz is able to make things happen more than any other Social Work I have encountered at this hospital or any other. We are truly fortunate to have her on our staff, and she really sets an example of going above and beyond to consistently pursue excellence in patient care. Thank you Liz!

Emma CervantezEmma Cervantes

Emma is a very hard working lady. Every time you see Emma, she is cleaning something...She even wipes down doors and walls (which is something that you don't see here very often).  She even gets into the nooks and crannies of this department that sometimes get ignored (due to how busy it is in this department) by us and other housekeeping staff. She is not only good at her job, she never complains and does whatever is asked of her. She is also so kind and helpful towards patients. The other day, I saw Emma helping a patient with some blankets that had slipped down from the bed. I've also seen her hand extra chairs to family members who are standing at patients bedsides. Bottom line is, when Emma is here, everyone in our department can tell the difference, She is thoughtful, kind, hard-working and just simply amazing.

Eve BaronEve Baron
Physical Therapy

My 2015 was one of the most differently difficult years of my life yet Eve made my days sparkle and shine with hope. I was crouched over while standing and barely active. Eve Baron is the best thing since sliced bread. Her skill level is unmatched. Her empathetic spirit is magnetic! She is a bright shining star in the darkest of skies. I truly feel like she has been my biggest supporter while I'm out on the field at bat. The techniques and knowledge she has given me have empowered me on my road to recovery. I had no knowledge of chronic pelvic pain and she knew all about it?! The tools she gave me will always be in my continuous practice especially now I can see the signs! I am EMPOWERED! I went from bed ridden almost 230 pounds to just this week weighing in under 185 pounds!!! I love her! She embodies UI standards. She brought me into the pelvic floor community after acknowledging my illness and was uber respectful through the entire process. I can now care for myself in ways I never believed I could.

Frank StanfordFrank Stanford

Frank Stanford, from environmental services, is one of the unsung heroes working here in our hospital. He is a very special person, very respectful and I am pretty sure that those who knew him and will come to know Mr. Stanford will feel the same. He is one who I have observed for a long time that really embodies all the values listed and much more. He always wears a sweet smile every time he meets anyone in the hallway, and very compassionate of his work. One can tell that he enjoys the work that he is here to do.

The best thing he does well is his politeness every time he enters a patient's room, greeting them and acknowledging his reason why he is in the room and always has time to talk to patient and family with positive encouragement, leaving patients with also a smiley glow in their faces. Mr. Frank is always ready to lend a helping hand to whoever needs his help. Never heard him complain. He is always carrying a positive disposition that is also written all over him. If everyone behaved like Mr. Stanford then this place will be the happiest place to be admitted in.

Gerald FraiserGerald Fraiser

My At around 4:15pm, one of our patients expectedly experienced a psychiatric episode, ran off our unit, and became quite violent. Since our patient was rather aggressive, we were definitely struggling to keep our patient and our other staff safe.

Gerald Fraiser happened to be up on 5W Peds. Although it is certainly not his job description, Gerald quickly stepped in to help us with the patient until the police arrived on our unit. He was instrumental in keeping both our patient and our staff safe. Many of the nurses and pediatricians remarked that we would have had a much different outcome if he did not step in to assist us. We also know that this is not his job so he was certainly not obligated to help us in this way.

Thank you SO much, Gerald, for going above and beyond to help the 5W nursing staff. We appreciate your professionalism and dedication to our patient

Hiral ShahHiral Shah
Internal Medicine

“ Dr. Shah interpreted the test results for me and my wife. She said the person who did the test was very thorough as she went thru item by item. She explained what each meant and drew a diagram to help us see some of the areas. The 2nd to last item described an item consistent with my history of prostate cancer. She said the moderate cord compression was serious and called to get me a hospital bed. She said she didn’t want me to be at home and risk hurting myself. She checked me into the hospital on a Tuesday and I had spinal surgery to fix the problem on Wednesday. Dr. Shah is a HERO to use as she found this problem, kindly deciphered the report and proactively helped me get this fixed before more damage occurred.”

Ira HarringtonIra Harrington
Concierge Services

Ira Harrington welcomes all of us almost every day. Her smile, cheery disposition, hello and telling us to have a marvelous day is missed on the days she is not greeting us on our way from the parking garage to OCC. Those few staff and patients that walk by and not respond are seen with a smile on their faces after they pass Ms. Harrington. Ms. Harrington assists our patients and has gone the extra mile in assisting those patients that are unable to make the walk from the parking garage to the hospital or those that need directions. Her presence is invaluable and she is part of our daily entrance into UIC.  

Ira Harrington demonstrates the core values of UI Health: Compassion, Accountability, Respect, and Excellence; displays a job performance that goes beyond expected performance levels; exhibits a patient-first mentality; is motivated and strives for excellence; contributes to the positive culture in the organization; has made a difference in the life of a patient, visitor, and staff member!

Jaimie HooblerJaimie Hoobler
Neuro ICU

Jaimie Hoobler is a compassionate, dedicated member of the hospital and to our patients. Today, we were passing through the cafeteria and saw a person recently discharged from the ED sitting in a chair almost passed out in the cafeteria. Many people walked passed her, but Jaimie stopped what she was doing and took the time to ask her if she was okay and how she was going to get home. Jaimie went to Patient Services and then the ER to see what we could do for this woman. An ER staff member ended up bringing a wheelchair for this patient to transport them back to the ER. Jaimie stopped to make sure this person was okay and was alarmed to the fact that the patient was probably not safe to go home by herself. Having compassion and showing concern is not something you learn. It's a trait of a great nurse and our patients are lucky to have such a strong patient advocate like Jaimie.

Dr. James BuiDr. James Bui

I met with you this morning for my Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) follow-up, and even though I thanked you and your staff today, I want to thank you all again. It was amazing to see the before and after images, the difference was amazing. Knowing that the fibroids are no longer being fed with my blood supply and will shrink, made me want to literally jump for joy.  All day, I've been thinking how blessed I am to have undergone this procedure and had such an excellent team who educated me on the procedure and made sure I understood it, and provided excellent care from the very first day up until today. It felt like everyone cared. And I'm pretty sure, that had a lot to do with my speedy recovery, in one week's time!

By getting the UFE, my quality of life has improved greatly, and so far it has exceeded my expectations. Before the UFE there were days every month when I couldn't leave the house due to heavy menstrual flow and after the procedure my menstrual flow has decreased significantly.

I am 49 years old and approaching menopause. I didn't want to have a hysterectomy or any type of surgery, with a 6-8 week recovery time and high risk. Thank goodness there was another alternative and I had the opportunity to discuss options with my gynecologist, Dr. Vajarant. There are so many women who can benefit from this type of procedure and it really saddens me to know that many will opt to have a hysterectomy or other surgical procedure because they aren't aware that other alternatives exist.  I really meant it when I said I would be glad  to give a testimonial at some point in the future, because I feel that strongly about getting the word out, and I will certainly refer any friends, etc. So thanks again and please thank your staff. YOU ALL ROCK!

Jesus SaucedoJesus Saucedo
5 E Rehab

Jesus is a standout employee at UIH. He is an amazing nurse tech, whom I like to refer to as "Superman." Anytime a bed alarm/chair alarm goes off, Jesus can be found flying down the hall to rescue the patient from harm's way. Jesus recently told me that every time he hears an alarm go off, his stomach turns in knots, because he doesn't want any of the patients to fall and get injured. Jesus is always willing to help a patient, regardless of if he is the nurse tech assigned to the patient. He is proactive, contributing to decreasing fall risks for patients by ensuring that he rounds regularly and places all items (call light, phone, water, etc.) within a patient's reach. As a speech pathologist, I work on swallowing and often have specific guidelines that a patient needs to follow during meals. Jesus is always cognizant of a patient's modified diet consistency and swallow guidelines. Without prompting, Jesus will find me to report how patients do during meals. It is obvious that Jesus understands how important it is to have ongoing communication with other team members. It is impressive that, even when the unit is full and he has a long list of patients to cover, Jesus remains composed and keeps a smile on his face. He doesn't let the stress overcome him and never allows patients to see anything but a positive attitude. His dedication to patient safety and satisfaction is truly remarkable.

Jesus has made a positive impact on a recent patient. This patient said he would like for him to be recognized with a CARE award. The patient reported: "Jesus is always the same person everyday...never changes. A beautiful person. He takes very good care of us (patients). He is positive in every way, shape and form. He always has a smile, which brightens up my day."

Kim AndrewsKim Andrews

Mr. Kim has been following one of our most challenging cases, and has consistently responded with empathy, professional composure, and resolve seeking to coordinate options and action plans for a patient who has numerous and complicated barriers to accessing the care that he needs. She has helped him to schedule numerous appointments, acted as his central point of contact within the institution for numerous needs, and proactively reached out to her leadership team, co-workers, and numerous other departments on his behalf to directly address barriers. For the most challenging of the barriers he presents with, we feel we can safely say she has literally tried almost everything, and continues to work with the patient to improve his care experience with the utmost respect and consideration. She goes above and beyond in every interaction, always acknowledging frustration of this patient, while still keeping their interactions as focused as possible on addressing the barriers he and his other providers identify. She is a credit to our team, and has the well-earned respect of her patients and peers as a result.

Kim Lee

"I was having breathing problems, so I called the family medicine center to get directions to the Pilsen clinic.  I ended up getting lost, and had a horrible drive, because construction was being done in the area.  I called back and spoke to an employee named Kim Lee, and she was a godsend.  She stayed on the phone with me from the time I called, until I walked into the clinic door.  She also had someone meet me in the parking lot when I arrived.  Keep in mind; I was having an asthma attack at the time, so she was kept me calm and everything.  This call took 20 minutes, and cut into her lunch break, but she stayed on the phone with me anyway.  I could her coworkers asking her about lunch, but she told them to go on with out her.  She stayed with me through every turn and red light until I arrived. We spoke from Oak Park all the way to Pilsen nonstop.  She even had the clinic accommodate my parking. She kept me calm the whole way there, and I really appreciated that.  She really deserves to be recognized for her outstanding efforts in helping me find that location."

Lindsay ThakkilLindsay Thakkil

My child is 15 years old. He's never been in the E.R nor has he ever been admitted into the hospital. Its always a first for everything. Well Linsey Panakal has went above and beyond hospital expectation and my expectation. As an employee of UIH, me and dad were pretty shocked. As this was his first time in any hospital since birth, we knew he was scared out of his mind. Linsey always had time for my child. Demetrielle ( my son) was scared, very emotional, confused, and hurting all at the same time. Linsey pulled a chair next to my son bed and welcomed every question that he had with so much compassion. You can tell that she has kids because she was not a nurse at this time, she jumped into mommy mode explaining things to him. She made him feel comfortable with asking questions about his health. She made him feel like he was needed, instead of a science project with all of the test that they were doing. As a parent no one wants to leave there children in the hospital. I entrusted her with my son, because my son was comfortable and trusted her. He doesn't open up much to new people and with him being scared and confused she gets a lot of brownie points from me. We both were scared, confused, and very emotional and to have someone who was able to speak to you in laymen's terms and Nursing terms was awesome. I knew she was an awesome human being when she gave her own time (break time) to be with my child. Because of her, my sons experience was great. To leave my child with a complete stranger was terrifying. But to leave him with Linsey was comforting. I would like to nominate Linsey Panakal for her compassion as a nurse, a motivator, and a inspirational leader. She is a great team player and she loves what she do. Thanks so much for being open to my family, and being there when there was times that we couldn't. I appreciate that.

Marcelo Rodriquez
Language Services

Mr. Rodriguez demonstrates the core values of UI Health: Compassion, Accountability, Respect, and Excellence; displays a job performance that goes beyond expected performance levels; exhibits a patient-first mentality; is motivated and strives for excellence; contributes to the positive culture in the department and organization; has made a difference in the life of a patient.

Mr. Marcelo Rodriguez on many occasions has given 2000% (i.e. gone beyond expected performance)in his role as an interpreter at UIH with the interest of the patient as primary. On one occasion, I was in the GI lab on the second floor and the interpreter computer was not working. I called the third floor surgicenter and Mr. Rodriguez came to the second floor to interpret for us. The family was very appreciative. On another occasion, I needed to call a family member of a patient to obtain informed consent for a patient to have a procedure. The family member only spoke Cantonese. I went into the lunchroom looking for the interpreter computer planning to put my phone on speaker and utilize the computer as interpreter. Mr. Rodriguez was eating lunch. He stopped eating his lunch despite my insistence for him to continue his lunch. He then set up the telephone with a three way conversation including myself, the patient's family member , and the interpreter. Mr. Marcelo Rodriquez is passionate about his role at UIH, goes beyond the expected performance levels, strives for excellence, exhibits patient-first mentality, makes a difference in the lives of our patients, and contributes to the positive culture here at UIH.

Marla BarkoffMarla Barkoff
MD - Endocrinology

I  Not only am I staff here, but I am a patient. I seek my care here because we have some incredible providers. There are more who I probably should be recognizing besides Dr. Barkoff, but she has gone so far beyond what is required of a physician that I cannot live with myself without acknowledging her. I had a biopsy done in November that came back with results that were not favorable. My PMD, who is great by the way, recommend that I see Endocrinology immediately to discuss next steps. If anyone reading this is a health care provider, you know we make the WORST patients possible because we have seen many bad outcomes. The day I got my results, I called the Access number, like every other patient. The next appointments weren't until 2 months out. I was terrified. I wanted follow up as soon as possible. As we I was on the phone with an access person, an opening appeared on Dr. Barkoff as an open slot. Since I was just across the street, I was able to be on time for that open position. I really think it was fate since I was able to see her the same day as I got my results. Even though the Wellness center was not able to process me in the regular manner, I was seen by Dr. Barkoff that day. She got to see me at my worst as I had just found out the results from my PMD over the phone. The results were not in the computer. Not knowing was scarier than knowing what I was dealing with. When I met Dr. Barkoff, I was astounded by her kindness and concern. As she looked for the results, she was not able to find anything in the computer as well. She responded "that's okay, I know all the pathologists. Let me make a call". So it wasn't just one call, but multiple calls with me in the room until she found the pathologist. He was currently testing my biopsy cells to see if I had the worst type of result and would not have that final result until 4 pm that day. So I finally knew where I was and she was able to give me an HONEST plan with my care. I started with "I don't want to jump the gun, but would you do the surgery if I need it?". She responded "you are not jumping the gun because you are already there." Her honesty was amazing. She was able to walk through all my options and partnered with me and my care. She gave me the scoring system and explained what everything meant. She even told me about the new Endocrinology practice guidelines that just changed 2 weeks ago that would impact my care. She was AMAZING. I can't believe how lucky I was to have met her. She asked if it was ok to contact me and told me how to contact her. She asked that I update her every 1-2 days. Because my husband was not with me at the time, he had many questions (ones he didn't want to ask me). She told me to give him the phone and she would answer all his questions. Please keep in mind that this was after hours (around 8 pm) just to make sure we were all doing okay. She remembered the day before my surgery to wish me luck, she called the day after. She has assured me that she would get "feeling better" because of low levels after surgery. She has always been kind, compassionate, caring and wonderful. I always let anyone know who was thinking about seeing an endocrinologist that I know "the best one ever"!!    

Please recognize her, though I know she does not do this for the recognition. But I want UI Health to know what an amazing asset that they have within their institution.

Monique TateMonique Tate
Staff Submission: Kim Zimmerman

Monique Tate was providing housekeeping services while I was treating a stroke patient on 6E Neuro. The patient has significant expressive language impairment (aphasia) and was attempting to communicate the name of her boyfriend and her address without success. The patient described an intersection in Chicago and Monique, familiar with the area, described several of the buildings in the area which the patient recognized as being in her neighborhood. This helped staff in locating her current address as well as finding her boyfriend/family.

I am so very proud to see staff members going above and beyond their job description to assist a patient and this example of compassion and care should be recognized and rewarded.

Thank you Monique for all you do each and every day!

Nick DotsonNick Dotson

Nick consistently goes above and beyond in the care he provides for our psychiatric patients. He is kind, patient and respectful with all of our patients. We recently had a very ill patient who spoke almost no English and was from Yemen. Nick observed that this patient was struggling with the proper use of a toothbrush and somehow knew that it is common in Yemen for the use of a miswak (a hygienic fibrous stick) to keep the teeth clean. Nick went online and purchased some of these sticks with his own money. This incredibly thoughtful and generous act is very typical of Nick. He treats all of our patients the way that we would want to be treated. Nick exemplifies the golden rule!

Nisanth KaithakotNisanth Kaithakot

A pt that I provide complex case management was served by Nisanth Kaithakot in the capacity of performing a Pulmonary Function Test with the pt.  This patient called me twice on two different days to express his happiness about the experience. This patient had the test done 10/12/16. He had delayed the test a few times. He described Nisanth ability with highest ratings. He indicated that Nisanth coached him thoroughly so that he, the pt, was able to perform the test to the best of his ability. He said Nisanth also made the experience "fun" even though he worked hard. I can only imagine that Nisanth is very engaged and enthusiastic with his patients. He obviously knows how to explain things to a person without low health literacy. He knows how to empower them and make them feel good about themselves, even with their limitations. This patient charged me to report his great experience to Nisanth's supervisor. This is why I am writing this. I want to express my thanks as well. In my job, I manage people with complicated chronic diseases. Some people have barriers of one type or another that delays treatment or testing. It is certainly helps the process when patients engage with health care providers who show compassion, competence and joy. In fact, this patient stated that he wished he got the test sooner and that he will gladly come back and have the test in one year. What a testimony to Nisanth!

Nubia TapiaNubia Tapia
Women’s Health

I would like to recognize and commend Nubia Tapia for the exceptional job she did in the eight weeks that she worked in our Gyn Oncology Department, through the months of November and December 2015. She was assigned to be our Medical Assistant, while our regular assistant was away on maternity leave.

Nubia did her expected tasks very well. She roomed our patients and was always respectful and friendly. She cleaned and restocked the exam rooms, made appointments, did "failed appointment" follow-ups, logged submitted specimens,answered our office phones, etc. Whenever Nubia was given an assignment, she would get them done promptly and many times, find ways of doing them better. This special recognition, however, is for the many additional tasks that she took on voluntarily. They are things that improved our customer service, and improved our department's efficiency.

She organized our drawers in the clinic and in our department office, with better labeled filing system. She helped us purge and discard piles of files that wa s cluttering our office.

She initiated the coordination of having the IT department create the appointment template for the new Gyn Oncologist that would be joining us in February.

She submitted the purchase order for additional clinic instruments that has been needed for some time. This required obtaining the catalogue, and contacting the sales representative, to ensure accuracy of the items ordered.

She contacted the Oncology Clinic's Head of Physician's Practice to request a Labeling machine for our section of the clinic. We no longer have to wa lk to the front desk to get extra printed labels.

She created a packet, for patient hand-out, which contained resource contacts for our social worker, and the clinic representative from the American Cancer Society.

She put together a large number of Surgery Packets, and in the process also made improvements to its contents.

Regina DechellisRegina Dechellis
Physical Therapy

Regina has consistently demonstrated the highest concern for providing the best care to her patients and being a good team member. While she has received several compliments on her care from patients returning the press-ganey survey, she has also gone above and beyond for the patients who ended up not completing their rehab at UIH. Recently she was treating a patient who had just had a total knee replacement. He had difficulty making it to his appointments regularly and frequently missed or cancelled. In talking with him on the phone, she determined that he had trouble getting to his appointments at UIH because he lived a long way away and couldn't reliably get transportation. In response, she notified his surgeon, helped the patient to get a new referral for PT and helped him to find another facility nearby his home where he could get the consistent care he needed to complete his rehabilitation. She even called him afterwards to make sure he knew he had everything in place to transfer his care elsewhere.

In an instance of exceptional teamwork, a therapist who was going to have interns left the organization and Regina willingly accepted the extra work of taking on interns in place of the other therapist so as to guarantee they still had a placement. During that time, she went above and beyond to make sure the interns had the best experience possible by keeping their schedules organized, being readily available to them on anything they needed, coordinating them observing in other clinic, and remained prepared throughout for their daily patient schedules.

She has been a pleasure to have on our relatively new team at Maxwell St PT; and, I have no doubt, will continue to excel in giving consistent, compassionate, and complete care to all of our patients (easy, difficult, and in-between).

Rovina Lerio
Staff Submission: Robin Garrett

Rovina is our educator in Perioperative Services. Over the last few years, she has worked tirelessly on revamping our educational program for new employees. She has oriented over 20 employees over the last year. On top of orienting all of the new employees, she works with medical students, nursing students, and ORT students providing an excellent educational program for them, which they all have been so grateful for. Our new graduates have been given an excellent orientation and given them the tools to be successful in our department. This has helped us to retain our new staff.

In addition to all of the teaching she does for new employees and students, she works diligently on keeping all of our policies and guidelines up to date with the most current, best practices after doing extensive research. I am always confident that she has done her research to make sure she is up to date on the current best practices. This year she moved all of our policies from our team site to the main policy website for all areas to view if needed.

On top of all of that, she coordinates our weekly meetings on Wednesdays. Many times she creates PowerPoints or educational materials for the staff. She work well with the management team to push forward initiatives that are for the betterment of the patients and the unit. She is very patient focused and works diligently to provide our department with the best education to take care of our patients to the best of our ability.

I love her energy and excitement when we implement new best practices and the staff adhere to her guidelines. Today she said with a lot of excitement, "It's like delivering a baby!" She saw staff working together and implementing our new initiatives and she was truly excited.

She is such an asset to the team and really valued by the department. She deserves to be acknowledged and recognized for all of the hard work and great changes she has made within the department.

Shannon O’NeillShannon O’Neill
Care Staff Submission: Kim Zimmerman

Hope this email finds you well. I am a chaplain with the Supportive Care team who had the privilege of meeting and caring for a patient with Shannon O’Neill, your team member. I write to offer positive praise for Shannon. I observed Shannon going above and beyond in her care for one of our patients. Shannon shared her professional and interpersonal skills in building a rapport with and in developing a care plan for this patient. Shannon was particularly instrumental in advocating for her patient when noticing a change in her cognition. Shannon demonstrated to me in her interactions with this patient her philosophy of care that involves developing a trusting, caring, and respectful rapport with patients and designing a care plan personally that taps into their strengths, values, and interests. Shannon stands out as a provider (as I am sure you are aware). I am so grateful to have collaborated with Shannon and am looking forward to future collaborations. Thank you for hiring Shannon and for all of your support of her excellent work!

Sincerely, Deirdre Manning

From Kim:

Shannon is an outstanding employee who goes above and beyond for each and every one of her patients. She advocates for patients and families, provides excellent clinical treatment and stretches to make sure patient and family needs are exceeded each and every day. I am grateful to Shannon for her leadership and I am proud she is an employee of UI Health. Shannon is a model employee and is deserving of recognition for the outstanding services she provides.

Stephanie HultzStephanie Hultz
Care Coordination

Stephanie Hultz excels in solving complex issues related to patient transitions (discharge) from the hospital to the patient's next level of care. As a member of the neuroscience inpatient ward on 6 E, Stephanie is instrumental in aligning the needs of the patient, their families with the direct care teams to ensure all outstanding issues are addressed.

Stephanie has an uncanny ability to quickly define the clinical needs of the patient with the pending transition date and share this information with the neuroscience team in real time. The members of neuroscience team hold her in very high regard because her enthusiasm, she possess a can-do attitude and she is an excellent communicator with everyone. Stephanie also has the ability to effectively communicate during times of high stress and anxiety and still be able to coordinate care and deliver information in an expedient and timely manner. I have heard this descriptions about Stephanie from patient family members and multiple staff members.

In closing, Stephanie is highly valued member of the team who delivers excellence in patient care.

Stephanie VodopicStephanie Vodopic
Physical Therapy

I would like to recognize Stephanie Vodopic for her dedication and care she provides to patients. Stephanie consistently goes above and beyond for her patients. She is genuinely concerned about her patients safety and well being and often performs home visits to ensure that they are going home to an adequate environment. Home visits (which are not mandatory) requires personal resources such as transportation and time as it usually takes more than an hour and will often spill into break/lunch hours. She willingly goes on home visits for patients that are questionable about safety and return to home. This has resulted in improvements in patient/family safety and feedback as well as potentially decreasing readmissions.

Stephanie is an advocate for her patients. Recently, she was alerted of 2 of her patients' lack of resources/reimbursement of equipment (slideboards) that was necessary for return to home. She searched for the slideboards and ordered them from her personal funds. She made sure to order them on time that it would be delivered prior to them discharging home. During the last 2 days of her patients' stay, Stephanie was sick and could not make it in to work, but that did not stop her from continuing quality care for her patients. Early morning (through her sickness!) she wrote a detailed coverage note of concerns and goals for each of her patients as she wanted to make sure that each of her patients had a smooth and successful discharge. Thank you Steph for all that you do!

Dr. Steven DudekDr. Steven Dudek
Pulmonary, Critical Care, Sleep & Allergy

I am the Clinical Ethics Consultant at UI Health and I often get consulted by our ICU teams. I am often involved in family / team meetings to discuss difficult issues such as goals of care and end of life decisions. These meetings often involve attending physicians, resident physicians, nursing, supportive care team members and family / legal decision maker for the patient who no longer has decisional capacity.

One such meeting took place on June 2, 2016. Dr. Steven Dudek was the attending physician of a very sick 37 year old man, who had multi-system organ failure with no curative treatment left to offer him, only comfort care. We met with patient wife (legal decision maker) and patient mother. The conversation began with Dr. Dudek updating the family on patients condition and answering questions they had. I was at this meeting to moderate and to help family with the difficult decisions related to end of life care options.

Dr. Dudek was very patient with the family, he explained the clinical issues in a way that the family understood and was very gentle in discussing end of life treatment options. He did not rush any of the conversation and was very patient with questions and follow up information.

I would like to nominate Dr. Dudek for a Care award because of his compassion and professionalism in taking care of this family during a very difficult and sad time for them. His kind and gentle communication with this family helped them make some difficult decisions for their very sick loved one.

Tamara GriffinTamara Griffin
Family Medicine

   Tamara Griffin is always very professional, putting the patients first, and assisting with as much as she can at all times. When I call the clinic to get an appointment for my daughter who has been challenged for the last three years, Tamara always responds and tries her best to make it happen. She always responds promptly and keep you well informed on what is going. On 8/31/16 my daughter was having a fever of 104, and I was in a panic for an appointment, I called and the call center said they couldn't help, called got Tamara, and instantly she got to work. When I heard Tamara voice she quickly calmed my panic explained the situation and told me she would get back to me and in 1hr she had my daughter scheduled with her primary doctor reassuring me that everything was taken care. She made sure to come over a greet us after she was finished with the patients that she was registering. Tamara has exemplified that patients come first in the same way for the last 7 years. She shows that UIC employees take pride in there job, while putting patient first, working with integrity, and as a team completing the task at hand. Tamara is always pleasant, kind, supportive, and goes over in beyond and for a parent of a sick child this reassures me that UIC is the place where my daughter should receive her care.

Tareg QtamiTareg Qtami

I'd like to nominated Tareg Qtami for a CARE award. He was instrumental in helping a VERY frustrated employee get his NET id worked out.

This employee is an EMT here at UIH. Not sure how it happened but this employees left UIH for a while and when he came back he was given a new Net Id. However, the new Net ID never really worked. He would receive email at his "old" net id, use the "old" net id to log into all system  -except the LMS.

When the annual mandatories were launched in October, this employee showed up in WROB one day extremely frustrated and at his wits end. He was unable to log into the LMS. Not one of his netid's worked. In years past, he had been going thru the "back door" to access the LMS.  When I started to investigate, I knew I was going to need some more "technical" help about creating net id, security clearance, etc and immediately turned to Tareg. When I explained to him what was going on, he began to help me troubleshoot and we discovered that the issue was indeed tied into this 2 net ids.

Tareg offered to submit a ticket to ACCC and I gladly accepted his help. Well, guess what. After a few follow up emails from Tareq and the employees manager this issue has been SOLVED!!!!!!  I've never seen an employee so happy to be able to log into the LMS.

I want to thank Tareg for his assistance. While he is well versed in the netid world, this was above and beyond his normal duties and I appreciate his efforts to model the UI CARE behaviors. This is team work at its' finest.

UI Health Care Coordination TeamUI Health Care Coordination Team

I am nominating my entire department! As some may know, our department in recent months transitioned from the UI Health Plus Medicaid model to a partnership with a Managed Care plan. This transition resulted in doubling our staff in approximately 3 months, bringing on a new manager, changing all of our processes and workflows, monthly audits, a ton of training and outside meetings and in general a high level of stress intertwined with fluctuating morale levels while still offering the patients the best coordination of care. In just the last 6 weeks, we've actually had TWO of our own employees fall ill at work. In both cases, neither our department manager or myself were present.

The team literally SPRUNG into action in both instances and were absolutely phenomenal. From attempting to assess and calm their colleagues, to transporting them to urgent care, to calling RRT and escorting them to the ED, to contacting significant others and family members, and then checking on them to ensure they made it home safely, and even following up once home to ensure they were scheduled for follow ups and proper care. The support they have shown for EACH other through these incidents demonstrate why they are so excellent at care coordination! I am extremely proud of the work they do on a daily basis with patients to ensure they get the care and education they need; but I am even prouder that their tenacity and compassion extends to everyone on their team--particular in times of crisis. A running joke in our department is they want "UI Health Care Coordination" jackets...I can't get those for them, but I can definitely give them the gift of recognition for going above and beyond with patients AND each other consistently!

Vinny SharmaVinny Sharma

My mom was admitted to UIC in December due to a massive CVA, which mainly affected her left side. Just a little background on my mom who turns 91 in January. She was basically in good health prior to this incident walking 3 miles per day. My mom retired the end of November, from Walmart, to be with me during my chemo when she had her hemorrhagic bleed.

It was during her ICU admission that we had the pleasure to meet Dr. Vinny Sharma who demonstrated great professionalism. His doctor/patient confidentiality was exemplary. My mom/family felt safe in Vinny's company disclosing previous and present medical condition(s).

Equally important was Vinny's respect and fairness. He treated my mom/family with respect and fairness despite of my mom's age and medical condition. Vinny made a genuine empathetic connection with my mom/family. He made every attempt to understand how my mom/family felt, as well as how my mom's condition would affect her everyday life, which reduced her/our anxiety and fear. We felt that we were blessed with the BEST doctor.

Vinny was attentive to not just my mom's needs but her family too. He asked questions about previous medical history and even followed with my mom's physicians in Pennsylvania in order to gain a deeper understanding of her situation. Vinny treated my mom as an individual rather than a 90 year old statistic. He was always thinking forward, as well as updating us on all changes. My mom/family had TRUST in Vinny as he was calming and thoughtful while dealing with each situation that arose with my mom.

Despite Vinny's long hours and grueling schedule he was ALWAYS cheerful, engaging, and knowledgeable of current events, as well as future plans. My mom and family were BLESSED to have such a GREAT doctor like Vinny Sharma. We just wanted you to know that Vinny comes highly recommended.

Yolanda Tyler & Rayshonda BlackmanYolanda Tyler & Rayshonda Blackman
Food Services

Inpatient pharmacy has a huge walk-in fridge and freezer full of tons of medications. Tonight, our fridge broke, and there was a serious risk of us having to throw out some (or all) of the medications (to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars, possibly more). Having to act quickly, we put all of our frozen medications on several large rolling carts and rolled them over to nutrition, hoping to use one of their many large walk-in freezers as storage overnight (until someone could fix our freezer in the morning).

Two employees in Food Services (a Miss Yolanda Tyler & a Miss Rayshonda Blackman), took pity on us and helped guide us and our carts through the nutrition department (which is an easy place to get lost in). Rayshonda and Yolanda also helped us find a suitable freezer to store the medications in, and both were incredibly helpful for the one hour it took us to get everything transferred from our freezer over to the nutrition department freezer.

Not only was Rayshonda's & Yolanda's willingness to help us an excellent example of outstanding customer service... they both also helped save the hospital an unbelievable amount of money (since those drugs are purchased through the pharmacy's budget, which ultimately comes from state taxpayers). If we hadn't had Rayshonda & Yolanda's help, it's quite possible this could have been a much bigger problem than it ended up being.

I wanted to recognize these two employees for their excellent attitudes and customer service, because they made all the difference tonight. Pharmacy cannot thank them enough.