The SPIRIT of DOM Award

SPIRIT of DOM AwardAs part of our commitment to recognizing our highly dedicated staff and NFAs and increasing the visibility of their work, we established the SPIRIT of DOM (Service, Professionalism, Inclusivity, Responsibility, Inspiration, and Teamwork in the Department of Medicine) Award in 2017. This award aims to acknowledge staff members and NFAs who exemplify the UCSF PRIDE Values and make the DOM and UCSF a better place to work. Since the award's establishment, 30 awards have been given for excellence and commitment to the department.

For the fall 2022 cycle, the award committee received 14 nominations across all DOM sites, representing a wide variety of roles. The following individuals, appearing in alphabetical order, were selected to receive the award:


Amy AkbarianAmy Akbarian is the division manager of both Gastroenterology/Hepatology and Rheumatology at ZSFG. She started at UCSF in 1997 and gained diverse experience in a variety of roles over the course of her career before joining the Department of Medicine at ZSFG in 2008.

Her nominators report that Amy excels at problem solving and finding creative solutions in the complex ecosystem of UCSF. She thinks outside the box and goes the extra mile to make sure that thorny problems related to things like budgets, hiring, and space are resolved in a timely and efficient manner. She is extremely detail oriented in these matters and her work on things like budgets is spot on. If she is unsure about something, she will research it; she also shares the knowledge gained by her vast experience working at ZSFG and UCSF.

Amy is unflagging in her support and willingness to advocate for faculty in their various roles, which in turns allows faculty to be productive and serve vulnerable patients at ZSFG. She is always professional and respectful to faculty and staff and was an immense source of support. Jinoos Yazdany, MD, MPH, chief of the Division of Rheumatology at ZSFG, shared: “The pandemic has led to many challenges for faculty and staff, and Amy has been an immense source of support for everyone during this difficult time. Most recently, we have had huge challenges with hiring new staff members after several departures, and Amy has worked tirelessly to ensure that we can fill these positions. This has required making many phone calls, having many one-to-one conversations, and answering an almost constant onslaught of emails. She has again gone above and beyond to ensure that things are moving along with the hiring of multiple new staff. People like Amy make my job at UCSF easier. We are so lucky to have her as a division manager at ZSFG.”

Outside of work, Amy enjoys travel, theater, and spending time with her husband and two daughters. On the weekends, she can usually be found watching her daughters at one of their Irish dance events.

Stuart GaffneyStuart Gaffney is the program coordinator at the UCSF Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (CAPS) and the Division of Prevention Science, where he coordinates many day-to-day operations. In his 21 years with UCSF, he has worked in many aspects of both quantitative and qualitative research.

Stuart’s nominators expressed how he appreciates and celebrates differences in others, creating an environment of equity and inclusion where all feel welcome. Faculty, fellows, and staff feel comfortable in going to him when they need help, have questions, or simply need a sounding board. He respects others by listening, being present, and asking questions. He is deeply committed to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging, and has been active on the DPS Anti-Racism Working Group from its inception in 2020. Lara Coffin, MPH, a survey research supervisor, observed, “Stuart has consistently served as a role model for our division, and for me personally. In my five years with the Division of Prevention Science, he has steadily encouraged me and others to strive for excellence, all the while encouraging and motivating us.”

Stuart encouraged the creation of a staff research coordinator’s group, a network of research staff, analysts, coordinators, and project managers, to coordinate the activities involved in HIV-related research projects at UCSF. The network helps address common problems by facilitating the exchange of best practices and other information among employees doing similar work. As the Division’s Engagement Ambassador as well as Wellness Champion, he implemented various initiatives to promote engagement, wellness, and community building to improve employees’ physical, mental, emotional, well-being. He helps plan in-person team-building and social events, such as weekly and monthly All-Division events, staff appreciation days, faculty retreats, and retirement celebrations.

In his spare time, Stuart and husband John are active in many social justice causes, including international education around marriage equality and LGBTQ rights. They were one of the plaintiff couples in the case that brought marriage equality to California in 2008. Stuart received the UCSF Chancellor's Award for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and/or Transgender Leadership in 2009. More recently, Stuart and John have partnered with Tokyo Gakugei University to bring their outreach to university students in Japan.

Stuart sees his work at UCSF and his community activism as parallel mission-driven ways to advance social justice and equality for all.

Marie HolleroMarie Hollero works closely with the fellows and faculty in the Division of Infectious Disease at UCSF Health as the education programs manager. She first came to UCSF in 1998 in the Controller’s Office and also worked in Anesthesia before joining the Department of Medicine in ID in 2020.

Her nominators emphasized how Marie goes above and beyond for the attendings, fellows, residents, and medical students in the Division, bringing not only warmth, enthusiasm, and a smile to work every day, but treats and snacks too!

Marie started at ID in March 2020, just two weeks before the shelter-in-place order. Despite being new to the role, she was instrumental in helping the Division pivot to the virtual environment. In addition, Marie decided on her own to go to the office nearly every day to get to know and support the fellows in-person. Her dedication to the well-being of the fellows had a positive impact on fellow and faculty morale. She was also instrumental in ensuring that recent leadership and programmatic transitions went smoothly and were seamless to the fellows.

In coordinating ID Fellowship interviews, Marie dealt with schedule changes, cancellations, and no-shows with patience and grace, with multiple applicants commenting at the end of the day how smoothly the interviews went. David Sears, MD, director of the ID Elective at UCSF Health for residents and students, shared that “[Marie] is personable, thoughtful, funny, and relentlessly positive. She greats everyone by name and is genuinely excited to welcome new faces. She strives to make the work environment fun in a way that is authentic and also feels effortless. This climate helps foster an environment that is inclusive and optimal for learning.”

Marie is on several education-related committees and volunteers to help organize departmental events related to fellowship and residency. She mentors other staff members and has taken a leadership role in the Department of Medicine Program Administrator (PA) group to improve the working environments for PAs. She also volunteered to serve on the Division’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee and voluntarily provides administrative support to the Division’s DEI champion and committee.