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, 37 awards have been given for excellence and commitment to the department.

For the spring 2024 cycle, the award committee received nominations across all DOM sites, representing a wide variety of roles. The following individuals, appearing in alphabetical order, were selected to receive the award:



Kristina Bello Kristina Bello is an analytical chemist for the Division of Cardiology at ZSFG. Kristina (Tina) was hired at UCSF in 1990 as a Lab Assistant and was promoted to Staff Research Associate in 1995. Over the years, she progressed through the SRA series and is now an SRA 4. In this capacity she has developed vast knowledge and experience in critical areas of our research program and laboratory operations, in particular sophisticated analytical methods employing chromatography and mass spectrometry techniques. She carries out clinical study sample analyses using our most demanding analytical methods. She now plays a major role in managing the complex activities of the laboratory. Among Tina’s many accomplishments have been carefully stewarding the many complexities of moving a nationally-prominent lab from one location to the new spaces in UCSF Pride Hall on the ZSFG campus. Tina’s several faculty nominators noted: “Tina worked long hours overseeing the move, supervising staff, and due to the size and complexities of our laboratory operations, and various deficiencies in the building that needed to be corrected, it was several months before lab activities could be resumed. But because of her hard work, ability to organize and delegate responsibilities appropriately our lab is now fully functional. Because of her extensive knowledge (and illustrating the difficulties of the move) Tina was asked to join the ZRAB Biospecimen Working group in 2022 and served until the move in August of 2023. This workgroup was tasked with assessing ongoing biospecimen storage at ZSFG, freezer needs in the ZRAB, and providing the Vice Dean’s office with recommendations to guide freezer allocations. Given Tina’s extensive experience with biosample storage, Dr. St.Helen who co-chaired the workgroup with Dr. Lucy Kornblith, requested that Tina join the workgroup. Tina was an active and important member of the workgroup and enriched the biweekly discussions with her hands-on experience.” Tina is also known for her incredible demonstration and dedication to the UCSF PRIDE Values and contributions to building an enriching a very diverse and robust community within her teams in cardiology. “[Tina] is a role model and an inspiration to other UCSF colleagues, because she is such a kind and generous person, in addition to her hard work and accomplishments.


Diana KimDiana Kim is the division manager for the Division of General Internal Medicine (DGIM) at UCSF Health. In her day-to-day role, she oversees and manages all financial and administrative matters for DGIM, which includes oversight of academic operations, strategic planning, human resources management, fiscal budgeting, research administration, space planning, and supporting the UCPC residency and non-ACGME fellowship programs. She values working with her staff colleagues, learners, and faculty, and strives to increase operational efficiencies and improve processes. She particularly enjoys mentoring, sharing knowledge, and supporting the professional development of those around her.

Diana has been with UCSF for 15 years. Before joining DGIM in 2019, she was in the Department of Surgery. She started her career in research and holds a master’s degree in public health. Diana has been nominated for the SPIRIT of DOM Award numerous times by several members of her division community. In addition to being considered “an extremely hard worker who brings persistence and a "can-do" attitude consistently to her projects”, faculty and staff alike characterize her as “a force for keeping our Division running and [we] do not know what we would do without her.” Among her many contributions to the DOM and UCSF community are those in the category of DEIB work. Her nominators shared, “Diana has served as a UCSF Staff Equity advisor for two years. In this role, she helps to ensure that excellence, equity, and diversity are considered in all aspects of staff recruitment and the hiring process. Staff Equity Advisors provide stewardship of recruitment at the Manager 2 level and above by working with hiring managers, training search committees, and monitoring search processes and outcomes that are in alignment with UCSF's Anti-Racism Initiative. Diana has been an advisor on various staff recruitment search committees and has provided unconscious bias training. Second, Diana has been an active member of the key campus-wide Committee on the Status of Women (CSW). This committee is made up of a diverse group of women, including faculty members, staff, and trainees at all levels who advocate for and advise on a wide variety of issues that impact women at UCSF.  Third, Diana volunteers for the Asian Pacific American Systemwide Alliance (APASA), whose goal is to promote professional and social relations within UCSF and the rich and diverse cultural heritage of all Asian communities. APASA works with other minority organizations to address issues of equity, fair labor practices, and diversity at UCSF. Finally, within DGIM, Diana co-chairs our Asian American, Pacific Islander task force with one of the DGIM faculty members.”

Jennifer  Lee Jennifer Lee is currently the fellowship manager for the Academic Hospital Medicine fellowship and assists with finance within the Division of Hospital Medicine (DHM). Jen also serves as the fellowship manager for the Clinical Informatics fellowship in the newly formed Division of Clinical Informatics and Digital Transformation (DoC-IT). She began her tenure with the Division of Hospital Medicine in October 2018, initially hired as the fellowship coordinator while also supporting research core faculty. Before joining UCSF, Jen was a project manager in the finance industry. Jen has also been nominated by several faculty and staff colleagues numerous times for the SPIRIT of DOM Award. Her commitment to the missions of the DOM in her division is evidenced in many ways. Her nominators shared, among many impressive details, that, “Jen always goes above and beyond to help other staff and the division. As our division has grown exponentially in the last few years, Jen volunteered to add financial management and analysis work into her role, even though it was not part of her initial job description. This work involves extreme attention to detail and requires Jen to process many UC Path tickets to ensure faculty and staff are paid from the right accounts. Jen has stepped into this work so seamlessly that she is a key member of the division’s finance team. When our finance manager was on maternity leave, Jen’s knowledge and expertise with our financial systems and processes allowed us to manage the division’s finances without any issues in the manager’s absence. It cannot be overstated how integral Jen was to this, and this is all because she volunteered to learn our financial systems.” Additionally, the group wrote to describe the way she authentically and passionately shows up for the important work of inclusive community- building, “whenever we coordinate divisional volunteer activities (SF Marin Food Bank, American Heart Association walks), Jen is always there. In addition, one of the key goals in the fellowship is to enhance the diversity of our applicant pool and to ensure that fellowship is accessible to all exceptional candidates. Jen has been crucial in this work supporting the coordination with those leading diversity recruitment efforts in the department to study and iterate our recruitment approaches and fellowship support and salary structures. (She also) passionately supports and organizes events for the DHM Women’s Council, which provides supportive community events for divisional members identifying as women. Jen treats everyone fairly, regardless of their background. Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging are intrinsic to Jen’s approach to her work and development as a person.”


Past Winners

Barbara Green-AjufoBarbara Green-Ajufo is the research partnerships manager in the Division of Prevention Science. In this role, she is responsible for organizing the Community Advisory Board (CAB) for the division, which encompasses the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (CAPS) and the Prevention Research Center (PRC).  Prior to joining UCSF, she held positions as an epidemiologist with the Pregnancy and Infant Health Branch and the Division of Global HIV/AIDS at the CDC and as the director of the HIV/AIDS Surveillance and Epidemiology Unit within the Alameda County Public Health Department. Her career’s mission has been to improve the health and well-being of low-income populations, particularly in areas where health disparities and inequalities are most pronounced. 

At UCSF, her core duty is to establish and sustain partnerships between academic researchers and local communities. Through her influence on recruitment, intervention strategies, and expertise in working with ethnic/racial minoritized communities, she successfully expanded the CAB’s membership and ensured substantial representation of communities of color. Additionally, she takes the lead in spearheading targeted outreach to over 140 HBCUs nationwide as part of the Ujima Mentoring Program. She also co-leads the division’s IDEA (inclusion, diversity, equity, and anti-racism) initiative.

Beyond her dedication and exceptional service to the division, Barbara’s nominators emphasize her consistent respect and thoughtfulness in all interactions with program directors, staff, scholars, consultants, and stakeholders. One nominator offered the following praise: “There are times when we have difficult discussions, disagreements, and some conflict. Barbara has led those difficult conversations with great respect and professionalism. She knows that what matters is not who is right or wrong, but that we continue working (or talking, communicating) together. She has a great respect for her colleagues, whether she agrees or not with them.”

Rebecca Hoh

Rebecca (Becky) Hoh is a clinical research manager in the Division of HIV, Infectious Disease, and Global Medicine at ZSFG. 

Becky initially joined UCSF in the 1990s as a dietitian in the Division of Endocrinology. After gaining experience working with patients and providers on the Ward 86 HIV clinic, she transitioned to a role as a clinical study coordinator. Her journey eventually led her to become the SCOPE (Study of the Consequences of the Protease Inhibitor Era) clinical project director.

In 2019, Becky assumed the role of vice chair for the Research Unit Design Group with the UCSF Research and Academic Building Governance Committee. In this capacity, she provided key insights into the design and functionality of the new CCRC (Community and Clinical Research Center) in Pride Hall. During the Covid-19 shut down, her team embarked on the LIINC (Long-term Impact of Infection with Novel Coronavirus) study, one of the earliest longitudinal cohorts dedicated to studying Covid-19.

Becky’s nominators commend her exceptional contributions to the UCSF community, emphasizing her service, professionalism, inclusivity, responsibility, and teamwork. As vice chair for CCRC governance, she demonstrated remarkable problem-solving ability and attentiveness to the needs of the CCRC user group. She identified critical aspects to consider when implementing protocols and procedures, and she communicated in a respectful, clear, and compelling manner. In March 2020, her team began the LIINC program which now supports numerous collaborations, has launched two investigator-initiated clinical trials, and has also secured over $20 million in NIH and foundation funding. One of her nominators wrote, “Becky is an exemplar of a collaborative, effective team leader who quite simply makes excellent research happen and elevates the experience of everyone who works with her, including study participants, trainees, staff and investigators.”

Michael MannMichael Mann is a research finance analyst with UCSF DOM VA, where he oversees the post-award finance matters for 24 principal investigators across four divisions: rheumatology, cardiology, infectious diseases, and pulmonary. Within his purview, he effectively manages a portfolio comprising $17.7 million in ongoing sponsored direct costs and $1.8 million in non-sponsored funding.

Michael’s UC career began at UCSD in late 2018 as a research administrator. He subsequently moved to UC Berkeley as a pre-award research administrator in the Biological, Environmental, Science & Technology service team. He joined the UCSF VA team in May of 2021.

His nominators underscore his high level of professionalism, as evidenced by his considerate and respectful communication style, patience, and receptiveness to the needs and concerns of others. This approach has not only fostered a harmonious working environment but has also enhanced the effectiveness of collaborative efforts. On a day-to-day basis, Michael meticulously manages funding entries for 50 faculty and staff members, showcasing his commitment to integrity through rigorous transaction review, audit, analysis, and precise account reconciliation. One faculty member lauded Michael, stating, “exceptionally reliable, thorough, thoughtful, communicative, organized, and has high attention to detail even in more routine, day-to-day aspects of his role. Michael brings an exemplary level of professionalism to his role, and it is a pleasure to work with him.”

For his part, Michael expresses his enjoyment in his work, as it allows him to play a crucial role in supporting groundbreaking research, thereby enabling the PIs to focus on their science.

Jordan Cuby.

Jordan Cuby joined the Division of General Internal Medicine (DGIM) at the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center as a Clinical Research Coordinator during the thick of the Covid-19 pandemic in January 2021. A native of Louisville, KY, he graduated from Howard University in Washington, D.C, where he earned his BS in Psychology and went on to earn his MPH, focusing on community health education and social science, from the City University of New York, Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy. 

In his role as CRC, he leads data collection for two research projects. Jordan manages the day-to-day operations, data collection, and communications among team members that include trainees, research staff, and faculty co-investigators. As the primary face of these studies, he is on the ground coordinating data collection with community partners and delegating tasks to the research team, conducting one-on-one interviews with participants experiencing homelessness, and coordinating the over 26 follow-up visits for each participant. Jordan’s ability to connect and engage with participants is credited with the high follow-up rates among a population that is hard to reach. Jordan is naturally gifted and outstanding in connecting with individuals who identify as being part of a gender and sexual minority group or have experienced substantial trauma from homelessness and/or substance use. His open, empathetic, and non-judgmental manner of communication are some of the primary reasons why participants have shared their experiences around substance use and homelessness and continue to follow-up. 

Jordan has been instrumental in resolving several roadblocks in research. For example, when the Tom Waddell clinic had to move recruitment and retention procedures outdoors to Civic Center Plaza during the pandemic, Jordan took the lead in implementing study procedure changes despite how challenging it was to conduct recruitment and follow-ups outdoors in an outdoor public space. He was able to initiate and maintain a clinic presence at the Tom Waddell clinic, which substantially increased PCP referrals to the study. He initiated the idea for posting QR code flyers in the Tenderloin, which helped support recruitment. He maintained a daily presence at the Civic Center Plaza study site, stayed late to meet with participants or met them over the weekend to provide them with flexibility to attend study visits at a time convenient to them.

Jordan has earned praise from clinic partners for his professionalism. He is emblematic of diversity, bringing with him experience as a Black/African American public health practitioner and community health educator who has made a career improving the health of underserved populations and as a professor of English language in Colombia who is bilingual in Spanish and English. Jordan is very much deserving of this award and represents the best of UCSF.

Gayle Kojimoto-HumeGayle Kojimoto-Hume is a program manager in the Division of Palliative Medicine (DPM), managing the UCSF MERI Center for Education in Palliative Care, UCSF Practice-PC: Interprofessional Education in Palliative Care Course, and other projects. She also co-facilitates the DPM's Antiracism Task Force. Before she joining UCSF as a career employee in 2004, she spent many summers interning in various departments at UCSF while still in high school!

As coordinator of the MERI Center, she helped lead the development of MERI from a focused education resource for the UCSF/Mount Zion campus to an international education center serving thousands of patients, family caregivers, healthcare providers, and staff annually.

In addition to her regular duties and with the changes occurring in response to Covid, Gayle takes extra initiative to support staff, fellow, and faculty well-being. She hand makes everyone in the division holiday ornaments, serves as a wellness representative with UCSF Campus Life Services, and also serves as a staff engagement ambassador.

Gayle is proactive, resourceful, and exemplifies true commitment in everything she does. In the midst of Covid, she led the consolidation of multiple in-person memorial events into the semi-annual, virtual UCSF Day of Remembering (DOR), where bereaved family and UCSF providers can come together to honor and remember UCSF patients who have died. She exemplified flexibility and versatility when she had to pivot to planning a remote event that the whole institution can participate in and not just DPM-related people. Hundreds now attend the DOR events each winter and summer. She coordinates readings, short talks, music, and rituals for this event, making it a meaningful experience for a very ethnically and religiously diverse group of attendees.

Gayle manages the MERI budget (more than $1.3 million) with the utmost integrity. She is careful to recognize donors, precise in monitoring and projecting budgets, and eminently trustworthy. She is working diligently to raise funding and obtain grants to carry on the important work of MERI. Recently, Gayle learned the intricacies of grant submissions, including producing budgets within the ethical and technical requirements of the University system.

Gayle serves as a co-lead of the DPM Anti-Racism Task Force. She takes initiative in leading the monthly meetings and promotes a safe and supportive space in which members can discuss sensitive topics. Within MERI, Gayle has led efforts to increase inclusiveness via a major revision of the MERI website and course descriptions, a revision of course content to be more equitable, and by promoting collaborations with GLIDE church and the Chinese American Coalition for Compassionate Care. Gayle’s expertise in DEI is being built into new programs and research studies being developed by MERI.

Gayle is widely recognized by those she works with as one of the best administrators at UCSF. She is conscientious, committed to quality improvement, and is often asked to help other team members. The Division of Palliative Medicine entrusts Gayle to assume leadership of two key division education programs in recognition of her skills and competence. Gayle is emerging as a true leader.

Ivan Leung.

Ivan Leung joined the Division of Hematology-Oncology at ZSFG as a Clinical Research Coordinator in 2019. With a focus on serving the needs of diverse patient populations, he is dedicated to promoting health equity and delivering compassionate and culturally concordant care. In his role, Ivan has contributed to over 20 investigator-initiated, cooperative group, and industry-sponsored clinical trials spanning various cancer anatomical sites. In addition to his research responsibilities, Ivan also serves as the administrator for the ZSFG Liver Tumor Board, is a member of his division’s DEI committee, and is a co-facilitator of the Mindfulness Group Medical Visit at the Osher Center of Integrative Health with Dr. Chloe Atreya and Dr. Kavita Mishra.

Ivan has been an outstanding and exemplary research coordinator. He often stays late to ensure patients are able to access clinical trials and follow study procedures, attends clinic visits with patients, even when not required by the study, to make sure that patients understand treatments and risks for side effects, and has been an advocate for all the patients he cares for, especially helping to raise clinical issues which might have gone unnoticed by other providers. His childhood growing up in Hong Kong and fluency in Cantonese has been incredibly useful both in helping patients understand the risks and benefits of clinical trials as well as in providing cultural competency to both patients and providers, helping to bridge large cultural gaps that exist in healthcare for patients in the study team. 
In just his first year, working with a team from the Osher Center for Integrative Oncology, he successfully accrued dozens of ZSFG inpatients to a study of acupuncture for cancer-related pain, jumpstarting the research program and showing that therapeutic cancer research can be successfully carried out at ZSFG. He then took on a study of nivolumab, a novel immunotherapy, combined with radiation therapy for nasopharyngeal cancer, a type of cancer that predominantly affects patients from East and Southeast Asia. With his strong work and dedication, multiple patients were accrued to this trial, making a demonstrable contribution to the study as a whole, and for this he earned an authorship spot on the publication which has a strong potential to change the standard of care for these patients. All the patients accrued to the study were Cantonese speaking and Ivan’s dedication and support were instrumental in providing less toxic and potentially life-saving therapy to these patients. 
Personally, Ivan is warm and caring, funny and easygoing, and an excellent team player. He effortlessly pivots to cover colleagues who are out sick and clearly enjoys mentoring and tutoring newer CRCs. He is diligent and thorough in his work and is genuinely committed to helping patients with cancer access the most cutting-edge research available. As a senior CRC he continues to grow, taking on multiple new responsibilities including multiple regulatory responsibilities, which has greatly sped up study activation for the team. Outside of research, he has taken an active role on the division’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion team, bringing his own perspective on the value of diversity and helping drive the agenda, and has volunteered in the Cantonese-speaking Cancer Awareness Resources and Education (CARE) patient support group at ZSFG.

Nancy Tran

Nancy Tran has been at UCSF since 2006, starting out in the Department of Medicine, in the Division of General Internal Medicine as a Residency Coordinator, then in the Division of Infectious Diseases as Fellowship Coordinator, then in the Division of Gastroenterology as HR and Operations Analyst, and then as Administrative Supervisor in the Department of Pathology before returning to the Department of Medicine in 2019. She joined the Division of Nephrology in 2019 and supports the Renal Transplant Service as the Kidney Transplant Unit (KTU) Administrative Officer. 

Nancy has taken on additional responsibilities to oversee the KTU in all aspects related to clinical revenue management, clinical operations, faculty hiring, appointments, and departures, and collaborates with each medical director to strategize long- and short-term clinical goals and visions for the KTU. Faculty appreciate Nancy’s detail orientation in projecting faculty statements and clinical wRVU expectations for each KTU faculty. The organization and accuracy in projecting wRVU totals and clinical expectations for each provider allows KTU faculty members to focus more intently on patient care.

On top of the continued pandemic which has had its own challenges, there has been a lot of change in the KTU. The unit is recruiting a medical director for the Kidney Transplant Service as well as more faculty members to fulfill patient care needs in KTU.  Nancy has taken control of those recruitments on top of her extremely busy full-time job. The medical directorship is an extremely high-profile position and the recruitment has endured many changes in direction and is still ongoing. She has worked long hours and forgone vacation to try to continue to provide superior service to her doctors’ day-to-day needs as well as work on these very hard recruitments. She meets and interviews all the candidates as well as orchestrates their meetings with a variety of faculty members with difficult schedules. 

Nancy always works at the highest level of professionalism but does so very warmly. She works with a very diverse and challenging group of faculty and has spent time learning each of their personalities and work styles and has adapted to their needs. She always maintains calm and never loses her cool. Nancy always goes above and beyond to produce a top level product.

​​​​​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.


Sun Young JeonSun Young Jeon joined the division of geriatrics at UCSF as a senior statistician in 2018. Working with principal investigators and fellows, she consults on appropriate statistical approaches, provides support for study design and proposal development, and conducts statistical analyses using nationally representative data sets and electronic health records. Sun was nominated by several of her colleagues in the Division of Geriatrics who shared much about her incredible dedication to furthering our research mission and the UCSF PRIDE Values here in the DOM. Her nominators pointed out several of her SPIRIT Award qualities: “Sun is one of those indispensable people that makes a big organization like UCSF run smoothly. She has been amazingly flexible, stepping into projects when unexpected issues arise that increase the work that needs to get done.” “Sun is in all ways spectacular. I have worked with her now for over a year and she is gracious, giving, professional and seeks to improve herself and others in her work. Bottom line, she makes UCSF better. Sun takes immense pride and responsibility in her work. She is thoughtful, amazingly smart, dependable and seeks to do science right. She has [several] ongoing projects with me and is committed to seeing them through and to their success. Her attitude is always positive, and her patience is immense (particularly with me!)” “As a senior statistician, Sun brings keen insight into new and cutting-edge methodologies to apply to our studies. Our data are complex – longitudinal, interval censoring, missing not at random, competing risks – and she has worked to develop a robust repertoire of statistical approaches to meet the challenges of these complex data. And she does so with a smile, a laugh, and a genuine interest in the well-being of others. She unfailingly asks others how they are doing at the start of each meeting. For some this is pro-forma, but not for Sun. She remembers what we talked about at the last meeting, and asks specific questions that show a genuine interest, care, and concern for others. Sun also brings a richness and insight into her job as an immigrant from Korea.  It may not be widely known, but she wrote a book about her experiences studying and working in the US that was a bit of a sensation in Korea. These experiences and insights add a richness to the diverse experiences and distance traveled by members of our Division.”  

Alexandra VelasquezAlexandra Velasquez joined UCSF-ZSFG in 2011 and has been part of the Division of Nephrology since 2012. She holds a BS in Psychology with a Biology emphasis and a minor in Social and Ethnic Relations from UC Davis, as well as a MS from UCSF in Healthcare Administration and Interprofessional Leadership and is a Certified Clinical Research Professional. Currently, she is a Senior Clinical Research Coordinator in kidney health and serves as a navigator for the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) where she supports researchers in increasing community engagement and integrating special populations. Alexandra was nominated by both peers and leaders from inside and outside of her Division. Delphine Tuot, MD, Chief of Nephrology at ZSFG, shared: “This past year, our research lab pivoted from focusing on our own trial to collaborating with other research groups. Alexandra has made this transition seamless…Her dedication, organization, and attention to detail has been appreciated by all team members. Also, she has done a tremendous job as part of the SFBUILD Clinical Research Coordinator: Learners for Equity (CIRCLE) program. Alexandra is incredibly enthusiastic, knowledgeable, a great teacher, detail oriented and highly reliable, and cares very much for her minority trainees and advocates for them. More recently, she became the UCSF lead for this project and is growing in her confidence in this leadership role, as she interacts with leaders of other departments. She is now a navigator in the CTSI Integrating Special Populations Core, tasked with increasing diversity of research participants at UCSF. In this role, she is staffing the training and workforce development working group and provides consultation on the best way to recruit diverse participants. Alexandra is an intelligent, self-motivated critical thinker, asking pertinent questions to understand all facets of a problem prior to developing potential solutions. To this end, she works exceptionally well with diverse project teams, as well as clinician and administrative leaders. Over the past few years, she has learned how to use new technology to develop and test an educational interactive voice response system, leveraged web-based resources to accurately collect data from research participants and perform quality assurance in internet-poor settings, acquired new skills in qualitative and quantitative research, and has effectively led a research team of assistant clinical research coordinators (ACRC).” As noted by peers, Alexandra also serves on the DOM Staff Experience Champions committee and was key in helping to create the DOM Connectors program, co-coordinated the ZSFG DOM Clothing Drive in 2020/2021, and is active in encouraging engagement with staff at ZSFG, within the Department, and among CRCs.”

Cindy CurielCindy Curiel is a Clinical Research Coordinator in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care at ZSFG. She is incredibly busy, working on several studies including REACH, COVID-19 RESOURCE, CARE, COMET, and RISE. She is actively involved with the CLEAR Lab’s Youth-led Participatory Action Research (YPAR) program and supports our community partners at the Lifelong William Jenkins Health Center by leading the weekly Veggie Giveaway and other community projects. Outside of work, Cindy is the Chief Development Officer on the executive board of MiMentor, a national nonprofit organization that creates mentorship opportunities for underrepresented pre-health students. Cindy’s colleagues expressed exceptional praise and respect for her dedication and commitment: “Cindy recognized a need for more leadership opportunities for high school students that completed our annual Youth Participatory Action Research Project (YPAR) over the summer. To address this need, she applied for and was awarded funding from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) for a project to collect survey responses from community members about poor air quality in Richmond, CA. Cindy drafted the grant proposal and YPAR students will conduct surveys in Spanish to highlight the voices of mono-lingual, Spanish-speaking patients of Lifelong medical who are often excluded in research and policy.” “As the pandemic has impacted our Latinx community disproportionately, Cindy – as a native Spanish speaker from the Bay Area – became a trusted confidante for many participants which enabled her to distribute accurate information on COVID and link participants to community resources for those experiencing food or financial insecurity. Cindy takes the necessary time to navigate participants through the applications and red tape to ensure they get connected to needed resources, going above and beyond to support this highly vulnerable population.” Thank you, Cindy, for your incredible work to live the UCSF PRIDE Values and bring the mission of the Department of Medicine to life in all that you do! 

Kat LiKatherine “Kat” Li has just been named Manager of the Division of Palliative Medicine at UCSF Health. At the time of this award cycle, Kat was the Assistant Division Manager in the Division of Hospital Medicine at UCSF Health where she was a dedicated and inspiring role model for many years, starting as an Administrative Analyst. Kat has been nominated for the SPIRIT of DOM Award numerous times over the years and the esteem of her DHM colleagues has been shared in abundance. According to Annie Droste, Division Manager: “This year, our division hired and onboarded over 40 new faculty due to expanded clinical needs at Mt. Zion and reduced patient census for our residency teams due to work hour restrictions. This large number of new faculty put a large burden on our credentialing analyst, and when Kat and I discussed how we could support this employee, she immediately said she would share the work. This level of professionalism and integrity – to take on additional work that will not advance her own career (she’s already moved beyond this level of employee) – purely to support the division and our other employees is incredible. Of the three staff members she directly supervises, all three have excelled during this time, thanks in large part to Kat. Kat has been able to inspire them through the challenges of their new work and make sure they are not experiencing burnout. Finally, Kat is an active member of our division’s Anti-Racism Taskforce, showing her commitment to teamwork. Through the taskforce, she helped identify divisional priorities to ensure our division embodies anti-racism in clinical care, hiring practices, and education for our faculty and staff. She also led efforts to work with Talent Acquisition to ensure the division is doing everything we can to recruit more diverse staff members and has helped keep our website updated to showcase our diversity work to external candidates.” Congratulations, Kat, on this SPIRT of DOM Award for your inspiring work and being a role model! 

Sarah LiskerSarah Lisker works as an Academic Program Management Officer, managing Dr. Urmimala Sarkar’s research lab  in the Division of General Internal Medicine at ZSFG, where she began with the DOM six years ago. Sarah’s unfailing commitment to the UCSF PRIDE Values, along with her work and engagement in various diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives earned her several nominations during this award cycle. Jennifer Thomas, DGIM Division Manager, shared: “Sarah has volunteered for numerous committees, serving on our division’s FUN committee for several years helping to raise morale; providing important input to the UCSF at ZSFG Research and Academic Building Planning Committee’s Dry Lab and Administration Design Group; and serving on the award selection committee for STAR Achievement Awards at least once. The primary care clinic where our faculty practice is called the Richard Fine People’s Clinic (RFPC), and in the fall of 2020, RFPC leadership created an Anti-Racism and Equity Committee. Although Sarah had relatively little involvement with RFPC on a day-to-day basis, she felt the work of the committee was important and so elected to join. Sarah also is a member of the Leadership Team of UCSF Women In Tech, a member-led group for staff, faculty, trainees, and learners with a primary goal of helping women pursue and continue to develop careers in and around technology. Sarah’s support of her own team, as well as other division members, is notable. Sarah makes a point to reach out to new hires with her own welcome message – not as part of any organized buddy system, but just because she’s a warm person who has recognized the challenges of starting a new job in this largely remote environment, and is making an extra effort on her own to help people feel included.” Sarah was also lauded by colleagues for her efforts to advocate for equitable practices for research participants in dimensions such as transportation and childcare costs associated with their volunteerism in research. Sarah, thank you for your passion and actions that bring connection, diversity, and equity to all that you do in the Department of Medicine!  

Pat WirattigowitPat Wirattigowit is the Post Award Manager for the Department of Medicine in Central Administration on the Research Administration and Revenue Management team, making waves of positivity and productivity for all those with whom he interacts in his work. Pat has been nominated several times for a SPIRIT of DOM Award, in large part because of his tireless ability to offer help and support to faculty and staff colleagues alike, with a generosity that is quite inspiring to all. According to Jon Rueter, Director of Research Administration and Revenue Administration: “At least once a month I hear from someone writing to express thanks and gratitude for Pat’s help including PIs, Division Managers, both new and longstanding post-award analysts, which is unparalleled. He has also been our lead in helping support the development of the new BSR tool, Plus Faculty Portfolio, for the last two years. Other departments routinely reach out to Pat to ask if he can demonstrate this BSR tool for them and Pat is always gracious and tries to help. When we first began shelter in place, Pat asked to volunteer to help any RFAs who need backup because they needed to take COVID leave. Finally, Pat has gone above and beyond in his support related to UCPath. As soon as UCPath went live, Pat immediately began exploring and experimenting. Through his self-guided experimentation and analysis, he hit upon a better and simpler way of using the MCOP worksheet. In fact, his guidance and training at our DOM RFA meetings was significantly helpful, and aligned much more closely with the kinds of complex payroll situations our RFAs actually face. Pat also discovered a number of "bugs" or changes stemming from UCPath so we could escalate them to our central campus partners. He has really helped me understand the pain points our RFAs are experiencing so I can advocate for our department users. Pat has shared too many tips and tricks to count, and updated Excel templates each time the DPE report is updated to make certain kinds of analysis for our RFAs easier to manage. And Pat is happy to do it!” Congratulations, Pat, on your award and thank you for your generosity, talent, and vast contributions to easing the way for so many!  

Crisna CastroCrisna Castro has been working for the Department of Medicine-San Francisco VA Health Services since 2016 as a Business Operations Analyst in Central Administration. Crisna’s duties encompass a huge variety of administrative tasks and complex projects, including taking on significant leadership with faculty searches and processes that have been critically linked to the success of VA recruitments. According to Dr. Ken McQuaid, MD, and Vice-Chair of the DOM at the VA, “There is nobody who embodies more SPIRIT than Crisna. The process for conducting academic searches has become much more rigorous over the past several years. Crisna has become the resident ‘content expert’ on academic searches, mastering all the requirements for conducting searches to assure that the high standards of the Dean’s office are met and that the search is truly inclusive and transparent. For each search, she has worked closely with the search chairs and division chiefs to understand the nature of the position to be filled and then patiently provided them education and guidance about the proper way to conduct that search. She participates actively in each phase of the search and interview process, providing expert guidance and examples of ‘best practices’ from her vast experience. She has impressed everyone with her fund of knowledge, responsiveness and follow-through, record keeping, engagement with applicants, and her professional demeanor.” Among many of Crisna’s essential contributions to the department and the VA community, is her service as the Dean’s Diversity Leader for the Health Equity Action Group in the School of Medicine’s Differences Matter Initiative. Known by all as incredibly capable, thoughtful, compassionate, kind, thorough, patient, and inclusive, Crisna was nominated by several department leaders at the VA. In each case, she was noted for her unfailing commitment to professionalism, excellence, and her passion for advancing health equity through diversity and inclusion.

Michael ChangMichael Chang came to the Department of Medicine over two years ago as the Operations Manager at St. Mary’s for the Division of Hospital Medicine, making critical contributions to expanding and strengthening this vital partnership. According to Michael’s nominations, he frequently goes above and beyond his work requirements to improve the experiences of faculty and patients. Over the past two years, these efforts have included dedicating dozens of hours to data collection through patient interviews and provider observations to support quality improvements and faculty initiatives. According to Dr. Avi Kanal, MD, Associate Professor, “Michael is a star – above and beyond the mountains of daily, administrative tasks, Michael is an active and enthusiastic member of the team who looks for areas to improve and collaborates across the division to make it happen. I work with Michael on several quality improvement efforts in the division, and to be honest, I would not think to create a new task force at St. Mary’s without his participation. He is a great example of the values that UCSF stands for, a tremendous asset to our team.” In addition to his excellence in his assigned work and his “above and beyond” contributions, Michael is also a highly engaged member of the DHM anti-racism task force, where he is always noted to speak his mind and stand firm in his ethical values. Another example of his commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion can be seen in his advocacy for patient interpreters while taking on the task of managing a quality improvement research initiative aimed at improving the transfer of patients from the Emergency Department at Parnassus to St. Mary’s Medical Center. Because of Michael’s efforts, many patients’ experiences could be included in the data analyses because language barriers had been addressed and eliminated. Michael is well-known as the face of the Division of Hospital Medicine and the DOM at St. Mary’s, wherefrom the very beginning, he spent many days walking around the hospital proactively introducing himself to the community, handing out his card, and making authentic and vital connections to further the relationships and impact of the DOM with other important community stakeholders.

Jennifer CohenJennifer Cohen has been working for UCSF since 2005 and for the Department of Medicine since 2007. Jennifer’s current role is as the Project Director for the UCSF-SFVA arm of a very large and complex decades-long, multisite research study led by Dr. Phyllis Tien, MD, SFVA Division on Infectious Diseases. Dr. Tien writes, “Over the past year, Jennifer has hired and trained three new staff members, prioritizing the hiring of a racially and ethnically diverse staff to reflect the diversity of our participants. In addition, because new enrollment into the study will include racially and ethnically diverse veterans with and at risk for HIV, Jennifer enlisted the help of a nurse practitioner (NP) who is a US veteran that identifies as an underrepresented minority to recruit and enroll veterans in our research. She has also supported hiring staff members looking for clinical research experiences as they transition to medical and nursing school. With several new staff members, Jennifer has stepped up efforts to ensure that staff feels supported, respected, appreciated, and recognized for their contributions.” Carol Thuman, NP, described Jennifer as a supervisor that: “wholeheartedly endorsed and supported our various staff development activities, whether they be visiting an urban farm, painting ceramic greenware, hiking Angel Island, or celebrating a coworker’s upcoming nuptials. These events, though technically unrelated to the mission of our HIV research, served to create a supportive and cohesive workplace. During the pandemic, she promoted a collaborative team environment through weekly zoom meetings to discuss not only data collection and protocol issues but also well-being.” Jennifer has also played a leading role beyond UCSF in facilitating the development of the study. She is also a vital member of the Sexual and Gender Minority Taskforce, facilitating a small group of experts to develop accurate and sensitive questions regarding sexual and gender identity. Susan Holman from the SUNY Downstate research site and co-Chair of the Project Directors Working Group described Jennifer as being “a tremendous asset, not only at the UCSF site but for the overall project. On numerous occasions, she has volunteered, on behalf of all 13 study sites, for projects to advance study-wide goals of the research.” Finally, Dr. Tien writes: “Jennifer is by far the most impressive team member with whom I have ever had the opportunity to work, and this [sentiment] is shared by many in the DOM, UCSF, and beyond.”

Brooksley Bigart works as an Administrative Officer and Executive Analyst in central administration at ZSFG. She has been with the Department of Medicine since 2018 and at UCSF for three years prior to that. Brooks is universally known as the “go-to” person at ZSFG where she is often found behind the scenes making sure everything comes together. She volunteers to participate as a member or leader of a myriad of initiatives and projects to improve work and life for all those around her, including service as a Staff Experience Champion and Gallup Ambassador. At the beginning of the pandemic, Brooks immediately assembled a phenomenal resource list for staff, faculty, and trainees to promote education, wellbeing, and support. And her quick thinking and commitment to caring for the DOM community at ZSFG did not stop there. Jennifer Thomas, Division Manager for DGIM at ZSFG, writes: “Brooks has been a complete superstar during the early months of the COVID-19 response at ZSFG, soliciting and organizing lunches and dinners to be donated to frontline DOM staff multiple times a week.  She coordinated distribution and insured that the donations were shared across both inpatient and outpatient settings and across divisions. Brooks has continued to work on site four days a week, filling in critical needs to facilitate supply deliveries and facilities access, filling in for so many staff who are working remotely. In addition to soliciting meals, she also sourced donations of hand sanitizer in the early months of the pandemic and later, as various groups arranged covid-19 testing events.” In addition, Brooks has personally volunteered at multiple COVID response events in the San Francisco, where she has worked alongside DOM colleagues to bring much needed testing to the community, including events in the Mission District and Bayside. The Bayside event was particularly critical as it focused upon testing for highly vulnerable citizens who are currently unhoused and at much higher risk of illness. No matter what the need, Brooks can usually be found at the heart of the ZSFG response. 

Douglas Black is a Clinical Research Analyst with the Division of HIV, Infectious Diseases, and Global Medicine at ZSFG and will be celebrating his 20th year with UCSF in 2021. Doug is described by his many nominators as “compassionate and empathetic, beloved, respectful, extremely reliable, and a wonderful role model for the UCSF Community.” Doug has been the “quartermaster and quiet security” at the very heart of the Division’s efforts to plan, guide, and implement mass community COVID testing. Dr. Diane Havlir, Division Chief, shared: “Doug has led the organization and logistics for the Unidos en Salud (United in Health) mass COVID testing for our community. From the first testing in April when the city was in shutdown, Doug figured out how to get all the supplies, locations, and so many other logistical items.  For the events themselves, Doug is at every meeting, is the person there at 5:30 in the morning for tent set up for testing, at the site all day, and at the headquarters until late hours in the evening. Since the beginning, we have done ““test and respond” to thousands of SF community members and tested about 7500 persons during the Thanksgiving Holiday. Doug’s commitment and dedication are simply incredible. He works extremely well with all of our partners, treating everyone with respect. The ongoing UCSF Unidos en Salud collaboration has been at forefront of the COVID community response in SF. The project has been featured widely in the media including NYT, NPR, PBS, CNN situation room, the Chronicle, Mission Local, and many other outlets. We share this because the impact would not have been possible without Doug. He is the person behind the scenes, essential to the project, never in the limelight. He is a genuine representative of UCSF PRIDE in all its forms.”  

Michelle Cai is a Quality Improvement Specialist in the Division of Hospital Medicine (DHM) at UCSF Health and began her work with us in 2017. Many of Michelle’s faculty and staff colleagues recognized her for extraordinary COVID support efforts behind the scenes, taking on all of the extra efforts while maintaining her typical assignments. Her nominations highlight her outstanding contributions: “Michelle was specifically instrumental in rapidly shifting to support the efforts of a newly spawned Respiratory Isolation Unit at Parnassus Heights and helped us optimize RN and provider bedside exposure to COVID patients, helping us develop guidelines to balance care delivery and COVID exposure. She has also taken the lead role in the Portrait Project, in which providers stick a picture of their faces on their PPE to help patients recognize and connect with them. This popular project has now grown and includes all providers, not just within DHM, but in other departments and divisions as well. Michelle also has been the dedicated note taker for all the UCSF COVID Town Halls to ensure division leadership gets the information when they cannot attend. The meticulous notes include graphs, charts, and links to help with data visualizations and are truly outstanding, detailed, and well organized. She worked after hours to ensure the notes were sent out in a timely matter. Division service directors noted that they were incredibly helpful with keeping them in the loop with all that was happening with COVID. Michelle has also been the administrative lead on other COVID projects including DHM Clinical Operations group and the DHM COVID Planning Task Force (which includes the sub-groups COVID Response Work Group, COVID Surge Work Group, COVID Work Group Leads, and Lessons on the Frontline Work Group). One faculty shared that during “some busy and challenging clinical times on the COVID service early in the pandemic, Michelle volunteered and helped process receipts, payments, reimbursements, schedule meetings, and ensured my non-clinical obligations were on track so that I could fully focus on clinical care for COVID patients.’”  

Gato Gourley is the Division Manager of the Center for Vulnerable Populations at ZSFG where he has been working since 2012. He is recognized by his colleagues for the incredible spirit with which he does all things: humble, kind, and committed. Division Chief Dr. Margot Kushel described in detail how Gato’s altruistic and abundant work has made a huge impact: “I am thrilled to nominate Gato for his extraordinary and unheralded work behind the scenes to make the United in Health, Unhoused COVID testing events happen.  The COVID pandemic started soon after the CVP became a division and Gato transitioned to the role of Division Manager, during a time of rapid expansion.  He managed the difficult process of transition, including hiring many new staff members to the newly started Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative. During this already intensely busy period, Gato took on the additional role of engineering two very large and complex COVID19 outreach and testing events in the homeless community. Managing these events did not fit into the job description of the division manager.  Yet, in his quiet and inimitable manner, he stepped in and did all that needed to be done to make these events a success.  He managed an intensely complex operation that included purchasing large amounts of supplies, arranging and executing contracts with community-based organizations, phlebotomists, rental companies, moving vans, and more.  He provided project management, morale boosting, volunteer corralling, and troubleshooting with his usual quiet good humor.  He worked day and night, for weeks, doing tasks both mundane (driving around town to locate spare bunny suits in hardware stores) and complex (executing contracts with multiple community-based organizations in a matter of a week).  On the testing days, he worked from 4:30 AM to late at night, his energy never flagging. For weeks on end, he logged 12-15-hour days – covering every detail, picking up every task that others couldn’t do, or didn’t want to.  He gave others opportunity to grow their skill set, and mentored many staff members throughout the process. And he did this all while continuing to manage the complex operations of a new division with a large new program embedded in it.” 

Alejandra Jauregui is a Clinical Research Coordinator in the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, Allergy, and Sleep Medicine at UCSF Health and has been with us since 2015. She was nominated by many faculty, nursing care, and staff colleagues for her unparalleled divisional efforts to respond to the COVID crisis. “Just a few days after everything shut down in mid-March, my group was asked to lead UCSF’s team for an NIAID-directed project to build an entirely new cohort study focused on hospitalized patients with COVID-19. Alejandra was made responsible for the implementation of an entirely new cohort (the COVID-19 Multi-phenotyping for Effective Therapies Cohort, COMET) at three sites with outstanding efficiency and in record time.  Thanks in large part to Alejandra’s efforts as the lead CRC, UCSF’s site was the first in the 10-site NIAID Consortium to start enrolling patients, only three weeks after we were first asked to participate.  She worked seven days a week, many days 12 hours or more, to get the COMET study up and running, and to get precious biosamples to our laboratory-based research partners so they could work around the clock to understand the biology of COVID-19. She led a team of five CRCs across three sites, including training four new hires and numerous volunteers during this period.  As a native Spanish speaker and member of the Latina community, Alejandra felt an intense personal commitment to making sure that members of the LatinX community were represented in COVID-19 research studies and treated with the greatest respect. Thanks to her exceptional leadership and dedication, our site was the first in the NIAID Consortium to complete our target enrollment of 100 patients. Alejandra has become a leader in the NIAID multisite network; other sites now often turn to her to help them troubleshoot their barriers to enrollment. When local enrollment was completed for the NIAID-funded COMET study, however, Alejandra still had more to give.  She approached me and asked if she could add to her duties by taking on a new role as the lead CRC for one of our interventional clinical trials, the ISPY COVID trial.  ISPY COVID is a Phase 2 adaptive platform trial of novel therapeutics for patients with severe COVID-19. She has quickly established herself as one of the leading CRC’s in this multisite network across the United States, with her attention to detail, careful approach to screening and enrollment, and dedication to the study goals.” 

Emily Yeung is an Administrative Officer & Interim Program Administrator for the Internal Medicine Residency Program in the Division of General Internal Medicine at UCSF Health. She has been working for UCSF since 2007. Emily is described as epitomizing “tirelessness, honesty, dedication, quality, positivity, and commitment.” She is one who voluntarily learns news skills so she can take on critical new tasks to facilitate Division responses, especially in times of crisis such as the COVID pandemic. “Despite only working part-time, Emily has dedicated all of her energy to the program administrator role.  In particular, Emily learned and then created the outpatient schedules for 20 primary care internal medicine residents.  Creating outpatient schedules is an incredibly complex task, as it requires learning multiple steps and coordinating these 20 different, individualized schedules so that electives are balanced among residents and not duplicated. Most program administrators take several months to learn this role.  Not only did Emily rapidly learn and execute these schedules (in a matter of a few weeks), but she had the added complexity of trying to find and secure new elective opportunities for residents due to the impact of COVID on subspecialty elective clinics.  Moreover, she worked tirelessly to communicate schedule changes with the residents and ensure that each resident’s schedule was perfect.  At one point, Emily was on her computer email at 11pm on a Friday night so the resident would have an updated, accurate schedule (and would be able to see patients) Monday morning.  Her outstanding work not only affected patient care (so the residents could see patients in these elective clinics without incident) but her diligence improved the educational experience of the residents.  Multiple residents [have] reached out to me to tell me that Emily’s work made all the difference in their elective ambulatory experience.  And Emily did all of this with 3 young children at home due to COVID and shelter-in-place.” 

Portrait of Nick Clem

Nicholas "Nick" Clem
Post Award Manager
Central Administration

Nicholas “Nick” Clem joined the UCSF Controller’s Office in 2015, where he worked as the CGA Service Team Lead for the Department of Medicine and the Clinical Executive Team. Early in 2019, Nick became part of the DOM family on the central administration team as the Post Award Manager. Nick has become known as a trusted, dependable, and generous member of the research finance community, as evidenced by numerous award nominations from colleagues across DOM. He has built a reputation for his ability to innovate and improve complex processes and work closely with others with remarkable kindness and compassion, especially in situations of educating new team members. Jon Rueter, Director of Research Administration and Revenue Management shared: “What makes Nick so outstanding in this capacity is that he is very committed to supporting diversity in the department through our recruitment efforts, and he is a knowledgeable and patient trainer. He is constantly maintaining and improving our training materials and incorporating new resource guides to assist our post-award analysts. Soon after Nick joined the Department, he began teaching a continuing education series following our bimonthly RFA meetings on a wide range of topics to RFAs across all DOM sites. Many post-award analysts and Division Managers across DOM consult with Nick on an as-needed basis about a variety of issues. He has made an especially big impact for newer RFAs who need help but don’t want to overburden their colleagues or supervisor.”

Nick is also deeply committed to Diversity and Inclusion efforts. He completed a DEI certificate program with a capstone project that has produced a number of important outcomes such as tip sheets on interviewing practices that can reduce the impact of unconscious bias in hiring decisions, and strategies that can improve the language of posted job descriptions so as to be more inclusive.

Portrait of Evelin Trejo

Evelin Trejo
Clinical Research Coordinator
Division of Hematology & Oncology, ZSFG

Evelin Trejo is a Clinical Research Coordinator in the Division of Hematology & Oncology at ZSFG where she joined the team in 2018. She a has a long history working at UCSF in different positions: as a graduate fellow intern, research assistant, and health educator for the Department of Medicine. Numerous faculty and staff nominated Evelin for this award, all of them pointing out her incredible competence, respect, professionalism, and commitment to going above and beyond in service to others and the community. Dr. Terrence Freidlander, Chief of the Division of Hematology & Oncology wrote: “Our cancer patients at ZSFG face many cultural, linguistic, and financial barriers, and Evelin is able effortlessly navigate the challenges and provide support and guidance for all of her patients on different trials. Evelin has helped us to address some of the major disparities in cancer clinical trials, allowing us to easily recruit Latinx patients for therapeutic studies as well as for observational studies. As a team player she has cross-covered her other CRC colleagues and has served as a great mentor, teaching by example how a CRC should work both professionally and with great care for patients. During the initial stages of the Covid-19 pandemic, Evelin volunteered to work on a study recruiting volunteers who had recovered from acute COVID infection to donate convalescent plasma. Her efforts directly helped other critically-ill Covid-19 patients receive potentially lifesaving therapy.”

Evelin’s commitment to health equity can be seen in her volunteer efforts, where she works in the Spanish Language Cancer Awareness Resources and Education (CARE) support group at ZSFG, supporting Latinx patients with cancer.

Evelin is working to become a doctorally-prepared behavioral epidemiologist focused on racial and ethnic health disparities in cancer.

Portrait of Kathryn Fontwit

Kathryn Fontwit
Physician Assistant
Division of Nephrology ZSFG

Kathryn Fontwit, is a Physician Assistant in the Division of Nephrology at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, where she has dedicated her time and talents to the community for the past 22 years. Kathryn’s nominators shared the following details of her many contributions and accomplishments:

“Kathryn has been a strong support and mentor to many of her colleagues and coworkers. She excels at the clinical and teaching activities of the division, and never ceases to look for ways to improve the care of dialysis patients at the General, or at the offsite/community dialysis centers. Kathryn is 100% dedicated to providing clinical services that are of the highest quality and delivers them with compassion.

In order to easily orient our new renal fellows, Kathryn created an orientation manual with key information regarding administrative and clinical pearls. Although this was not an identified part of her job description, she took the initiative to help. In addition, she took the time to orient each new fellow to all the EHR systems at ZSFG.

Kathryn respects diversity and often helps others; by staying after hours to help with school essays, and volunteering as a language teacher for many of her English-learning coworkers. People have always felt comfortable asking her for help, even if it’s not directly job-related.

In terms of her patients, Kathryn has also demonstrated the compassion and sensitivity that makes a positive difference in their care. She calls patients and families after work hours to offer education and support, and often walks patients to other special services to ensure continuity of safety and care. Kathryn has been able to identify previously hidden barriers to care just by being a respectful and patient listener. This is especially true for non-native English speaking Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) patients.

More recently, Kathryn has been tasked to be the point person for kidney transplant referrals and follow-ups. She has followed through on our mission to provide the best possible care to underserved and vulnerable populations. She has demonstrated dedication and persistence in getting patients referred for transplant evaluation, has identified problem areas, and worked creatively with support staff and associated services to find timely resolutions.”

Thank you for your longevity, service, and dedication! Congratulations, Kathryn!

Rosemary Yau
Division of Hospital Medicine at UCSF Health

Portrait of Rosemary Yau

Rosemary Yau is an Administrative Analyst in the Division of Hospital Medicine at UCSF Health. Rosemary's work has been consistently noticed by her colleagues who have offered the following insights into her work and her PRIDE values:

"Rosemary is proactive, resourceful, excels in anticipating issues, brainstorms with colleagues to find resources, and presents options in a very clear way. She finds solutions before you even know there is a problem and more importantly, before you can get frustrated. She helps with behind-the-scenes, day-to-day issues in a calm, gentle, and highly competent way. Rose truly excels in her work and takes pride in going the extra mile.

Rosemary is sensitive, caring, and thoughtful. She gathers the well-being committee quarterly and presents a thorough agenda to ensure a meaningful meeting that is respectful everyone's time. In addition to organizing a volunteer event at the SF-Marin food bank, she created a donation page where we raised about $500! She is always mindful of others' needs, and gives her undivided attention to each individual she engages with.

Rosemary's integrity is impeccable. She is honest, considerate, and serves as a role model to others through her genuine demeanor and positive energy. We chose her as our staff engagement ambassador for these reasons. She spends the time and effort needed to produce magnificent work, even if it demands she work more hours than anticipated. She has led our staff engagement action planning sessions, and comes up with topics and speakers to present at our meetings. Her work helps the staff make a connection with the work of our faculty.

As part of Rosemary's role as recruitment coordinator for faculty and fellowship applicants she is often the first person an applicant meets at UCSF. Her abilities help us recruit the best possible candidates for our division. She takes diversity seriously and treats every applicant with respect, providing her full attention, and always considering their well-being. She personally meets and walks them to each interview. Rosemary's ability to help us recruit talent cements our partnerships across many agencies and medical specialties in the community.

Rose's investment has had a significant and measurable impact on our workplace. This is crucial for creating an environment where staff and faculty feel valued, recognized, and fully involved in the work they perform."

Congratulations, Rosemary! And thank you for your consistent dedication to excellence in the Department of Medicine!

Marlena Hartman-Filson
Clinical Research Coordinator
Division of General Internal Medicine (DGIM) at ZSFG

Portrait of Marlena Harman-FilsonMarlena Hartman-Filson is a Clinical Research Coordinator in the Division of General Internal Medicine (DGIM) at ZSFG. She has demonstrated a high level of competence in operating and managing complex clinical studies, an outstanding ability to lead a team of staff and trainees at a young level of accomplishment, and an unparalleled ability to connect in a meaningful way with persons who have experienced substantial trauma from homelessness and substance use.

Over the past two years, Marlena has led DGIM projects on tobacco use in homeless populations by managing the day-to-day operations, including data collection and data management, and communications among our team members that include trainees as well as research staff. She is on the ground coordinating data collection with community partners and delegating tasks to our research team; conducting interviews one-on-one with our participants, the majority who are homeless; maintaining an open channel of communication between UCSF team members and community partners; and compiling the data in a meaningful way for dissemination. Her nominator credits their high follow-up rates in all of their studies (>85% at 6 months follow-up) among a population that is hard to reach entirely due to Marlena's ability to connect and engage with our participants. Indeed, this is not a learned trait; she is naturally gifted and outstanding in connecting with individuals who identify as being part of a gender and sexual minority group or have experienced substantial trauma from homelessness and/or substance use. Her open, empathetic, and non-judgmental manner of communication are some of the primary reasons for why their participants have shared challenging experiences around their substance use and homelessness.

Further, Marlena did a great job as the lead Clinical Research Coordinator for one of my NIH-funded studies (called LEAP) and shared responsibility for another multisite research study in San Francisco. This LEAP study involved recruiting individuals newly diagnosed with HIV infection and following them as they started antiretroviral therapy (ART). The study had floundered over its first 6 months as the majority of the new HIV diagnoses were young men who were active drug users (mostly methamphetamines) and whose lives were complicated by homelessness. Marlena was the perfect person for the position and much of its success is due to her personality, persistence, perseverance, and problem-solving.

She has participated in DGIM service activities by joining panels to inform discussions around research space to conduct interviews with participants from the community. She has fervently advocated for their study participants to ease any inconvenience that might come as a result of participating in our studies. In this and many other ways, Marlena is exemplar of all the PRIDE values at UCSF. She is highly professional and extremely competent and, in fact, excelling at everything that she takes on. She is compassionate, deeply committed to our University's mission of equity and diversity and conducts her work with integrity.

On a personal note, Marlena is a gardener. She holds a weekly community vegetable garden in her front yard for her neighbors, including homeless individuals with whom she is acquainted with and who spend time at the park next to her home. Congratulations, Marlena!

Karen Yuan
Assistant Division Manager
Division of Geriatrics

Portrait of Karen YuanKaren Yuan, the Assistant Division Manager for the Division of Geriatrics at UCSF Health, was supported by 11 nominations from colleagues, faculty, and supervisors. Common themes throughout her nominations highlight the fact that she embodies the PRIDE Values every day and makes working in the division the best it can be. There are numerous examples of the superior effort and support that Karen provides by going above and beyond her line of duty. Through her ability to utilize her networks within UCSF, she is able to quickly and efficiently solve the most complicated problems.

She is trustworthy and truly committed to the success of the division. Karen is described as an exceptional servant leader who goes out of her way to express appreciation for the accomplishments of her colleagues and for seeking to ensure that everyone has the resources needed to succeed. In her current role, she is highly active in assessing the needs of faculty and staff and improving processes to help the division operate more efficiently. Notably, she has made herself an expert on the administrative processes that are required to get work done. When faculty colleagues in other divisions have trouble negotiating the bureaucracy, faculty within the Division of Geriatrics often refer them to the Karen in order to quickly and kindly solve problems for them.

She is an inspiration to others because she demonstrates kindness and empathy, remains calm and thoughtful in difficult conversations, is an active listener, shares her thoughts and ideas, is punctual, and she follows through with what she says she will do.

Karen is an inspiring force – helping the UCSF Division of Geriatrics grow stronger partnerships with each of the major sites of UCSF (e.g., SFVAMC, Parnassus/Laurel Heights, ZSFG) as well as multiple community organizations. She has been instrumental in navigating the financial processes and requirements governing UCSF, NCIRE, ZSFG, professional service agreements and VA funding. Amazingly, she finds a way to obtain necessary data, models financial projections and solves complex financial issues that has had a positive impact and allowed the division to grow in a financially sound manner across the campuses of UCSF. She has helped develop and manage successful financial partnerships across divisions, health systems, Departments, and Schools, helping to add more than 15 new faculty members at Laurel Heights/Parnassus, SFVAMC and ZSFG since she joined the Division. She has a rare combination of financial acumen and big-picture problem-solving that faculty love because she finds a way make things work.

Beyond her superior work ethic and innate ability to lead her peers, she is wonderful mentor and key to improving and sustaining morale within the division. She has a can-do attitude, and a stellar ability to work quickly and make a difference in other's work experience – becoming a role model that colleagues look up to.

Karen doesn't hide behind the details of her job description; she recognizes that her job is part of a larger effort and she tries to advance that larger effort at every turn. Sometimes, it's by doing her job efficiently. Other times, it's by taking on additional tasks when needed. In sum, her nominators couldn't think of a more deserving candidate for this award than Karen. Congratulations!

Christine Nguyen
Clinical Research Managers
Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Allergy Pulmonary at UCSF

Portrait of Christine NguyenChristine Nguyen, has been a member of the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Allergy since 2007. She has been described as a driving force who has inspired all of those around her due to her commitment to excellence and community. Christine routinely goes beyond the call of duty in training new clinical coordinators, providing expert guidance to all coordinators and faculty, and directing the division's QA efforts, technical services, and regulatory interactions. Her work doesn't end with following protocols or procedures. She goes above and beyond to understand the details and intricacies in the protocol, which makes her both extremely knowledgeable as a clinical manager as well as a role model. Christine's dedication motivates everyone to devote their efforts to their work as she does. Her incredible expertise and energy have been recognized by the University as well; she is Co-Chair of the UCSF CRC Council and a member of the Parnassus Research Space Working Group.

Christine is a wonderful person in so many ways. She has the humanistic component we all wish for in a colleague, she is warm, understanding and supportive to everyone she encounters. As a supervisor, she listens, taking feedback and finding innovative ways to constantly improve our approach in clinical research.

Finally, clinical research participants love her. Once, during study recruitment, visit coordination, topical anesthesia, and teaching for bronchoscopy, she quickly developed trusting relationships, showed compassion, and led participants past difficult sensations. In all of her activities, she treats everyone equally, with a high level of respect, attention, and care, whether it be a concerned participant, a job applicant or student, or senior faculty or chair of research.

Christine is truly indispensable, always going above and beyond the call of duty, which makes the DOM and UCSF a better place. Christine's commitment and dedication exemplifies that of the very best of UCSF.

Kelly Kiser
Administrative Officer II
Division of General Internal Medicine at ZSFG

Portrait of Kelly KiserKelly Kiser joined the Division of General Internal Medicine (DGIM) at ZSFG in June 2017, and has transformed the day-to-day life and spirit of our division. With responsibilities spanning the areas of academic and staff HR, purchasing and finance, communications, IT, and space/facilities, she excels in all of the PRIDE values and has made great contributions that touch all members of our division. It is said that never before has there been a more universally appreciated employee over such a large work group, as indicated by the high frequency in which people share how fantastic she is as a colleague.

In her time with DGIM, Kelly has several notable accomplishments that impact her division, ZSFG, UCSF, and her community. At the divisional level, Kelly has embraced the role of Engagement Ambassador, managed the renovation of our conference room and the conversion of a faculty office to house three faculty – all with a minimal budget. Beyond the work within her division, Kelly proposed a solution for water delivery, which led us to transition to a water purification system – resulting in thousands of dollars in annual savings, environmental benefits, and dissemination throughout ZSFG.

In service to her community Kelly volunteers one evening a week leading art projects with 5-12 year old children at Raphael House, a privately funded and community-supported organization that helps at-risk families achieve stable housing and financial independence while strengthening family bonds and personal dignity. Kelly is incredibly skilled and innovative, looks for ways to improve systems, and is extremely thoughtful and dependable. She has positively impacted the entire division with her quick mastery of systems/processes, as well as her creativity, resourcefulness, follow-through and stellar attitude.

Sarah Ngo
Clinical Research Coordinator
Division of Geriatrics

Portrait of Sarah NgoSarah Ngo received her BS from UC Berkeley in Nutritional Science, emphasis in Physiology and Metabolism, and a Masters in Library and Information Sciences from San Jose State University. She is currently a Clinical Research Coordinator in the UCSF Division of Geriatrics for nearly a year and a half, based at the SF Veterans Administration Medical Center.

Sarah is the go-to person to make things work at the San Francisco VA for the UCSF Division of Geriatrics research program. She is bright, articulate and steps in to help anyone in need. She impresses people with her can-do spirit in the face of difficult odds. There also is her infectious enthusiasm and upbeat attitude—she organizes the weekly UCSF Division of Geriatrics Works-in-Progress seminars in which she interacts with faculty and staff across the Bay Area in such a way that our attendance at WIPs has skyrocketed. Sarah has literally helped every PI in Geriatrics overcome at least one problem to facilitate important research to happen at the San Francisco VA – earning her the reputation as a problem-solver who cuts through bureaucracy to get things done. Beyond her ability to problem solve with the best of them, she has been described multiple times as supernaturally cheerful, positive, and has the seeks to make people feel welcomed and supported. Congratulations, Sarah!

Rebecca Schwartz
Clinical Social Worker in ZSFG HIVE, Family HIV Clinic, and Ward 86
Division of HIV, Infectious Diseases, & Global Medicine

Portrait of Becca SchwartzBecca Schwartz completed her bachelor's degree at Hampshire College in western Massachusetts and her master's degree at Smith College School for Social Work. She has been a Clinical Social Worker with HIVE, Family HIV Clinic, and Ward 86 for more than a decade, based at Zuckerberg San Francisco General.

Becca is responsible for providing medical case management, psychosocial counseling, and referrals for substance use treatment. Additionally, she provides services to HIVE patients and their family members in obtaining financial, nutritional, and housing benefits, as well as respite care for children. She interacts with patients in the Family HIV Clinic and Ward 86 to maintain their link with preconception, family planning, safer conception and pregnancy services. Becca's co-workers at HIVE call her the "special sauce” because she is key in helping the clients feel that she has a vested interest in their care. A HIVE patient wrote the following on her patient satisfaction survey: "The relationship that my husband and I have with our social worker Becca is so honest and we feel as though she honestly cares about us." She is an advocate for her clients, and can be heard most days advocating with community-based organizations for their support for each client. Her nominator described her as being able to navigate the complex system in search of the optimal solution to each problem facing her clients. Beyond her tireless advocacy and persistence to provide the best social care for her clients, she treats everyone with the utmost dignity, respect, and compassion. Her work is an inspiration to her colleagues. Congratulations, Becca!

Amy Bates
Executive Assistant
Department of Medicine Chair's Office, Parnassus

Portrait of Amy BatesAmy is currently an Executive Assistant in the Chair's Office, based at UCSF Parnassus Heights. She is described as the go-to person who makes things work in the Chair's Office for students, faculty, staff and even patients – the epitome of professionalism. Whenever an issue arises, she seeks the best in every person or situation. Further, she impresses her colleagues with her can-do spirit. Amy lends a hand to anyone regardless of how busy she may be with her own priorities. She always steps in to help set up for a meeting or assist with logistics – going above and beyond by taking on extra projects and tasks.

Amy is dedicated, hardworking, respectful, and inspirational. Through her role and efforts, she has made the department feel like family. She is always quick with a kind word and has a keen eye as to what makes people feel special. For Amy, no task is too small, no question too silly; she brings the same attention to locating a battery as greeting a visitor. Amy is always thoughtful, gracious, warm, welcoming and compassionate. She is the embodiment of the spirit of DOM and we are all the better for it! Congratulations, Amy!

Melody Davenport-McLaughlin
Clinical Operations Manager
Central Administration, ZSFG

Portrait of Melody Davenport-McLaughlinMelody Davenport-McLaughlin received her BS in Psychology from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. She is the Clinical Operations Manager for Medicine Central Administration at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital.

Melody has consistently made significant contributions to the Department of Medicine in her day-to-day role. Her responsibilities range from providing oversight to coding staff and Department division managers, creating financial analyses to support the work and growth of the Department, to overseeing faculty credentialing and onboarding, and making sure the medicine residency and fellowship programs at ZSFG function like clockwork. She performs each of these varied roles with aplomb, great humor, and the utmost professionalism. Day in and day out, she embodies each of the DOM's SPIRIT values of staff professionalism, inspiration, responsibility, integrity, and teamwork, serving as a role model to those surrounding her. She is the cornerstone and the heart of the department! Congratulations, Melody!