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Frank & Ardito Honored With Department Service Excellence Awards

June 29, 2022
by Abigail Davis

Cynthia Frank, PhD, RN, clinical research nurse 3 (infectious diseases), and Susan Ardito, senior administrative assistant (pulmonary), were honored recently with Department of Internal Medicine Service Excellence Awards.

The Service Excellence Award is presented annually at the spring Town Hall Meeting to recognize the outstanding attributes of one or more staff members of the Department of Internal Medicine at Yale School of Medicine. A committee of associate directors of the department received 12 nominations this year, and after thoughtful review, selected two individuals to acknowledge with the award.

“The Service Excellence Award represents one way we recognize all the fantastic contributions from the greatest staff here at Yale,” said Mark Holter, CMPE, CPA, vice chair, Finance & Administration. “Annually, we solicit nominees from managers and colleagues across the department for individuals whose work and behaviors support and promote the goals, values, and mission of the department. These individuals demonstrate professionalism, commitment, dedication, and teamwork. They serve as role models for the department, school, and university.”

Frank said she felt “really surprised and very humbled” when she was announced as one of the two Service Excellence Award recipients. “I’ve been very fortunate to work with principal investigators and colleagues who have been brilliant, empathetic, and caring, and have so much integrity. I feel strongly about working with people like that, who provide guidance and mentorship and direction; that’s what really sort of brings it all together for us,” she said.

During her 27 years at Yale, Frank has worked primarily with the Yale AIDS Program and the VA Connecticut Healthcare System as a research coordinator on clinical trials. Most recently, Frank has served as program director for the InSTRIDE lab under Sandra Springer, MD, associate professor of medicine (infectious diseases) and associate clinical professor of nursing, including overseeing the new Yale ACTION Trial. The study links previously incarcerated individuals with a history of opioid or stimulant use to either a mobile health unit or peer navigation to access healthcare and help with other needs and services.

“I tell my team this all the time: providing healthcare, and having the privilege to do that, and always doing what’s best for the patient, is really our North Star. I just really want everybody to have the same opportunities and quality of life, and I mean everybody. Anything I can do to move that forward, that’s really what’s important to me and our team,” said Frank.

Frank was nominated by Nikhil Seval, MD, assistant professor of medicine (infectious diseases), and Springer. “Cyndi manages six NIH grants and their staff, all of which provide for patients who have substance use disorders or who are at-risk or living with HIV and infectious diseases,” said Springer. “She truly is a kind, intelligent, caring, hard-working, wonderful person that I am so honored to have working with our team.”

Ardito also said she felt very humbled to be selected. “The nomination was high enough praise. I didn’t expect to be selected because there are a lot of people that get nominated for this, and I know that they do excellent work. My PIs have been very, very nice to me and appreciative through the years, so getting this award is like frosting on the cake,” she said.

Ardito has worked within the Section of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine (Yale-PCCSM) since 2000. She serves as grant coordinator for the Section, the lead administrator coordinating PCCSM’s T32 Postdoctoral Training grant, and is a critical and senior member of an eight-person administrative team that supports the Yale-PCCSM faculty. She is known to go above and beyond for all grant submissions, no matter the size, and for assisting every principal investigator (PI) with equal dedication.

“I love working with all of the different PIs - and I’m talking about over 30 researchers who will apply for grants in my section. There are a lot of different personalities, and I get a kick out of that. And I like when they get their money; I feel like maybe I helped a little bit,” said Ardito.

Ardito was nominated by Klar Yaggi, MD, MPH, professor (pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine). “Our T32 has been successfully funded over the last 25 years in a large part due to Susan’s hard work, and that has launched the careers of many people in our section and has helped out an enormous number of patients during that time,” said Yaggi.

After a total of 24 impactful years at Yale, Ardito is planning to retire in November. Although she will miss her work, she looks forward to spending more time with her husband.

The Service Excellence Awards were established in 2016. The list of nominees for 2021 includes:

The Department of Internal Medicine at Yale is among the nation's premier departments, bringing together an elite cadre of clinicians, investigators, educators, and staff in one of the world's top medical schools. To learn more, visit Internal Medicine.

Submitted by Julie Parry on June 29, 2022