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Anderson and Capasso Win Service Excellence Awards

May 09, 2024

Amy Anderson, communications officer, and Renee Capasso, research assistant, were selected for the Department of Internal Medicine Service Excellence Award, which was presented at the department’s spring town hall meeting on May 7, 2024.

The annual award acknowledges and honors outstanding staff members from the Department of Internal Medicine whose work and behaviors support and promote the goals, values, and mission of the department.

“We are fortunate to have such dedicated staff working to meet our mission across the department,” said Mark A. Holter, CPA, senior director (finance and administration). “Amy and Renee have gone above and beyond to help us continue to grow and thrive. I congratulate them on this well-deserved award and thank them for their service to the department.”

Creative Thinking to Enhance the External Face of the Department

Anderson joined the Department of Internal Medicine in 2019 and runs the department's social media channels. In that time, she has grown the department’s Twitter/X account from 800 to 11,600 followers and created Instagram and LinkedIn accounts, both of which continue to grow.

“Amy is a tremendous asset to the communications team within the department and the school,” said Julie Parry, associate director (communications). “She is insightful and thoughtful. Her creativity knows no bounds and she is always stretching to create new ways or processes to highlight the department’s 3300+ faculty, staff, and trainees.”

In the early days of the pandemic, Anderson created the department health check survey that was sent out to the department daily. “During a time of uncertainty, when little was known about COVID-19, Amy worked to create each individual survey that our faculty was required to fill out daily. We would partner with Sean Stacy to then send the reports to leadership. This took a significant amount of time each and every day.”

The university technology team met with Parry, Anderson, and Stacy to adapt the university-wide health check survey based on the original one created.

Parry also noted Anderson’s ability to identify new opportunities to expand the department's reach. “In 2020, she saw the need and started a story series to highlight the department residents, which has been very well received. She also works with former department trainees to craft articles on them for the department’s alumni newsletter, which was again her idea.”

In addition to this work, Anderson also leads design efforts for the annual report and the new Committed to Excellence wall display. “Not only has she scheduled 80+ photo shoots for this project on an annual or bi-annual basis, but she also attends nearly every shoot personally,” said Parry. “This is a tremendously time-consuming task, but she juggles being on-site for the photo shoots with performing the rest of her job with a high level of skill.”

Tireless Commitment to Research—and Research Participants

Capasso came to the Department of Internal Medicine in 2020 after nearly 15 years in other research roles at Yale. As a clinical research coordinator, she works on several research protocols involving vulnerable patient populations, including individuals with HIV who smoke cigarettes.

When COVID-19 disrupted study activities, she quickly jumped in to conduct telephone-based survey studies, which ultimately contributed to the publication of two impactful manuscripts about the experiences of patients with HIV during the first wave of the pandemic.

“She goes above and beyond to meet the needs of research participants,” said E. Jennifer Edelman, MD, MHS, professor of medicine (general medicine). “She would often call participants off-hours to accommodate their schedules and consistently treated individuals with the greatest level of caring and respect.”

Capasso also serves as the sole study coordinator in New Haven for a National Cancer Institute-funded smoking cessation study. She recruited and followed nearly 100 individuals, leading to the site's recognition as a “highest-performing site.” Capasso is retiring this year but has chosen to wait until the smoking cessation study is complete so that she can finish the work she started. This is just further evidence of her deep commitment to seeing things through until the end, Edelman said.

“Renee has been a treasure for the lucky clinician investigators in our section who have had the opportunity to work with her,” said Cary Gross, MD, professor of medicine (general medicine) and epidemiology (chronic diseases). “She is thorough, persistent, and, most importantly, always puts the interests of patients and participants first.”

The Service Excellence Awards were created in 2016 to honor department staff who help the university operate even more effectively and improve the lives of faculty, staff, and students in large and small ways. Previous winners include Susan Ardito, Anne Marie Berrios, Roberta Biceglia, Alyssa Carboni, Laura Crawford, Tracy Crosby, Cynthia Frank, PhD, RN, Lynn Gambardella, Mary Geda, Sinѐad McKernan, and Laura Whitley.

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

Submitted by Rachel Martin on May 08, 2024