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Yale Surgery Citizens: Helping Hand and Extra Mile Award Winners, Spring, Summer & Fall 2022

November 03, 2022
by Stevi Kramer

The Yale Surgery Citizens Helping Hand Award recognizes an individual’s extraordinary contribution toward a specific project, initiative, or circumstance. The Yale Surgery Citizens Extra Mile Award recognizes an individual who consistently go above and beyond the call of duty.

Spring 2022 Helping Hand Recipients

Dr. Shin Rong Lee, General Surgery Resident - “As one of our PGY4 co-chiefs, Shin Rong has gone above and beyond helping the TEGS team while we were short during fellowship interview season providing case and daytime chief coverage, while he could have been home preparing for his own interviews. Shin Rong identified himself as someone who could help while on his endocrine rotation and has dedicated countless hours to helping and taking care of the TEGS patients while he himself is interviewing. Humbly, Shin Rong always knew more about the patients, even if only covering for a day. He checked in early and always offered a helping hand. He made countless call switches and covered entire days as solo TEGS chief so that his co-residents can interview. Shin Rong is humble to a fault, a secret genius, and upstanding citizen of the Yale Surgery Department and for that we are thankful”- Jolanta Gorecka

Allison Pivirotto, Nurse Practitioner (Otolaryngology) - “She works very hard on the head and neck service and has gone above and beyond to help the clinic and the floor run smoothly. We have complex patients, and she has great attention to detail!”- Jacqueline Dibble

Josephine Sgambati, Senior Administrative Assistant (Cardiac Surgery) - “Josephine is always willing to help find whatever information I need. If she doesn't know the answer to my question, she will point me in the direction of whoever will help. She is newer to Yale but has a lot of wisdom to offer. She is so kind and helpful. I'm grateful for her work in the Department of Cardiac Surgery.” - Madonna Lee, MD

Elizabeth Womak, Research Financial Analyst - “Ms. Womak has stayed/worked late on multiple occasions during the past week to complete unexpected tasks resulting from critical demands. She did so with a smile and without question or complaint and her work was excellent.” - Eric B. Schneider, PhD

Summer 2022 Helping Hand Recipients

Dr. Andrew Dhanasopon, Site Director (Thoracic Surgery), VA Hospital - “Always available and willing to help colleagues with the care of patients, he takes on call cases even when he is not the one on call so that they get done quickly. He is the first to volunteer to help when you need it. Best team player in our thoracic division, where we all generally help each other, Andrew stands out as the person most willing to put aside his own needs to help the group.”- Dr. Gavitt Woodard

Colleen Jannitto, Endocrine Nurse Coordinator - “Colleen is an integral nurse clinician and expert patient navigator who has been with the section of endocrine surgery at Yale for the past 18 years. She is constantly helping to guide patients through their work up and treatments and is a tremendous source of institutional knowledge and history. She is always interested in expanding her clinical knowledge to provide the best care, and our patients are so much the better for it. To give just one small example of her dedication, we recently referred a patient with a new diagnosis of anaplastic thyroid cancer. Colleen was able to gather all his records from out of state, including path slides, coordinate urgent successive add-on clinic appointments with endocrine surgery, endocrine oncology and medical oncology and schedule a CT and repeat FNA for targeted therapy, all within 24 hrs after his initial referral. This was truly an extra mile effort and so greatly appreciated. Thank you, Colleen, for all that you do.” - Dr. Jennifer Ogilvie

Dr. Darpan Kayastha, Otolaryngology Resident - “DP came to SICU 7-1 countless times to help an ENT cancer patient with persistent threatened airway. He stayed late, came at all different hours, and worked alongside the APPs to help keep the tenuous tracheostomy patent. This prevented multiple scenarios that would have otherwise led to respiratory arrest.”- Nicole Hanbury

Dr. Tyler Jones, Assistant Professor of Clinical Surgery (General, Trauma & Surgical Critical Care) - “Dr. Jones is always a pleasure to work with. He is friendly, knowledgeable, and always supportive to the team and his patients. He makes working at Yale feel like a family. He is always looking out for his team; whether he is making sure they stay well-hydrated through the Hydrate Spark app and offering up his ice machine, well-fed with his office snacks, or well-cared for, with fun social activities in and out of work. He truly makes working at YNHH a better place and I really appreciate his friendliness and team spirit.” - Rebecca Calabrese

Summer 2022 Extra Mile Recipient

Dr. Gary Kopf, Professor of Surgery (Cardiac) - “Dr. Kopf is a key member of the Department and has been so for decades. His service to students, staff and other faculty has been exemplary and he continues as an active participant to this day. I whole heartedly support his candidacy for this award.” – Dr. Peter Gruber

Fall 2022 Helping Hand Recipients

Ann Cohen DePalma, Senior Administrative Assistant (Transplantation Surgery) - “I met Ann for the first time a few weeks ago when I was moving offices. The current office was still occupied. She stayed, organized, was efficient, and communicated well to facilitate a smooth transition with a lot of moving parts and moving people. She personally brought me empty boxes to pack that were almost as tall as her! Her friendly demeanor made the chore of moving actually a pleasant experience.” - Dr. Madonna Lee

Dr. Mark Eckardt, General Surgery Resident - “It is with great pleasure and gratitude that I nominate Mark for this recognition. Recently one of my patients was discharged after Whipple operation. The patient called into the service on a weekend when Mark was covering. After speaking with the patient and confirming the need for a medication refill, Mark sent an electronic prescription to CVS in New Haven, the patient's preferred pharmacy. Unfortunately, CVS had no supply of oxycodone and offered the patient virtually no assistance in finding alternative pharmacy sources. The patient and concerned family members called Mark back with mounting anxiety about his pain management. Mark called other pharmacies in the New Haven area. Between seeing patients and answering other calls, he was able to locate oxycodone for the patient at Walgreens next to the hospital. To ensure that the patient received the medication, Mark hand carried a written prescription to Walgreens and followed up with the patient to make certain that he had received the medication. In this instance and in others, Mark goes above and beyond to care for patients. He sets the bar for compassion and follow through. Thank you, Mark!” - Dr. Kevin Billingsley

Kent Owusu, PharmD, Internal Medicine - “It has been a great pleasure to work with Kent in developing the Peri-procedural Antithrombotic Clinical Pathway. We have received lots of positive comments on how Kent is able to develop the team and leads our group to a consensus. He has shown strengths of being an outstanding leader with his excellent communication style, situation awareness, knowledge expertise and ability to negotiate difficult decisions. Both of us advocate for Kent to be offered further leadership opportunities and resources to continue to develop his skills.”- Drs. Geoffrey Nadzam and Dr. Vanita Ahuja

Fall 2022 Extra Mile Recipient

Dr. Emily Christison-Lagay, Associate Professor of Surgery (Pediatrics) - “After going through a particularly tough surgery, one of our patients couldn't wait to have a popsicle. He was on the autism spectrum and very picky about the foods he ate. When he found out that the only flavor they had on the floor was rainbow, he was devastated because he only ate orange or lime popsicles. Dr. Christison-Lagay took it upon herself to search the hospital for orange and lime popsicles and ended up finding them in the pediatric PACU. She brought him the popsicles and made his day” – Sam Miller

Submitted by Stevi Kramer on November 01, 2022