Duke Honors Faculty, Staff with Presidential Awards

Employees are recognized for their contributions to the university and health system

Duke University President Richard H. Brodhead, center, talks with award recipients at the Presidential Awards luncheon Thursday. Photo by Duke Photography
Duke University President Richard H. Brodhead, center, talks with award recipients at the Presidential Awards luncheon Thursday. Photo by Duke Photography

The Duke School of Nursing’s building expansion, the Literature Program’s funding for graduate students and a new Gastroenterology patient access initiative are all projects with one thing in common: The Duke employees who made them a reality. Five Duke employees were named Presidential Award recipients Thursday for exceptional service to Duke in 2014. The Presidential Award is one of the highest honors given to staff and faculty members for outstanding job performance and distinctive contributions. The awards are presented to staff and faculty in five categories: Clerical/Office Support, Service/Maintenance, Clinical/Professional Non-Managerial, Managerial, and Executive Leadership. During a luncheon at Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club, Duke President Richard H. Brodhead presented Presidential Award recipients with a Presidential Medallion and $1,000 check. Fifteen Meritorious Award recipients were also recognized.“This is for me one of the very happy days of the year when I can look face by face, table by table and see the people who make great things happen,” Brodhead said. Here are the 2014 Presidential Award recipients: Tiwonda Johnson-BlountClerical/Office SupportStaff AssistantLiterature Tiwonda Johnson-Blount is the first person Duke Literature Program graduate students go to when they have a question or need help.In addition to providing advice to students, Johnson-Blount helped implement a summer funding program for graduate students and their research, as well as establish a new form submission system to better organize Literature Program documents. In 2014, she also helped the Department of Cultural Anthropology when it was functioning without an assistant.“What really makes her work outstanding is not only her efficiency but also the care, patience and warmth she extends toward all our graduate students,” said Duke Literature professor Kate Hayles. “They come to depend on her for all manner of things, some above and beyond the call of duty.” David S. BowersoxExecutive Leadership Associate Dean, Finance and AdministrationDuke School of NursingAs chief business officer in Duke’s School of Nursing, David Bowersox has supported the school’s growth on Duke campus.Bowersox helped plan and implement the school’s $20-million North Wing addition, which opened in 2014, as well as the Christine Siegler Pearson Building in 2006. Bowersox oversees day-to-day operations at the school, from a food pantry for students who need a grab-and-go meal between classes to the development of a clinical placement system, which helps manage the School’s more than 800 contracts with healthcare facilities where Duke students receive hands-on experience. “Dave is a great member of the school community – always willing to listen, never dismissing outlandish ideas without careful consideration and is seen by many as the go-to person at the school,” wrote Barbara Turner, director of the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program, in her nomination letter of support. Sara H. JohnsonManagerial Administrative ManagerDuke MedicineIt’s been only a year and a half since Sara Johnson joined the Division of Gastroenterology staff, but her work has already made a dramatic impact.After arriving at Duke without clinical experience, she took it upon herself to observe procedures, shadow in clinic, visit each practice site and reach out to all division leaders, staff and faculty. As a result, she has developed a pre-procedure call policy to reduce appointment no-shows, helped increase the division’s productivity by 11 percent, and implemented a 72-hour patient access initiative that allows patients to see their care provider within 72 hours of their call. The initiative is now being practiced by other Duke Medicine divisions. “Sara is an extremely positive influence in the GI unit,” wrote Rebecca Burbridge, assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology. “Her ‘can do’ attitude is contagious.”Lisa Scandale LewisClinical/Professional Non-ManagerialClinical instructorWatts School of NursingWhen Lewis isn’t teaching at the Watts School of Nursing, both in the classroom and in the clinical setting, she’s busy working to complete her doctorate in education from N.C. State University.Even as she works toward a degree while working full-time, her passion for nursing education continues to go above and beyond. The clinical instructor serves as co-chair of the Watts School of Nursing’s curriculum committee and is an active member of the Triangle Clinical Consortium. Lewis also started a publication group for faculty and has encouraged submissions to peer-reviewed journals, and she is the faculty representative for the school’s Community Service Club. “We are a strong team, and Lisa’s continued involvement at the student level, at the committee level and at the national level has helped us maintain our success,” wrote Libby Carver, a Watts School of Nursing faculty member. Denise SimpsonService/MaintenanceSupervisorMaterial Services In Material Services, where equipment and supplies are organized and ordered for Duke Hospital, Denise Simpson has received a special nickname – “Queen.”This distinction from her coworkers pays tribute to her vast knowledge of all the products in Material Services, down to committing product numbers to memory. She also regularly bakes and cooks for her coworkers, whether it’s a birthday celebration or holiday. “She is one of the most important indirect patient care providers there is at Duke,” wrote Material Services technician Larry Dalrymple in the nomination. “Denise is a person who makes sure that the right product gets to the right place in the right amount in the right timeframe to the right person.”