employee recognition

Lakeesha Brown: 2016 Dr. Deckers Award Honoree

  • The Dr. Peter J. Deckers Employee Appreciation Award finalists from left, Lakeesha Brown, Elizabeth Cwalinski, Ursula Knight, and Carol Schramm. (Photo by Tina Encarnacion)
It’s among the highest honors a UConn Health employee can receive – the Dr. Peter J. Deckers Employee Appreciation Award. Who qualifies as a Deckers Award nominee? An employee who consistently demonstrates passion and commitment, strong leadership, exemplary professional skills, and goes above and beyond to help meet the goals of UConn Health. The award was first presented in 2009 and is named after Dr. Peter Deckers, retired executive vice president for health affairs and dean emeritus of the UConn School of Medicine.

This year’s honoree is Lakeesha Brown, principal labor relations specialist in the Department of Human Resources. Christine Cieplinski, director of labor relations, nominated Lakeesha saying “she sees every work day as an opportunity to positively invest employees in the mission and vision of UConn Health.” Hear what else Christine said about Lakeesha.

The three other finalists for the Deckers Award were:

Elizabeth Cwalinski, Housekeeping Supervisor (Nominated by Cliff Ashton, AVP Facilities Management and Operations)

Ursula Knight, CMHC Nursing Supervisor (Nominated by Connie Weiskopf, Director of Nursing and Patient Care Services, CMHC)

Carol Schramm, Registered Nurse (Nominated by Dr. Thomas Yasuda, Medical Director, Operating Room)

The Deckers Awards and the annual celebration of employee years of service were held Nov. 21 in the Academic Rotunda during a high-energy ceremony emceed by Alexis Crean, organization and staff development specialist in the Department of Human Resources.

Years of Service Honored

  • From left: Dr. Andy Agwunobi and Dr. Kikki Nissen congratulate Peter Setlow on 45 years of service at the 2016 UConn Health Employee Recognition Dinner. (Photo by Rosie Wright)

UConn Health employees celebrating milestone years of service were honored at last night’s annual Employee Recognition Dinner at the Farmington Club.

The longest-tenured employee honored this year is Peter Setlow, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor in the Department of Molecular Biology and Biophysics, who joined UConn Health in 1971.

“I’m alive, still productive, and still enjoying almost everything I do. And you look up, and it’s been 45 years,” Setlow says. “I’ve spent so much of my life working here, I want to see the institution be successful. As long as I’m still productive and still enjoying it, why would I stop?”

A total of 108 employees with milestones of either 25, 30, 35, 40, or 45 years of service were honored. Those with milestones of 5, 10, 15, and 20 years of service will be invited to an Employee Recognition Celebration scheduled for Nov. 21.

UConn Health Honors Its Own

This fall, UConn Health’s recognition program, supported by the Human Resources Department, hosted a variety of successful events including the Dr. Peter J. Deckers Employee Appreciation Award and the annual celebration of employee years of service. These recognition events serve to highlight the excellence faculty and staff exemplify, every day, across UConn Health.

The sixth annual Dr. Peter J. Deckers Employee Appreciation Award, one of the highest employee award honors, was presented to Susan Garthwait, administrative program coordinator. The award goes to an employee consistently demonstrates passion and commitment, going above and beyond to help meet the goals of the UConn Health.

“Susan has served UConn Health for decades,” John Dempsey Hospital CEO Anne Diamond wrote in her nomination. “Her dedication to improving patient safety and employee engagement through her always positive and creative touch is a true asset to our organization. Susan’s out of the box approach, coupled with her enthusiasm, reaches all levels of the organization in a positive way. Additionally, Susan’s work is being circulated and recognized nationally as a best practice by our High Reliability consulting group, HPI.”

UConn Health’s High Reliability consultant, Steve Kreiser, says, “Susan’s dedicated efforts in the production of the Friday Flyer newsletter has helped to message our mission of safety, quality and satisfaction across the organization, helping to reduce complacency and raise risk awareness.”

The three other finalists for the Deckers Award were:

  • Qi Cheng, IT project manager, Strategic Projects and Clinical Systems
  • Elaine Chojnowski, executive staff assistant, Dean of School of Dental Medicine
  • Greg Sznaj, budget director, Budget and Data Analytics
Donald Carr celebrates 30 years of service at UConn Health. (Photo by Eric Sullivan)
Donald Carr celebrates 30 years of service at UConn Health. (Photo by Eric Sullivan)

“I’m delighted and honored to be presented with an award in Dr. Deckers’ name,” Garthwait says.

Milestone Years of Service

Earlier this fall, 862 employees celebrated their years of service milestones at the annual Employee Recognition Dinner and Open House. At the Employee Recognition Dinner Oct. 14, 153 employees and guests enjoyed a full evening at the Farmington Club including a cocktail hour, dinner and an awards ceremony where employees who reached milestones of 25, 30, 35 and 40 years of service were recognized with their UConn Health pin by senior leadership. The following week, honorees were recognized at a breakfast open house in the Onyiuke Dining room where senior leadership presented service pins to the 5-, 10-, 15- and 20-year employees.

–Alexandra Crean

New England Sickle Cell Institute News

Dr. Biree Andemariam
Dr. Biree Andemariam

UConn Health’s Dr. Biree Andemariam Honored as Outstanding Role Model

Dr. Biree Andemariam, director of UConn Health’s New England Sickle Cell Institute was honored at the 100 Women of Color Gala recently held in Hartford. The 100 Women of Color award recognizes women who are leaders in their community and are a positive role model for young women. A portion of the proceeds from this annual event supports scholarships for young women who graduate from high school and plan on attending college, leadership and mentorship programs.


New England Sickle Cell Institute Nurses Present at National Meeting

Photo of Nayre Greene, RN, BSN (J. Gelineau/UConn Health
Nayre Greene, RN, BSN

Nayre Greene, RN, BSN, and Elizabeth Brookshire, MSN, BSN, RN, recently represented UConn Health’s New England Sickle Cell Institute at the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America, Inc.’s 43rd Anniversary Convention in Maryland. Greene, NESCI nurse coordinator, was the moderator for the meeting’s nursing symposium that highlighted five peer-reviewed oral abstracts presented by leaders in sickle cell disease nursing care and research from around the country. Greene’s talk highlighted multidisciplinary efforts at UConn Health in coordinating safe maternal-fetal outcomes among pregnant women living with sickle cell disease.

Elizabeth Brookshire, MSN, BSN, RN (Janine. Gelineau/UConn Health)
Elizabeth Brookshire, MSN, BSN, RN

Brookshire delivered a powerful talk titled, “The Nurse’s Role in Caring for the Patient with Sickle Cell Disease: Utilizing Katherine Kolcaba’s Theory of Comfort as a Guide.” Brookshire is the assistant nurse manager of John Dempsey Hospital’s oncology unit.

“NESCI is proud of the role that UConn Health nurses play on a daily basis in providing evidence-based and compassionate care to our patients living with sickle cell disease,” says NESCI director Dr. Biree Andemariam, “and now this work is known across the country.”


Allen Meckowski Honored as Husky Hero

Dr. Andy Agwinobi presents Allen Meckowski with the Husky Hero Award. (Janine Gelineau/UConn Health)
Dr. Andy Agwinobi presents Allen Meckowski with the Husky Hero Award. (Janine Gelineau/UConn Health)

Allen Meckowski, a clinical coordinator in the UConn Health Department of Dermatology, has been recognized as a Husky Hero.

Meckowski is one of 23 UConn Health employees or volunteers who received a Human Resources PAWS award, which stands for:

Part of a team,
Awesome attitude,
Wonderful work ethic, and
Superior service.

PAWS awards honor those who consistently perform above and beyond the expectations of their job. Four-time PAWS recipients earn the distinction of Husky Hero.

HR’s Pride in People subcommittee presented PAWS awards at a reception Thursday in the Onyiuke Dining Room:

Danielle Andrews, CMHC – Hartford – Medical
Ronald Arnone, Dermatology Clinic
Nancy Baccaro, Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center
Joan Blythe, Procedure Center Unit
Barbara Baron, Medicine 4
Barbara Bowman, Cardiology
Francis Couillard, Information Technology – Network Services
Charlene DeCampos, CMHC – MYI – Medical
Michael Deckers, Volunteer
Patricia Lane, UMG – Internal Medicine – Canton
Meghan Laughlan, Intensive Care Unit
Cindy Letavec, CMHC – Cheshire – Medical
Sean Macrae, CMHC – Osborn – Medical
Joan Montgomery, JDH – Organizational & Staff Development
Robert Ramonas, CMHC – Osborn – Medical
Jessica Reyes, Patient Access
Luann Satherlie, UMG – Administration
Jennifer St. Onge, Dermatology Clinic
Bryan Wasik, Dermatology Clinic
Robert Wilkie, Information Technology – Network Services
Heidi Whiteley, CMHC – MacDougal/Walker – Medical
Sohrab Zahedi, M.D, CMHC – Hartford – Mental Health