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Medical Center Honors Employees, Teams for Excellence

Monday, January 28, 2008

During the annual meeting of the University of Rochester Medical Center Board on Jan. 28, Board Chairman Thomas S. Richards presented the 2007 Chairman’s Excellence Awards to employees whose professional and personal standards exemplify quality patient care, mirroring the values of the institution’s Strong Commitment initiative: integrity, compassion, accountability, respect and excellence.

The Excellence Awards are one of the most prestigious honors for Medical Center employees, as they are the only institution-wide awards recognizing individuals from throughout the Medical Center, including Strong Memorial Hospital, Eastman Dental Center, the School of Nursing and the School of Medicine and Dentistry.  In total, six individual awards and three team awards were distributed.

Jean Boedecker, administrative director of the Office for Graduate Medical Education, received the Board Excellence Award in the Business Support category. Boedecker approaches each project with determination and finishes the work on time and with a smile. She is consistently described as a dedicated individual who goes the extra mile to make sure that things are done at a level of excellence that is unsurpassed. Boedecker lives in Brighton.

Carole Dill, secretary IV in the Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Program, was recognized with a Board Excellence Award in the Clerical category. Dill has been an employee at the University for more than 16 years, the last 14 of them with the transplant program. She is known for her outstanding ability to ensure operational day-to-day functioning of the clerical office and her attention to patient care and quality of health care delivery. Dill resides in Irondequoit.

Paula Farmer received the Strong Stars Excellence Award, a new category created this year to honor an employee who has received numerous nominations to the hospital’s Strong Stars Employee recognition program. As the receptionist for Strong Health Care Management and Social Work for the past three years, Farmer is praised for her ability to manage the many patient and family requests that come through the office each day, linking them with the correct resources and following through to ensure issues have been resolved. She truly sets an example for others and is well respected by her colleagues and management.  Farmer lives in Greece.

Lisa Lord, a dental operations supervisor for General Dentistry and Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, received a Board Excellence Award for Dentistry for  consistently displaying a high degree of integrity, responsibility and ambition during her 26 years of service to this department. She is certified as an anesthesia assistant and dental assistant. As a manager, she exhibits creativity and resourcefulness to help make the department more efficient.  Lord lives in Greece.

Heather Menchel, R.N., B.S.N., hematology/oncology nursing coordinator on the 6-3400 Unit, is the recipient of the Board Excellence Award in the Nursing category.  She was recognized for her commitment to improving systems and coordination to reduce patients’ length of stay. Her innovations have resulted in a four to eight percent reduction in lengths of stay on the unit. In addition, she is praised for her commitment to care and patient education.  Menchel, who joined the Medical Center in 2004, lives in Farmington.

Karl Schwarz, M.D., professor of Medicine in the Cardiology Division and director of the Echocardiography Laboratory, is the recipient of the Board Excellence Award in the Physician category. Schwarz has been at the Medical Center since 1979, when he arrived as a medical student. He is considered a significant force on the faculty and an integral part of the Cardiology program, and has developed an Echocardiography Lab that is a center of excellence in upstate New York. Schwarz also is a master computer programmer and software engineer who designed a computer program that interfaces with the hospital’s information system. The one-of-a-kind system instantly turns quantitative cardiovascular patient records into reports that are uploaded into the hospital database. Schwarz resides in Canandaigua.


A Board Excellence Awards for Teams was awarded to the 5-1600 Neuroscience Nurses for their dedication to safety and quality for a population of patients with some of the most complex and challenging diseases. The 34 individuals who comprise the Neuroscience Nurses team  are not only critical members of a team that has been repeatedly recognized for their excellence in the treatment of patients with neurological conditions, but are also part of a culture that is transforming the way Strong Memorial provides care and treat these diseases.

A Team Excellence Award was presented to the 26 members of the team who managed the roll-out of the Flowcast Enterprise Implementation Project. As one of the Medical Center’s most massive software replacement projects, the Flowcast system would have widespread reach, touching every aspect of Strong’s patient management and clinical operations. The team capably led the selection of the initial software package, and then moved into two years of intense planning and execution, developing comprehensive training and testing programs.  By all accounts, the launch went incredibly smoothly, and today, the system is fully functional.

A Team Excellence Award was presented to the 19 members of the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center Patient and Family Advisory Council for their dedication to improving patients’ experiences during cancer care.  This council, which provides input into Cancer Center operations and assists patients, has helped create a true partnership between cancer center leadership and the people who receive care. A key initiative was the creation of a Rounders program, providing immediate response to patients who have questions or concerns. Since this program began, volunteers have contacted more than 2,000 patients and satisfaction scores have risen dramatically.

Media Contact

Germaine Reinhardt

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