2020 Academic Affairs Award Recipients

August 1, 2020 - Office of Academic Affairs

The continued implementation of the Shared Discovery Curriculum, and the incredible challenges of the past year, have highlighted the incredible team we have in Academic Affairs. The Academic Affairs Awards Committee had the privilege and challenge of reviewing the inspiring nomination letters with each application and we are thrilled to announce the winners of the 2020 Academic Affairs awards.

Early Success Award

The Early Success Award recognizes individuals new to Academic Affairs (less than 3 years) who have demonstrated passion for the educational mission, commitment to our work and skills/abilities that are important to meeting the needs of our educational program. Mindy McComb joined the ECE team as the Associate Director in the Spring of 2018. The committee was impressed by Dr. McComb’s dedication to assuring high quality learning experiences for students, as well as recognition of her strengths related to teamwork, communication skills and problem-solving.

Mindy McComb
ECE Associate Director

Mindy is a very caring individual and easy to work with, those are also important characteristics in this field and in this curriculum. Her knowledge, skill and communication style are very important in our effort to integrate clinical knowledge with necessary science.

Dr. McComb is committed, efficient, rigorous, brilliant, considerate, collaborative, and wise. She is a quick study. Mindy consistently works to improve the medical education experience and is passionate about the education and wellbeing of our students. It is an exquisite pleasure to work with her.

Dr. McComb is an inherently nice person and that shows through in everything she does, but she does not shy away from upholding standards and making tough decisions. She interacts with students well in her many capacities, and when she needs to make a point, it is always done in a diplomatic manner.

Dr. McComb has a passion for educating students that makes those around her want to strive even harder in their own roles. Dr. McComb is truly "committed to educating exemplary physicians and scholars, discovering and disseminating new knowledge, and providing service at home and abroad," just as the CHM mission states.

Staff Excellence Award

The Staff Excellence Award recognizes Academic Affairs staff who demonstrate continued excellence in overall job performance, outstanding interpersonal skills and working relationships, contributions to unit/campus that lead to efficiency, effectiveness or other improvements, and contributions to the many projects, committees and outreach efforts within Academic Affairs.

Kathy Assiff
Director of Student Programs
Flint Community Campus

The committee wanted to recognize the dedication, pride and work ethic that Kathy Assiff brings to her responsibilities. Her nominators speak of her advocacy for students and efforts to create a learning environment that promotes success. She is recognized for her tireless engagement as a leader, mentor and advisor in service to CHM.

Ms. Assiff is a tremendous student advocate. She has worked tirelessly to create a welcoming and supportive learning environment for medical students in Flint. Ms. Assiff promotes equity and inclusion in all aspects of her work; she is a visible and vocal partner for diversity.

Kathy excels in developing partnerships and trust with individuals from all backgrounds. She is a leader among her peers from other communities who act in similar roles to hers. Kathy has mentored many of the other directors of student programs in our college. She is never afraid to speak up to maintain the integrity of our programs and advocate for our students.

Kathy has a warm and collaborative approach to working with colleagues. Her interpersonal skills are excellent and our strong relationship with her is a testament to her effective communication and her commitment to caring about and helping others. I hear from others that she is beloved by students and that her many interactions with them reflect the same warmth, concern, support, commitment and skill at providing guidance that she shows colleagues.

Ms. Assiff is a truly valued and inspiring colleague that I whole-heartedly recommend for this award. Her contributions and history of service to students and to the College of Human Medicine are outstanding.

Jay Bryde
Admissions Counselor
CHM Office of Admissions

The committee wanted to recognize Jay Bryde’s conscientiousness and spirit, which characterize her work for CHM Admissions. Individuals who nominated her noted her professionalism; she is an effective communicator, meticulous planner, loyal, level-headed and solution oriented.

Jay understands the importance of effective and efficient communication, and she does this with a level of expertise in all her communications. In writing, her communication is efficient and clear. In person, you experience the warmth and genuineness that is often difficult to convey in the written form. And though she doesn’t feel as comfortable in a public speaking forum, she comes across as “the credible expert” with clear and effective messaging.

Her own work habits can be characterized by her conscientiousness attention to detail, anticipating needs or consequences down the road, ability to troubleshoot when problems arise, collegiality and general good-natured approach to her work. She can be counted on in terms of reliability, keeping communication open, and the quality of her work. The sum of all of this is that she exhibits a high degree of professionalism, responsibility and accountability that is appreciated by all of us.

Professionalism is perhaps the one characteristic that summarizes all her qualities from a global perspective. Her approach is welcoming, and she approaches our process with a sense of fairness, equity, and understanding of our mission as it applies to our applicants, our goals, and our processes. A loyal and dedicated admissions staff worker, she gives CHM more than it asks, and then some.

When faced with challenges, Jay endeavors to frame the challenge as a learning experience and opportunity to grow. She supports supervisees with clear instruction, necessary guidance and appropriate collaboration. She is a role model for staff, as she maintains communications and positive attitude during stressful times.

Joy Hull
Curriculum Assistant
Department of Family Medicine

The letters in support of Joy Hull’s nomination speak of her strong relationships with other departments and communities to the benefit of CHM faculty and students. Over time she has taken on more responsibilities, improved administrative processes and mentored others new to the clerkships.

Joy Hull goes above and beyond almost every day. She is able to see my ideas into plans. When my ideas aren’t so clear, she is able to either decipher them or clarify them. Joy is one of the hardest working people I know.

Joy is perhaps one of the most dependable people I know. When asked to do something, she always confirms the request and asks questions if she does not understand what is required. Then Joy always follows through. If there is going to be a delay, Joy always informs me ahead of time. Joy also pays great attention to detail.

Joy is kind and courteous when interacting with students, faculty and staff. She adds her own personal touch, such as treats and seasonal decorations at clerkship retreats. All these efforts work to make our jobs just a little more enjoyable and our loads a little lighter.

Our department, and the Family Medicine Clerkship, are better because of Joy, and I am a better team member because of her guidance and friendship.

Megan Stechschulte
Office Coordinator
Office of Clinical Experiences

Megan's nomination letters provide many examples of truly outstanding work and work habits that befit the virtues of this award.  She supports multiple units and consistently bring humor to her work, is someone who brings people together and generally is regarded as a valued colleague.

I have been continually impressed with Megan’s professionalism and integrity. There is never a project too large or too small for Megan. She consistently volunteers to take on a variety tasks to benefit the team, and when she does so, it will be accomplished independently, competently, with significant attention to detail, and the results will be exceptional.

In addition to her impressive skill set, Megan is someone who is collegial and thoughtful in her approach to her work. She brings humor to the workplace in ways that are measured, and she is someone who brings people together. She steps up to take on additional tasks without being asked. She smiles. She brings with her energy and a creative spark. She is appreciated by all of us for what she does and as importantly, how she does it. She is a pleasure to work with.

Megan is incredibly well-organized and very competent. In addition to her great work ethic and attention to detail, she has a fabulous attitude and is a joy for all to work with. She is always smiling, accommodating and happy to do whatever is needed. She is frequently interrupted and is helpful and never rude. Feedback from her colleagues praises her many positive qualities including self-motivation, problem-solving ability, organization, dependability and responsiveness.

Above and Beyond Award

The Above and Beyond Award recognizes individuals in Academic Affairs who step up and do what is necessary and consistently work hard in support of the educational mission. Of special note was Marilee’s dedication to her team members and the importance she places on supporting and empowering everyone to promote success.

Marilee Griffith
CHM Academy Supervisor

Marilee has a fantastic ability to work effectively with everyone. She provides the same high level of service to each member of a very diverse and demanding group of faculty, students and staff. Marilee’s calm demeanor and interpersonal skills make her very approachable. She makes everyone feel attended to and cared for. She is practical and levelheaded in her approach to resolving problems and is never lacking warmth and humor.

When you first think of Marilee, you will always remember a smile, and a never say "NO" attitude. She is patient, compassionate, and considerate to all of her colleagues. Marilee has very good leadership skills in that she understands the strengths of each and every person and gives them space to do the work they are best at.

Marilee’s work can be characterized by her conscientiousness, attention to detail, anticipation of needs or consequences down the road, ability to troubleshoot when problems arise, collegiality and general good-natured approach to her work. She can be counted on in terms of reliability, keeping communication open, and the quality of her work. The sum of all of this is that she exhibits a high degree of professionalism, which is appreciated by everyone who comes to her door.

Innovation Award – Team

The Innovation Award recognizes groups that consider innovative solutions to addressing educational or administrative needs in support of CHM Academic Affairs. In reviewing the nominations for this award, the committee was impressed with the team’s seamless integration of simulation experiences within SDC for educating students but also a means of assessing progress and identifying areas for growth and/or remediation.

Mike Borgeld, Bill Ahrens, Kathy Keller, Kate Taylor, Sath Sudhanthar, Sharon Baker, Amy Prus, Meghan Bambini, Sheila Teunissen, Brian Fraley, Dustin Bacon, Sean Will, Pat Allen, Sherry O'Brien, Lori Dunivon, Kim Lyth, Traci Kanillipoolos, Erin Magyar, Connie Youngert.

SDC Simulation Team

The utilization of simulation as a teaching method has increased tremendously from the Legacy curriculum to the SDC, now a core weekly experience and even in student assessment plays a central role as part of PCSE. This entails a whole new level of capacity and responsibility. A normal simulation event is comprised of many different people and professions—standardized patients, physicians, PAs, IT, nurses, technicians, administrative personnel—who have to be aligned and in rhythm to enact a meaningful experience for the students.

From the first day of medical school, students are placed in simulated clinical situations that show them the skills they will need to acquire. Then as they begin to gain basic science knowledge, they can integrate that with clinical situations and skills. This would not be possible without the effort and teamwork of simulation staff and leadership. It takes great creativity and clinical knowledge to write and develop the clinical scenarios and simulated patient scripts. The logistics of scheduling all of this is tremendous. I have been impressed each week that I teach by the teamwork of simulation coordinators, clinical directors, simulated patient directors, and information technology staff.

As a medical student, I have been the recipient of their successful and diligent work over the past years through various implementations of unique and pertinent scenarios. These scenarios or simulations have always been high quality and relevant to our quickly changing curriculum. They are always well staffed with highly trained and knowledgeable standard patients that not only do their job well but truly enjoy teaching and seeing the students succeed. For many of the staff, this is practically a calling for them to advance the education of the students. I have been more than privileged to work with them.

Innovation Award – Individual

The Innovation Award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated an innovative approach to solving problems in support of CHM Academic Affairs. In reviewing the nominations for this award, the committee noted how Jarrod has developed technology solutions to meet the needs of our community education programs and enhance systems to support the work of administrative personnel.

Jarrod Miller
System Administrator
Flint Community Campus

Jarrod has a skill for developing creative technological solutions to complex problems. Jarrod has helped us function more efficiently by making significant updates to established software infrastructure. Jarrod has developed innovative solutions for almost every system need, many of which are now used by other CHM campuses.

Jarrod P. Miller is most deserving of the Academic Affairs Innovation Award. Jarrod has been instrumental in developing the technological infrastructure that enables the seven clinical community campuses of the College to operate effectively and efficiently. His creativity and unwavering support of our community campuses is nothing short of admirable. His Student Management System is undeniably instrumental in the operation of the Late Clinical Experience.

Jarrod is my go-to person regarding this system. When I am having a technical issue, not only does Jarrod help problem solve and find solutions, he does it at an impeccable speed. Not once have I sent Jarrod an issue that he hasn’t had a turnaround time of less than sixty minutes to find the solution. He is not only a great problem solver; he is a great developer. He understands our needs and is impeccable with his timeliness of response. Jarrod’s strong work-ethic, innovating thinking, and brilliant mind is an asset to our college.

Educational Mission Booster Award

Margaret Malovrh
Department of Pharmacy
Sparrow Health System

Clearly, Dr. Malovrh and her team realized the potential of the MCE rotational placements to support the curriculum in terms of content as well as interprofessional education. She is a creative, dedicated teacher and role model, who truly embodies the SDC experiential learning goals for our medical students.

Dr. Malovrh immediately understood and embraced the intention of having medical students have a deeper understanding of pharmacology, safe practices around prescribing, and the role of pharmacists. The Sparrow pharmacy team thought of ways to incorporate medical students and PharmD students learning together, often integrating them together with health care teams.

Dr. Malovrh and her team’s dedication and innovation to the educational mission of the Shared Discovery Curriculum have been tremendous. It truly embodies the SDC goal of earlier clinical experiences focused on the student being a useful member of the team.

Stacy Brummel
Director of Operations for Primary Care
Spectrum Health

The nomination letters for this award recognized the tremendous diligence and inventiveness shown by Stacy Brummel and her team. She was able to find clinical setting placements for more than half of the ECE students in Grand Rapids; this is definitive evidence of efforts that enable and advance the educational mission of CHM.

Stacy Brummel has been a devoted partner and enthusiastically supported early medical students experiencing primary care practice firsthand. She has doggedly sought out good spots for students in practices, resulting in 50 ECE students being placed in Spectrum practices yearly.

Stacy has been an ambassador, an organizer, a leader, a problem-solver, and a great cheerleader for the students. No one had a bigger smile while reviewing the students’ work at the first scholarly project poster session at Secchia Center.