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Seven from Upstate receive Chancellor's Awards for Excellence

Seven from Upstate receive Chancellor's Awards for Excellence

Caption: Receiving 2015 Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence are, from left, Tashico Williams, Danielle Porter, R.N., Michele Henderson, Michael Vertino, M.D., and Steven Youngentob, Ph.D. Missing from the photograph are Vincent Frechette, MD, and Susan Jean Fiore Shaw.

SYRACUSE, N.Y-- Seven members of Upstate Medical University have been named winners of 2014-2015 Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence from the State University of New York for consistently demonstrating superior professional achievement and encouraging the ongoing pursuit of excellence. SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher announced the recipients June 22.

Vincent E. Frechette, M.D., Michele Henderson, Danielle Porter, R.N., Susan Jean Fiore Shaw, Michael L.Vertino, Tashico Williams and Steven L. Youngentob, Ph.D., are among 312 faculty and staff from SUNY’s 64 campuses and System Administration to receive the awards. Porter becomes the first employee from Upstate’s Community Campus to be honored with a Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Classified Service. Chancellor’s Awards are comprised of a certificate and a Chancellor’s Excellence Medallion. The awards will presented at Upstate’s 2015 Fall Faculty Convocation.

“The Awards for Excellence recognize SUNY faculty and staff who have gone above and beyond in service to our students, campuses, and communities,” said Zimpher. “It is a great honor to have the opportunity to thank them not only for their efforts to raise the bar on their own campuses but for their dedication and service to the entire SUNY system.”

Vincent E. Frechette, M.D., has received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service. Frechette is associate professor of medicine and division chief of General Internal Medicine. He is recognized by his nominators for his positive impact on the lives of thousands of students, residents, faculty members and patients with whom he is held in the highest esteem. As division chief, he facilitated the development of the hospitalist program and the transition of coverage extending to the Community Campus. Frechette teaches for the Family Medicine Rural Medical Education Program (RMED), traveling to various rural locations throughout the state, helping to train physicians of tomorrow. Under his tenure as director of educational programs for the Department of Medicine Residency Program (2002 to 2008), the residency maintained a 100 percent pass rate due to his effective leadership and advocacy for his students and house staff. He and his family established the Lukie’s SOUL Foundation named for his late son, which funds a classroom in the Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital and supports children’s cancer research and care. Frechette is the recipient of numerous awards, most recently Upstate’s Gold Standard Award.

Michele Henderson has received a Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Classified Service. She is assistant to the senior associate dean in the Office of Faculty Affairs and Faculty Development. She is credited by one of her many nominators as being the ‘administrative backbone’ for the office’s wide range of important and high-level projects, including the Academy of Upstate Educators, Celebration of the Faculty, mentoring programs, and Path to Promotion Workshops, to name a few. In addition, Henderson serves as editor of the Faculty Commons newsletter that highlights the accomplishments of Upstate faculty members. She is recognized for her ‘can-do’ attitude, professionalism and for possessing the highest level of skills and integrity, all attributes that reflect well on the University and ensure that Upstate faculty feel respected and well supported.

Danielle Porter, RN, has received a Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Classified Service. She has provided outstanding nursing service at Upstate’s Community and Downtown campuses for the past 10 years and is currently assigned to the sixth floor at Community Campus. Porter serves as a role model for her colleagues, consistently exceeds expectations, and creates a positive environment to learn by serving as a mentor and coach to those ‘under her wing.’ She is a strong advocate for her patients, for whom she uses the appropriate resources to correctly and sensitively answer their questions and concerns. Recognizing the importance of teamwork, Porter oftentimes volunteers to change her shift to accommodate scheduling and to meet the needs of her colleagues. Her nominator says that Danielle ‘shines in everything she does.’

Susan Fiore Shaw, MSN, PNP, ANP, has received a Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service. Shaw is in her 38th year of service at Upstate. She is an adult nurse practitioner and clinical coordinator for the Palliative Care Service. Shaw has been praised by her many nominators for possessing remarkable depth as a clinician with understanding of both medical diseases issues and psycho-social issues as they impact patient care. During her time at Upstate, she has helped to build aspects of survivorship into pediatric cancer care through her work with the Children’s Oncology Group, and her development of the Kids Now Off Therapy clinic, a clinic for improving quality of life for pediatric cancer survivors. In 1999, Shaw started the KNOT clinic, which at the time was one of the few in the nation to follow childhood cancer survivors to adulthood. In addition to her clinical work, she is an adjunct faculty member for Upstate’s Radiation Program in the College of Health Professions and a volunteer faculty member at the College of Nursing. She is an humanitarian at heart, and has been credited by others for her ‘strong sense of compassion, gentleness and realism.’

Michael L. Vertino, M.D., has received a Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. Vertino is an associate clinical professor in the Department of Neurology. For the past 12 years, his work at Upstate has greatly contributed to the governance and administrative coordination of the undergraduate medical program in the College of Medicine. Vertino has served as the Neurology Clerkship director and as a faculty advisor to the Student Interest Group in Neurology. He has also served as chair of the Clinical Years Coordinating Committee and liaison between the Neurology Department and the Curriculum Office. His nominators recognize Vertino for his commitment to the ‘fundamental elements of medical practice and professionalism.’ He has developed several methods to support integration of basic science courses and has fostered curriculum alignment of neurologic education across the curriculum. He has received numerous awards for excellence in teaching, including the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2012. His students at all levels comment on his passion for education and excellence in teaching and being a positive role model.

Tashico Williams has received a Chancellor’s award for Excellence in Classified Service. She is a rehabilitation therapy aide in the Department of Rehabilitation Therapy. She is responsible for working directly with the therapist to provide hands on assistance to their patients. She is also responsible for monitoring the department’s laptops and working with the IMT Department to ensure that the technology is properly functioning. She is an independent, self-motivated, solutions-oriented individual who has taken the initiative to train new unit support techs, therapists and weekend student aides to ensure that they are competent to perform their duties. Her nominator says that she “sees the big picture - what is best for the department, Upstate and most of all, the patients.” Tashico meets requests in a thorough and timely fashion and is an on-the-spot problem solver who goes above and beyond in assisting therapists. She is nurturing and supportive to patients and to their family members.

Steven L. Youngentob, Ph.D., has received the Chancellor’s Award for Scholarship and Creative Activities. Youngentob is professor of psychiatry and behavioral science, neuroscience and physiology. In his 30 years of service at Upstate, he has excelled in conducting groundbreaking research, as well as in leading and mentoring graduate students.Youngentob serves as the associate director of the SUNY Development Alcohol Research Center. His current research on the relationship between fetal alcohol exposure and the development of adolescent alcohol misuse has gained national and international interest. His nominators recognize him as a scientist who brings innovative ideas to the areas of neurobiology and behavioral mechanisms. Youngentob has been the principle investigator for more than 10 grants from the National Institutes of Health. His work has been published in more than 70 peer-reviewed articles, eight invited articles and numerous book chapters.