Kristina Panizzi Woodley, Ph.D., program director for undergraduate medical education, is known for her attention to detail, thoughtfulness and innovation. Her co-workers say she is a hard worker and a perfectionist. For her efforts, Panizzi Woodley has been named April Employee of the Month.
“As Kristina’s colleague in the Office of Undergraduate Medical Education, I have observed her outstanding accomplishments first hand, and I am equally impressed by her professionalism and conduct in the workplace,” said James Jackson, Ph.D., professor of education in medicine. “Her attention to detail is legendary in our office, but she never loses sight of the big picture and the people involved.”
Two years ago when the medical school’s self-study for reaccreditation was initiated, Panizzi Woodley stepped up as logistical coordinator.
“Kristina’s enormous contributions and effective leadership were really a key to our outcome,” said Robert Rich, M.D., professor of medicine. “It was apparent to the many faculty, students and staff that she was a prime mover in the development of the self-study and the attendant detailed database, which in hard copy exceeded 1,000 pages in length. I considered myself very fortunate to work closely with an individual so dedicated to personal excellence and outstanding performance.”
The Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) conducted a four-day, on-campus site survey in March. Rich said the chairman of the site visit team, who had seen hundreds of self-studies and databases, said the documents submitted by UAB were among the finest he had ever seen. Official results from the reaccreditation process won’t become available until June, but Rich said the exit conference indicated that the visit had gone well. He said Panizzi Woodley’s work was noted for special recognition and commendation.
“There is no doubt that this monumental effort was carried out by a large and dedicated team, but there is also no doubt that Panizzi Woodley’s persistent efforts were disproportionately responsible for an excellent outcome,” Rich said.
Panizzi Woodley said she is honored by her co-workers’ recommendation and support, but she is just doing what she can to help.
“What drives me to remain passionate and able to go the extra mile has always been other people,” Panizzi Woodley said. “I am a fixer, and it is all I have ever known. Caring for my family, the faculty and staff I work with and our medical students drives me to do my best.”
Panizzi Woodley also knows about the power of second chances. In 2010, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor that she said shook her to her core. She credits UAB physicians, physician assistants, therapists, nurses and nursing aides with saving her life. She said during her recovery she received encouragement and support from all of her colleagues.
Each month, UAB recognizes an outstanding employee for their dedication, hard work and contributions to the university’s success. If you know of a great employee, you can learn how to nominate them for this recognition at uab.edu/humanresources.
“My UAB family would visit me daily in the hospital and during physical-therapy sessions,” Panizzi Woodley said. “I saw up close how so many health-care professionals in the UAB community would care for patients like me and give their all each day to see a patient walk again or even smile and how much this meant to those patients despite some very incredible and real challenges in their lives. I think this drove me to be more passionate and go the extra mile even more to ‘pay it forward’ and try to be a better person. Second chances in life are blessings, and trying to put yourself in other people’s shoes is really very important when it comes down to it.”
Panizzi Woodley has been part of the UAB community since the mid ’90s as a medical student, and she’s been involved with medical student education since 2000. Her role has evolved much since then, but she said she’s always focused on medical education.
“I didn’t know in those days that I would be at UAB almost 20 years later, but ironically I think that this was the path I was destined to follow,” Panizzi Woodley said. “I have had so many life experiences at UAB, and it is such an amazing place that I truly cannot imagine being anywhere else. It is where I call home.”