3 chosen as UAB VIPs for third-quarter 2023

Written by 

by Brooke Carbo

UAB VIP Award iconNominations for fourth-quarter 2023 honorees are open through Nov. 8; submit a nomination online.Emily Bruer, system analyst-OnCore in the Center for Clinical & Translational Science; Amanda Dove, business development analyst in the Harbert Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship; and Dina Jones, Human Resources ADA specialist in Talent Performance & Relations, are the third-quarter 2023 honorees for the UAB Shared Values in Action Program. The UAB VIP Awards honor employees whose work exemplifies and embodies one or more of the university’s shared values — integrity, stewardship, collaboration, accountability, respect, excellence and achievement, and diversity and inclusiveness. All three honorees have made a lasting impact on the fabric and culture of UAB by exemplifying the university’s shared values.

Honorees are nominated by their colleagues and selected by a committee of individuals from across the campus and UAB Hospital. Nominations for fourth-quarter 2023 honorees are open through Nov. 8; submit a nomination online. One of 12 VIP honorees throughout the year will be selected for the President’s Award for Excellence in Shared Values.

Emily Bruer

rep emily bruer 400pxEmily BruerAmong her colleagues in the Center for Clinical & Translational Science, System Analyst Emily Bruer is considered one of the resident experts on the OnCore Clinical Trial Management System, which tracks protocols and participants throughout a trial’s lifecycle.

Bruer can always be counted on “to provide subject matter expert knowledge,” said Business Intelligence Architect Deanne Guthrie, citing Bruer’s recent assistance with testing multiple iterations of a two-tier chargemaster and her collaboration with the technical team to identify process questions that needed to be resolved.

“Emily is just a go-to person … She is one of the most collaborative, conscientious, and respectful people I have worked at UAB,” said Guthrie.

Not only is she extremely knowledgeable on OnCore’s functionality, said Bruer’s manager and OnCore Team Leader Ashley Knight Specht, but she never shies away from sharing that knowledge with the team.

“More than teach, she coaches, and she does so willingly and respectfully, taking the time to listen to people's questions and concerns,” said Specht. “She seems to have an innate desire to see her coworkers succeed, and she elevates every member of the team because of her actions.”

OnCore System Administrator Mackenzie Roberts credits Bruer’s efforts for helping her succeed in her early days with the OnCore team — including taking it upon herself to create a guide for the department’s new OnCore administrators. As a new team member, Roberts said she also benefited from Bruer’s ability to communicate in a way that “helps people both understand and feel comfortable inquiring about issues further.”

Likewise, when OnCore Financial Analyst Lauren Bryant joined the team last year, she recalls Bruer’s patience during her training and onboarding.

“She was generous with her time, and never made me feel like I was asking stupid questions,” said Bryant. “I’m not sure our group would be the same without her steady personality to rely on.”

Amanda Dove

rep amanda dove 400pxAmanda DoveIt is commonly said among staff of the Harbert Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (HIIE) that if Amanda Dove doesn’t know something, it is likely not worth knowing.

When Karthik Gopalakrishnan, Ph.D., director of Licensing & New Ventures, joined HIIE in 2019, “it quickly became apparent that Amanda was the keeper of our institutional memory,” he said. That is a reputation that Gopalakrishnan said is well earned: “She took the time to really understand the documents and cases that came across her desk and was diligent and conscientious enough to take the effort to dig deep, get the context and retain the knowledge to make it available as needed.”

Dove’s contributions go far beyond her title of Business Development Analyst, from managing portfolios and ensuring intellectual property compliance, to guiding the launch of new startups and frequently providing her colleagues with feedback and guidance on processes and best practices.

“Her attention to detail and commitment to excellence has stood me in good stead many, many times,” said HIIE Executive Director Kathy Nugent, Ph.D.

That includes the ongoing NSF Regional Innovation Engines Grant, which Nugent said Dove has been instrumental in from the beginning, making sure all requirements were met, no matter how arcane.

“Her work is a huge reason why we made it to the semifinal round and deepened essential relationships with valuable partners such as Southern Research, the city of Birmingham and Alabama’s HBCUs,” said Nugent.

Dove is also credited with keeping the institute’s leadership team abreast of national trends among technology transfer offices, and recently spearheaded the adoption of a new knowledge management system to track HIIE’s inventors, intellectual property disclosures, patents and other essential information. And in her spare time, she found the time to get her MBA, graduating from UAB in December 2022.

Said Senior Licensing Associate Karen Bernard, Ph.D., “her knowledge, dedication and work ethic are an example for all of us.”

Dina Jones

rep dina jones 400pxDina JonesAfter just one year at the helm of the AWARE Disability Management Program, HR ADA Specialist Dina Jones has already proved to be an invaluable resource to employees and candidates whose job is affected by a physical, mental or emotional impairment.

In her role with the Human Resources program, Jones advises employees and their departments on reasonable accommodation requests, coordinates vocational evaluations and workplace assessments, organizes awareness and sensitivity training and assists with recruitment of qualified applicants. Jones also supports UAB’s efforts with the  Ticket-to-Work Program, which helps disabled workers secure and keep their Social Security benefits. Through it all, Jones approaches every interaction with compassion, respect and kindness — as demonstrated by the thank-you notes that pour into the AWARE Program’s inbox.

“Thank you for checking in with me periodically. It was nice to know I hadn't just been filed away,” wrote one job candidate recently. Another praised Jones for “always helping others with a huge smile on your face and in your voice.”

In addition to working with employees and candidates, Jones collaborates with departments throughout UAB to match potential employees with suitable positions. Jones’ efforts have been a much-needed boon in the current labor market, according to Sharon Lane, manager of Employment with UAB Medicine HR.

“She has afforded us a way to continue to successfully tap into this important sector of the workforce and retain current employees so that UAB Medicine has the workforce needed to continue to provide excellent care,” Lane said.

For Jones, the work doesn’t stop once an employee is hired. One colleague recalled the hours she spent walking an employee who struggled to read and write through their required paperwork— “the process took several hours of Dina’s time, sitting with the employee, reading and explaining the various forms, while allowing the employee to make decisions.”

Lane has witnessed her helping new hires navigate orientation processes that might otherwise create a barrier to their continued employment. Jones also has helped Lane find suitable and fulfilling roles for employees having difficulties in their current job due to a disability, as well as recommending adaptive technology or workflow issues that would allow an employee to stay in their current job.

“She just has a heart for this kind of work,” Lane said. “Her goal is to have everyone involved in the process come out a winner because for her, that's how our organization achieves excellence.”