College of Public Health and Health Professions employees Douglas Martin, Wanda Washington and Lori Waxenberg have been named UF Superior Accomplishment award winners in the Health Science Center division. They will be honored at an awards banquet March 18.
The award program recognizes employees who contribute outstanding service, efficiency and/or economy to the university, or play a role in the quality of life provided to students and employees. Health Science Center division winners are submitted as nominees to compete for the university-level Superior Accomplishment Awards.
“The role of the financial assistance counselor is critical to our function and it is absolutely imperative that the person filling that role be exemplary in a wide variety of skills, including being able to communicate effectively with different groups, such as insurance companies, patients, students, staff and faculty,” a nominator wrote. “Lucky for us Mr. Martin is a skillful communicator, proficient problem-solver and a wonderful person to be around.”
In his role Martin determines patient eligibility, benefits coverage, deductible and co-payment amounts, and pre-service authorizations for patients of the UF Psychology Clinic. If patients don’t have insurance or have trouble paying out-of-pocket costs, Martin works with them to develop a payment plan.
“I have had several patients that Mr. Martin has gone out of his way to assist so that they can retain services in our clinic despite financial difficulties,” a colleague said.
The clinic’s patient visits grew by 20 percent last year, but the increased workload has not affected Martin’s performance, co-workers said.
“He managed to perform at the same high rate without any loss of efficiency, without ever asking for help with his additional workload, without ever complaining about the increase in his daily activities and without a single complaint from faculty or patients. This is quite a remarkable accomplishment.”
“Their success is Wanda’s success,” a nominator wrote. “And she has many, many success stories!”
As an academic advisor for three colleges’ undergraduate programs, Washington serves a wide variety of students with diverse needs.
“She is well-respected by staff, faculty and students from all three colleges,” a colleague said. “How she effectively, pleasantly and efficiently handles the demands placed on her from all three colleges is a testament to her abilities, personality and character.”
In addition to her advising responsibilities, Washington teaches a First Year Florida course, is involved in several student organizations and is a faculty-in-residence for UF’s Division of Housing and Residence Education, a program that promotes interaction between faculty members and students through out-of-classroom experiences. The faculty-in-residence lives in an apartment in one of the residence halls and offers educational, recreational, social and cultural programs while serving as a role model and mentor. In Washington’s “Wednesdays with Wanda” sessions, residents of UF’s east campus housing can discuss also sorts of university issues.
“No one leaves a session with Wanda without a sense of relief, understanding their important place in the process and not only the possibility, but the probability that they would succeed,” a co-worker said.
Students say Washington is approachable, knowledgeable and compassionate.
“It is evident that she really cares about each of her students,” a student said.
Lori Waxenberg, Ph.D., a clinical professor in the department of clinical and health psychology and director of training for the department’s predoctoral internship program, is known for her tireless work ethic and dedication to her students and patients.
“Lori is a highly effective and cherished clinical supervisor and teacher, consistently receiving extremely high ratings for her teaching and clinical service,” a colleague said. “Her clinical knowledge and teaching skills are without match.”
Students and interns praised Waxenberg’s cooperative mentoring style.
“Lori encourages students to think independently about diagnostic conceptualizations and treatment plans before providing feedback about her own clinical opinion,” a student said. “Her feedback on reports is incredibly constructive and worded in a way that encourages students by reinforcing positive aspects of their work.”
Colleagues said Waxenberg contributes to the department in numerous ways, including seeing patients at her pain assessment clinic and as a member of UF Health’s Care One Clinic team, teaching graduate courses and supervising her doctoral students and interns. But there is another role she willingly takes on, that of unofficial mentor to several students and interns.
“Many students seek out Lori because they feel she creates a safe place for trainees to receive advice about professionalism, handling difficult situations, discussions of personal identity, and career paths,” a co-worker wrote.
One intern described it this way: “Whenever we have faced challenges or difficult issues this year, it is common for one of us to suggest to another, ‘You should talk to Lori about this. I am sure she will help you find a way to manage it.’”