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2020 Recipients

1st Quarter


Jodie Penrod 1st Q CARE Winner 2020

Jodie Penrod, Senior Director, Technology

Office of Information and Learning Technologies

"She is always on the lookout for better ways to deliver our services, carefully weighing customer feedback. The work she has put into the IT design for the new building has been remarkable, encompassing weekly meetings with consultants and stakeholders, technology demonstrations and pilots, and careful budgeting. Much of that work was done during a time in which her health was not fully cooperating, demonstrating a tremendous commitment to HCOM." 

"She has been vital in the coordination of new technology implementation across the three campuses, including the new Heritage Hall building. Her ideas and knowledge are greatly valued throughout the college, and we wouldn’t be where we are today without her. Personally, her achievements are above and beyond any other, and there was zero chance that anything would hold her back."


Catherine Perry CARE Winner Q1 2020

Catherine Perry, Records Management Specialist

Office of Clinical Education

“Catie approaches everything with an enormous amount of professionalism and enthusiasm. I have worked directly with Catie in the Dublin Division on many new processes that could potentially cause confusion and frustration for staff. Catie’s positive attitude deters many negative responses, and her ability to stay grounded helps others to succeed.”

"Catie embodies all the attributes of the ideal employee, team member and coworker! She always meets and exceeds expectations with regard to her work ethic, professionalism and customer service. She is valued among all who interact with her. Catie is the shining example of the standard of excellence."


Fabian Benencia CARE Winner Q1 2020

Fabian Benencia, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Immunology

Department of Biomedical Sciences

“He is consistently communicating with our class the most up-to-date information regarding our course and really cares about getting us all through this unprecedented time. He is a wonderful educator who genuinely cares about students’ understanding of content, as well as connecting with faculty to get the answers to our questions.”

"Dr. Benencia has always been a great professor but has gone above and beyond during online classes and COVID-19 craziness to make sure the students have everything we need and are taking care of ourselves. It is encouraging and comforting to know he is always rooting for us."

2nd Quarter


Patricia Roberts Care 2nd Q 2020

Patricia Roberts, Ph.D., Academic Program Administrator

Office of Clinical Education

"During the COVID-19 crisis she has been in constant communication with us, keeping us in the loop and letting us know we were taken care of. We never had to wait for a message from her."

"Medical school is hard, but knowing Dr. Roberts always has my back makes it just that much easier. She is a true student advocate and works diligently to take care of student needs."

"She gets to know each of us and figures out her own plan to help us with our achievements. Dr. Roberts always offers a caring heart and words of encouragement with every turn. Her calm demeanor, ready-for-anything attitude and vast resources are just a few qualities that make her deserving of this award."


Beth McDonald Care 2nd Q 2020

Beth McDonald, Administrative Specialist

Office of Student Affairs

"Beth’s work is normally done behind the scenes and she does not seek credit or accolades. We want her to know that her work does not go unnoticed and that it is vitally important to our students and staff here at the College. "

"Beth anticipates the needs of our upcoming projects and often completes tasks before we've started discussing them. She isn't afraid to tackle complex initiatives, like processing contracts and coordinating billing." 

"Beth always has a can-do attitude and is incredibly patient and kind to our students. She certainly makes my job much easier and enjoyable. Beth is a wonderful employee and friend and an asset to the Heritage College."


Melissa Thomas Care 2nd Q 2020

Melissa Thomas, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

Department of Family Medicine

"She would go out of her way to do things for us that no other staff member has done, and she would do these things in such a genuine way. In the midst of her other obligations, Dr. Thomas took a moment to send our small group a motivational message an hour prior to taking our first exam of the acute semester. When this message came through, I remember thinking how kind it was for her to remember on that day we had our first exam, how thoughtful it was for her to reach out to us and how empowering her message was."

"When uncertainty struck during the first weeks of the pandemic and classes were going online, Dr. Thomas sent our small group an email. In this email, she shared a personal experience of hers that left us with the message that even though the journey may stray off course and not be as expected, anyone can find acceptance, enjoyment and success in what is brought to them should they have an open mind. She helped us to acknowledge the important things in life and was such a motivation to us all."

3rd Quarter


Caroline Northrup

Caroline Northrup, Curriculum Manager  

Clinical Education 

"During the pandemic I worked with Caroline in terms of coordinating with content experts to develop online modules on COVID-19, COVID-19 and Public Health, Palliative Medicine, IM, FM, GS, OB, Primary Care, PED, EM and others. The one thing that stood out was her Herculean effort to juggle all the moving and ever-changing tasks and at the same time communicate different pieces of information to different constituents such as faculty, IT, clinical education and students. Her contribution to the college went above and beyond in terms of the number of working hours she spent during 2+2 curriculum development." 

"The recent COVID-19 pandemic has created more and new work for many of us at Heritage College, but none more than in clinical education. Only with the hard work and dedication of Caroline Northrup have we been able to attempt to virtual learning opportunities for our 3rd and 4th year medical students. Not only has she implemented close to a dozen new courses in the last three months, but she has continued her work to support the implementation of the Pathways of Health and Wellness Year 3 curriculum. Her efforts truly are amazing - without her, we would all be at a loss!"

"Her amazing leadership throughout the COVID-19 pandemic deserves recognition. As curriculum manager for clinical education, she is tasked with the responsibility of shepherding the new PHWC curriculum into years 3 and 4, which is an arduous task in and of itself. During the critical phase of the PHWC transition, the pandemic hit. Caroline became 'superwoman' and quickly and efficiently produced online curriculum to enable the graduation of the Class of 2020 and keep the Class of 2021 on track to Year 4. Because of Caroline’s tremendous efforts, clinical education remains on track with the new PHWC curriculum beginning with Class of 2022. She continues to develop online curriculum for an uncertain future, providing the education needed for the success of our students. Clinical education is fortunate and grateful to have her guidance, commitment and her great sense of humor. Caroline has gone above and beyond performing her job with excellence showing exemplary individual achievement."


Janet Dearth

Janet Dearth, Medical Education Learning Technologies Analyst 

Medical Education Technology 

"Janet is an exceptional employee that is dedicated to the success of HCOM. She has went above and beyond during this pandemic to ensure that faculty, staff and students of HCOM have the necessary desktop support to be successful in both delivering and receiving distance learning. She provides superior remote support to end-users regardless of the time of day or day of the week. I have noticed her answering support tickets in the late hours of the evening and on weekends. When remote support isn't adequate, she has made numerous trips to campus to meet end-users to fix their technical issues. In addition to her role as desktop support, she has also taken it upon herself to learn how to support Teams/Zoom academic calls and other distance learning models because of the loss of FTE in HCOM OILT. She is willing to do whatever is required to make HCOM successful and is very, very worthy of the CARE award."

"Janet has gone above and beyond in supporting HCOM faculty, myself included, with managing technology needs during a time when many of us are learning new tech platforms (eMedley, Teams,  etc.) and converting our curricula to online learning formats. She is always positive, helpful and supportive. In particular, she was indispensable during the launch of the Year 3 FM Clerkship course, of which I am IOR. She helped me to navigate a new process in Teams (creating small group breakout sessions) and was always ready to tackle any tech-related issue that came up during the rollout of this course. Janet is a rock star."

"Despite being in a world of technology and computers and wires, she brings a warm, caring, human touch to her interactions while providing tech support to HCOM staff. In clinical education, in particular, she has availed herself to provide tech support tips during some of our meetings and always lets the team know she can be contacted for assistance any time. Without functioning technology, none of us would be able to do our jobs, and Janet provides top-notch IT support on demand, and as soon as possible. She never ever makes me personally feel like a complete ignoramus when it comes to computers (I am, and I know it). She is so personable, warm, caring and genuinely wants to help optimize tech functions for staff. Janet is more than deserving of this award! Please consider her for this! Thank you for your time." 


Nilardi Mahato

Niladri Mahato, M.B.B.S., M.S., D.N.B., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Instruction

Department of Biomedical Sciences 

"Dr. Mahato cares so much about the students here. He is extremely helpful in anatomy lab by explaining board-relevant topics and ensuring that students maximize their time in the lab. Dr. Mahato is an outstanding teacher and is very willing to help a student at any time. For example, last Friday before our content exam on Monday, I emailed him asking about a topic he explained to me in the anatomy lab earlier in the week. He responded very promptly and offered to send a PowerPoint with the information or to meet on Teams so he could explain it. I ended up meeting with Dr. Mahato on Teams at 7 p.m. that Friday night, and he was very happy to help and explain whatever it is that we needed help with. He is very available for tutoring and help in general. It was so kind that he was willing to help me on a Friday night. Dr. Mahato deserves all of the awards for being an amazing, caring and impactful faculty member!"

"Dr. Mahato has consistently shown that he is dedicated to helping students. He is willing to meet with us any time to help clarify certain concepts. He also has been helping us study for boards, which has been a huge help for us. He has been such a big help, and we really appreciate him and his efforts to help us become physicians." 

"Dr. Mahato is a fantastic instructor. He takes the time to make sure students understand the clinical application of anatomy and that we are all able to see the structures we need to. You can tell how much he cares about students and wants them to be successful."

4th Quarter 


Patricia Lambert CARE Award 2020

Patricia Lambert, M.S.N., Clinical Training and Assessment Center Coordinator 

Cleveland, Medical Education 

"She works tirelessly to make sure students have a good CTAC experience. This starts with her efforts to recruit standardized patients who are caring and want to see students improve and succeed. During the COVID pandemic, her job has become a thankless one, which involves creating and enforcing protocols that keeps standardized patients, students and faculty safe. OUHCOM Cleveland would truly not be the educational place it is without Pat at the helm up in CTAC."

"Pat Lambert goes above and beyond in her CTAC duties. Throughout the COVID crisis, she has had to recruit essentially a new standardized patient pool due to the new age restrictions for standardized patients. Pat is logging long hours to make sure CTAC activities go smoothly. Pat doesn't get enough credit for all the behind-the-scenes work that goes into making this happen!"

"Pat is literally the lifeline of CTAC at the Cleveland campus. She has tirelessly and selflessly prepared, scheduled and delivered seamless patient encounters for our students throughout these uncertain times. This is not a 'new normal' for Pat. She has always poured her heart and soul into ensuring that each lab, exam or other learning experience was set up to run efficiently and flawlessly. Since day one, Pat has taken the fourth floor and transformed it into an exceptional learning environment that is ALWAYS clean, organized and ready to go at a moment's notice. She keeps all of us on our toes to ensure that we are prepared for every event."


Jenn Fritchley CARE Award 2021

Jennifer Fritchley, Facilities Management 

Facilities Management, Administrative Services 

"With the retirement of two members of the facilities unit at HCOM, Jenn has been on site each day to keep Athens operations running smoothly. She has willingly accepted new tasks and had to troubleshoot situations on a daily basis. Jenn is reliable and dependable and definitely customer focused! She is managing the mail deliveries and numerous package deliveries for important research and curriculum activities. She has prepped the facilities with the safety features for social distancing, cleaning supplies, hand-sanitizer, etc. and manages the room scheduling for curriculum to share with OHIO custodial. In addition to managing the daily facilities' operations, Jenn has been instrumental in our move planning and repurposing of furniture. She multitasks and is proactive. Thanks to Jenn for her continued hard work and dedication to HCOM!"


Leanne Chrisman-Khawan CARE Award 2020 Q4

Leanne Chrisman-Khawam, M.D., M.Ed., Assistant Professor, Social Medicine; Director, Transformative Care Continuum 

Cleveland, Medical Education, Social Medicine 

"Dr. Chrisman is a remarkable leader and role model. She pours her heart into her work and is passionate about providing the best education to her students in order to provide the best patient outcomes. She is empathetic, motivational and inspires students every day to continue their commitment to the betterment of society and the health care system. With her dedication to TCC, and her educating on cultural competence, respect and diversity, she is a true portrayal of OUHCOM's mission."

"Dr. Chrisman has been a constant smiling face and shoulder to lean on, especially during the transition to online learning. Her love for primary care and the passion that she instills into myself and my fellow TCC cohort is unbelievable. I cannot wait to become a family physician and to be able to say that I was trained and nurtured by her."