In December, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) continued a 14-year tradition of recognizing excellence in mentorship. The annual KPWHRI mentorship awards for 2022 were announced by Senior Investigator and Director of Investigative Science Jennifer McClure, PhD, at the end-of-the-year virtual all-institute meeting.
Outstanding Mentor award recipients are current employees who provide exceptional professional support that results in clear benefits for one or more colleagues. Outstanding mentors exemplify KPWHRI’s core values of integrity, joy, respect, service, justice, courage, and learning.
McClure introduced the award nominees by defining a mentor as a teacher or adviser and confidant who encourages, challenges, supports, and inspires personal and professional growth. All nominees for the Outstanding Mentor awards exhibit these qualities and excel at supporting their colleagues.
The Outstanding Mentor of Staff Award, presented by Tanya Matthews, PhD, director of the human research protection program, went to Anne Renz, MPH. Renz is currently manager of the Research Project Management Office. In more than 9 years with KPWHRI, Renz has led and managed studies in multiple areas including shared decision-making, reducing the risk of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, and increasing physical activity in older adults.
A letter nominating Renz for the award noted her open-mindedness about new challenges and her eagerness to learn, and said, "More than once, she has given me the courage to do hard things that ultimately help me grow personally and professionally.”
The Outstanding Mentor of Scientists award, presented by Senior Biostatistics Investigator Pamela Shaw, PhD, MS, went to Allen Cheadle, PhD, senior evaluation and learning consultant for the Center for Community Health and Evaluation (CCHE) at KPWHRI. Cheadle, a former director of CCHE, continues to contribute to its leadership as the center has grown to its largest group ever, with 27 staff. Among Cheadle's achievements are evaluating the Kaiser Permanente Community Health Initiative, 2004 to 2017.
Comments in letters nominating Cheadle noted that he "encourages people to find their passion” and "has always prioritized supporting the career growth of others.” His commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion were also recognized, with a colleague saying, “We’re a lot closer to justice in our work because of him.”
In announcing the award winners, McClure noted the exceptional number and quality of nominees. Also nominated for the Outstanding Mentor of Staff award were Deborah King, Paige Wartko, Stephen Perry, Kelly Hansen, Sarah Brush, Marlaine Figueroa Gray, Paula Lozano, Allen Cheadle, Cara Lewis, and Lorella Palazzo. Also nominated for Outstanding Mentor of Scientists were Andrea Cook, Aruna Kamineni, Jessica Chubak, Jen Nelson, Greg Simon, Cara Lewis, and Nora Henrikson.
KPWHRI thanks the Mentorship Award Committee members, DeVona Lang, Allison Gerodias, Laurel Hansell, Pamela Shaw, Joe Glass, and Tanya Matthews.
By Chris Tachibana
Outstanding mentorship — emphasizing equity and inclusion — was recognized.
This year’s honorees inspire us with their unwavering dedication to helping colleagues grow and achieve — even from a distance.
The honor underscores the institute’s commitment to a work environment that fosters employees’ growth.