January 11, 2022

2021 mentorship awards go to Elena ‘Noon’ Kuo and Dori Rosenberg

Award winners Elena “Noon” Kuo (left) and Dori Rosenberg.

Outstanding mentorship — emphasizing equity and inclusion — was recognized

Since 2009, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) has recognized excellence in mentorship with awards for mentoring of KPWHRI faculty and staff. The 2021 award winners were announced by Senior Investigator and Director of Research, Faculty & Development Jennifer McClure, PhD, at a virtual all-KPWHRI meeting in December.

In introducing the year's nominees, McClure noted the importance of mentoring for creating a culture of caring, strengthening the workforce, and — of particular importance this year —promoting resilience of both the mentor and mentee. The 2 recipients of the 2021 KPWHRI Outstanding Mentor awards excel at these skills and at supporting their colleagues above and beyond supervision.

The Outstanding Mentor of Staff Award went to Elena "Noon" Kuo, PhD, MPH, senior evaluation and learning consultant for the Center for Community Health and Evaluation at KPWHRI. Kuo, who trained as a public health epidemiologist, is known for her passionate and compassionate work to reduce inequities in health access, education, and outcomes for historically marginalized communities. In particular, Kuo's commitment and contributions to equity, diversity, and inclusiveness were recognized as factors in the mentorship award. Mentees noted her support for their development of capabilities in equity-focused approaches.

Colleague statements about Kuo's mentorship included:

  • "Time and time again, Elena has suggested questions and a framework to approach an issue through the lens of equity.”
  • “Elena has supported my personal and professional growth by providing opportunities to expand my capabilities as an inclusive leader.”
  • “Elena leans into opportunity from a place of compassion and investment in the wellbeing and success of the work community to which she belongs.”

The 2021 Outstanding Mentor of Faculty Award went to Dori Rosenberg, PhD, MPH, a KPWHRI associate investigator. Rosenberg’s research includes patient-centered studies on physical activity and sedentary time. In particular, she focuses on identifying challenges to healthy activity at multiple levels, from neighborhood features to individual behaviors. Her research tests innovative ways to overcome these challenges and promote physical activity for all.

Rosenberg's leadership and inclusiveness were noted by colleagues, who wrote:

  • “Dori has provided me with top-notch scientific guidance and opportunities for me to grow as a scientist.”
  • “She is a compassionate leader who continuously drives to build inclusive and supportive teams. … When I think about people driving change to create a respectful and inclusive culture at the institute, she's at the top of the list.”
  • “She recognizes the value and expertise that each person brings to the table and leads her research teams in that spirit.”

All KPWHRI staff and faculty are eligible for either mentorship award, and the recipients are selected by a committee of their peers. Others nominated in 2021 as outstanding mentors of staff were Cara Lewis, Susan Brandzel, and Tanya Matthews. Others nominated as outstanding mentors of faculty were Aruna Kamineni, James Ralston, Yates Coley, and Nora Henrikson.

Thanks to the 2021 Mentorship Award Committee members: DeVona Lang, Stephen Perry, Laurel Hansell, Pamela Shaw, Joe Glass, and Sophia Mun.​​​​​​

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