UW Health Honors Employees' Community Service

Madison, Wisconsin – UW Health recognized the community-focused work of three employees with 2013 Community Service Awards on Wednesday, October 30.


The awards are bestowed upon employees who demonstrated exceptional commitment and leadership as volunteers for community organizations that promote community health priorities and are accompanied by $500 donations to the organizations to which the recipients devoted at least 50 hours of service the previous year.


"I've been very proud to witness a large number of faculty and staff who have chosen to stretch UW Health's mission, vision and core values well outside the walls of our organization by going out into the community on their own time as dedicated volunteers," said UW Health Community Relations director Juli Aulik. "The spirit of volunteerism and giving back among UW Health faculty and staff has always been very strong, and we are so proud to have this opportunity to formally recognize our most dedicated individuals for their time, commitment and devotion to helping others throughout our communities."


Community Service Award Recipients


Melisa Hergert, nurse clinician, UW Hospital and Clinics

Melisa Hergert (second from left), with (from left) Robert Golden, Donna Katen-Bahensky and Pete ChristmanMelisa was recognized for her work as a devoted volunteer for Camp Kesem, a non-profit, University of Wisconsin student-led organization that provides a free weeklong summer camp to local children with parents or guardians affected by cancer.


In her role as camp nurse, Melisa is responsible for all medication distribution, camper and counselor injuries, and camper and counselor sickness. She also serves on Camp Kesem's advisory board. She is active in fundraising and promoting Camp Kesem's annual "Make the Magic" benefit.


Melisa's efforts have helped Camp Kesem grow from 15 campers in 2010 to 90 campers in 2013. She's held numerous bake sales and recruits campers through her connections with the UW Carbone Cancer Center oncology doctors and nurses with whom she works.


"Through her service with Camp Kesem, Melisa is continually inspired to be the best at what she does," said UW Hospital and Clinics President and CEO Donna Katen-Bahensky, who presented Melisa's award. "This intersection of Melisa's profession, her volunteerism and UW Health's mission is truly what our Community Service awards are about.


April Brazier, clinical systems analyst, UW Medical Foundation


April Brazier (second from left) with Robert Golden, Donna Katen-Bahensky and Pete ChristmanFor the past 13 years April has devoted her time and energy to Little People of America, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality-of-life for people of short stature and their families.


April has served as the organization's Madison-area chapter president and in 2006 was elected district director of Wisconsin and Illinois. In 2011, she was elected district treasurer and was instrumental in setting up scholarship, outreach and advocacy funds for LPA members.


April also organized this year's regional conference in Madison. More than 200 members from Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, and North and South Dakota attended, and April arranged for UW Health physicians with experience with dwarfism to attend a medical symposium at the conference and conduct free individual consultations with attendees.


"We thank Little People of America for the continued opportunities they bring to their members," said Pete Christman, UW Medical Foundation Executive Vice President and COO. "And we thank April for her dedication and passion for working with LPA."


Jim Keck, PhD, professor of biomolecular chemistry, UW School of Medicine and Public Health


Jim Keck (back row, second from left), with Robert Golden, Keck's daughter and son, ACS representative Laura Strickland and Donna Katen-BahenskyJim's involvement with the Madison Chapter of the American Cancer Society became a very personal one in May, when his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her prognosis is excellent, and Jim's devotion to the American Cancer Society continues.


His work on the society's event planning committee played an integral part in the logistical planning, team recruitment, sponsorship and in-kind donations for many of its events.


Jim's contributions to this year's Run/Walk helped attract nearly 1,300 participants raising nearly $100,000 to help fight cancer.


"Jim, we are very glad to hear your wife is doing well and we thank the American Cancer Society for their continued fight to end this disease," said UW School of Medicine and Public Health Dean Robert Golden, MD. "We also thank you for your continued cancer research here at UW Health and for your service to the ACS."



2013 Community Service Awards Honorees

  • Deanna Blanchard, RN, UW Hospital and Clinics nursing educational specialist, for her work with The Literacy Network
  • Kari Hankins, UW Hospital and Clinics  CareWear consultant, for her service with Tri 4 Schools
  • Christine Wittleder, UW Hospital and Clinics business planning analyst, for her ongoing service to the 4-C
  • William Yerges, RN, UW Hospital and Clinics nurse clinician, for his work with Blackhawk Bowhunters
  • Brenda Ray, UW Medical Foundation patient financial services representative, for her service with the Madison Area Down Syndrome Society
  • Mary Vasquez, UW Medical Foundation social services coordinator, for her work with the AIDS Network
  • Douglas Dulli, MD, UW Health neurologist, for his work with the Benevolent Specialists Project Free Clinic
  • James Giesen, MD, UW Health internal medicine physician, for his ongoing service with the Community Connections Free Clinic
  • Amanda Hessling, UW School of Medicine and Public Health medical assistant, for her commitment to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
  • Erik Ranheim, MD, UW Health pathologist, for his service with HEALTH Program

Date Published: 10/31/2013

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