Fostering personal and professional growth through mentorship has always been a priority at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI). With most of our staff and faculty working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, peer support, mentoring, and encouragement have never been more important. Our 2020 mentorship award recipients rose to this challenge — and then some.
The 2020 recipient of the Outstanding Staff Mentor Award is Chester Pabiniak, MS, a manager of programming and analysis at KPWHRI. Mr. Pabiniak has worked in many areas since joining the Institute in 1992 and feels particularly fortunate to be involved in KPWHRI’s behavioral health research. Colleagues often describe him as the “Ambassador of the 15th floor.” And although the 15th floor is mostly empty these days, he still finds ways to reach out to co-workers, offering support, advice, and guidance, and generously sharing his experience and knowledge. As one colleague noted: “The Institute would be a weaker place if we did not have Chester’s depth of knowledge and willingness to share with everyone.” Another colleague praised Mr. Pabiniak’s guidance on establishing healthy boundaries at work: “These boundaries helped me be more available to take on new projects, bring my best creativity forward, and … also helped me to navigate the pandemic and its impact on work.”
This year’s recipient of the Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award — Susan Shortreed, PhD — was also frequently praised by colleagues for generously sharing her expertise and encouraging healthy work boundaries. Dr. Shortreed, who joined the Institute in 2010, works to improve statistical and machine learning methods for analyzing health records data as a senior investigator in the Biostatistics Unit. Her leadership, high standards, and knowledge are all greatly valued by colleagues. “Susan embodies scientific excellence and integrity through her thorough examination of data sources, rigorous statistical analysis, and detailed assessment of findings,” one colleague wrote. These comments were echoed by another colleague who noted: “Her mentorship and guidance helps everyone work toward scientific excellence and integrity.” A colleague also praised how Dr. Shortreed leads by example: “Susan … sets clear boundaries around personal time in a way that allows and encourages junior colleagues on her team to do the same.”
All KPWHRI staff and faculty are eligible for either mentorship award, and the recipients are selected by a committee of their peers.
Others nominated as outstanding staff mentors are Susan Bennett, Tammy Dodd, Ron Johnson, Deborah King, Gwen Lapham, Cara Lewis, Paula Lozano, David Maydoney, Stephen Perry, Lisa Ross, Leah Tuzzio, and Paige Wartko.
Others nominated as outstanding faculty mentors are Katherine Bradley, Paula Lozano, Jennifer Clark Nelson, and Robert Penfold.
Thanks to the 2020 Mentorship Award Committee members: Denise Boudreau, Laura Harrington, Tanya Matthews, Tyler Ross, and Emily Westbrook.
The honor underscores the institute’s commitment to a work environment that fosters employees’ growth.
Every year the KPWHRI award recognizes two individuals who provide outstanding service in promoting the career development of others.