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:
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:
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.
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.
Every year the KPWHRI award recognizes two individuals who provide outstanding service in promoting the career development of others.