Employee Recognition Awards Recipients

2020 Award Winners

Clay Adamson

Jacquelyn (Jackie) Stewart

James A. & Erie P. Blissit

Mary Ann Cooke

Golden Pen

Dr. Meredith Rausch

Hospital Quality

Saundra McCorkle

Service Excellence

Brooke Baal


Whitney Dixon


COVID-19 Comprehensive Team


Photo Gallery


Clay Adamson Award

photo of Jackie Stewart

Jackie Stewart

  • Facilities Management

Nominated by: Robert Woodie

Environmental Services Technician

In his nomination, Mr. Woodie mentions that Jackie is the "absolute nicest person in the room every time she walks into it."

Jackie is always willing and not afraid to step up and do what needs to be done. She is helpful and has a smile on her face every day regardless of the situation. The Library is spotless and well maintained because of Jackie and she does it with a smile on her face and in half the time as others. Jackie is always respectful, kind and friendly and if you’re having a bad day, she immediately makes it brighter. Her personality is infectious and she is an absolute joy to be around.

Mr. Woodie goes onto say that "Jackie takes care of students, staff and faculty without any mind to title and she treats everyone with the same level of service that can only be described as excellent. Her service standards are a cut above."

Jackie was a tremendous help during the IT device remediation project, making sure the library was presentable to customers and she was helpful to IT and was instrumental to the success of the project, especially during COVID-19. To put it quite simply, Jackie is awesome!


James A. & Erie P. Blissit Award

photo of Mary Ann Cooke

Mary Ann Cooke

  • College of Education Advanced Studies & Innovation

Nominated by: Giovanni Mercado, Dr. Meredith Rausch, Dr. Laura Rychly, Dr. Darla Linville

Administrative Assistant II

The fact that Mary Ann Cooke was nominated by four of her peers speaks volumes about her as an employee. Her nominators described her as unfailingly upbeat, discreet, efficient, helpful, polite and caring, and that she has a cheerful disposition and a high level of professionalism. Mary Ann is quick to make sure all communication from the university level sources is communicated efficiently and effectively and is running a marathon at a sprinters pace. They shared that her performance can be said to go above and beyond because of the way she takes each of us, and our different areas of expertise, and our different programs with various standards and students, and makes us into a community.

"Due to her efforts, faculty in our department feel we are partners and teammates."

One of her nominators stated that "she sets the tone for the rest of us, when we enter our suite and pass by her on the way to our offices, and it is most definitely a tone of outstanding excellence!"

Another nominator stated that "Mary Ann is cut from a different cloth." Mary Ann is an advocate for Augusta University and is her team's MVP!

Golden Pen Award

photo of Dr. Meredith Rausch

Dr. Meredith Rausch

  • College of Education Advanced Studies & Innovation

Nominated by: Dr. Margaux Brown

Associate Professor

Dr. Brown stated that Dr. Rausch "has accomplished much in the area of publications and presentations and has earned early tenure for her efforts."

During her time as director, she has increased the number of applicants and admitted students in the program. When COVID-19 began, during the application process, Dr. Rausch created a 10-minute video which introduced the program to each applicant in a personal manner and personally interviewed each candidate by phone. She is dedicated to helping the program grow in an exceptional way.

In addition to her work at AU, Dr. Rausch is involved in the community as the Vice President and co-founder of a local nonprofit organization. She serves on boards, is a national mentor and is involved in numerous committees.

Her nominator goes on to say that "in the 5 years since Dr. Rausch has worked at Augusta University, she has published 13 peer-reviewed articles, of which she is the first author on four, and solo-author on three. In that same time, she has authored five book chapters and four book contributions. She is responsible for co-authoring eight marriage and family and career preparation workshops and workbooks for the military. She is currently co-editing a textbook to increase the study of underserved populations, on the editorial board of a textbook, and writing two invited book chapters. In the field, where the average number of publications per year may be 1-3, she has averaged 6+. She has presented at national (7), regional (5), and local and/or invited conferences (9) in the past five years. She also has received three funded grants during this time period." Dr. Rausch spends extra time mentoring individuals, rather than self-promoting or focusing on individualistic goals. She does all of this while running the admission program, advising students, serving on many committees, and maintaining great relationships and high marks with her student evaluations. Finally, Dr. Rausch "goes above and beyond to demonstrate excellence in her performance in a collaborative way and deserves the highest recommendation for the Golden Pen Award!"


Hospital Quality Award

photo of Saundra McCorkle

Saundra McCorkle

  • Plastic Surgery Practice Site

Nominated by: Sandra Oglesby

Charge Nurse

Ms. Oglesby stated that "Ms. McCorkle believes that outstanding job performance results in quality care for our patients." Saundra has worked on a Quality project this year involving the skin substitute Epifix. She has looked at being proactive with the financial aspect to ensure we get authorization prior to implementation of the product. The Epifix project has shown us that we can decrease healing time, simplify the dressing change process, promote healing and be reimbursed for the cost of the product. Saundra has been hands on with streamlining the process so that there is no delay in patient care. As a result, we are able to decrease the number of visits a patient has to make to the clinic and are able to utilize staff more efficiently. Saundra even created a poster board to share this information with staff in other practice sites in order to provide consistency in our treatment regiments throughout the institution. Her nominator went on to say that "Ms. McCorkle has been a leading patient advocate for many years. It is evident in her work that she feels the core of good care begins with the patient and their family. She has made a career of ensuring that her patients receive quality patient care and promotes a culture of quality by constantly seeking out new and inventive methods of treating patients."

Ms. McCorkle is a role model in advancing the strategic priorities of our organization. She doesn't accept the status quo and instead seeks innovative ways to provide improved patient access and address patient preferences in her quest for service excellence.


Service Excellence Award

photo of Brooke Baal

Brooke Baal


Nominated by: Hollis Bradberry, Andrea Putzier

Registered Nurse

Brooke's nominators stated that she has been a nurse for 15 years and she is knowledgeable in all types of care. She deftly cares for a TAVR, an extensive abdominal surgery with unexpected complications, a code, and a quick laryngoscopy. She responds quickly to sudden changes in patient’s conditions and having been thorough in her assessment and charting, knows instinctively what’s gone sideways."

She is professional and friendly, and communicates with certainty, intent, clarity and patience. Brooke leads by example with her willingness to do what needs to be done so patient care isn’t delayed, so patients and nurses are protected, so everyone is doing the right things, the right way, always. She treats everyone like a friend, like a lifelong coworker and treats everyone with the same level of respect. Brooke has the ability to rally a group with an unpleasant or hefty task, she can inspire you to go the extra mile for patients and each other because the joy on the faces of people for whom she cares is something you want to see all the time. Her care for her patients is beyond reproach and her compassion is unmatched.

Her other nominator stated that "she leads by example and exudes confidence, commitment, loyalty, dedication and a tremendous amount of knowledge that helps elevate her coworkers and provides exceptional care to every patient she encounters. She has a gift to connect with people and when conflict arises, she is the de-escalator." Finally her nominators shared that "Brooke is an exemplary human being; she exudes joy and a passion for caring for patients and for helping her team elevate to excellence and there is no one more deserving of this award than her!"



photo of Whitney Dixon

Whitney Dixon

  • Shock Trauma ICU

Nominated by: Rebecca Ledford

Registered Nurse

Ms. Ledford stated that Whitney "leads our Unit Based Shared Governance Council and works with our management team to help find ways to improve our unit and boost morale. She always makes sure to educate the unit on current policies and has no problem speaking up in order to prevent errors that would harm a patient." She went on to say that Whitney is a true team leader and is always around to help everyone out. She is constantly performing in accordance to our quality improvement measures. She holds the unit to a high standard and encourages us to perform in an excellent manner. She is always giving suggestions on ways to improve our delivery of care and she is always up to speed on the new policies and evidence based practice. Whitney is actively engaged with all members of the interdisciplinary team, and she is always learning and giving suggestions on things that could improve patient outcomes.

Whitney always makes sure that the families are well educated on all issues that the patient may have before having to make a tough decision for their loved one and ensures that they have adequate support from the chaplains if they should need it. Whitney is always the first one to get to work and the last one to leave and inspires us all to do better. Finally, her nominator stated that "Whitney embodies all of the hospital’s core valued and goes above and beyond for our patients and their families. She sets a high standard for herself and our staff and is trusted by our whole team and patient family members."


Teamwork Award

COVID-19 Comprehensive Team

COVID-19 Comprehensive Team includes the following departments:

  • Division of Facilities Services
  • Microbiology Lab
  • Georgia Esoteric and Molecular (GEM) Laboratory
  • Drive-Up COVID Testing
  • College of Nursing
  • Information Technology
  • The Dental College of Georgia
  • Data Analytics
  • Operational Excellence
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Centralized Scheduling
  • AU Healthcare and Support Teams
  • Research
  • Telemedicine
  • Pharmacy
  • Division of Communications and Marketing Media Relations
  • Pathology Services
  • Patient Care Services
  • Medical Staff
  • Graduate Medical Education

The departments/teams listed above worked collaboratively to plan and deliver COVID-19 testing and patient care locally and across the state. The response to the pandemic has required unparalleled teamwork from all aspects of the AU Health System for all caregivers whether direct or indirect. The list of accomplishments of the team has made a significant impact on the organization and state. In a very rapid fashion, the health system and university developed a comprehensive response to a disease that didn't exist 9 months ago. The local response was so impressive that the Governor asked AU to partner with the Georgia National Guard to replicate testing across the state which eventually resulted in AU standing up more than 11 test sites across the state. In these unprecedented times of the COVID-19 pandemic, AU Health has been on the forefront of healthcare delivery for COVID-19 testing and patient care. From planning to testing, to results and notification, the multidisciplinary teams rallied around their shared vision and purpose of excellence in patient care. The response to the pandemic has required unparalleled teamwork from all aspects of AU Health for all caregivers whether direct or indirect. The list accomplishments include:

  • Telemedicine screening for more than 50,000 patients including the far reaches of Georgia and South Carolina
  • First in state COVID-19 test (outside of CDC and GPHL)
  • Testing for more than 55,000 patients via drive up service
  • More than 100,000 COVID-19 tests performed in the AU and AU Health Labs
  • A COVID-19 hotline to schedule testing and answer questions about testing
  • Developing a COVID-19 follow-up telemedicine program
  • Nurse managed health clinic conducting results notification program
  • Infectious disease team – reviewing and assisting in the development of testing protocols and guidance for personnel
  • Facilities team working testing and treatment locations in record time

And much much more!

Past Award Recipients

  • Clay Adamson Facilities Services Employee of the Year:  Jeffrey Petersen, James Baker, Richard Quarles Jr., Thomas Rogers, Jordan Cribbs, William Sealey, Brittany Addison, Thomas Dwayne Self
  • James A. & Erie P. Blissit:  Bonnie Collins, Jan Bane, Sarah, Braswell, Velma Brown, Lisa Kedigh, Diana Morris, Judy Sanders, Helen Smith, Lara Tucker, Michael Wilkins, Rachel Solomon, Candy Herndon, Crystal Vincent
  • Golden Pen:  Dr. Shannon Broxton, Dr. Jack Yu, Nhuan Nguyen, Christina DeRemer, Wendy Turner, Dabney Eidson, Nita Maihle, Dwayne Pierce, Arpita Sha Gandhi, Dr. Andrea Sikora Newsome, Dr. Arpita Shah Gandhi, Dr. Nidhi K. Gulati
  • Hospital Quality:  Dr. Brandi Gunsolus, Josh Clifton, Rebecca Robinson, Susan Tuten, Anna Fulmer, Lucinda Bufford, Kerri Garmon
  • Service Excellence:  Augusta University Legal Team, Toy Brown, Meera Dase, Erica Hawthorne, Nadine Odo, Michele Tukes, Dr. Alexis Rossi, Elizabeth Jones, Melissa Bold, Sandra Oglesby, Victoria Worsham, Deborah King, Rufus Copeland, Ann Williams, Randle Berlin, Joyce Oliver, Lara Stepleman, Cyndi Watkins, Kristi Lucas, Jeff Flowers, Betsy Clair, Angela Allen, Tasha Wyatt, Wanda O’Brien, Gia Johnson, Alexander Nguyen, Salonik Amos, Dr. Mary Lou Davis, Laura Marschalk
  • SPIRIT:  Janice Ethridge, Farlyn Hudson, Jennifer Young, Sandi Loy
  • Teamwork Award:  Augusta University Medical Center's Pathology Core Lab & Unite in the Fight Steering Committee, ED Respiratory Therapy Team, Child Care Center Staff, GCHC Regional Pharmacy Team, Inpatient Rehab Services Team, Pediatric Cystic Fibrosis Team, AU Health Women’s Health Hillcreek, Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center, Controller & Budget Operations, AU Medical Center Patient Safety/Joint Commission Leadership Committee, Division of Communications & Marketing, Adult & Pediatric Surgical Site Infection (SSI) Prevention, Advanced Critical Care Pharmacist Team, Critical Event Preparedness & Response Team, The AU Bereavement Contact Team, Study Abroad Team

Photo Gallery

Past Awards Ceremonies