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Employees Who Go Above and Beyond at Sylvester Earn Special Recognition

Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Board of Overseers Chair Adam Carlin, Vice Chairs Jayne Sylvester Malfitano and Miguel Farra, Director Stephen D. Nimer, and other leaders gathered on June 10 to recognize and celebrate cancer center employees who exemplify Sylvester’s mission and the University’s DIRECCT Values.

The Sylvester Employee Recognition Pilot Program is headed by Sylvester’s Board of Overseers. The program, which launched last year, recognizes employees who have gone above and beyond their regular duties. Managers are invited each quarter to nominate employees who are exceeding expectations. Nominated employees and their managers were invited to attend a breakfast at the Don Soffer Clinical Research Center to honor their contributions to Sylvester’s mission.

Group shot of three men and a woman
From left: Dr. Stephen D. Nimer, Miguel Farra, Jayne Sylvester Malfitano, and Adam Carlin

A coffee barista cart and a University of Miami-themed selfie station set the scene for a morning of gratitude and shared vision. Dr. Nimer, who is also the Oscar de la Renta Endowed Chair in Cancer Research and executive dean for research at the Miller School, opened the event by noting that more than 100 nominations were submitted, citing examples of individuals and teams going above and beyond to make Sylvester a special place of hope and kindness.

“Caring for cancer patients is a calling, and I am humbled to have such extraordinary team members coming to work every day,” Dr. Nimer said. “You all have an incredible impact on our patients, our facilities, our research, and our community. I cannot thank you enough for what you do for Sylvester.”

Group photo of smiling hospital employees
The Sylvester Employee Recognition Pilot Program recognizes employees who have gone above and beyond their regular duties.

Nominee Melissa Triana, M.B.A., R.A., PMP, LEED AP, director of facilities and operations at Sylvester, supports the physical infrastructure where our groundbreaking research and clinical care take place. This last year, Melissa and her team have been spending a lot of their time on the Transformational Cancer Research Building (TCRB).

“We look forward to the grand opening of the TCRB that will provide our clinical research patients, imaging patients and researchers an avenue to expand translational research at the institution,” Triana said.

‘You Are Part of the Sylvester Family’

Carlin explained why he and the Board of Overseers spearheaded and support the initiative, including underwriting the breakfast.

“Sylvester’s future is bright because we are pursuing so many incredible advancements that will bring new hope for our patients,” Carlin said to the audience. “You all play an important role in that, and we are thrilled you are part of the Sylvester family.”

Don Soffer Clinical Research Center recognition breakfast.
The recognition breakfast was held at the Don Soffer Clinical Research Center.

Nominees like Michelle Petell, Jacqueline M. Gonzalez, M.H.S., RDMS, RVT, and Stefan De Simone, R.N., B.S.N., M.P.H., shared their passions for patient care.

“Sylvester has been my second home for the past 26 years, and it is very rewarding to see that I can make a difference in our patients’ lives,” Gonzalez said.

Impacting Lives

Nominated employees stand out for the unique and extraordinary alignment between Sylvester’s mission and how they put those goals into action, according to Dorothy Graves, Ph.D., assistant vice president and associate director of administration at Sylvester.

“You are appreciated for who you are and what you do,” Dr. Graves said. “You’ve had an impact on not only the lives of those that you’ve directly touched, but also your colleagues’ and your peers’. It is my belief — my observation — that this is the best of Sylvester.”

Board of Overseers Chair Adam Carlin and Vice Chair Miguel Farra talking with two Sylvester employees
From right: Board of Overseers Chair Adam Carlin and Vice Chair Miguel Farra talking with two Sylvester employees

In her remarks to those in attendance, Elizabeth Smith, D.N.P., R.N., chief nursing officer, University of Miami Hospital and Clinics (Bascom Palmer Eye Institute/Sylvester
Comprehensive Cancer Center/UHealth Tower), said, “I consider that architects build buildings; they do the design. But it’s those people that work that make the building look beautiful, and that’s all of you. Your commitment to excellence, your commitment to your patients and to each other is recognized.”

Fighting Alongside Patients

Michel Fuentes, B.H.S.A., R.T.(R)(CT)(MR), MRSO, chief MRI technologist at the Applebaum Diagnostic Imaging Center, UMHC Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, said that being part of such an innovative and transformational organization is an honor.

Board of Overseers Vice Chair Jayne Sylvester Malfitano
Board of Overseers Vice Chair Jayne Sylvester Malfitano, right, helped celebrate the nominated employees.

“I encourage my team to care for our patients with open minds and hearts — to fight alongside them, in pursuit of their cure,” Fuentes said.

On July 14, a celebration breakfast took place at Sylvester’s Deerfield satellite to honor nominees from the northern satellites and was met with the same joy and excitement. An additional celebration breakfast is planned for August to honor nominees from Sylvester at Kendall.

The Sylvester Employee Recognition Pilot now continues into its second year, with nominations open quarterly. Selected employees receive a personalized video from Sylvester Board of Overseer leadership thanking them for their hard work and dedication to Sylvester, as well as recognition from their leaders. For more information about the program, please contact Melissa Szaja at [email protected].

Tags: Dr. Dorothy Graves, Dr. Stephen Nimer, Jayne Malfitano, Melissa Triana, Michel Fuentes, Miguel Farra, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center