Aug 30, 2019 1:00 PM

staff excellence nominees

Every year the University of Utah (U of U) provides an opportunity for faculty and staff to nominate their co-workers for District Staff Excellence Awards (DSEA) and University Staff Excellence Awards (USEA). The awards recognize staff for superior service and ongoing contributions

DSEA recipients are picked from four University areas: academic and student affairs, administration, hospitals/clinics, and health academics. DSEA recipients automatically qualify for USEA recognition.

Five Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) staff members were nominated this year:

  • Acupuncturist Annie Budhathoki, LAC, DAOM
  • Senior lab specialist Phillip Clair
  • Associate research administrator January Day
  • Social worker Lisa Gauchay, LCSW
  • Senior research coordinator Michelle Westover

Each nomination explained how the candidate exemplified the University’s four major strategic goals: promote student success to transform lives; develop and transfer new knowledge; engage communities to improve health and quality of life; and ensure long-term viability of the university.

annie budhathoki

Budhathoki was nominated by her supervisor, Shelley White, who said, “Annie Budhathoki is ambitious, clinically skilled, compassionate, personable, and brings positive energy to everyone she meets.”

“I am humbled and grateful for this nomination,” Budhathoki said. “It is a great honor to work alongside such an amazing and inspiring team in the Wellness and Integrative Health Center at HCI. Our work together transforms lives and makes a difference for all of the people we touch, which makes me genuinely grateful for every moment.”

lisa gauchay

Gauchay’s supervisor, Amy Horyna, nominated her. “Lisa goes above and beyond every single day in her work with patient care, in support of her colleagues and with staff,” said Horyna.

“There are many people who could be recognized,” Gauchay said. “This institution is filled with lovely people who do really hard work every day, so I consider it an honor knowing that almost anyone in the building could be recognized. It is nice to know that when you work hard, it is recognized.”


phillip clair

Clair was nominated by his supervisor, Tony Pomicter, who said, “Phil gives his all to the biobank so that many researchers in hematology can have the best samples possible. We are all grateful for his endless efforts.”

“I'm quite honored to have been selected for this award,” said Clair. “I’ve been at the U of U for the entire 24 years I’ve lived in Salt Lake, and I’m very happy to say that I’m ending my career working with the best lab and best group of people I’ve ever worked with. The work has not been without its challenges, but being among the right people makes it so much easier.”


january day

Day was nominated by a colleague, who wrote, “January exemplifies the culture that we all strive for, driven by our guiding principles of the patient first, a united effort, and excellence in all we do. She is able to manage the administrative needs of several principal investigators and their teams with a friendly demeanor. January has the ability to connect with everyone she comes in contact with and make them feel valued.”

“It is nice to be recognized for the job that you do,” Day expressed, “especially for a job that is important to me!”


michelle westover

The coworker who nominated Westover said, “Michelle continually puts the betterment of our team and subsequent projects as priority, while also encouraging the productive wellness of individual study participants. Michelle utilizes communication, flexibility, and mentorship as conduits for excellence. From her experience gained over many years coordinating studies, she is a willing mentor to staff across many groups at HCI.”

“I am privileged to work with an incredible team, all of whom deserve to be nominated,” Westover said. “I am honored and humbled to be nominated.”

DSEA recipients were honored at a luncheon. Those that receive the USEA will be recognized September 18 at an award ceremony. They will receive a $3,750 honorarium, a personalized plaque, and their name added to a plaque permanently displayed in the University Human Resource Management Office.

hci proud

Cancer touches all of us.

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