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Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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Houston VA Employees Recognized at Public Service Awards

May 11, 2012

HOUSTON - Earlier this month, the Houston Federal Executive Board presented public service awards to three employees of the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC).

Approximately 25,500 federal employees work for more than 100 federal agencies in the Houston/Galveston area. The public service recognition awards are one of the most important and coveted forms of non-monetary recognition available to employees of the United States government. 

The award winners from the MEDVAMC were Angela Williams in the Technical/Information Technology category, Floyd Gillespie in the Equal Employment Opportunity/Workforce Diversity category, and Larry Clay in the Trades & Crafts category.

In her role as deputy chief information officer for the Information Management Service, Williams is responsible for the overall operations of her department with direct supervision of network and telecommunications teams, the web development team, and the finance/administrative team. Her leadership role in a recent systems redesign project led to the revamping of the MEDVAMC telephone system. Her workgroup decreased call volume, decreased the abandonment rate, and decreased Veteran average call wait time, benefiting both patients and staff. 

Gillespie, the equal opportunity manager with the EEO/Diversity Program, is the principal advisor on equal employment and diversity management issues. He directs the day-to-day operations to proactively implement and monitor diversity measures that ensure equitable employment and advancement opportunities for all employees. Gillespie also serves as the chairperson for MEDVAMC Diversity Council. His leadership has made the MEDVAMC Diversity Council a flagship throughout the federal sector; providing a strong example on how to sponsor programs that sustain a high-performing workforce, meet the needs of the Veterans we serve, and inspire employees to provide the highest quality of care for our Nation’s heroes.

A licensed electrician with the Facilities Management Service Line, Clay is a top performer at the MEDVAMC and an innovator in his profession. Clay recently worked on a project to replace exterior lighting with up-to-date, brighter and more cost effective lamps. He also worked on a project to install occupancy sensors in single use restrooms throughout the hospital. These lights turn off when not in use; saving energy and maintenance costs. Clay goes out of his way to ensure the needs of Veterans and employees are met in a timely and outstanding manner.

The MEDVAMC also had finalists in seven other categories: the Cardiology Team and Martha Barragan in the Customer Service category; Carol Steans in the Emergency Preparedness category; Darlene Gregory in the Employees with Disabilities category; Larry Medina, Bernard Smith, Ngeneo Smith, and Jose Vasquez in the Heroism/Heroic Act category; and Maria Mendoza in the Humanitarian Aid/ Community Service category; Jagadeesh S. Kalavar, M.D. in the Leadership Excellence category; and Women's Inpatient Specialty Environment of Recovery in the Team Excellence category.

The Federal Executive Boards were established in 1961 by a Presidential Directive to improve coordination among federal activities and programs outside of Washington, D.C. The need for effective coordination among the field activities of federal departments and agencies was then, and is still, very clear. Approximately 88 percent of all federal employees work outside the national capital area. Federal programs have their impact largely through the actions of the field representatives of the departments and agencies.

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Awarded re-designation for Magnet Recognition for Excellence in Nursing Services in 2008, the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center serves as the primary health care provider for more than 130,000 Veterans in southeast Texas and provides some of the most complex care within the VA Health Care System. The DeBakey VA employs nearly 3,600 staff and is one of 49 institutions within the prestigious Texas Medical Center, one of the largest health and research centers in the world. The DeBakey VA is home to a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Clinic; Network Polytrauma Center; award-winning Cardiac and General Surgery Program; Liver Transplant Center; Epilepsy and Cancer Centers of Excellence; Substance Abuse Disorder Quality Enhancement Research Initiative; Health Services Research & Development Center of Excellence; Rehabilitation Research of Excellence focusing on mild to moderate traumatic brain injury; Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center; $26.8 million Research and Development Program; and Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education, and Clinical Center. The hospital offers sophisticated, cutting-edge technology such as PET/CT imaging, the Evident™ microwave ablation system, a CyberKnife®, a Varian Trilogy linear accelerator, a Philips Wide Bore Computed Tomography Simulator, the OR•Control System, the Abiomed Impella 2.5 catheter-based heart pump, and the Sapien heart valve. For more than 60 years, the DeBakey VA has served as the primary teaching facility for our major affiliate, Baylor College of Medicine and operates one of the largest VA residency programs in the nation. Each academic year, more than 2,179 students are trained through 194 affiliation agreements with institutions of higher learning. Including the outpatient clinics in Beaumont, Conroe, Galveston, Houston, Lufkin, Richmond, and Texas City, MEDVAMC outpatient clinics logged almost 1.3 million outpatient visits in fiscal year 2011.
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