DPT’s Kaitlin Hicks, MEd, Receives the School of Medicine’s Valued Service Award


Kaitlin Hicks,  MEd,  a clinical education senior program coordinator with the Doctor of Physical Therapy division, has received an inaugural School of Medicine Dean’s Valued Service Staff Award.

Hicks is just one of four School of Medicine employees to receive the Valued Service Staff Award. 

The award recognizes a staff member “who has positively enhanced the lives of others within the School of Medicine, working behind the scenes with an enthusiastic attitude in whatever capacity is necessary. This staff member demonstrates outstanding reliability in the execution of vital duties, without which the School of Medicine could not function.”

Teammates who nominated Hicks noted her incredible perseverance. She began working for Duke at the height of the pandemic.

“Kaitlin demonstrated that she was able to learn quickly and efficiently and communicate effectively to support the team of faculty, the students, and the clinical stakeholders at a time of extreme stress within the realm of healthcare and health science education as a whole. She was a key person who helped keep our curriculum going so that our students could graduate on time, our faculty was well informed and prepared, and our clinicians felt supported,” the nomination states.

In addition to her current responsibilities, Hicks is now engaging with students as an educator and as a trainer for the ‘Stepping in 4 Respect’ program. This program is a bystander training course that empowers students, faculty, and clinician educators to “step in” when witnessing or experiencing discriminatory or biased behaviors from others. 

Hicks was a middle school health and physical education teacher before joining the DPT team.

Another team member stated, “As soon as I saw the very last sentence in the description for this award, which read, ‘This staff member demonstrates outstanding reliability in the execution of vital duties, without which the School of Medicine could not function,’ I felt compelled to nominate her,” they said.

“There is no truer statement about Kaitlin. Without her, we could not function,” noting that her work affects the DPT team, the program’s 300+ students, the legal team, and national and local clinical partners that help deliver an outstanding clinical education to produce the future physical therapist workforce.

Hicks said she was truly surprised by the award.

“It was wonderful to read the praise and recognition from my coworkers. It made me feel validated in my work,” she said. I feel like the faculty and staff in our department are some of the kindest, most reliable people who have the absolute best interest of our students (and each other) at their core.”