2024 Dean’s Staff Award Winners Named

Four staff members from across the School of Medicine have been named recipients of the Dean’s Staff Awards for 2024. 

Dean’s Staff Awards in four categories are presented annually to recognize exemplary staff supporting the School of Medicine’s mission and values.  

This year’s recipients were selected from among approximately 75 individuals nominated by their colleagues in programs, offices, and units throughout the school. 

The recipients of the 2024 Dean’s Staff Awards are: 

Dean's Excellence Staff Award

Bobby Warren

Bobby Warren, MPS, Director of the Disinfection, Resistance, and Transmission Epidemiology (DiRTE) Lab, Department of Medicine 

This award recognizes a staff member who consistently demonstrates excellence in one or more of the following areas: education, research, patient care, or community partnership. This staff member lives the School of Medicine values, and consistently demonstrates excellence by going above and beyond in the performance of their work duties, dedication to the institution, collaboration with others, and contributions to the community.

Warren has worked at Duke since 2015 and is founding director of the DiRTE lab, which researches how to prevent infections in health care settings and conducts microbiology studies as needed if outbreaks occur in Duke University Health System. Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, his lab’s work led to some notable discoveries of transmission that helped the health system make decisions about how to best respond. “An enormous array of projects would collapse if he ever left,” one of his nominators wrote. 

Professionalism and Integrity Staff Award

Pamela Keels

Pamela Keels, Administrative Director, Department of Medicine 

This award recognizes a staff member who demonstrates professionalism and integrity in all aspects of performance and effort. This staff member exemplifies the highest standards of professionalism, and consistently exhibits honesty, integrity, and ethical responsibility. 

Keels has been a staff member at Duke since 2010 and was cited by her nominators for “her intellect, solution-centric thinking, and big-picture vision.” She is often at the center of decision making, including discussions about recruitment, retention, integration, and optimization of clinical care delivery across multiple sites. Her nominators wrote that her unique combination of experience, integrity, and contagious energy have earned her the trust and respect of clinicians and other administrative staff members. 

Champion of Inclusion Staff Award 

Tara McNair

Tara McNair, Senior Lab Research Analyst, Department of Surgery 

This award recognizes a staff member who demonstrates exemplary leadership toward inclusive excellence and exhibits a high level of respect for and service to others. This staff member carries the ideals of equity, diversity, and inclusion into practice. 

McNair has worked at Duke since 2013. Her nominators wrote that she goes above and beyond on a regular basis to assume primary responsibility for some meetings and report-outs, generating minutes, communicating with participants and partners, organizing activities, and “keeping the energy level and engagement high.” She has been instrumental in growing outreach initiatives to reach more underrepresented students as part of the Sustaining Equity, Elevating Diversity in Surgery (SEEDS) initiative.  

Valued Service Staff Award  

Shirley Morton

Shirley Morton, Staff Assistant, Department of Anesthesiology 

This 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. 

A staff member at Duke since 2008, Morton assists multiple faculty researchers and dozens of fellows, postdoctoral researchers, students, and visiting scholars from multiple labs. Her nominators wrote that she has contributed to building a strong research center that is internationally recognized and among the top federally funded research groups at Duke. They described her as “incredibly resourceful and highly efficient” and “well-liked and well-respected by all.”