Staff Award for Excellence - Debbie Shearer

Debbie Shearer

Debbie Shearer

Administrative Assistant Senior, Division of General Medicine

Nominators, Char Prichard, Kim Rize & Dr. Renu Tipirneni: "Debbie promotes the mission of the Department and Division by fostering its research and teaching environments, contributing an esprit de corp of continuous quality improvement and collaboration, and demonstrating exceptional dedication." 

From Dr. Renu Tipirneni:

From Kim Rize:

Congratulatory Comments:

Work Performance

Debbie truly goes above and beyond to provide the highest quality of work to her teams and to elevate the level of performance in the Division of General Medicine. Debbie is conscientious and proactive. She identifies the tasks needed to accomplish the team's goals, works with the relevant parties, and already has the solutions ready before the next meeting. She does what needs to be done quickly, accurately, and well ahead of deadline. She values and fosters team spirit and works continuously to mold a high-morale team. Debbie often picks up any extra slack to help bridge the team while new resources are being brought on line. It is clear that she doesn't consider her role in the division merely a job, but a duty and calling to promote the mission of her team and our institution.

Debbie takes great pride in her role in supporting General Medicine faculty, along with the division, and doing it in a thorough, collaborative, and conscientious way. Despite her heavy workload and constant demands, she remains very efficient in her work and is able to juggle anything that comes her way. She is very knowledgeable and resourceful, and is always willing to assist others, even with her busy workload.


Debbie takes a more prominent role on academic teams than many administrative staff. She helps develop outlines and priority areas for research teams that help the team identify the most important goals and tasks and helps every team member achieve them. Debbie also serves as program manager and de facto co-leader for important programs such as the Medical Arts Program.

Debbie has taken the lead on training new staff members in our division, orienting and guiding other staff on new tasks and how to raise the quality of everyone's work. Debbie is General Medicine's MHealthy champion and is committed to this role. She creates and sends out monthly MHealthy newsletters keeping us all abreast of activities across the institution, encouraging us to get up and get moving, and reminding us to participate and log our activity hours in MHealthy Rewards.

One of Debbie’s true strengths is that she takes full responsibility and ownership for her role and ensures that tasks and projects get completed timely and accurately. Debbie has been instrumental in filling in while we were short staffed this past year. She was more than willing to help out and dive in, and often times volunteered to take on additional duties without being asked. Debbie serves as a true role model and leader to our team and we know we can always count on her!

Customer Service

Debbie Shearer truly goes above and beyond professional support of her colleagues to personally support them in critical times of need. The most notable recent example of this loyalty and commitment was during Dr. Lena Chen's illness and death in 2019. Debbie made herculean efforts well beyond her role of administrative assistant to make Lena's family and our entire division feel supported, cared for, and attended to in every detail. Debbie ensured that Lena's family knew the importance of her work, by being the point person to collect stories and articles from colleagues and friends throughout the university, which she continues to share with the Chen family. She spent evenings and weekends in the ICU or on the phone with Lena's family. Debbie’s dedication was invaluable not only for Lena's family, but for our entire community.

Debbie consistently has a positive can-do attitude and this is one of her true assets. No matter the situation, she is always willing to assist others and I often get compliments from off-site faculty or faculty and staff in other units expressing how helpful Debbie has been in their interactions with her.

Process Improvement

Among Debbie's most valuable assets is that she carries a spirit of continuous improvement, making it easy to identify and implement process improvements for the occasional inevitable glitches that arise. This spirit is infectious and helps us all improve the quality of our work and communication.

Debbie is very efficient in her work and is always looking for new and better ways to complete tasks and projects. She is always the first one in our team meetings to speak up and offer suggestions for improvement, and also volunteer to lead the project. Over the past year, she supported 80 off-site faculty at the ambulatory clinic sites. Debbie was able to streamline both the Concur process and M-CV process with these faculty by giving them tools and written processes to follow, all while making the faculty feel fully supported.