Staff Award for Excellence - Rebecca Lindsay

Rebecca (Becca) Lindsay

Becca and husband

Research Area Specialist, Division of General Medicine

Nominator, Shelley Stoll: "Being the humble person that she is, Becca would never “toot her own horn,” but her praises need to be sung!  Every day, Becca demonstrates great dedication to her work, is skilled in her diverse responsibilities, consistently strives to improve work processes, is 100% reliable, is a trusted mentor to the peer coaches, uplifts the team with her positivity, and is a joy to work with." 

Work Performance

When Becca joined the UPSTART Study in General Medicine, in December 2019 as a Research Area Specialist Intermediate, she quickly became an indispensable member of our team.

She has demonstrated a consistently kind, professional, and positive attitude. In particular she shows empathy towards everyone she interacts with: mainly, student employees and other team members, study participants, and the peer coaches she mentors and supports. For example, there was a problem with the incentive for a peer coach who was in great financial need, she went above and beyond to make sure the peer coach’s payment was released promptly. Other examples include: encouraging the team to celebrate significant life events such as a new baby; offering condolences for a loss; and organizing a gift of groceries for a team member who was sick and under quarantine. Most importantly, in all interactions, Becca is an attentive listener who always shows empathy and respect for whomever she interacts with.

It seems that oftentimes, people who express great empathy are less stellar when it comes to being detail-oriented and reliable. This is not the case with Becca. She demonstrates excellent attention to detail and follow-through, and the team can completely count on her to fulfill all her responsibilities and to meticulously track all her actions in the database. This rare combination of “soft skills,” exemplary attention to detail, and 100% reliability is particularly valuable to studies like ours. Furthermore, her communications are consistent and clear, a critical ingredient to efficient, effective, and smooth implementation of the study.

Over the last year, Becca stepped up and took on numerous additional responsibilities to effectively re-tool our protocols to fit the changing landscape of research during COVID. She investigated and leveraged new tools such as SignNow, developed protocols for staff and instructions for participants, and trained the team on the new process. She took on the supervision of a graduate student when I no longer had the bandwidth to do so. Becca is a humble person, but her tremendous contributions to the study, especially during COVID, should not be overlooked. It is not an overstatement to say that our study would not have continued if it were not for Becca.


Becca primarily leads by example by, on a daily basis, using her excellent communication skills and the qualities described above: professionalism, kindness, humility, integrity, reliability, and respect and empathy for others.

Becca co-leads monthly training and support meetings for the peer coaches who deliver the intervention being tested. At these meetings, she deftly models coaching skills such as active listening and reflective statements: provides support and encouragement; and fosters a forum where the peer coaches provide wisdom and support to one another.

Becca demonstrates a commitment to diversity among study participants and in the workplace. In the study, Becca demonstrated her commitment to diversity by taking the lead in recruiting and retaining Spanish-speaking participants; this was a significant effort that involved translation of all participant-facing documents, cultivation of relationships with bilingual providers, sensitivity to cultural differences, and the supervision of a bilingual Latina graduate student. In Zoom discussions led by the department’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee, Becca speaks up with courage and commitment in what can be difficult, awkward conversations.

Customer Service

Becca demonstrates her commitment to customer service on a daily basis in her interactions with study team members, research participants, clinical partners, and staff in other U-M units such as Human Subjects Incentives Payments. Her interactions are professional and reflect a collaborative nature, respect for others’ time, and a positive attitude. She can be counted on to keep her word and follow-through.

A key component of Becca’s job is training and supporting the peer coaches. Becca is available practically 24/7 to mentor the coaches. She is patient, gives her undivided attention, and tailors her coaching approach to meet the coaches where they are. In recent interviews with coaches, they have raved, unsolicited, about the guidance and support Becca gives them. One, for example, talked about how supportive Becca was; she spoke of how she could text Becca at any time with her questions, and she appreciated that she would always get a response the same day.

Process Improvement

Becca regularly creates solutions for study processes she’s identified as in need of improvement. When the pandemic hit, and again when in-person research was reactivated, Becca developed new processes to accommodate the changes and enable the study to continue safely. One example is that she developed processes to have participants complete surveys online, including a mechanism for completed surveys to be reviewed in a timely manner to ensure prompt follow-up, if needed.

These improvements may be specific to the study, but they can benefit other studies in the department. For example, in response to the pandemic, Becca retooled the informed consent process from in-person to online. She developed a clear process that she documented in a standard operating procedure and wrote patient-friendly instructions. Recently, another study in the Division was exploring the online consent options, she was quick to volunteer to share her experiences and associated documents with the study.