May 3, 2019

2019 TRAIL Blazer Awards Announced

The 2018 TRAIL Blazer Award winners were announced at the April 24, 2019 Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation staff meeting.


The winner of the 2019 Tom Lucas TRAIL Blazer Award for Non-Clinical Staff: Joe DeVille, Patient Services Assistant Senior, RPN

Joe Deville receiving Tom Lucas Award

The winner of the 2018 Tom Lucas TRAIL Blazer Award for Clinical Staff: Barb Butler, Physical Therapist, Inpatient Acute Team

Barb Butler receiving Tom Lucas Award

 The winner of the 2018 Tom Lucas TRAIL Blazer Award for Faculty: Claire Kalpakjian, PhD

Claire Kalpakjian receiving the Tom Lucas Award

Honorable Mentions


  • Joe Hornyak, MD, PhD
  • Sean Smith, MD

Clinical Staff:

  • Kimberly (Kimbie) Casten, PM&R Resident
  • Laura Fisher, PT Clinical Specialist
  • Kelly Francis, Certified Pedorthist
  • Laura Mejeur, Occupational Therapist
  • Lexie Muir-Pappas, Occupational Therapist
  • Tammi Scott, RN

Non-Clinical Staff:

  • Philip Stranyak, GME Program Administrative Associate
  • Megan Stolkey, Administrative Specialist Associate
  • Alison Spork, Senior Project Manager

2019 Tom Lucas Award Winners and Finalists

TRAIL Blazer Award Committee Members

•Cory Wernimont, Resident
•Brenda Darwin, Admin Assistant Senior, Spine clinic
•Joanie Radke, Administrative Assistant Intermediate, BRL
•David Kohns, MD
•Rohit Chawla, Physical Therapist
•Aaron Quillen, Admin Assistant Intermediate, RPN
•Rhianon Hall, Admin Assistant Intermediate, PRC
•Lisa Werkheiser, Patient Services Assistant, MedRehab
•Leah Hagamen, Physical Therapist 
•Administrative Lead: Vanessa David

About Tom Lucas

Tom Lucas, CFO, was a member of the PM&R UM Orthotics and Prosthetics Acute Care team for over 20 years.  Tom was a respected and well revered member of the UMHS team. Tom loved his work and the people he worked with. For those that have worked alongside of Tom, this was evident in his spirit, respect, and compassion he had for his patients and colleagues.

Tom exemplified the traits of the TRAIL Blazer Award:

Teamwork: Pursues a common goal – helps others to succeed.  Able to work in partnership with people in such a manner as to build group commitments to goals and objectives.  Puts the welfare of the group over individual interest.

Respect: Recognizes the value and diversity of each team member, demonstrates genuine concern about the well-being, dignity and self-esteem of all colleagues in the organization in a way that develops trust.

Accountability: Accepts responsibility for delivering on our commitments.  Protects confidential information.  Accepts responsibility for actions.  Utilizes resources in an efficient and cost effective manner.      

Integrity: Adheres to the highest standard of honesty, professionalism and ethical behaviors.  Is ethical and reliable in meeting commitments.  Demonstrates professionalism under pressure or during stressful situations.

Leadership: Being involved, taking action and continuously striving to be the best.  Able to take action in problem solving while exhibiting sound judgment and a realistic understanding of the issues. 

Trailblazer Award Winners

Joe DeVille

Patient Services Assistant Senior, RPN


Barb Butler

Physical Therapist, Inpatient Acute Team


Photo of Claire Kalpakjian, PhD, MS who is the Associate Professor & Associate Chair of Research for the Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation within Michigan Medicine

Claire Kalpakjian, PhD, MS

Associate Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Associate Chair for Research
Co-Director of the Practice-Oriented Research Training Program, MICHR
Board Member, Medical Institutional Review Board (IRBMED)
Research Non-Clinical Psychologist