Making a Difference

The Making a Difference program provides a unique way to recognize staff who go above and beyond to advance the Washington University department mission to provide the best neurosurgical patient care possible. To recognize someone, both staff and faculty can submit nominations at the Making a Difference email address.

Each month, three nominees are randomly selected and receive an Amazon gift card. And each year, Making a Difference ‘Finalists’ and a “Person of the Year” is named. 

Here are our winners and nominees for 2020:

Person of the Year: Danielle Bahmani

Danielle is a very talented administrative assistant and has great expertise with a variety of technologies (website, social media, IT, etc.). She has been a real leader for the department as plans have consistently changed and a new platform has been introduced for caring for our patients. She has helped arrange meetings and troubleshooting for the providers when applications cannot be figured out. Danielle has helped implement video televisits, assisted with loading VPN on multiple staff members personal computers, and has continued to show her ingenuity. 


Becca Wald-Dickler

Described as one of the power horses in the adult Neurosurgery clinics, Becca is incredibly helpful with managing clinic patients and keeping the clinic flowing smoothly.  She goes above and beyond by working the front desk, rooming patients, checking-out patients and taking care of patient follow-up and never saying “NO.”  She continues to offer to help no matter how many different jobs are being thrown at her. 

Lindsay Teeter

Lindsay goes above and beyond for her colleagues, the department, and especially our patients. She is always calm and collected. She infuses humor into challenging situations, which keeps everyone smiling and focused on the most important issues. Lindsay is remarkably capable and able to find a solution to virtually any problem, even on a moment’s notice!

July nominees

Jessica Parks was nominated by Dr. Greg Zipfel for consistently providing a kind and helpful approach to patient questions and care. She is a tremendous asset to the department. 

Elvisa Kurtovic was nominated by Dr. Zipfel and Dr. Gavin Dunn for consistently going above and beyond in-patient care and helping faculty members. She was extremely helpful in caring for both Zipfel and Dunn’s patients while they were away. Also, Kurtovic has recently been identified as a top performer in telehealth, kudos to her!

Both Drs. Zipfel and Dunn also nominated Julie Coenen for helping care for patients while they were away. Coenen saw a patient with a back incision on short notice in the early morning and treated the patient with quality care and professionalism.

Diego Morales was nominated by Pat McAllister for his exceptional work as a Clinical Coordinator for many projects, as well as his work in the wet lab.

Elaine Kennedy nominated Nicole Meyer, Dylan Cooper, Rebecca Palis and Lindsay Teeter for selflessly allowing her to work from home in the last month of her pregnancy during COVID-19. “Their selflessness allowed me and my family to have some piece of mind during this scary time.” 

Maggie Wissler was nominated by Julie Coenen for consistently going above and beyond for patients on a daily basis. She always maintains a positive attitude, while being reliable and available if anyone needs help. 

Other nominees for the month of July include Veronica Keck, Sherry Wayne, Dyan Cooper, Rebecca Palis and Shannon Dobbs.

June nominees

Becca Wald-Dickler was nominated by Lisa Nicoletti for being helpful with managing the adult NSGY clinic patients and for keeping the clinic flowing. She kept the rooms moving, loaded OSH CD and any other clinical support needed. Wald-Dickler managed all the providers and gave great support and assistance to the nursing staff. 

Monique Fort was nominated by Dr. Zipfel for being an extremely skilled nurse who is truly making a difference with the care that she provides her patients and their families. As the patient said, Monique is so “caring, empathetic and professional. She demonstrated this during a phone call about Dan’s upcoming surgery, and took time to explain and answer all questions afterward.”

Rhonda Quint was also nominated by Dr. Zipfel for tackling many types of work in the department with her standard expertise, enthusiasm and good-natured personal approach. “Rhonda is a staple here in the department for many years, and it is great to have her back working in the trenches to help our patients, their families and our faculty. Thanks, Rhonda for all you do!”

Veronica Keck was nominated by Lindsay Teeter for always being eager to help with any insurance authorizations that may require assistance. She does it with a cheerful attitude, even when it can be stressful. 

Nicki Kelley was nominated by Elana Ellis for volunteering to come into the clinic on Saturday, June 27, 2020 to help Dr. Santiago see urgent consultants. The clinic went smoothly and the patients appreciated the care they received.

Other nominees for the month of June include Suzanna Halilovic, Rebecca Wald-Dickler and Elana Ellis. 

May nominees

Ashley Lane, Danielle Bahmani, Jennifer Strahle, MD, Susana Halilovic and Katelyn Heckerson.

April nominees

Rachel Ray, Jaime Piechocinski, Nicole Kelly, Laurie Doyle, Lindsay Teeter, Shannon Dobbs, Mindy Hammond, Mary Amann, Elana Ellis, Rhonda Kidwell, Rebecca Wald-Dickler and Susana Halilovic. 

March nominees

Laurie Doyle, Lindsay Teeter, Shannon Dobbs, Dyan Cooper, Elaine Kennedy, Rebecca Palis, Nicole Meyer, Mindy Hammond, Deanna Walter, Elizabeth Schmeriod, Maggie Wissler and Danielle Bahmani.