A Rush Manager’s Commitment to Excellence

Traci Colvin is Rush’s Wayne M. Lerner Manager of the Year

As the research study manager for the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center, Traci Colvin oversees its two largest epidemiological studies – the Religious Orders Study and the Memory and Aging Project. Each study includes more than 1,100 participants, who are evaluated annually until death and donate their organs afterward.

Colvin is on call 24 hours a day to ensure that autopsies are performed promptly after death, which often means being on the phone with the patient’s family, the funeral home and the hospital, frequently in the middle of the night for several hours. This commitment is just one of the many reasons why Colvin’s staff nominated her for the Manager of the Year Award.

“Much of our success can be attributed directly to her leadership and character,” says Tracy Faulkner, RADC department manager.

Colvin’s staff is a diverse group of 26 people, made up of research study coordinators, project coordinators, nurses, phlebotomists and research assistants. Most of these staff members work in teams off site for days at a time, sometimes out of state, collecting research data on participants. In order for them to be successful, they must work well together.

Colvin holds monthly staff meetings to foster her team’s collaboration and to recognize the accomplishments of her staff. During these meetings, she allows time for staff members to stand up and recognize others for their outstanding demonstration of the I CARE values – called “Way to Go” awards. She encourages each team member to succeed on his or her own. But more important, she’s created a cohesive team, and a team that respects her. Last summer, her staff held a surprise party in her honor to show how much they appreciated her.

George Hoganson, a research study coordinator with the RADC, has worked with Colvin on the Religious Orders Study and Memory and Aging Project for several years. “She takes the time to understand and appreciate the unique skills and talents of each and every employee,” he says. “In doing so she allows those around her to unleash their talents, to achieve both professional and personal success, all the while serving to advance the mission of the RADC.”

“She emanates a warmth that makes her approachable as a manager,” Faulkner adds. “Her staff members feel comfortable coming to her with both work and personal issues, and she listens, offering comfort, advice, direction, empathy or just an ear.”

“I really enjoy my job and the people I work with,” Colvin says. “Our center is more like a family than a department. We do great work here, and I’m just glad to be a part of it.”

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