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Sarah Paliulis Twice-Honored with UW School of Public Health Awards

Sarah Paliulis, NWCPHP Learning Technologies Specialist, recently received two prestigious awards, one on behalf of the Health Services Department and one on behalf of the entire University of Washington School of Public Health.

Sarah Paliulis, NWCPHP Learning Technologies Specialist, recently received two prestigious awards, one on behalf of the Health Services Department and one on behalf of the entire University of Washington School of Public Health.

May 14, 2012

When online learning experiences function as planned, it can be easy to forget all the quality work that goes on behind the scenes. But we all know what it's like to take an online course or participate in a webinar that doesn't go perfectly. As an organization dedicated to providing rewarding distance-based learning opportunities, NWCPHP values staff who expertly walk people through the necessary steps while providing a pleasant tech support experience.

For those who call NWCPHP wanting help with online resources, that friendly, competent voice on the other end of the line belongs to Sarah Paliulis. In the six years Sarah has been Learning Technologies Specialist at NWCPHP, she has been the reason why training activities run so smoothly.

In recognition of her excellent work, Sarah recently received two prestigious awards, one on behalf of the Health Services Department and one on behalf of the entire University of Washington School of Public Health. Colleagues nominated Sarah for the 2012 Department of Health Services Outstanding Staff Award. She was then chosen from other nominees by a selection committee.

Receipt of the department award made Sarah eligible for the Kenneth J. Anderson Staff Award, an honor given by the Dean’s Office to one staff member in the School of Public Health who shows exemplary dedication to his or her work. From the five 2012 department award winners, the committee selected Sarah to receive this award on behalf of the entire School.

Director of NWCPHP, Susan Allan, MD, JD, MPH, describes Sarah as “a rare and special blend of state-of-the-art technical expertise joined to outstanding skills for working with people to provide the highest level of customer service.”

Sarah works with University of Washington staff and faculty, as well as faculty from outside institutions and public health partners in the community. Those who work regularly with Sarah on projects have repeatedly commented on her exemplary work. Faculty member, Carl Osaki, RS, MSPH, calls Sarah “a consummate professional who is timely, thorough, and extremely proficient in providing assistance and help for all IT matters.” Sarah has helped Carl, and many others, develop effective slides for both presentations and teaching modules. Carl adds, “I trust her judgment and advice. Her pleasant personality and helpful approach to problem-solving and providing advice makes working with her enjoyable. I think she is a gem.”

NWCPHP’s monthly Hot Topics in Practice webinar series provides an example of how extensive Sarah’s role is. Sarah coordinates the series, trains each presenter, assists partners throughout the region with the webinar software installation and use in preparation for the webinar, moderates and runs the webinar, and then edits and archives the webinar within 24 hours for people who were unable to attend.

One of the Hot Topics Directors, Pat Libbey, says “Sarah is extraordinary. Her remarkable combination of professionalism, thoroughness, commitment, and positive approach to her work is the foundation upon which the Hot Topics series is built.”

Sarah also oversees all technical needs for the Leadership Institute and the Public Health Management Certificate. These year-long training programs are primarily distance-based. Sarah provides support and advice to instructors about how to best utilize the distance-learning technology. She builds and maintains an online learning community commons where students and instructors can post assignments and resources, and have ongoing chats on a class-specific discussion board. Janell Blackmer, Manager of the Public Health Management Certificate, has said repeatedly how important Sarah is to the Certificate program and how grateful she is for Sarah’s services.

The praise expressed by faculty and affiliated instructors is echoed by Sarah’s fellow staff members at NWCPHP. Her skills and assistance are valued by all, and her personality makes her a joy to work with. Claire Rainey, a Research Assistant at NWCPHP says, “As part of my work, I conduct evaluations on our various training activities. In this capacity, I see how consistently Sarah is regarded by our faculty, staff, and partners.”

Another staff member, Missie Thurston, adds, “Sarah makes my job easier and improves my ability to be effective because of her expertise, her kindness, and her patience.”

When asked about her response to receiving these awards, Sarah says, "I'm honored to be recognized in this way." She adds, "It is so rewarding to do work that I love with such wonderful and competent people."

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