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Strauss Awards go virtual: Meet the first-quarter winners

Screen capture of zoom call, people applauding

Every quarter, we recognize shining stars within our UT Southwestern Health System – employees who provide exceptional patient care, as well as those who stand out in vital supporting roles.

Three things define and unite winners of the Diana and Richard C. Strauss Service Excellence Awards:

  • They are excellent at their jobs.
  • They serve as role models for the next generation of employees.
  • They share a spirit of volunteerism that strengthens our community.

Normally, the award recipients are celebrated quarterly, during an intimate luncheon hosted by Dr. John Warner, Executive Vice President for Health System Affairs.

However, in the age of COVID-19, the event for the 2020 first-quarter winners required a creative, physically distant spin. Instead of being held at Clements University Hospital Lecture Hall, the July 24 celebration went online, and the host – still Dr. Warner – led the first-ever virtual Strauss Awards ceremony from his laptop in his office on South Campus.

There was a silver lining to the “new normal” event: While winners are always encouraged to invite family members, this time they were able to share the meeting link with loved ones across the country and even around the world. Thanks to the ease of virtual connection, many more were able to share in the praises. One award winner’s mother connected from Puerto Rico.

You can view a recording of the ceremony below.

Below are snapshots of six of our colleagues who exemplify excellence in all that they do. 

Note: Two ambulatory winners for the fourth quarter of 2019 – Cristi Goffney-Clay and Omar Milliner  – also were included in the July 24 ceremony. The ceremony for the second-quarter winners will be held in August. 

Watch: Dr. John Warner announces Strauss Awards winners


Three women with arms locked, smiling
Audra Roberts (center)

Audra Roberts
RN II– Angiography
Zale Lipshy Pavilion

Audra Roberts – a proud mom of two sons – loves working at UT Southwestern because of the people. She enjoys interacting with employees in all departments, from nursing and housekeeping to maintenance. They have kept her motivated for her 17-year career at UT Southwestern as an angiography registered nurse. In the words of her nominator, “She firmly adheres to a high standard of care and precisely delivers a superior and personal patient experience. She is always willing to lend a helping hand, works hard, and her compassion and caring attitude make her a truly great nurse toward her patients.”


Two women with four children
Judy Bowen (top row, left)

Judy Bowen
Gift Shop Clerk
University Hospital

Judy Bowen is a beloved gift shop clerk at William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital. She was hired four years ago and considers it an honor to work here. She appreciates that everyone – no matter their role – has the opportunity to make a difference. “A special effort is always given by Judy when interacting with customers,” says her nominator. “It is amazing to watch her interact with guests; she truly has passion for ensuring that they find something valuable to them.”

Ms. Bowen proudly carries the title “Aunt Judy” to many in her life, including eight great-nieces and -nephews.


Woman with dark blonde hair wearing blue scrub top
Megan Miles

Megan Miles
Physical Therapist
Zale Lipshy Pavilion

Megan Miles, a physical therapist at Zale Lipshy Pavilion, is in her fifth year at UT Southwestern. Ms. Miles is thankful that she gets to work for an organization that prides itself on excellence and strives for the best. “She always has a positive attitude around her team and in the clinic setting, even in the face of high-stress situations,” her nominator tells us. “I feel like she always goes above and beyond regarding patient care, including adjusting her schedule frequently to fit what is best for the patient, taking extra time to reach out to patient family members. She even has kept up with past patients so that they can ask her questions or come to her with concerns that arise.” 

Ms. Miles is a self-proclaimed “dog mom” who enjoys traveling and participating in outdoor activities, such as fishing and hiking, with her husband.


Woman with dark brown hair wearing blue scrub top
Madison Mabry

Madison Mabry, RN II
RN II, 8-Blue – MICU
University Hospital

Madison Mabry began working for UT Southwestern four years ago as a nurse resident in the Critical Care Residency. She is currently serving in the COVID-19 ICU. Ms. Mabry enjoys the variety she finds as a charge nurse – the chance to help things run smoothly and the opportunity to interact with both co-workers and patient families. To quote her co-worker, “One of her students described her as caring, compassionate, professional, and diligent. This same student was then hired onto the unit and said that Madison was the reason for this decision. Madison's strength in teaching has been a vital asset in the retention of nurses on our unit.”

Outside of work, Ms. Mabry enjoys spending time at a nearby nature preserve with her two dogs – Scout and Dexter.


Woman with black hair, wearing collared shirt
Whitney Pointer

Whitney Pointer
Med Peds

Whitney Pointer has been with UT Southwestern for just two years and is already having a big impact. She started her career as a CSA-I and has since been promoted twice, now serving as a CSA-III in her clinic, where she manages 16 residents. Her nominator says Ms. Pointer tackles all her jobs with grace. “Whitney will look at multiple Excel sheets for the residents in order to make sure when the residents come to the clinic, they have an efficient clinic. Not only does this enhance resident education, but it helps the clinic run more smoothly.”

Ms. Pointer loves spending time outdoors – fishing, hiking, or simply relaxing by the water. She is also an avid reader and a poet, and enjoys spending time with her family.


Family of three, all wearing blue shirts
Ruben Pacheco (right)

Ruben Pacheco
Nurse Supervisor
Orthopaedic Surgery

Ruben Pacheco joined UT Southwestern in 2013 as a Senior Orthopedic Technologist and is currently a Nurse Supervisor in the Orthopaedic Surgery Clinic. The former U.S. Marines combat medic and staff sergeant enjoys working at UT Southwestern because it gives him the opportunity to care for patients and to see how satisfied they are with their outcomes. For those who know him, it comes as no surprise that Mr. Pacheco received the Presidential Unit Citation and the Working Friendly Award during his service in Berlin, Germany. “Ruben not only does his own job extremely well, but he helps in most other jobs within the department if there is a need,” his nominator said. “Patients trust him and depend on him. He can run any of the specialty clinics within the department and often does.”

Outside of work, Mr. Pacheco enjoys spending time with his family, including his wife, Amanda, and his 11-year-old daughter, Sophia.


To these stellar employees, we say thank you. Your attitude, dependability, and enthusiasm inspire all of us to be our very best. Congratulations – you make the entire leadership team and all your colleagues proud!

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