Five receive Citizenship Award

On Jan. 27, 2023, the Department of Psychiatry honored five employees with the William H. Roccaforte Citizenship Award.

The award was named after the longtime UNMC Professor William Roccaforte, MD, who Chair Howard Liu said embodied both humility and daily service. The Citizenship Award goes to a faculty member, staff, or trainee who exemplifies a spirit of service, extraordinary teamwork, and passion for going above and beyond each day in service of our mission.

This year, Vicki Adolf, RN; Alexis Hofker, LIMHP, LMHC; Matt Kelly, MD; Ji-Woo Suk, PhD; and Sara Walker, LIMHP, received the award.

Adolf has been working in the Department of Psychiatry for 39 years. She currently works in the geriatric psychiatry division. For more than 25 of those years, she has worked with Steven Wengel, MD, Geriatric Division Director and former Chair of the Psychiatry Department.

“I have always admired Vicki for her patience and smile. Vicki has a warm touch that makes everyone feel comfortable and cared for,” Dr. Wengel said. “Now, on her team, I know I can go to Vicki to ask questions about patients or patients’ families and staff for direction on how to handle a situation. I also go to Vicki about folks in the nursing homes and give her names or family names to assist in scheduling for a nursing home or to get the correct information to assist the patient.”

Hofker is a clinical therapist with Psychiatric Emergency Services. PES Manager Jennifer Sparrock, LCSW, LIMHP, said Hofker has a heart for patient care and has shown outstanding commitment to patients in the Emergency Department.

“Alexis takes great initiative to make things better – worked ongoingly with Epic toward design and implementation of LMHP navigator,” Sparrock said. “She’s an exceptional patient advocate and will go to bat for individuals who may otherwise not have access to needed services.”

Dr. Kelly is a third-year resident and a UNMC College of Medicine graduate. In February 2022, he was named Lasting Hope Recovery Center’s BHECN Resident of the Year for 2021.

“Dr. Kelly’s organization, follow-through, and initiative to problem-solve are well beyond his residency level,” said Daniel Gih, MD, Department of Psychiatry Residency Director. “His thoughtfulness, kindness, and maturity are evident. As part of our inaugural class, he has been instrumental in navigating the challenges of a new training program.”

Walker joined the Department of Psychiatry in 2021 as a psychotherapist. Walker provides individual, and group therapy using ACT, CBT, Motivational Interviewing, Mindfulness, and Brief Solution Focused Therapy techniques.

“Sara does a wonderful job of helping to make new employees feel welcome and to help our team find ways to connect, such as lunches together and planning little events throughout the year,” said Jill Hart, LIMHP, LPC, PLADC. “Sara always has a smile on her face, and she goes above and beyond to help staff and teammates in any way she can. She truly exemplifies the iTEACH values of service and extraordinary teamwork, and she shares her passion for our mission with everyone she meets.”

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