Dominica Anderson, a nursing assistant at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, is the 2014 recipient of the Julie and Ben Rogers Award for Excellence in Patient Care.
The award recognizes employees who consistently demonstrate excellence in their work and dedication to MD Anderson's mission to end cancer. Its area of focus rotates annually among patient care, research, education, prevention and administration.
This year's winner, who received $15,000 and a framed certificate of merit, was announced at a ceremony Sept. 16, led by Ethan Dmitrovsky, M.D., provost and executive vice president of MD Anderson. Four finalists, chosen from approximately 60 nominations, also were recognized, each receiving $1,500 and a certificate of merit:
•Thomas Aloia, M.D., associate professor of Surgery, Surgical Oncology; deputy chair for Education; associate director, Gastrointestinal Center Program; director, Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Surgery and International Surgical Oncology Fellowships
•Maria Cielo Foudray, RN, senior research nurse, Leukemia
•Ellen Manzullo, M.D., professor, deputy division head (clinical), Internal Medicine; deputy chair (clinical), General Internal Medicine; chief, section for General Internal Medicine
•Nancy Perrier, M.D., Walter and Ruth Sterling Endowed Professor; professor of Surgical Oncology; chief, section of Surgical Endocrinology; director, Surgical Endocrinology Fellowship Training Program; associate director, Multidisciplinary Endocrine Center
Winner reflects institution's core values of caring, integrity and discovery
A certified nursing assistant on the P4 post-anesthesia care unit, Anderson is committed to providing compassionate care and advocacy for patients and their caregivers. In addition to assisting patients in moving and walking, personal hygiene and daily activities, she also serves as a Patient Care Partner Champion, Glucometer Champion and clinical coach for newly hired nursing assistants.
Anderson is the proud mother of two daughters and two sons. Her husband, also a certified nursing assistant, works in acute palliative care at MD Anderson.
She had walked through MD Anderson's doors many times before beginning her career at the institution in 2012. It all began, Anderson says, in December 2001, when her then 11-year-old daughter, Monique, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma and began treatment at MD Anderson
"I felt the love from her doctors and all the staff," Anderson said. "Monique went into remission in August 2003. I knew I needed to return to MD Anderson and give back."
When she learned she'd been nominated among doctors and professors, Anderson's first reactions were "shock and teary eyes in disbelief."
"I love my job, and I take pride in being considered one of the best among the best," she said.
Some two dozen nursing staff nominated their energetic colleague for the prestigious award.
"Dominica doesn't just enter the room to take vitals, or to help a patient to the restroom," said clinical nurse Beverly Giraldi in her nomination letter. "She spends time with patients and their families. She cries with them, laughs with them. They become family to her."
Award represents longtime Rogers family commitment
Regina Rogers, a senior member of the MD Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitors (BOV), established the award in 1987 to honor her parents, the late Julie and Ben Rogers, and to show appreciation for the treatment her brother and her mother received at the institution. Ben Rogers served on the BOV from 1978 until his death in 1994, when his daughter and wife established the Julie & Ben Rogers Breast Diagnostic Clinic in his memory. Julie Rogers died in 1998.
"My parents were a constant source of inspiration and love," said Rogers. "It was my privilege to establish this award in their honor. They would be proud that it recognizes MD Anderson employees who reflect their own genuine concern for others."
The Rogers family's relationship with MD Anderson dates to 1960, when Regina's brother, Arvey Rogers, M.D., was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at age 25.
"After a lengthy surgery, performed by Dr. Edgar White and Dr. Lee Clark, he continued to lead a normal life," said Rogers. "In 1987, our mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Thanks to the surgical expertise of Drs. Richard Martin and Fred Ames, her recovery was good and reinforced our family's commitment to MD Anderson. I'm grateful for the opportunity to recognize excellence at an institution that's played such an important role in ending cancer as a major health threat."
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center