Secretary Cohen, Leadership Celebrate NCDHHS Employees at Team Recognition Awards

The Youth and Adult Tobacco Prevention Team, a recipient of a Team Recognition Award in the Transparency category, with DHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen.

The Youth and Adult Tobacco Prevention Team, a recipient of a Team Recognition Award in the Transparency category, with DHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen.

Jan. 24, 2020 – Department of Health and Human Services employees from facilities and offices throughout North Carolina crowded into the Dorothea Dix Campus Haywood Gymnasium in Raleigh on Jan. 16 to celebrate the New Year and reaffirm the Department’s core values at the second annual NCDHHS Team Recognition Awards.

Secretary Mandy Cohen welcomed the full house with a note of gratitude and shared some of the Department’s biggest 2019 accomplishments to cheers and applause. In the past year, North Carolina has reached its lowest infant mortality rate in recorded history, launched NCCARE360 to help deliver person-centered care, received national recognition for integrating physical and behavioral health in Medicaid and opened the new Broughton Hospital.

“I’ve found that people outside the Department can’t fully comprehend or appreciate how much work is required of us in our jobs,” said Secretary Cohen. “I know everyone in this room put in a tremendous amount of hard work over the past year, but what inspires me most is the collaboration I see across this Department that really has made all the difference.”

Collaboration was a theme of the day as 18 teams were recognized for their shared commitment to DHHS’ core values: people-focused, teamwork, proactive communication, transparency, stewardship and joy. Of the 62 teams nominated, the top three in each of the six categories were honored.

The nominated and winning teams represent a wide range of perspectives, ideas and work experiences that strengthen the Department’s ability to effectively serve communities throughout North Carolina. The Deputy Secretaries who presented awards in each value area echoed Secretary Cohen’s sentiments that along with collaboration, the diversity among DHHS’s teams is foundational in the Department’s success.

“As we enter a new year and decade, let’s be reminded how important it is that we cultivate an inclusive and collaborative environment that values employees with different life experiences, and incorporate these different viewpoints throughout our work,” Secretary Cohen challenged. “Inclusion means belonging to a workplace in which everyone is welcomed and connected to each other, and inclusion is inextricably linked to team excellence.”

Congratulations to the following teams for their exemplary work and for living DHHS values in and outside the office. Read a full list of winning team members, see photos of the teams or watch a recording of the event.

People-Focused Awards

  • WorkSource West-Morganton Unit, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS). This team helps individuals in Burke County find the jobs they need to live independently. However, they go well beyond helping their clients find employment, by working to identify whatever services their clients need to feel like a productive and valued member of the community.
  • Reduce Retailer Violations Team, Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services (DMHDDSAS). This team partnered with state Alcohol Law Enforcement to reduce the rate of retailer violations of sale of tobacco to minors from 21 percent to 12 percent.
  • Business Technology and Relationship Management Team, NC Medicaid. By intervening on behalf of beneficiaries struggling to receive benefits, this team makes sure no one falls through the cracks. This team also has a deep commitment to focusing on the people we serve outside of traditional work hours.

Teamwork Awards

  • Healthy Opportunities Team, Office of the Secretary. This large, cross-functional team works across offices and divisions to tackle an innovative and complex body of work. Healthy Opportunities links health care and human services organizations in order to achieve whole-person health. This team leverages the strength of diverse voices across the Department to achieve success.
  • Broughton’s Hospital Transition Team, Division of State Operated Healthcare Facilities (DSOHF). This team transitioned staff, patients and equipment from the old Broughton Hospital to the new facility. They managed a 297-bed psychiatric hospital while preparing for the move, installed all-new IT and medical equipment in the new building, trained over 1,200 staff on new procedures, furnished a nearly 500,000-square-foot facility, and physically moved patients and staff into the new hospital. 
  • Cherry Hospital’s Sewing Department, DSOHF. This team of two is charged with providing individuals in the hospital’s Patient Care Units with appropriate shoes and clothing. They collaborate closely with the Occupational Therapy Department to design and create specialty items for to meet individual’s unique needs.

Proactive Communication Awards

  • Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME), Division of Public Health (DPH). The OCME investigates all deaths in the state that are attributed to injury or violence, as well as natural deaths that are suspicious, unusual or unattended by a medical professional. Conducting this work effectively and with sensitivity requires a commitment to proactively communicating across a large team and directly with families.
  • Regional Education Specialists, Division of Health Service Regulation (DHSR). This team is responsible for overseeing education for emergency medical technicians and paramedics across North Carolina to ensure effective and high-quality Emergency Medical Services statewide. This team communicates daily with each other and with stakeholders regarding the ever-changing aspects of EMS education, showing a deep commitment to accountability, consistency and customer service.
  • Central Regional Hospital’s Master Treatment Plan Team, DSOHF. This ad hoc group of subject matter experts came together to create one of the first electronic inpatient Behavioral and Medical Master Treatment Plan (MTP) applications in the U.S. They developed a tool that can project and modify treatment plans within treatment teams and with the collaboration of the patient.

Transparency Awards

  • Youth and Adult Tobacco Prevention Team, DPH, NC Medicaid, DSOHF, DMHDDSAS. This team is charged with the extremely complex and multifaceted task of addressing tobacco prevention and control in our state. Addressing tobacco use among diverse populations and in multiple settings, from public spaces to school to home, requires sensitivity and transparency.
  • Staff Development Department at Caswell Developmental Center, DSOHF. This team provides trainings to prepare staff to interact therapeutically with patients and their families and deliver a high quality of care. Their trainings cover everything from CPR to non-violent crisis intervention to orientation for new nurses and their commitment to transparency allows them to cover a large body of work with a small team.
  • JIRA Team, Information Technology Division. This team provides technical services and support for the use of a complex software product suite across the Department. By sharing their expertise and helping others integrate this tool into their work, this team demonstrated their commitment to transparency.

Stewardship Awards

  • Electronic Fiscal Process Transition Team, Office of the Controller, Disability Determination Services. A move to an electronic fiscal process to decrease the processing time for invoices involved staff from across divisions and required short turnarounds for each step in the process. This team persevered through years of challenges to be successful, proving themselves goal-oriented and committed to customer service.
  • Transitions to Community Living Team, Office of the Secretary. This team of five serves thousands of North Carolinians who have severe mental illness. By partnering and through the effective stewardship of time and resources, they have helped thousands of people to transition out of adult care homes and psychiatric hospitals into the community. 
  • Provider Operations Unit, NC Medicaid. The unit played a critical role in projects related to the rollout of Medicaid Managed Care that required collaborating on complex tasks across units. Only by effectively stewarding their limited time and leveraging the strength of their diverse voices were they able to successfully tackle these huge projects.

Joy Awards

  • SPOTT Team at Central Regional Hospital, DSOHF. This team developed a peer-to-peer recognition program to spotlight staff who go above and beyond the call of duty at work. 
  • Visually Impaired Person Fishing Tournament Team, Division of Services for the Blind (DSB). This team made it possible for blind and visually-impaired individuals to travel to the Outer Banks for the 2019 Visually Impaired Persons (VIP) Fishing Tournament.
  • Joy Bags Team, Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE). At the conclusion of team meetings, this team hands out inspirational items and quotes in bags to swap among team members. Everyone leaves the meeting with their own little bag of joy. This team’s creativity and investment fosters a happy, motivated and inclusive work environment.