Employee of the Month - Tomiko Oskotsky
December 2015, Division of General Medical Disciplines
“We should call her Wonder Woman,” says Cynthia Ahrendsen, preceptor for the Department of Medicine’s Primary Care Associate Program (PCAP). “Tomiko keeps the sun shining even when dark clouds are overhead.”
It would be easy to chalk up such praise to hyperbole were it not for so many PCAP colleagues referring to Tomiko’s superhuman dedication. The phrases “above and beyond,” “true passion” and “self-sacrificing” surface again and again in the letters nominating her for Employee of the Month.
John DiMario writes, “She is the data manager in her program in the division, but her impact to the program and affiliates is far greater than her official job duties.” John, who provides IT support within the Department of Medicine, says he works with Tomiko “mainly on technical issues. She not only demonstrates the issue or problem the group is attempting to solve, but she has already researched the possibilities and come up with likely solutions. She doesn’t just think one step ahead, but rather 10 steps ahead! No matter what the issue (technical, administrative or personal) or how busy, she’s always there to discuss and help. I think that is because she is gifted at finding solutions, but also genuinely caring, too.”
Tomiko developed her current skills with data and technology after earning her MD and completing a residency in emergency medicine. Not counting a short period off campus, she has been with Stanford in some capacity since 2007. In her current role with the PCAP, she collects and analyzes program data, makes recommendations for program planning and improvement, manages web content and social media, contributes to grant proposals and oversees tasks related to student orientation and other course requirements.
Andrew Chastain says that Tomiko does it all with the “dedication that has come to be her trademark” and that she “manages to do so with a smile and a friendly, helpful attitude.”
Mentoring PA students
So what exactly does it look like when a data manager is both gifted and caring? For starters, even her spreadsheets, says Assistant Professor Valerie Berry, are “a thing of beauty.” She continues, “Lest you think Tomiko is a data geek, she is warm and personable and ever helpful in supporting students, helping across a broad range of problems, from ensuring the latest HIPAA training is complete to helping polish the data tables for a student’s poster presentation at a national conference.”
Other colleagues note Tomiko’s commitment to the program’s students, as well. Statistician Pooja Loftus remarks, “In addition to doing her job, she recruits, mentors, provides assistance, teaches and advocates for students in that program. She does this job out of passion, as she really loves the PA students. She does her best to help and nurture them.”
Leslie Anne Johnson, program scheduler, recalls specific examples. She says, “When she was out of town [on vacation] and a few of our students were having difficulties with their final exams online, Tomiko remotely accessed our server to make sure the students’ test-taking wasn’t compromised in any unfair way. She is also one of our students’ biggest mentors when it comes to their Community Health Projects. Our senior students give their poster presentations in December, and every year she works with each student group to help them out even though she doesn’t have to.”