Jeanette Cowan - Mar. 2015 Employee of the Month


Jeanette Cowan, senior finance analyst for the Center for Health Policy (CHP) and the Center for Primary Care Outcomes Research (PCOR), received the Department of Medicine’s Employee of the Month Award, which honors exceptionally dedicated and passionate staff.

Cowan grew up in Oklahoma and earned a bachelor’s degree in business from Oklahoma State. After graduation, she worked for four years at an oil company before heading to Stanford with her husband, who was a graduate student in computer science. Upon arrival, they were immediately struck by the dynamism of the Stanford community. “There is such excitement in the air here,” Cowan said. “New research, new ideas, new people, and especially open minds. And the campus and the surrounding area are so beautiful—how can you not love it?”

Cowan began her Stanford career in 1982 at the School of Humanities and Sciences, and later transitioned to her current role at CHP/PCOR in 2002. As senior finance analyst, Cowan supports the financial accounts of research faculty and staff and approves financial transactions. She also ensures that Stanford’s policies are in compliance with the National Institutes of Health, and collaborates with staff to solve financial problems. As she explained: “My days are often spent at the computer, but I also interact with our faculty and administrative staff when we are trying to brainstorm solutions.”

Cowan’s productivity, kindness, and commitment to her colleagues have garnered her the admiration of many. Kathryn McDonald, executive director of CHP/PCOR described her as “incredibly conscientious and hardworking,” and a “one-of-a-kind financial associate.”

Through the years, Cowan has shown herself to be an indispensible asset, wrote Doug Owens, MD, director of CHP/PCOR in a nominating letter. “She has provided CHP/PCOR with truly outstanding support.  We have both domestic and international projects, and the international projects often pose very daunting financial issues. She anticipates the issues and has been absolutely critical to our research program.”

Paul Wise, MD, MPH, director of the Children in Crisis Initiative and a core faculty member at CHP/PCOR echoed these sentiments, and praised Cowan’s ability to solve complex problems:

“Our most prominent project involves a large-scale, child nutrition program in the Mayan highlands of Guatemala. The project serves several thousand children and has a strong research component that requires the involvement of approximately 60 community health workers to conduct the interventions and collect critical data.

While working in this setting has required overcoming a variety of investigational and logistical challenges, perhaps the most complex has been developing a bullet-proof financing and accounting system that can operate smoothly in an area of the world known for corruption and poor governance. Simply put, Jeanette has been an absolutely essential person in both crafting the financing and accounting system as well as ensuring that it functions smoothly.”