As the November Employee of the Month, Luz Sanchez, Social Science Research Assistant in the Division of Infectious Diseases, has a little something extra to be grateful for this year. Luz is the 11th staff member in the Department of Medicine to be chosen as the Employee of the Month (EOM). Her colleagues and members of the Employee of the Month committee gathered around as Thomas McGrath, Director of Finance and Administration, read some of the comments that contributed to her being this month’s winner. A round of applause congratulated a wonderful staff member described as a kind, caring, and warm human being ready to lend a hand to anyone who needs it.
Luz began her career at Stanford’s diarrheal diseases site in Chiapas, Mexico, 25 years ago as part of a research group led by Julie Parsonnet, MD. In that role, she built a laboratory, directed a team of Mayan workers, went into remote villages to collect biological samples, and worked as a field director alongside investigators from Harvard, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Stanford, and Mexico. Independent and hardworking, she often dealt with difficult public health challenges, including developing her own goat herd in order to provide blood agar.
About 15 years ago, Luz came to Stanford to work in the laboratory of Julie Parsonnet, MD, George DeForest Barnett Professor in Medicine and Professor of Health Research and Policy. “She has never shied away from extra responsibilities,” says Parsonnet. “She does whatever is required, whether it is direct recruitment, phlebotomy, sample collection and processing, data entry, data management, or field team supervision. All told she has probably been responsible for recruiting almost 10,000 people and managing their research activities. Her work is simply extraordinary.”
A shy smiling Luz accepted the award. It was easy to see why everyone admires her, what an amazing resource she is to the Division of Infectious Diseases, and why she deserves to be the Employee of the Month.