June 21 | Jane Moon, MD
Olivia Vallejo, Administrative Manager of Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) in the Department of Anesthesiology & Perioperative Medicine (DAPM) at UCLA, received the prestigious Kevin McCauley Memorial Outstanding Staff Award at the 2023 UCLA Staff Assembly Awards & Staff Scholarships Ceremony, which was held at the James West Alumni Center, Collins Conference Room, on Wednesday, June 21. This honor recognizes a UCLA staff member who has “contributed significantly to building collaboration and community while encouraging equity, diversity, and inclusiveness.”
Ms. Vallejo was nominated for the Outstanding Staff Award by Jennifer Lucero, MD, MA, DAPM Vice Chair of Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and Associate Dean of Admissions at the David Geffen School of Medicine (DGSOM) at UCLA. In her nomination letter, Dr. Lucero noted Ms. Vallejo’s longstanding service to UCLA first as a work-study student during her undergraduate years, then as a full-time DAPM staff member who skillfully took on roles as diverse as Grand Rounds coordination, support of the Division of Cardiac Anesthesiology, and representation of the Informatics Division at the UCLA Heath system level.
Ms. Vallejo began to support the department’s JEDI programming since the summer of 2020. She has actively sought opportunities for continued learning and growth, pursuing rigorous programs like the UC Women’s Initiative and the UCLA Professional Development Program (PDP). She has fostered collaboration between fellow DAPM staff members, helping implement and train users in Cisco Jabber, a business communication tool, and promoting wellness, cultural awareness, and team morale as a leader within the DAPM Staff Wellness Committee. She has also facilitated the discussion of complex JEDI topics within support groups.
Ms. Vallejo has also helped lead JEDI efforts at the departmental level, structuring the DAPM JEDI Committee, keeping working groups on task, and helping organize the Annual DAPM Womxn’s Symposium and the first annual DAPM JEDI retreat.
She is also very active in various programs and organizations at the university level, participating in Latinx programs like the La Comunidad Affinity Group, as well as a pilot program called “UC Peer-to-Peer Connections.” She was also selected as a DGSOM Restorative Justice Facilitator and received funding to attend the AAMC Restorative Justice training in Washington, DC, to develop the expertise needed to help educate DGSOM faculty and staff members on Restorative Justice principles.
“As a Professor and Associate Dean in the School of Medicine,” Dr. Lucero wrote, “I have had the opportunity to work with many staff members at two UC institutions. I have not worked with a more accomplished, dedicated, and brilliant staff member than Ms. Vallejo.”
At the ceremony, Dalena Le, MHA, DAPM Administrative Assistant, also received the 2022-23 UCLA Staff Assembly Professional Development Scholarship. Araceli Alvarez-deCordova, Faculty Assistant Coordinator, Jennah Varela, Administrative Specialist, Stephanie Fischer, MA, DAPM Chief Administrative Officer, and Maxime Cannesson, MD, PhD, DAPM Professor and Chair, attended the event to congratulate both Ms. Vallejo and Ms. Le.