(Washington, D.C., September 16, 2020) - The National Association of Veterans’ Research and Education Foundations (NAVREF) held its sixth annual awards event on September 16th, honoring NAVREF members and staff nominated by their peers for demonstrating excellence in support of research and education for Veterans. The award ceremony was hosted by NAVREF CEO Rick Starrs in conjunction with NAVREF’s 28th Annual Conference.
The 2020 winners included Ms. Amy Kimball of the Boston VA Research Institute (BVARI), who was awarded NAVREF’s prestigious Barbara West Award for Distinguished Service. Other awardees included Ms. Elaine Staats, Director of Research Administration at the Palo Alto Veterans Institute for Research (PAVIR) in Palo Alto, California, and Ms. Margaret Tiktin, Director, Clinical Research Center, at the VA Northeast Ohio Healthcare System in Cleveland.
Ms. Kimball was recognized for her outstanding service and dedication both to her nonprofit corporation (NPC) and to NAVREF. She has served as Chief Executive Officer at BVARI for the last two years. In that short time, she has revamped training and SOPs, restructured staffing to align with BVARI’s business model, reduced the reliance on Intergovernmental Personnel Act appointments, and effectively leveraged national and local relationships to improve performance. She generously shares her knowledge and expertise with other NPC leaders in a compassionate, confident, and professional manner. She provided several best practice models and strategic approaches to problem solving that other NPCs have used to improve their systems. Ms. Kimball demonstrates the persistence, passion, and strategic understanding necessary to excel in this highly complex environment.
Ms. Staats took home the NAVREF Board of Directors Award for her comprehensive leadership and management of PAVIR's extensive sponsored research program. She has supervised the growth of PAVIR's research program to more than $30 million annually through effective collaboration with her local Chief of Staff and Research offices and with VA Central Office’s R&D Service, General Counsel and CRADA offices; she is also PAVIR's principal liaison with Stanford University, responsible for compliance with the affiliation agreement. Ms. Staats manages these complex relationships in a steady, calm, engaging and resourceful manner and has deservedly earned the confidence and respect of her colleagues in each of these institutions and offices. She is widely regarded as an expert in her field and routinely advises other NPC and VA personnel on all things related to sponsored research.Ms. Tiktin was awarded the Best Practice and Innovation Award for the tremendous value she added to NAVREF’s Clinical Trial Committee over the last year. She provided expert insight and understanding as the Committee developed guidelines for leading multi-site industry-sponsored studies. She helped identify those skills and attributes a site needs to successfully lead. Ms. Tiktin’s selfless contribution of time, effort, and expertise exemplified the spirit of collaboration between VA and NAVREF to advance the health of veterans.