OR Team Shares 1st Dr. Richard Simon Award

The Dr. Richard Simon Excellence in Clinical Neurosciences Award goes to Ellen Benson, Shevonne White, and Georgia Priestley from UConn Health’s Operating Room.

Portrait of recipients in scrubs outside the OR

From left: Shevonne White, Georgia Priestley, and Ellen Benson from the UConn Health OR are the recipients of the inaugural Dr. Richard Simon Excellence in Clinical Neurosciences Award. (Photo by Karen Curley)

Three clinicians who are integral parts of UConn Health’s operating room are the recipients of the first Dr. Richard Simon Excellence in Clinical Neurosciences Award.

The honorees are Ellen Benson, associate director of procedural services, Shevonne René White, surgical technologist, and Georgia Priestly, OR staff nurse.

“Both individually and collectively, Ellen, Shevonne, and Georgia stood out for their commitment to health care delivery, diligence, technical excellence and attention to detail, patient relationships, interpersonal rapport with staff, faculty and management, and reliability,” says Dr. Hilary Onyiuke, director of UConn Health’s Comprehensive Spine Program, who led the selection committee. “All these attributes together provide seamless and unparalleled health care delivery in the arena of clinical neurosciences.”

The winners originally were to be presented with a plaque at a special ceremony in early May. The plaque will be displayed in the academic building.

Dr. Simon portrait
Dr. Richard Simon, UConn Health medical chief of staff (Photo by Janine Gelineau)

“This award is a fitting acknowledgment of Dr. Simon’s lifetime commitment to UConn Health,” says Dr. Andrew Agwunobi, UConn Heath CEO and executive vice president for health affairs. “And I’d like to congratulate Ellen, Shevonne, and Georgia for this well-deserved honor. This recognition is a true tribute to their contributions to the surgical excellence we’ve established and continue to grow here.”

The Simon Award recognizes a “clinician, staff member, or student who exemplifies excellence in any area of the neurosciences at UConn Health.” Colleagues and former students made the initial contributions to an endowed fund the UConn Foundation established for this award earlier this year.

“I was honored by the creation of this award and humbled by the quality and commitment of the first chosen recipients,” Simon says. “My thanks to the creators of the award, the supporters of the award and above all to the service of the recipients.”

Simon is a professor of surgery in the Division of Neurosurgery and the UConn John Dempsey Hospital’s chief of medical staff. He has been on the UConn School of Medicine faculty for four decades.

“Dr. Simon has dedicated his entire career to advancing the missions of UConn Health,” says Dr. Ketan Bulsara, chief of UConn Health’s Division of Neurosurgery. “The recipients of the inaugural award embody excellence and dedication to patient care and its advancement. We are grateful to Dr. Hilary Onyiuke for his leadership as the chair of the selection committee, and to all the selection committee members.”