Nina Johnson is simply an awesome staff person. Many superlatives come immediately to mind: hard-working, dedicated, thoughtful, proactive, superb communicator, incredibly kind and the like. Nina is always thinking of others. This includes thinking of ways to educate and develop people around her in the IU Center for Aging Research at Regenstrief, especially those under her supervision. But this also extends to thinking of things that might help our interventionists on IN-PEACE (even though they are IUHP employed and not RI) or the research staff on the UNC multi-site study we participate in. Nina is also incredibly thoughtful and service oriented when it comes to our research participants. We’ve actually had thanks and praise for how helpful participation has been even from the usual care group where the main contact is Nina listening in a caring way to the participants as she collects data! In fact, when she’s learned things from efforts like CROMS, she always makes a point of passing along tips to others. And of course, Nina goes above and beyond her job description in managing every aspect of the research projects on which she is the lead staff person. She’s always thinking ahead independently, planning for deadlines, often drafting reports and other needed materials, and working with people in Regenstrief, biostats, other faculty and staff to keep things on track and moving forward. Nina has volunteered to outline or begin drafting papers and is eager to take on new challenges. Nina does all of the above and much, much more with an always positive attitude. She does not complain and is very tolerant in dealing with the frustrations that always come up with complicated projects.
- Demonstrated dedication to Regenstrief mission and values:
Nina is always striving to better herself and find educational opportunities and resources that she can learn from and pass along to others. She stays up-to-date with current literature and contributes to team discussions to disseminate her findings. You can tell Nina is a genuine and caring person and wants to use her knowledge and skills to make healthcare resources more easily obtainable to those who need them most. She is clever and creative in the ideas she brings to our team.
- Exceptional teamwork/customer service orientation:
Nina is a wonderful team player. She checks in on people to ensure they have everything they need, she offers to help others and is supportive of others’ ideas and goals. You can tell she has also made a very positive impact on our research participants. I have personally had several participants ask about her, where she was, how she was doing, etc., when I started taking on the majority of our data collection calls. She is empathetic and truly cares about the people she works with — both her team and her research participants.
- Significant positive impact to Regenstrief (problem solving, cost saving, culture setting/building):
Nina has exemplary problem-solving and cost-saving skills. As mentioned above, she is very creative and brainstorms to come up with solutions to problems or “odd scenarios” that come up in our studies. She always takes the time to thoroughly explain her thought process and reasoning when presenting solutions, which you can tell took time and research on her part. She is also not afraid to seek input from others when an answer is not easily found from her own resources. Honoring our grant (financially) is also always at the forefront of her mind when making decisions as well. She wants to make sure money is spent appropriately and comes up with creative, cost-effective ways to both improve study processes while lowering costs. She is also very culturally aware and positively embraces differences. She finds ways to be inclusive of people from all cultures and can often explain cultural differences that become apparent in our studies.
- Excellent Formal or Informal Leadership (leading by words and deeds):
I greatly admire Nina’s leadership skills. She is always providing resources, creating SOPs and protocols and checking in with team members to ensure our studies are on track and that data collection is being conducted accurately and consistently. She delegates new tasks to me to ensure I’m constantly learning and improving my skillset. She is organized and excellent in her time-management and critical thinking skills.
Nina is a delight to work with as a research staff/team leader. She is willing to take on any task necessary to complete the job. Nina works closely with Dr. Sachs and Jen West. Though they are a small team, they have a major impact! Nina always comes to meetings prepared and is often the first staff member to complete a requested assignment. She is supportive of other teams and works hard to have a supportive workplace environment, even while in a hybrid workspace. I am very impressed with the work Nina does outside of her work hours. She is completing her Masters’ degree in mental health counseling and is performing very well in that program. She has taken her new knowledge base and developed a model of the use of empathy in research recruitment. Nina presented this model at the SOCRA National Conference in September 2022 with great success and was asked by SOCRA to write an article for their professional journal.