Colleagues describe Sheryl Harris as upbeat, dependable, efficient, compassionate, empathic, professional and respected by all. Patients and staff alike refer to her as “Sunshine.” These qualities and more distinguish the nursing assistant in Radiation Oncology at MD Anderson West Houston as the recipient of the 2019 Julie and Ben Rogers Award for Excellence in Patient Care.
Peter WT Pisters, M.D., president of MD Anderson, and Regina Rogers, a senior member of the MD Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitors, led a ceremony in September to award Harris a $15,000 prize and a framed certificate of merit.
Harris says she believes her interactions with patients and her responsibilities as the welcoming face of MD Anderson are crucial in advancing the institution’s mission to end cancer.
“We all make a difference, even in the smallest ways,” says Harris, who began working at MD Anderson in 2013. “I find that my first interaction with the patient is the beginning of this process. I ensure them that we are here to help them. I smile, offer comfort and laugh with them as we go through the journey together.”
The annual award, established by Regina Rogers in 1987 to honor her parents, the late Julie and Ben Rogers, recognizes employees who consistently demonstrate excellence in their work and dedication to MD Anderson’s mission to end cancer. The award’s focus rotates annually among the areas of patient care, research, education, prevention and administration.
Rogers, a member of the MD Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitors since 1990, says patient care is at the heart of the institution.
“My family and I have personally witnessed the unparalleled level of compassion, skill and commitment for which the institution is known throughout the world,” she says. “It is an honor to carry on this annual tradition, in loving memory of my parents, through which we reward excellence and recognize the individuals who make a difference in the lives of patients and their loved ones every day.”
Finalists for the 2019 Julie and Ben Rogers Award for Excellence in Patient Care, selected among 58 nominees, received a $2,500 prize as well as a certificate of merit:
• Shanika Serial, manager, Business Services, Endocrine Center and Internal Medicine Center
• Connie Jacobs, senior patient affairs specialist, Patient Affairs
• Gabriel Perez, clinical nurse, Outpatient, PACU- The Woodlands
• Stephanie Stewart, coordinator, Patient Access, Stem Cell Transplantation Center