February 12, 2024

Technical glitches are no match for Trisha James’s grant submission skills.

Strong work ethic, dedication to customer service, compassion and commitment to teamwork earn James a VUMC Credo Award.

Trisha James, CRA, a sponsored programs specialist. Photo by Erin O. Smith.

A technical glitch that affected VUMC’s Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) potentially meant a major National Institutes of Health grant would not get submitted on time. It had serious implications for the investigator and his research.

Fortunately, Trisha James, CRA, a sponsored programs specialist, devised a solution to work around the glitch, demonstrating once again her commitment to her colleagues by being available right until the end to ensure the grant was submitted successfully.

“Trisha demonstrated excellent communication skills between herself, the grants manager, the grant applicant and the COEUS tech team,” wrote James’ nominator. “Without Trisha’s service and exceptional credo behaviors, this grant would not have been successfully submitted. That has an important impact for research faculty. As a faculty member who has submitted grants to every NIH cycle the last two years, I feel completely assured knowing that Trisha is part of the grants submission team and will get things done on time, professionally, and making the experience easeful for everyone involved.”

James has worked in the OSP, which assists all members of the Medical Center community with the submission of grant proposals for external support of research, creative, instructional and service activities, since 2020. She has worked for the Medical Center and Vanderbilt University since 1984.

She was recently recognized for her dedication and resourcefulness with a Credo award at the January VUMC Leadership Assembly. The Credo Award recognizes individuals who consistently demonstrate exceptional credo behavior by making those they serve their highest priority, having a sense of ownership, conducting themselves professionally, respecting privacy and confidentiality, communicating effectively and committed to colleagues.

James is known for helping her team members with excellent communication skills, professionalism and guidance, says another nominator. “Trisha goes above and beyond her own specific responsibilities to ensure all aspects of the grant management and submission process goes smoothly and successfully. It is clear Trisha’s expertise in this domain is sought after regularly by the department grants management.”

She serves as a liaison between faculty, staff, students, collaborators and external sponsors for all activity within the life cycle of a grant award.

“Serving in such role, Trisha consistently demonstrates many talents such as a strong work ethic, dedication to customer service, astute decision-making ability, the ability to work well under extreme pressure (grant deadlines), outstanding teamwork attributes and the uncanny ability to effectively communicate with all parties involved,” writes her manager, Clint Brown, associate vice president in the OSP. “Her efforts produce high-quality results time and time again.

“I believe she is a natural fit for the Credo award. Her service-minded work ethic combined with her compassion and ability to serve others makes her an outstanding individual to represent OSP and VUMC,” Brown said.

James said she is “deeply humbled, honored and appreciative of being nominated for this award. Receiving such recognition from colleagues with whom I work and serve makes me feel valued, supported and inspired.

 “I love that my job allows me to play a small part in the phenomenal, extraordinary research being done at VUMC that advances knowledge and impacts society in a positive way while at the same time interacting and building relationships with so many talented, knowledgeable and passionate people,” she said.

View Trisha James video from Leadership Assembly here.

If you are a VUMC employee, you can nominate a colleague for an Elevate Credo Award, Five Pillar Leader Award, or Team Award. Visit the Elevate website to fill out a nomination form. Employees demonstrate credo behaviors when: they make those they serve the highest priority; respect privacy and confidentiality; communicate effectively; conduct themselves professionally; have a sense of ownership; and are committed to their colleagues. Elevate award nominations are accepted year-round. If a nomination is received after the cut off for an award selection period, the nomination will be considered for the next period. VUMC VOICE will post stories on each of the award winners in the weeks following their announcement.