Jordan LaPier
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October 5, 2020

Kathleen Frisbee and Drs. Neil C. Evans and Kevin Galpin of the Department of Veterans  

Affairs are awarded the Management Excellence Award. 

WASHINGTON – The nonprofit, nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service announced today that the Department of Veterans Affairs team, Dr. Neil C. Evans, chief officer at the Office of Connected Care, Kathleen Frisbee, executive director of the Connected Health Office, and Dr. Kevin Galpin, executive director of Telehealth Services, have won the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal® in the Management Excellence category.  

Since 2002, the Service to America Medals, or Sammies, have honored outstanding civil servants who have made significant contributions to the health, safety and prosperity of our country. Considered the “Oscars” of government service, the Sammies have earned a reputation as the premier awards program recognizing innovation and leadership in the federal government. 

The telehealth options the three VA employees created are leading innovative and accelerated efforts on telehealth, mobile apps and other virtual health care options for more than 9 million veterans. They have combined their skills and leadership in technology, policy, regulation, medicine and management to guide the VA’s merger of health care with technology. 

“We want this to be the most convenient health care system with consistent access for every veteran no matter where they are,” said Galpin. 

In fiscal 2020, more than 1 million veterans, or 18% of all enrolled veterans, completed at least one video visit from their home in fiscal year 2020, for a total of more than 3 million video-to-home visits. The telehealth services they created have played a critical role in veterans’ care during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“The 2020 Service to America Medal honorees represent the many exceptional federal employees who have proudly and passionately dedicated their lives to make a difference for our country and our world,” said Max Stier, president and CEO of the Partnership for Public Service. “They have broken down barriers, pioneered new frontiers of medicine, protected our nation from cybersecurity threats and helped our nation during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. We honor and thank them tonight for their service.”  

The virtual program will air on Bloomberg Television and will be streamed live on and Axios’ FacebookTwitter and YouTube pages; Bloomberg.comYouTubeTwitter; and on the Partnership for Public Service’s FacebookTwitter and YouTube pages. The event will air at 8 p.m. EDT on Monday, Oct. 5, 2020. Viewers can register here to stream the Sammies. 

The 2020 Sammies winners were selected from more than 350 nominations submitted to the Partnership for Public Service. Of the 27 finalists announced in May 2020, the six medalists were chosen by a prestigious selection committee that included leaders from government, business, charitable organizations, academia, entertainment and media.  

In addition to giving awards to the six medalists, the Partnership will present the annual Spirit of Service Award to Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft. Under Nadella’s leadership, Microsoft has significantly improved federal government services and operations through responsible use of artificial intelligence, cloud computing and predictive analytics. The company has developed public-private partnerships to help agencies transform their organizations and improve outcomes, from assisting the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services with predicting patient needs and developing new payment models to aiding the Interior Department’s use of aerial drones to monitor more than 500 million acres of public land. Through a new project with the Department of Agriculture, federal scientists and researchers are harnessing data and artificial intelligence to help farmers increase yields, reduce costs and make crops more resilient and sustainable.  

The other 2020 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals recipients are:  

The evening’s top honor, Federal Employee of the Year, will be presented to Dr. Anthony Faucidirector of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. Fauci is recognized for his role as the nation’s premier expert and spokesperson on infectious diseases, and has led the federal government’s research response to infectious diseases over the course of six administrations. As COVID-19 spread across the nation, Fauci brought more than 50 years of knowledge to his efforts to keep the nation updated on how to navigate the deadly health crisis. In his capacity as director, he also has spearheaded efforts to develop COVID-19 treatments and vaccines. 

Dr. Ira Pastan of the National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health (Bethesda, Md.), is the recipient of the Paul A. Volcker Career Achievement Medal. Pastan discovered a breakthrough class of drugs to successfully treat a rare but deadly form of cancer, called hairy cell leukemia, in patients who have few other treatment options. Research is now in progress to use Pastan’s innovative approach to treat pancreatic and lung cancer as well as mesothelioma. During his 60-year career at NIH, Pastan led a team that pioneered the field of receptor biology in animal cells, establishing a framework that led to using targeted antibodies as a cancer therapy. He is also known for mentoring other scientists, including Nobel Prize winners Harold Varmus and Robert Lefkowitz. 

Pastan is the recipient of the Paul A. Volcker Career Achievement Medal, named after the extraordinary public servant who made a profound difference for our country and was the leading voice on the value of government service. Volcker twice headed a nonpartisan Commission on the Public Service that recommended sweeping changes in the federal government’s organization and personnel practices. In 2013, he founded the Volcker Alliance, a nonprofit organization committed to advancing effective management of government to deliver results for the public. Volcker passed away in 2019. The Partnership renamed the career achievement medal in his honor and awarded the first Paul A. Volcker Career Achievement Medal last October. The naming of the Paul A. Volcker Career Achievement Medal was made possible through the generous support of Ray and Barbara Dalio.  

Dr. Vikram Krishnasamy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Atlanta, Ga.) is the recipient of the Emerging Leaders Medal. In 2019, 60 medical professionals across six states were arrested for illegally prescribing and distributing opioids. Working in advance with law enforcement authorities, Krishnasamy created a medical command center that assisted thousands of patients left without medical care as a result of the arrests, by connecting them to legitimate health professionals and addiction treatment programs. Krishnasamy also launched an online program that has trained more than a thousand He has most recently been involved with CDC responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and electronic cigarette-associated lung injuries. 

Donna F. Dodson, formerly of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (Gaithersburg, Md.) for more than 30 years up until May 2020, is the recipient of the Safety, Security and International Affairs Medal. Dodson, now in the private sector, is recognized as a leading national cybersecurity expert. She played a significant role in the development of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, a guide used by thousands of organizations to help manage cybersecurity risks and prevent, detect and respond to cyberattacks. Dodson also played a key role in establishing the nation’s first open and commercially available encryption standards. And, she led the launch of the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence within NIST, where industry organizations, government agencies and academic institutions collaborate to address businesses’ most pressing cybersecurity issues. 

Dr. Beth Ripley of the Department of Veterans Affairs (Seattle, Wash.) is recipient of the Science and Environment Award. Ripley is recognized for creating an interconnected, hospital-based 3D printing network that enables surgeons to scrutinize exact 3D models of their patients’ organs and tissues to prepare for upcoming procedures. Physicians have used the 3D models to make more informed medical decisions, reduce surgical times, decrease the number of hospital visits for some services, avoid unnecessary surgeries and deliver assistive technology devices to improve veterans’ quality of life. Ripley is exploring ways to expand the program, now in place at 35 hospitals, and address a wider range of health conditions. Earlier this year, she successfully used the 3D printing network to produce much-needed surgical masks and nasal swabs for COVID-19 hospital staff and patients. 

The sixth annual Service to America Medals People’s Choice award was presented in August to Dr. Lorraine Cole and Corvelli A. McDaniel of the Department of the Treasury (Washington, D.C.). More than 75,000 votes were cast in this year’s People’s Choice selection process, with Cole and McDaniel receiving the most votes out of all 27 Sammies finalists in an online voting process that was open to the public.  

Cole and McDaniel created the Treasury Bank Mentor-Protégé Program in which large commercial financial institutions provide management and technical assistance to help small and minority-owned banks strengthen their balance sheets and better serve low-income communities. One central aim of the program is to help small, minority-owned banks build the capacity to handle a range of financial transactions for the Treasury, such as processing tax returns and passport application payments and providing credit and debit card services. This year, small and minority-owned banks also became key lenders as part of the government’s response to the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. As of March 2020, the program had nine established mentor-protégé relationships including five large mentor banks and nine small protégé banks, with many other such relationships in progress. 

The 2020 Service to America Medals are made possible by the generous support of our sponsors. The premier sponsor for the 2020 Sammies is Mrs. Ronnie F. Heyman and family. National sponsors are Bloomberg Philanthropies, ConantLeadership, David Marchick, Jennifer and David Millstone, Indra and Raj Nooyi, Standard Industries, and Patricia A. and George W. Wellde Jr. Capital sponsors are Tom and Andi Bernstein, Charina Endowment Fund, Microsoft, and Tom Nides. Platinum sponsors include Citi, Deloitte, EY, David J. Kappos and Leslie Kimball, McKinsey & Company, The MITRE Corporation, Morgan Stanley Foundation, Steve and Molly Preston, and Verint. 

The 2020 Sammies will reach more viewers than ever thanks to the generous support of media partners Axios, Bloomberg, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. 

Renamed the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals in 2010 to commemorate the organization’s founder, the program has honored more than 550 outstanding federal employees since its inception in 2002. For profiles and videos of current and past honorees, and to nominate a federal employee for a 2021  Service to America Medal, visit  Information about hosting Sammies pre-show conversations and watch parties is available here. For digital toolkits and communications materials for the 2020 Service to America Medals virtual awards program, click here.  

During the past 19 years, the nonpartisan, nonprofit Partnership for Public Service has been dedicated to making the federal government more effective for the American people. We work across administrations to help transform the way government operates by increasing collaboration, accountability, efficiency and innovation. Visit  to learn more. Follow us on social @publicservice and subscribe today to get the latest federal news, information on upcoming Partnership programs and events, and more.