Center for Excellence Honoree: Janice Dadio

Janice DadioStudents and professors say more than everyday kind words about Janice Dadio, secretary of the physician assistant program and recipient of the Excellence in Service to Students Award.

Physician assistant student Laura Sharp called her the "backbone of the program" and "Rock of Gibraltar." Cynthia Lord, director of the physician assistant program, said, "She is the hub in the center of the wheel, and we are all the spokes. Janice is the heart and soul of our program."

Bill Kohlhepp, associate professor of physician assistant education, calls her the "nerve center for the physician assistant program."

Dadio's desk is at the top of the stairs in an area separating faculty offices from the classrooms of 515 Sherman Ave., the program's home. She is the first person students see when they climb those steps, and most phone calls from students, clinical preceptors, adjunct faculty, applicants and prospective employers go through her. Dadio provides administrative support for Lord and six faculty members, and project support for admissions and job placement.

"Janice gets the loudest and warmest ovation from the students during their certificate ceremony at their completion of the physician assistant program," Kohlhepp said. "She does all that she accomplishes behind the scenes and never seeks or desires credit for everything she does."

Dadio doesn't encourage recognition from faculty and students, but they know she deserves it. Sharp nominated Dadio for the award on behalf of the Physician Assistant Student Society. "Janice's official title is secretary to the physician assistant program, but she is far more than any title can describe," Sharp wrote.

In the nomination form Sharp noted Dadio's endless efforts to help students with their fundraising and community service projects: contacting alumni, printing labels for book giveaways for the reading program in elementary schools, designing and organizing feedback postcards for the reading program and assisting with the annual 5K road race and cow-chip bingo.

"The students get so overwhelmed with their academics," Dadio said. "I get involved to help them out a little."

Raised in North Haven, Dadio was a full-time mother raising three boys and a part-time medical billing processor before joining Quinnipiac in 2001. "A friend who worked at Quinnipiac said this was a great place and was growing incredibly fast," Dadio said. "The physician assistant program fit because of my medical background."

Dadio's close to the faculty. "We're friends before we're co-workers," she said. "The physician assistant faculty is like my second family. I look forward to coming to work; not many people can say that."

Dadio is one of the first people prospective students have contact with when they apply to the program and visit for their interview. She treats them like her own from the first moment. One out-of-state applicant forgot her coat after her interview and didn't realize until she arrived home. She was willing to drive back, but Dadio insisted on shipping the coat to her.

"The students are about the same age as my kids," Dadio said. "I feel like I mother them like my own kids. The students are here for 27 months straight through the summer. I see them every day, so we develop a bond. Even after they graduate, they send me wedding pictures and baby pictures."

Physician assistant student Karen Randel said, "It is amazing that Janice seems to be the first one to know every student's name, and she remembers everyone from years before. In such a busy program, she really takes the time to know us individually. That is really something special."

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