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Austin Springer, PhD, receives highest employee honor for pandemic response efforts

Austin Springer, PhD, of Human Resources

Austin Springer, PhD, of Human Resources

Since the pandemic began in March 2020, Austin Springer, PhD, Human Resources, has been key to the hospital's COVID-19 response.

Springer, who is the manager of HRIS Applications and People Analytics, collaborated with others to design and create a software solution that includes asymptomatic COVID-19 screening, tracking and scheduling vaccinations, tracking accommodation requests and integrating with multiple systems.     

As a result of his efforts, Springer is the 2021 recipient of the Amos Jacobs award. The award is named for hospital founder Danny Thomas—who was Amos Jacobs before adopting a stage name. It's the highest honor St. Jude bestows upon employees. The Amos Jacobs recipient is chosen from the past year's 5100 Club honorees.

"As I've mentioned to others, sometimes being told you did a good job feels just as good as getting paid. Therefore, it means a lot to know all the work has been noticed and recognized," said Springer, who joined St. Jude in August 2011. "I understand the award can only go to one person, but all this wouldn't have been possible without the help from a multitude of others, namely the mobile team, others in Information Services, and various other people throughout the institution such as Pharmaceutical Sciences, Infectious Diseases, Pathology and Epidemiology."

Springer, who was also recently named one of the 2021 Living Our Values honorees, was nominated multiple times for his work and leadership throughout the pandemic. The work continues today as the pandemic response continues to evolve.

When the COVID-19 vaccine authorization was expedited by the FDA, St. Jude was on an early list of recipients to receive a supply of vaccines. However, the hospital had no method to gauge participant interest and track distribution from start to finish. In a short amount of time, Springer took the COVID-19 screening system and worked with a team to develop a vaccine module that was added to the screening system in time for the distribution.

One of the nominators of Springer wrote: "Since March 2020, Austin has assisted in the development, planning and implementation of many COVID-19 employee screening and vaccination efforts. He is truly an unsung hero in his efforts to keep our campus safe. He works day and night to ensure our systems function properly."

Springer has a special connection to St. Jude and its charge to protect patients from infection—he's also the father of a patient.

"St. Jude is very near and dear to my heart. It's good to know that the things we do affect patients and families in a positive way," Springer said.


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