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17 Employees Honored With President's Award

Presidents Award Logo

Co-workers, family members and friends turned out Aug. 14 to honor the latest recipients of the Cedars-Sinai President’s Award.


Arturo Amaral
CT Interventional Cath Lab Technician
Mark Taper Imaging Center

Over his 30 years with Cedars-Sinai, Arturo has mastered the art of establishing and maintaining rapport with patients, radiologists and their residents and fellows, and co-workers. Radiologists often ask for Arturo when performing special or difficult procedures. They praise him for his extraordinary knowledge of complex guided imaging procedures and greatly value his ability to anticipate the technical and procedural nuances of complex procedures. His patients are consistently grateful for his sensitivity and his ability to create a calm, clear and reassuring atmosphere as he accompanies them on every step of their procedure. His co-workers appreciate his unselfish commitment, depth of knowledge and exceptional range of skills, as well as his willingness to go the extra mile to support the team and its success.

Shima Hashemzadeh, CPT
MLA CPT Team Lead
Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Shima is grateful to be a certified phlebotomy technician and a team lead because each day provides her with a new opportunity to help people. She is passionate about education, and one of her greatest joys is supporting people in acquiring new knowledge and skills. Whether she is working with laboratory assistants, nurses, medical assistants in clinics and doctors' offices, or other professionals, she looks forward to those moments when a co-worker learns something new. Shima’s colleagues attribute her success as an educator to her talent for collaboration and dedication to individual and team success.

Mona Malik
Pharmacy Technician

When describing her contributions as a pharmacy technician, Mona's colleagues praise her for exemplifying the vision, mission and values of Cedars-Sinai. They admire her deep commitment to patient safety and the calm and centered demeanor she brings to her work. Her understanding and empathetic way with people shines through in her contributions as a mentor and trainer of new staff. Along with her gift for collaboration, Mona excels at ensuring controlled substance accountability and is a key member of the controlled substance and compliance team. Her co-workers credit her exceptional problem-solving skills to her keen intelligence, creativity and steady focus.


Gedion Asfaw
Sr. Financial Management Analyst
Smidt Heart Institute

Gedion excels at supporting the pioneering work of researchers in the Smidt Heart Institute by providing them with expert financial planning and budgetary advice. His skill as a collaborator and thorough understanding of grant-related processes have made him a critical partner to many of Cedars-Sinai's most prolific scientists; their confidence and trust are a constant source of pride and satisfaction for him. He is admired for his ability to make complex information accessible and understandable, and for the can-do attitude he brings to every project. Gedion loves problem-solving: No matter how complex the assignment, he will always go the extra mile to resolve any issues and concerns. Gedion's people skills, organizational savvy and financial skills make him an indispensable member of the Smidt Heart Institute's research team.

Michelle Demond
Executive Assistant
Enterprise Information Services/Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

In her role as an executive assistant, Michelle interacts with a wide variety of clinicians, executives and staff across Cedars-Sinai. She has a gift for recognizing when someone is in need, and she is always willing to go out of her way to help colleagues, trainees and visitors. Her thoughtful, interpersonal style is matched by her talent for organizational efficiency. She has fostered exceptional teamwork throughout the health system, taken the lead on multiple IRB and grant submissions and mastered the organization and implementation of complex meetings and events. In spite of her many skills, Michelle is modest, self-effacing and quick to praise her colleagues for their talents and accomplishments.

Walter Morales
Research Specialist
Department of Medicine/Medically Associated Science and Technology Program

Walter is a founding member of the Medically Associated Science and Technology (MAST) program and has been instrumental in building a culture of dedication and mutual respect. He is committed to translating microbiome research into patient diagnostics and treatments. He is an accomplished researcher, a devoted manager and a determined professional who never shies away from long hours or complex challenges. His genuine interest in the wellbeing and success of his colleagues inspires deep trust and admiration, and his colleagues know that Walter will always do whatever is needed to bring about the best possible outcomes. Walter is steadfast in his devotion to nurturing a trusting environment where scientists are able to learn and grow as a team and expand the boundaries of their research.

Dan Sabin, MSN, MBA
Associate Director

Dan has distinguished himself as a natural leader with impeccable communication skills, bold, innovative ideas and a gift for bringing out the best in his colleagues. His teammates in the Department of Neurosciences have learned from experience that Dan gives 110% to every challenge and opportunity he encounters. He has sponsored successful initiatives to improve patient safety, increase efficiency and achieve significant cost savings. An action-oriented executive who understands the big picture, Dan has been instrumental in championing improvements to many facets of the department, including clinic design, regulatory compliance processes, staff education and revenue generation.


Loida Gonzalez
Clinical Partner
4 Southeast

Loida takes a personal approach to care. That steadfast compassion inspires the admiration and praise of Loida's fellow employees, and the heartfelt gratitude of her patients. Her kindness is matched by her skills and professionalism as a clinical partner. Her co-workers praise her keen awareness of the unit's workflow and her special ability to consistently anticipate the needs of her patients and their families. She has the highest admiration for the courage and resiliency of her patients and is happiest when they are able to return home to resume their lives. She is committed to providing the most attentive, supportive and compassionate care possible.

Violeta Husain, BSN, RN
Clinical Nurse IV
8 Southeast

Violeta has won the respect and trust of her co-workers on 8 South with her exceptional skills as an RN, charge nurse and mentor. She is widely admired for her clinical expertise, compassionate manner and effectiveness as a team leader. Her colleagues describe her unique ability to evaluate the status of patients and anticipate their needs. As a mentor, Violeta has won the trust, respect and gratitude of her colleagues; they praise her unique ability to recognize their individual abilities and develop their talents. In recognition of her commitment to clinical excellence and compassionate care, Violeta received a nomination for the Maggie Stempson-Carter Medical Staff Excellence in Caring Award.

Steven Iglesias, BSN, RN-BC
Clinical Nurse III
IV Team

One of the keys to Steven's success as a member of the IV team has been his commitment to educating and empowering his patients. He takes care to provide them with the information they need to become well-informed advocates for their care. When it comes to his pediatric patients, his focus is on lessening their fears and putting them at ease with kindness, patience and humor. He also develops creative presentations, is adept at data collection and produces educational videos that are both engaging and informative. He plays a key role in educating new-graduate and new-hire nurses in inserting IV lines, performing ultrasound-guided IV insertions, managing port access for patients with vascular access devices and effectively managing IV complications.

Maria Ludovina "Malou" Maalat
Nursing Communication Technician
8 North

Malou is known for her willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty to do her part in ensuring her unit functions efficiently and effectively. Along with her skill at fielding a wide variety of calls from physicians, medical center staff and the families and friends of patients, her contributions include helping to keep the nursing station organized, ordering needed items and facilitating equipment repairs. Malou is known for her kind and supportive demeanor with patients and families. Malou has a keen understanding of the patient experience and strives to treat each of her patients with the utmost respect and sensitivity.

Bevin Merideth, MSN, RNC-NIC
Assistant Nurse Manager
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Bevin has demonstrated skill, compassion and leadership in her role as assistant nurse manager of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). She is a passionate advocate for her newborn patients and their families, as well as for her nursing colleagues. She is committed to patient- and family-centered care and has played a central role in the success of the NICU Family Council, where constructive feedback and frank discussions focus on improving the patient and family experience. As a nursing leader, Bevin is respectful, direct and fosters constructive outcomes that improve unit operations and staff performance. As a caregiver, she is keenly attuned to the unique needs of vulnerable newborns and their concerned families.


Cristina Portillo-Via, MHA, MSW, LCSW
Ambulatory Case Manager/Social Work
Medical Network

Following her instincts as a creative problem solver and service-oriented team member, Cristina successfully championed the development of the social work program in the Medical Network (MDN), and her skillful oversight of the team in the inpatient, ambulatory care and supportive care settings has been key to the program's effectiveness. She is a passionate advocate for resources to assist seniors and other vulnerable populations through free community education and community and entity partnerships, and she was instrumental in the creation of the MDN Social Work Direct Assist Line, Advance Care Planning Classes and training programs—such as Motivational Interviewing—that are used across the organization. Examples of Cristina's innovative leadership include the development of academic internship programs, new intervention monitoring systems and her critical role in practice transformation.


Pablo Avalos, MD
Research Project Advisor
Regenerative Medicine Institute

As a member of the research team at the Board of Governors Regenerative Medicine Institute (RMI), Pablo has been integral in elevating the institute's cutting-edge efforts to advance stem cell science. His work is informed by a driving passion to find new treatments for patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson's disease, retinitis pigmentosa and other major diseases. He brings his training as a physician to the institute's translational medicine efforts and is involved with several specialty teams in the RMI and Cedars-Sinai, including the operating room, neurology and cell manufacturing facilities. Pablo works closely with research colleagues to create animal surgical models and has collaborated on the development of various novel devices, including a stereotactic surgical instrument for the safe and precise delivery of neural progenitor cells into the spinal cord of ALS patients. He is currently exploring a new approach to ALS that will deliver stem cells to the patient's motor cortex.

Dorina Giurgiulescu, MSN, RN-BC
Quality Improvement Specialist
Medical Affairs

Dorina's contributions as a quality improvement specialist in the Department of Medical Affairs have won her the respect and confidence of physicians and staff alike. She is admired for her exquisite clinical knowledge and critical-thinking skills. Those qualities enable her to excel at screening, reviewing, summarizing and coordinating physician peer-review cases and code of conduct cases. Dorina supports mutual respect and bringing attention and care to every interaction in the workplace. She takes great pride and satisfaction in maintaining trusting relationships, exploring challenging issues with physicians and finding constructive solutions.

Armen Haroutoonian
Administrative Services Associate
Facilities Planning, Design and Construction

Armen is a trusted and highly respected leader in Facilities Planning, Design and Construction. Under his leadership, his team manages the comprehensive digital data bank for the approximately 50 buildings that are owned or leased by Cedars-Sinai. The data they compile support a vast array of projects and processes throughout the institution, and Armen's role requires him to interface daily with a diverse range of professionals across the campus. Among many achievements, Armen and his team developed a 3D model of the medical center and are creating digital twins of every building, both on and off campus. Even though his fast-paced and complex set of responsibilities requires sophisticated process, data and people skills, Armen always remains humble, kind and extraordinarily helpful.

Vicky Mayashiro
CS-Link Lead Application Specialist
Enterprise Information Services

Vicky is a valued member of the Enterprise Information Services (EIS) team that supports the Health Information Department. In her role, she facilitates communication between the technical teams in EIS and operational teams in the medical center. Drawing on her exceptional expertise in information systems and her formidable knowledge of workflow processes, she excels at breaking down complex problems into manageable questions and decision points. Vicky's colleagues praise her for her keen insight, innovative spirit and her willingness to tackle complex projects. Her work is characterized by a strong drive to resolve issues that affect patients, physicians and employees. Equipped with strong analytic instincts, unsurpassed skill at troubleshooting and a passionate commitment to creative thinking that leads to innovative solutions, Vicky builds bridges of understanding.