DCI Executive Director Announces 2015 Superstars

Photographed from left to right: Leann Richards, Martha Lassiter, Cheryl Morgan Maxey, and DCI executive director Michael Kastan, MD, PhD.Photographed from left to right: Leann Richards, Martha Lassiter, Cheryl Morgan Maxey, and DCI executive director Michael Kastan, MD, PhD.

On Thursday, Nov. 12, Michael B. Kastan, MD, PhD, executive director of the DCI, hosted the Fifth Annual DCI Anniversary Celebration in the Duke Cancer Center lobby. The event featured live music by the Tim Smith Trio, refreshments, giveaways, a photo booth and a drawing for various prizes.

Kastan welcomed and thanked faculty and staff for their contributions and steadfast commitment to excellence. He also recognized the achievements and exceptional service of three DCI staff members, each of whom were nominated the previous month for DCI Superstar Awards by colleagues and or supervisors.


Martha Lassiter, RN, MSN, AOCNS, BMTCN, clinical nurse specialist with the Duke Adult Bone Marrow Transplant Program, received the Lifetime achievement Award. Nominated Kim Slusser, RN, MSN, CHPN, Lassiter is described as “devoting her unending energy in serving as the primary educator for patients, caregivers and families.” Slusser shared that by leading weekly classes and maintaining the Patient Transplant Handbook, Lassiter helps patients and their families understand what to expect during their transplant journey. Her work transcends patients and families. Lassiter also serves as primary educator for ABMT clinical staff. Having been recognized by the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) at its annual congress in June, Lassiter is looked to by her peers nationwide as an expert in her field.

Cheryl Morgan Maxey, clinical research coordinator for Investigational Chemotherapy Service, received the Colleague Award. Nominated numerous times by multiple individuals, she is described as being the “bedrock” of the department. “The same motto adapted by the U.S. Postal Service applies to Cheryl,” said one nominator. “Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays Cheryl from the swift completion of her appointed rounds.” Colleagues say Maxey is extremely organized and is able to multitask while ensuring “amazing” attention to detail. “She is always very prepared for audits and able to provide valuable information with a positive attitude,” said another nominator. Maxey’s peers say that she is recognized with the highest regard and is also a national leader in her field, in part, “because of her “23 years of wisdom and enthusiastic support of her colleagues.”

Leann Richards, service access team lead, received the Patient Award. Nominated by Nicole Allen, Richards is said to live Duke’s core mission every day. “Leann always comes to work with a smile,” shared Allen. “She greets every person she meets and is always ready to lend a helping hand.” Richards is also described as being calm, kind and approachable – even in times of pressure and stress. Richards has received accolades from patients and is recognized as a go-getter who will exhaust every resource “imaginable” to ensure patients’ needs are met. Richards is also credited with helping to decrease patient wait times by expediting the process of getting patients from their providers to their treatments. “Leann helps to create a positive Duke experience for every patient she encounters,” said Allen, in closing.

Photos by Jared Lazarus, Duke PhotographyPhotos by Jared Lazarus, Duke Photography