From the category archives:

Manager Feature

Roderick Toney, director of mail distribution and sustainability, is shown with a Mail Matrix machine capable of processing 3,000 pieces of mixed mail (letters, flats, magazines, small parcels) per hour to over 1,020 mail delivery points in a single pass.

Describe your responsibilities as assistant director of mail distribution and sustainability for The Johns Hopkins Hospital?

I oversee mail throughout The Johns Hopkins Hospital, The Johns Hopkins University, the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. For sustainability, I am responsible for managing different initiatives such as furniture recycling, confidential paper shredding and salvaging. I also help run the Johns Hopkins Hospital farmers market in conjunction with Reduction in Motion, as well as the hospital’s membership with Practice Greenhealth, which delivers sustainability best practices. I have a fantastic team working with me!

What is your background? Where did you get your start?

I’m a proud product of Johns Hopkins! I started here when I was 18 working in the nutrition department, and Johns Hopkins gave me the resources to take leadership management courses that helped me grow as a professional and individual. Johns Hopkins also provided a number of mentors who were invaluable for me to reach my current position. They groomed me to be a leader and I’m always eager to pass it forward to the next generation.

What is your role in Johns Hopkins' sustainability efforts?

Sustainability is incredibly important for Johns Hopkins across the board. I personally have three main responsibilities for sustainability:

  • I work to increase waste diversion. This includes recycling and repurposing electronics and furniture as well as shredding confidential papers.
  • Next, I focus on increasing access to local and sustainable food through our farmers market. East Baltimore is considered a food desert — there is limited access to healthy foods. The Johns Hopkins Hospital farmers market provides healthy, locally sourced foods for both staff and the community. It also provides a matching program using federal nutrition benefits for qualifying community members and associates — if an individual is on federal assistance, they can receive up to $5 in matching funds, which allows them to purchase more produce and vegetables. We also offer free cooking demonstrations and community recycling for electronics and paper.
  • Lastly, I am responsible for increasing engagement through our Green Office Certification program. The certification is a self-reporting eco-checklist for The Johns Hopkins Hospital departments, which ensures they will become more ecologically sustainable. For example, using a water tower instead of plastic bottles is something you would find on the checklist. Departments who achieve everything on the list are recognized as champions and receive an award.

What are the sustainability goals for the future?

We want to continue to be as eco-friendly as possible. Personally, I would like to see Johns Hopkins be recognized as a top program in sustainability in the near future. We have already been celebrated numerous times for our efforts. However, I would like us to continue growing.

Is there a particular initiative that you believe should be highlighted?

We have an instrument reprocessing program with Stryker where we send them our old medical equipment and they refurbish and resell the supplies back to us. These items remain at a high safety level while saving the health system considerable cost — about $1.2 million.

What do you feel is needed to improve sustainability?

Engagement is key. We have several members of leadership such as Redonda Miller and Ken Grant who are engaged with sustainability, but there still needs to be more structure for the departments to help align our goals further and engage all employees.

Communication is also incredibly important. For example, we have both recycling and trash cans. However, if no one is trained about the difference between the two, then the recycling can is useless. We need to be able to clearly communicate how to be sustainable in order for our work to be effective.

Lastly, how challenging is it working for mail distribution during the holiday season?

During the holiday season, mail distribution becomes a bit more difficult because we become overwhelmed with personal packages. We use the same resources to process these packages so it takes a toll on the system. As a reminder, Johns Hopkins mail distribution should not be used for personal packages – no exceptions. This rule isn’t just made to help keep the system running efficiently - it’s also for safety purposes. So please, everyone, have your personal packages delivered to your home or alternate location.

For more information of The Johns Hopkins Hospital’s sustainability efforts, please email Roderick Toney at

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Erin Ricketts

Erin Ricketts says that her team of research assistants gives her joy in her position as senior research program manager in the school of medicine.

You have been with Johns Hopkins University for several years. Tell me about your current position.

I am a senior research program manager in the school of medicine. I support the research programs in the Department of Emergency Medicine. In that role, I am involved with clinical trials and other research studies, from the study startup—working with the drug companies/sponsor to create the study procedures and training protocols—to the time the study comes onsite at Hopkins. I manage the 20 or so research assistants in the Emergency Department (ED), who are the ones that screen and enroll people into the studies.

Our team also runs the HIV and Hepatitis C ED based testing programs. Our research assistants offer and give complimentary HIV and HCV point-of-care tests to the patients coming into the ED. It’s really rewarding when you have a patient who came to the ED for something unrelated and test positive; our staff help link that person to care and potentially cure them.

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Yariela Kerr-DonovanYariela Kerr-Donovan is senior director for strategic workforce development. In that role, the 14-year workforce development professional oversees a health system office responsible for career and workforce development, skill building and education and training for Johns Hopkins employees. In addition, her office oversees programs and services for youth and adults from the community. Read the Q&A to learn how these programs can help employees with advancement opportunities.

Tell me about the mission of the Office of Strategic Workforce Development.

Our office, which is within the Department of Human Resources for the Johns Hopkins Health System, provides programs and services to help current health system employees advance their careers at Johns Hopkins, youth understand careers in health care, and partner with community organizations to provide training to community adults to become competitive, qualified applicants for employment at Hopkins We have four coaches, one youth program coordinator, two part-time and two casual/on-call skills enhancement instructors, and one staff assistant.

We strive to provide our employees and organization with the workforce/career preparation, access and opportunities to meet their career or workforce goals.

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Betty Adams, Training Manager for Facilities, has dedicated the last three years to developing and implementing an ongoing training plan to guide environmental care associates and technicians. Read a Q&A about her role at The Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Betty AdamsGroupWhen I came to Hopkins in 2014, there were over 700 environmental care employees and my predecessor had just retired. There were many needs. I was looking for information so I wouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel. However, I was told that we would be starting fresh, which was good. I started doing discharge room cleaning, and anything I could to learn about the job and the challenges of the job, and to meet and get to know the staff.

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