Daniel named recipient of the 2023 Will Ferniany Academic Medicine Leadership Award

Jason K. Daniel, MBA, vice president of the University of Alabama Health Services Foundation (UAHSF), has been named the 2023 Will Ferniany Academic Medicine Leadership Award recipient.

Named in honor of former Health System chief executive officer Will Ferniany, Ph.D., this award recognizes one administrative executive each year who has provided significant support to the academic mission of UAB Medicine and whose commitment to that mission has inspired others.

“This award has great significance to me because Dr. Ferniany served as a mentor to me for many years,” said Daniel. “He pushed me to be better, to speak up, and to see myself as a leader.”

Daniel is no stranger to leadership. He was a graduate of the 2012 UAB Healthcare Leadership Academy and has held multiple leadership positions at UAB throughout the last 25 years, as well as many volunteer roles in the community.

As an example, in his role as the executive administrator for the UAB Department of Medicine, Daniel was the liaison between divisions and executive leadership in the School of Medicine, UABHS, University Hospital, and the UAHSF. This role allowed him to hone his relationship building skills, which are key to any strong leader.

The makings of a great leader

According to Daniel, the recipe for what makes a great leader includes displaying integrity, the ability to articulate a vision and get others to support that vision, getting more satisfaction from others receiving credit and recognition than your own, and being vulnerable and developing trusting, lasting relationships.

Many would agree that Daniel exemplifies these characteristics and is a universally respected and trusted leader across UAB. In his current role, he navigates complex financial and interpersonal situations while exhibiting humility and integrity, and he provides sound, thoughtful guidance to other UAB leaders.

His effective partnership with chairs and faculty, especially new and interim chairs, has been a key to numerous leadership transitions. Daniel also helped launch the Executive Administrator Advisory Group to create alignment of administrators with UABHS, Heersink School of Medicine, and UAHSF. This mechanism has dramatically reduced duplicative, burdensome work requests

Daniel hasn’t always been dreaming of a prominent leadership role. “I am an introvert and was happy being behind the scenes early in my career. I was someone who had to be pushed outside of my comfort zone,” he said. “Through different circumstances in my career, I have been pushed by people who believed in me. I am so incredibly grateful to them for seeing something in me and encouraging and supporting me throughout my career.”

Success as leader

Daniel has worked quietly behind the scenes to balance equity and profitability, implementing sustainable financial models to bring chairs, division directors, and other key faculty to UAB. He has applied this acumen to attract and promote numerous staff leaders.

He has developed numerous frameworks that have provided structure and support for mission-critical activities. Examples of his work are notable. He helped build the prototype for shared services models that has become the standard for numerous financial, human resources, research, and administrative services. He has designed and built custom dashboards for financial metrics that provide critical data for decision makers at all levels of the organization. Daniel also developed programs that advance discovery and medical education, particularly the Tinsley Scholars program to support outstanding physician-teachers, a funding model for the ABIM research pathway, and an E-RVU system for rewarding the educational contributions of faculty.

Daniel has maintained his core beliefs of what makes a great leader with every accomplishment.

When asked what he feels has contributed to his success as a leader, he responded, “I think the single most important thing that has contributed to my success is an ability to build trust with people. Trust is the foundation on which relationships are built. There have been plenty of times I have failed, but I hold myself to a very high standard in this regard. Communication is as much about listening as it is about speaking, and I try to strike the proper balance, which is key to building trust. Another key aspect is simply to be a person of integrity, to do what you say you are going to do, and if you can’t for some reason, own it and not pass the blame.”

Daniel would be the first to tell you he didn’t do this alone. He brings the right people to the table at the right time to advance the mission together. He’s built an incredible bank of trust among leaders at all levels, and he is widely sought for his institutional insight and advice. He also fosters an environment of learning and discovery and develops others around him.

Why he’s committed to the academic medicine mission of UAB

Daniel has a keen grasp of the tripartite mission, and like Ferniany, he has provided years of exemplary service. As he has grown, he has progressively delivered transformational change that can be seen across UAB Medicine and Heersink School of Medicine.

He understands that the departments “live in all our missions every day,” weaving together the diverse parts of UAB Medicine. This central focus drives his work to advance our shared goals and objectives.

“UAB has been part of my life for 25 years, and the things that have kept me here during good times and bad is the faith I have, and have had, in leadership,” stated Daniel. “Currently, we are in a fantastic position with the leaders we have in place.”

Source: UAB News

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