Employer Spotlight

Medical assistants are invaluable parts of the health care team; employers who recognize that fact deserve to be recognized in turn!

Read this webpage, where we shine the spotlight on employers who prove to be strong supporters of medical assistants, including their professional growth. Our hope is that these exemplary employers can serve as examples for others on how to recognize the contributions that medical assistants make to overall health care delivery effectiveness. Inspiration awaits!

Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU)

Spotlight Summary: On October 21, 2020, OHSU hosted its 5th Annual MA Appreciation Event in tandem with Medical Assistants Recognition Week (MARWeek). This annual event celebrates more than 450 medical assistants at OHSU. This year, a new, timely award—the COVID Superstar MA Award—joined the award categories, which include awards designed to celebrate new and experienced medical assistants.

OHSU serves as a commendable example of how to honor medical assistants during MARWeek.

Details: The awards and the event itself were founded five years ago to recognize medical assistants in the OHSU health care system on a larger scale. Since then, the MA Appreciation Event Committee has led the event with chairs Sally Gray, CMA (AAMA), and Justin Jullian, CMA (AAMA), with notable success. Each year, the number of nominations and quality of feedback has steadily increased.

The 2020 Winners

  • Outstanding New MA Award: Aaron Dirks, EMT, NREMT
  • Mentor MA Award: Janet Noel, CCMA
  • Experienced MA Award: Amanda Baker, CMA (AAMA)
  • COVID Superstar MA Award: Briana Friedman, CMA (AAMA)
  • MA of the Year Award: Bryan Villalobos, CMA (AAMA)
headshot of Briana Friedman and an unidentified young girl
Briana Friedman, CMA (AAMA), COVID Superstar MA Award winner

The COVID Superstar MA Award was given to a nominated medical assistant who went above and beyond during the COVID-19 pandemic, with “COVID” serving as an initialism for key characteristics of the nominees:

  • Compassion
  • Outstanding work
  • Vigilance
  • Inspiration
  • Devotion
headshot of Aaron Dirks in PPE
Aaron Dirks, EMT, NREMT, Outstanding New MA Award winner

“This award really should go to all. However, there are many specific groups and individuals who really stood out during these uncertain and unprecedented times, and we wanted to capture that,” notes Jullian.

headshot of Janet Noel
Janet Noel, CCMA, Mentor MA Award winner




With these awards, the winners are not the only ones to receive recognition. The committee sends all the nomination write-ups to each medical-assistant nominee (and their supervisor) so they know how they’ve earned their coworkers’ appreciation. 

headshot of Amanda Baker
Amanda Baker, CMA (AAMA), Experienced MA Award winner

Even more, the winners get to make a difference in celebrating their fellow medical assistants in years to come. The event committee invites the winners to join the committee for at least one year to get new perspectives on how to best show appreciation to future winners.



No photo available for Bryan Villalobos, CMA (AAMA), MA of the Year Award winner.