Leslie Willis

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Department/Unit: Pediatric Genetics
Nominated by: Physician

"I nominate Leslie Willis for a SPIRIT Star Award for her remarkable efforts in beginning and maintaining both an outstanding DNA testing laboratory and biochemical testing laboratory that are housed in the department of medical pediatric genetics at Dayton Children’s.

In 1993 Leslie came to the Department of Pediatric Genetics without any formal laboratory training, but with a keen desire to learn what was needed to begin our DNA laboratory. Within one year Leslie had the DNA test for Fragile X syndrome up and running, and soon other tests began to follow.  Some 5 years ago Leslie was able to bring blood amino acid testing to our hospital.  Leslie enjoys an unparalleled reputation in our hospital and in our region for her meticulous and high quality work.  Her efforts in maintaining updated records and a highly organized laboratory that meet the specifications of various certification agencies is noteworthy.  Most laboratories that undergo their yearly CAP (College of American Pathologists) inspection receive on average 4 deficiencies/inspection.  In the past 5 inspections of the Pediatric Genetics laboratory, we have had only one such deficiency thanks to Leslie’s tireless efforts, a remarkable feat.  In our proficiency testing for the DNA and biochemical lab, Leslie has likewise achieved an enviable record.  In the past 7 years our DNA lab has only missed 2 out of 273 test results, and our biochemical lab has correctly identified all 16 test results.

Leslie is a compassionate and upbeat person who has been a team player in our department and who always puts the patient first. When patient managements issues are on the line, Leslie is willing to stay late at night or come in on the weekends.

I have been faced with many challenging genetic testing issues in the past 17 years. Leslie has been an invaluable resource to me in navigating these conundrums.  It has been said that a successful director is “one who surrounds himself/herself with individuals who are more competent than they are”.  For this Director, Leslie is one such individual."


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