Gallery of Winners

Chris Raab

Chris RaabChances are if you scheduled your COVID-19 vaccination at the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) SMC Campus Center clinic or shared your vaccine information in UMB’s COVID-19 Management Portal, you have seen the impact of Chris Raab’s work.

Raab, manager of web development, Center for Information Technology Services (CITS), created many of the various forms, surveys, and IT tools that the University used for the registration and scheduling of vaccination appointments and tracking student and employee vaccination status.

For his work playing an integral part in the vaccination efforts, he was named the University’s June 2021 Employee of the Month. Raab learned of the honor during a June 25 Webex conference with UMB President Bruce E. Jarrell, MD, FACS.

“I haven’t heard a peep about problems there. I’ve heard many good things, and you’re obviously one of the reasons why I’ve heard such good things,” Jarrell said in praising Raab’s efforts on the forms that helped get the UMB vaccination clinic up and running.

Early this year, Raab initially developed a form that allowed employees and students to self-report their vaccination information so that the University could gather that data.

He then created a survey that UMB employees and students could use to register for the vaccination when it became available to the University. The UMB Vaccine Prioritization Form asked questions about things such as job roles and health that would help the University prioritize its community for the vaccine.

After the SMC Campus Center clinic opened, Raab developed the vaccine scheduling form used not only by UMB employees and students, but also city residents, children over age 12, and Native Americans, among others, to make their appointments.

Brian Coats, ScD, MS, associate vice president, technology operations and planning, CITS, praised Raab’s dedication, saying, “Chris tirelessly worked many evenings and weekends to make these tools available as soon as possible to expedite the availability of vaccinations.”

Raab recently combined the prioritization and scheduling forms as well as the self-reporting vaccination forms into one, now known as the UMB COVID-19 Management Portal. There, UMB employees and students can upload their vaccination information to meet the requirement that all receive their final dose of a vaccine by Aug. 2 for the fall semester, or request a medical or religious exemption.

“I would develop the forms, test them, and then move them up to production. And then we would work with the end users to supply us with additional technical requests that would be needed to help them perform their duties,” Raab said. 

Raab, who has worked for UMB for 20 years, said that not only have those forms helped users, but they also have helped administration — Student Affairs and Human Resource Services as well as occupational health and University contact tracing efforts — collect data.

“The COVID-19 Management Portal has become the centralized piece for the self-reporting of vaccination information, prioritization and scheduling, and management on the back end for the administrators of that information,” he said. “We are putting it all together and having different parts of the campus review the vaccination information as well as the exemption requests.”

The forms also have been used by UMB’s partners such as the University of Maryland Medical System and the Baltimore City Health Department.

“In his tenure, he has created many applications for various departments and schools on campus but none as important and critical to UMB’s mission to health and serving our local community,” Coats said in nominating Raab for the honor.

Raab’s supervisor, Trisha Kaufman, MS, assistant director, web development, CITS, said Raab went above and beyond to make sure the vaccination form process was seamless.

“Chris has not only done the work to make the vaccination process more streamlined and efficient, but he also was willing to take time and effort to address issues during off hours and try to do what was needed to make it work beyond the scope of a normal workday,” she said.

Raab said he enjoyed the challenges that this project has brought.

“It was very fast-paced,” he said. “There were a lot of timing challenges. I like the challenge of finding a solution, using the skills that I have. That was the most rewarding part of this.”

Raab thanked Coats, calling him “extremely supportive.”

“He showed great leadership, because I really relied on him to help me,” Raab said. “He manages the high-level discussions. And he was very supportive and very easy to work with. He understood that this takes time, and some of these things were needed right away. But I thought he was fantastic in leading me to get to where we wanted to be.”

Raab said he was surprised to be singled out and praised his department as well as others who were involved in the vaccination clinic, saying, “Without a lot of help from other people like Brian and my co-workers, I don’t think I could have done what I was able to do.”

Jarrell said that the clinic has been a “remarkable success” and that a combination of teamwork and individuals stepping up have helped UMB through the pandemic.

“You simply point out the reason why we’ve gotten through the past year of COVID so well because, first of all, it’s been a team effort and, second of all, individuals step forward and take on the added burden of doing something special, and you fall into that category,” Jarrell told Raab. 

As Employee of the Month, Raab will receive a plaque, a letter of commendation, and an extra $250 in his next paycheck.

“I am very appreciative of all this,” Raab said. “I was just doing my part.”

— Jen Badie

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