University of Missouri
205 Portland Street
Columbia, MO 65211


2021 Top PIQ Award Winner: Tammy Hickman

Congratulations to Tammy Hickman, the Thompson Center’s 2021 Top PIQ Award recipient! This award is given annually to an employee who exemplifies the core values of professionalism, initiative, and quality in the workplace.

Tammy is an LPN (licensed practical nurse) and has worked at the Thompson Center since 2008. In her role, Tammy takes vital signs, refills medications, answers messages, and assists medical providers. She is also a handler for Rhett, the Thompson Center’s facility dog.

Tammy became interested in autism when she was a child. Her family was part of a foster care program and had a child in their care with an autism diagnosis. Her interest in autism ultimately led to her earning a degree in psychology. Now, Tammy is passionate about working with families and seeing patients with autism grow and change over time.

Tammy has demonstrated professionalism, initiative, and quality repeatedly this year within her division and throughout the Thompson Center. Her approach is solutions-based, positive, and collegial. She tries to understand individual perspectives and to analyze the best considerations for the organization as a whole. She often comments and shows through her actions that we are all working toward the same goal: excellent care for patients and their families. Tammy is a resource for the front desk team and acts as a natural liaison between them and the medical providers. If there is a point of conflict, she quickly jumps in to look for a solution and offer her support. She is trusted by her colleagues.

Over the last year, Tammy provided leadership in navigating the fluid policies of COVID-19 screening and prevention in the clinic. She talked with parents about the one-visitor policy, masking, and temperature checks. These were tough at times and she delivered the news in a diplomatic and firm way to keep everyone safe. She was passionate about being a resource and willing to take on new tasks. There were also many times that the nursing team was short-staffed over the past year. Tammy is always willing to increase her workload and power through a busy clinic. She is supportive of her coworkers and understanding when they need to be out of the office.

Last but not least, Tammy is passionate about being part of Rhett’s handler team. She provides leadership of Rhett’s activities and clinical interactions. She cares deeply for Rhett and, in conjunction with the other handlers, makes sure he is in good health. She is already checking into the process of getting another facility dog in preparation for Rhett’s future retirement. The Thompson Center is fortunate to have Tammy on our team. Thank you, Tammy, for sharing your talents with us!