Meet Our People – Daniel Delperdang, Dr. Kenneth Ballou & Madeline Mullen

mailroom

Mailroom Supervisor Daniel Delperdang Photo by Ross French

Daniel Delperdang

On any given day, the mailrooms of the School of Medicine Research Operations Unit in Webber Hall and the School of Medicine Research Building can be a hive of activity, with hundreds of packages and deliveries coming and going in support of the faculty’s research efforts. Standing in the midst of this often-frantic environment is Mailroom Supervisor Daniel Delperdang (’10).

Assisted by a staff of seven student workers, Delperdang is responsible for coordinating deliveries and shipments for the 19 research laboratories in the School of Medicine: including the delivery of U.S. Postal Service mail, shipments from FedEx and UPS, and even items sent by courier. The team is also responsible for deliveries from campus entities such as Storehouse and Campus Receiving.

“Every day is unique and presents its own challenges in the mailroom,” he said, adding that his team has been “very busy receiving packages and coordinating shipments of lab equipment for our two newest researchers, Dr. Maurizio Pellecchia and Dr. Byron Ford.”

In addition, Delperdang is responsible for a variety of other tasks, including coordination of the delivery of liquid nitrogen and dry ice, oversight of copy rooms and maintenance of departmental printers, management of equipment inventory, administration of building recycling programs, as well as other duties in support of his supervisor, SOM Research Facilities Manager Beatriz Rodrigues.

Delperdang, who was a student worker at UCR Transportation and Parking Services during his undergraduate years, has the utmost respect for the contributions of his student staff, calling them “a fun group of people to work with.”

“It is easier for me to put myself in the shoes of the student workers because there was a time when I was one of them and went through some of the same challenges they face,” he said. “My experience as a student worker only makes me a more capable and effective supervisor and allows me to relate to them in a way that fosters productivity and a great work environment.”

“Still, I am always surprised to see how well they manage to balance tough class schedules, mountains of homework, and still come to work and do such a great job here,” he added.

While it might be easy to think of the mailroom team as unsung heroes toiling behind the scenes without much in the way of recognition, Delperdang said he and his staff find plenty of reward in their jobs.

“Maybe we are not well known across the school, but we get lots of positive feedback from the research labs and the staff we serve, so I wouldn’t say we are quite ‘unsung,’” he said. “Our work might not make it into the pages of the Press Enterprise or Los Angeles Times, but when the research of our faculty does, we can take pride in knowing that the work we do on a daily basis has helped, even if in a small way, facilitate their success. And when you think about it, that is pretty awesome.”

And Delperdang’s pride doesn’t end there, either. He is thrilled for the opportunity to work in his hometown, at his alma mater, and particularly at the School of Medicine.

“I have lived in Riverside almost my whole life. Call it civic pride, but I love Riverside, I love that I graduated from UCR, and I loved working here as an undergrad. I’ve looked around and UCR offers such a unique opportunity for people starting their careers and looking for opportunities for growth and development that is not easily found elsewhere in the Riverside area. I find it fascinating to be able to see the campus now as a staff member and compare it to how I saw it as a student.”

“And finally, I absolutely love the culture here at the SOM, particularly that of the SOM Research Operations Unit that I work for. I have yet to meet anybody in the SOM who isn’t proud of their work and happy to be at UCR and be a part of the SOM,” he said. “That kind of attitude is contagious.”

Dr. Kenneth Ballou

Dr. Kenneth Ballou Photo by Ross French

Dr. Kenneth Ballou

On paper, Dr. Kenneth Ballou is one of the newest members of the UCR School of Medicine’s full-time clinical faculty. But in reality he is anything but a newcomer. In fact, the family medicine physician is one of the school’s longest serving educators, having joined the UCR/UCLA Thomas Haider Program in Biomedical Sciences as a community-based clinical faculty member for the first-year Clinical Skills Course in 2009.

A native of Yucaipa who attended what is now called La Sierra University as an undergraduate and Loma Linda University for his M.D., Ballou is firm believer in the mission of the UCR School of Medicine.

“Our mission is very important to me,” he said. “Finding young people from the Inland Empire and giving them a world-class medical education in hopes that they will eventually settle down and practice locally is a goal that resonates with me given my own background. We can provide an invaluable service to our community by providing our students with the tools to give back.”

Upon receiving his M.D., Ballou joined the United States Air Force, conducting his internship and residency in family medicine at the Malcolm Grow USAF Medical Center at Andrews Air Force Base, then serving as staff physician and flight surgeon for the 56th Medical Group at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona. In all, he served for eight years and reached the rank of major.

“I really enjoyed practicing medicine in the Air Force,” he said. “It was a great experience – the travel, the camaraderie, and the sense of a greater purpose.”

But when it was time to leave the military, he knew he wanted to return to Inland Southern California.

“This is home,” he said. “Both my wife and I grew up in this area and we have lived here almost our whole lives except for when I was in the service.”

Ballou was serving as the family medicine chair at the Beaver Medical Group in Redlands when his colleague, UCR SOM Clinical Professor Dr. Jonathan Horstmann, invited him to try teaching the first-year clinical skills course.

“I found that I really enjoyed it and it took off from there,” Ballou said.

Since that first class in 2009, Ballou has also taught Problem-Based Learning, the second-year Clinical Skills course, and the first-year Doctoring course. He became an assistant professor of clinical medicine when the School of Medicine was founded in 2013.

Ballou is well-liked by his students, who have named him the Outstanding Clinical Skills Instructor five times.

“It is an honor to be recognized by the students in that way, but I don’t do this for the accolades,” he said. “Teaching young people to become doctors is my priority. Their success is my reward.”

When he isn’t teaching at UCR, seeing patients at Riverside Community Hospital, or spending time with his wife, Michelle, and children, Laura and Benjamin, Ballou gives back through community involvement, serving on the board of directors of the YMCA of the East Valley and the Redlands Community Foundation.

Madeline Mullen

Madeline Mullen in the School of Medicine Simulation Lab. Photo by Ross French

Madeline Mullen

by Paulina Laroya

Madeline Mullen’s path to the UC Riverside School of Medicine was not the easiest nor most direct one.

Looking back, however, the first-year medical student from Los Angeles wouldn’t change a thing, because the reward for her perseverance in overcoming her family’s financial hardships and homelessness is the desire to assist underserved populations and a strong commitment to patient advocacy.

“There is never just one path to get where you are going. For those who have taken the longer and sometimes more difficult route, embrace it — it’s what makes you amazing,” she said.

Her journey started at the age of 12, when Mullen and her father, David, ran into financial troubles that led them into homelessness. She left high school and by 16, had full-time and part-time jobs to help make ends meet. Despite working  up to 70 hours a week, she earned her high school diploma through an independence program and returned to school at Pasadena City College (PCC), eventually transferring to UC Riverside as a bioengineering major.

Mullen said her experiences at PCC led her to choose UC Riverside.

“Transferring from a community college, I saw the true benefit of small class sizes,” she said. “At community college, I had ample opportunities to engage with faculty and to pursue research opportunities. I saw many of these same qualities in the bioengineering department here at UCR, and from there it was an easy decision.”

Although bioengineering is not a typical route into medicine, Mullen said she believes this background has helped her in her medical studies. “Engineers are taught to be pedantic, continuously assessing a situation, looking for room for improvement. I believe that medicine functions in many of the same ways.”

Being bilingual, Mullen saw an opportunity to serve the patient population in the Inland Empire, influencing her decision to attend the UCR School of Medicine.

“During my undergrad, I had the opportunity to volunteer in local hospitals. In that time, I quickly realized the tremendous need for physicians – especially Spanish-speaking physicians – in the area. In my experience, language barriers often lead to disparities in care,” she said. “In an area with such a large percentage of Spanish-only speaking individuals, this is a big issue. The UCR School of Medicine provides students like myself the opportunity to address these issues and bring about change.”

Mullen’s vision and dedication were rewarded through a four-year Mission Scholarship supported by donors David W. and Nina P. Mitchell.

“The opportunity to be a Mitchell scholar has been wonderful,” Mullen said. “Obviously, as a student, any form of financial assistance is helpful. However, in my experience, having private donors has been an extremely rewarding experience. The Mitchells have become an additional source of motivation for me and for my success; they have become family to me.”

Mullen acknowledged “the difficulties I have faced are far from unique, especially in this region. While I feel fortunate for the wonderful opportunities I have experienced both as an undergraduate and in medical school, I feel just as fortunate to have had the not-so-wonderful experiences. For it is these experiences more than the others that have helped me become the person I am today.”

Mullen cited her personal experiences navigating the health care system during her childhood as having shaped her interest in medicine and her desire to help patients.

“Through these experiences, I have come to understand the unique and most important role of a physician: to be an advocate,” she said. “A physician has the potential to serve as the ultimate patient advocate, both on an individual and population basis, when it comes to well-being. It is a role that is of utmost importance when dealing with underserved patients and populations. This responsibility is and continues to be my driving force in pursuing medicine.”

New Staff and Faculty at the UCR School of Medicine

Recent Academic Appointments

  • Carlo Baggio, Visiting Scholar – Biomedical Sciences
  • Surya De, Project Scientist
  • Timothy Distel, Associate Specialist – Biomedical Sciences
  • Yonggang Li, Associate Project Scientist – Biomedical Sciences
  • Guya Marconi Visiting Scholar – Biomedical Sciences
  • Jana Mullen, Pediatric Hospitalist
  • Claudia Munoz, Assistant Clinical Professor – Neuroscience
  • Samar Nahas, Assistant Clinical Professor – Ob/Gyn
  • Michael Reich, Visiting Professor
  • Ali Shawki, Postdoctoral Scholar – Biomedical Sciences

Recent Staff Appointments

  • Sallie Barnett, Contract Manager
  • Christine Davis, Compliance Analyst
  • Miriam Gongora, Patient Care Coordinator – Neuroscience
  • Jorge Gutierrez, IT/Help Desk Analyst
  • Michelle Jaramillo, Administrative Assistant – Center for Healthy Communities
  • Keisha Moore, Clerkship Coordinator
  • Sheri Nichols, Director of Budget – Financial Planning And Reporting
  • Krystyn Rodriguez, Administrative Assistant – Clinical Affairs
  • Sasha Whittaker, Patient Care Coordinator – Neuroscience

Media Contact


Tel: (951) 827-2969
E-mail: ross.french@ucr.edu

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