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School of Medicine profiles

November 2013 Archives

November 18, 2013

Clive M. Baumgarten, Ph.D.


Enrique Gerszten, M.D. Faculty Teaching Excellence Award

In 2010, Clive Baumgarten, Ph.D., Professor of Physiology and Biophysics, Internal Medicine, and Biomedical Engineering, was recognized as a “Heart Hero” by the American Heart Association Atlantic Affiliate for dedicating his career to advancing science that saves lives. Today we recognize him for over thirty years of dedication to helping VCU School of Medicine students understand this science.

“The essence of his success has been that he brings the same rigor of thought and careful preparation to his teaching that is also the hallmark of his research; he is a clear and logical thinker and he realized early on that these are also the underpinnings of the best teaching,” observes his friend and colleague Linda S. Costanzo, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Physiology and Biophysics and 1999 Faculty Teaching Excellence Award winner.

“I remember how he could take one of the most difficult subjects, cardiac electrophysiology, and make it seem so simple, so logical,” recalls Susan R. DiGiovanni, M.D., Professor of Medicine and Assistant Dean for Pre-clinical Medical Education, who learned physiology from Dr. Baumgarten as an M1 student.

Current M4 student Alison Setia also recalls Dr. Baumgarten’s M1 Physiology class. “He has an outstanding knowledge bank and eagerly answers our multitudes of questions, which he never hesitates to answer or to expand upon.” The Class of 2015 Curriculum Representatives Jade Kindley, Stephanie Marshall, and Allison Hastings agree, “Despite his many obligations … his devotion to his students makes it seem as if he has time for each and every individual in the class.”

Emily Dilger, Ph.D., recalls Dr. Baumgarten’s Ion Channels class, her favorite in her graduate school career, “One of the ways in which Dr. Baumgarten was an excellent teacher was that he hardly ever answered a student’s question directly. Instead, he would ask the student questions to help guide them towards the answer. By leading the student through his or her questions in this manner, Dr. Baumgarten helped them understand the underlying concepts and remember them more easily.”

MD-PhD Student Mohammed Mamdani describes rotating through Dr. Baumgarten’s laboratory, “I began the rotation without much knowledge of electrophysiology and the learning curve was steep. However, Dr. Baumgarten’s commitment to teaching and his accessibility throughout the rotation allowed me to learn to patch-clamp primary cardiomyocytes with high fidelity, assess their function, and assist the post-doctoral fellow with several experiments.”

Gordon Archer, M.D., Professor of Medicine and Microbiology/Immunology, Director of the MD-PhD Program, and Senior Associate Dean for Research and Research Training, states, “I don’t think that I have encountered a more dedicated and committed teacher in all of my many years at the medical school. Clive just loves to see a student’s eyes light up when he or she “gets it” and he relishes the opportunity to take them as far as they can go.” Dr. Baumgarten also leads the M1 MD-PhD Journal Club and presents yearly at the M2 Science and Disease Seminar for the MD-PhD students.

Dr. Baumgarten’s influence extends beyond physiology content. “Dr. Baumgarten has a strong, purposeful sense of compassion,” states Mohammed Mamdani. “This approach elicits better, more thoughtful results, whether it’s in an interview, a classroom, a laboratory, or meeting. And, as medical students, we learn to hone this sense of compassion in order to enhance the experiences and outcomes of our patients.”

As Mike Waters, MD-PhD student, summarizes, “I feel that he is deserving of this Faculty Teaching Excellence Award because of his refusal to rest on his laurels. Dr. Baumgarten’s effort towards improving his craft is inspiring, and he stands as the personification of ideals that our university holds dear.”

Fidelma B. Rigby, M.D.


Enrique Gerszten, M.D. Faculty Teaching Excellence Award

“Best clinical educator that we have had at VCU”

“Wonderful interpersonal and communication skills.”

“Dr Rigby is very dedicated to the well being of her patients; it shows by the way she speaks
about them.”

“Truly the type of physician-educator that I hope to be one day.”

These are the words of Dr. Fidelma Rigby’s students. In her roles as Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB-GYN), M3 Clerkship Director, and M2 Women’s Health Course Director, and leader of the Mary Baughman medical student society, Dr. Rigby demonstrates her exceptional engagement with and commitment to our students every day. Dr. Rigby serves as the supervisor for all medical student education within the Department of OB-GYN and works with students and residents at multiple levels of training.

“I know no one who works harder to support student teaching or is appreciated by the students more than Dr. Rigby,” states colleague Stephen Cohen, M.D., Professor of OB-GYN. “She is dedicated, hardworking, considerate, invested and committed to student education.”

Dr. Rigby sets the bar high and establishes a supportive learning environment. Her creative approaches to teaching and mentoring activities result in valuable educational experiences for her students. She “organized and directed multiple workshops that exposed students to suturing, pelvic exams and cervical checks prior to real-life interactions with patients,” recalls former student and current OB-GYN resident Amanda H. Ritter, M.D. She has designed a new Milestone I Curriculum for OB-GYN to assure that new interns are prepared for the first day of their residency training.

“She seeks out opportunities for teaching and always incorporates the residents and medical students into a patient’s care,” states Rachel K. Love, M.D., an OB-GYN resident and former M3 and M4 student of Dr. Rigby. “In the middle of a busy clinic she will always find the time to make a relevant teaching point about the patient’s clinical condition.”

Dr. Rigby has co-directed the Careers in Medicine course since 2009, planning and coordinating activities to help students set personal and professional goals and prepare to apply to the residency program of their choice.

Despite her busy clinical and teaching load, Dr. Rigby demonstrates the ability to lead a well-balanced life, constantly managing work, community, and family commitments and interests. Dr. Rigby’s recent election by students to the Virginia chapter of AOA, her participation in and graduation from the Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics (APGO) Academic Scholars and Leaders Program, and her numerous teaching awards demonstrate the high regard she has earned from students and professional peers. She is a Faculty Fellow in the Teaching in Medical Education (TiME) program and has emerged as a faculty leader in using Just in Time Teaching (JiTT) strategies, sharing her experiences to support faculty colleagues. Her commitment to lifelong learning and development of her skills as an educator and leader make her an exceptional role model for the values we are all working to foster in our students.

We gratefully recognize Dr. Fidelma Rigby’s dedication to excellence in teaching. Again, in the words of her students:

“Incredibly knowledgeable and dedicated to teaching.”

“Was sensitive to others’ beliefs and how that correlates to our care as physicians.”

“One of the best attendings VCU has to offer and a privilege to be working with her.”

“Very adept at including everyone, creating an open atmosphere for the healthcare team, and allowing everyone to feel as an equal and valued member/peer.”

“Dr. Rigby, do you get any sleep?”

Mary Ann Turner, M.D.


Irby-James Award for Excellence in Clinical Teaching

Since Dr. Mary Ann Turner joined the Department of Radiology faculty in 1975, she has taught thousands of medical students, nearly 300 Radiology housestaff, and 37 GI Radiology/Abdominal Imaging fellows, as well as residents, fellows and faculty across the medical center. In 1977 Dr. Turner co-founded the weekly Multidisciplinary GI Teaching Conference and continues to precept this conference in its 36th year. For 30 years, she has participated in the weekly General Surgery conference and the GI Radiology GME elective. These are examples of Dr. Turner’s long-term and significant impact on clinical education at VCU,
and through her former students and trainees, on the field of diagnostic radiology.

“Her teaching efforts are by no means limited to the classroom or lecture hall but extend to every facet of her practice of medicine, including at the viewbox and more recently at the PACS workstation, at the patient’s side during the performance of a wide array of radiologic procedures, and in a multitude of multidisciplinary conferences attended by not only radiology residents but also medical students and surgical, medical, and GI residents/fellows,” explains Ann S. Fulcher, M.D., Professor and Chair of the Department of Radiology.

Joe Behl, M.D., Medical Director, Diagnostic Imaging, Rockingham Memorial Hospital and Managing Partner, Rockingham Radiologists, fondly recalls training with Dr. Turner, “She is that rare individual who not only is a gifted teacher, but also a fount of wisdom as a mentor, and someone who truly cares about all around her.”

Malcolm K. Sydnor, M.D. Director, Vascular and Interventional Radiology, VCU, and a former medical student and resident of Dr. Turner’s agrees. “She is a kind, compassionate, and highly respected professional who has the unusual ability of not only teaching advanced practice to residents and fellows but also to expertly teach basic concepts and imaging findings to 3rd and 4th year medical students … she has an uncanny ability to teach real time in front of a patient in such a way that the student’s learning is optimized and the patient is appreciative because of it!”

Mark Vaughn, M.D., current president of the Virginia Chapter of the American College of Radiology, acknowledges the influence Dr. Turner has had on his career: “My interactions with Dr. Turner during my fourth year radiology clerkship not only helped me decide on diagnostic radiology as a career, but also helped me decide to stay at VCU for my residency training in radiology.”

“As a Gastroenterologist, I frequently have gone to her for help in patient care,” says Richard Sterling, M.D., Professor of Medicine and Chief of Hepatology, VCU. “She not only provides me with expert interpretations, but always takes the time to teach the students, residents and fellows on the team.”

Recalling her time at VCU, Amy Foxx-Orenstein, D.O., Associate Professor of Medicine, Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Mayo Clinic Scottsdale, explains that Dr. Turner’s “depth of understanding of human anatomy, medical radiology, clinical presentation and the vast subtleties of gastrointestinal radiology is legendary. GI Fellows and residents would come away from GI conferences with a rich appreciation for critical thinking, critical questioning, analyzing symptoms and images, choosing the right test, and interpreting the results.”

Dr. Turner’s scholarship, clinical skill, service, and teaching excellence is recognized nationally. In 2011 she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Gastrointestinal Radiologists.

As Alvin Zfass, M.D., Professor of Internal Medicine, Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, VCU, states, “Simply stated, Mary Ann Turner has been, and remains, the quintessential teacher of teachers. The most “listened to” voice in all conferences. I know … because I have had the good fortune of being in the audience. Incomparable.”

Aron H. Lichtman, Ph.D.


Distinguished Mentor Award

Aron Lichtman, Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology, is a talented scientist, as evidenced by his twenty years of NIH funding for not one, but two grants. His success draws graduate students to his laboratories to study, and once there, Dr. Lichtman reveals another of his exceptional talents – that of being a mentor.

Dr. Lichtman’s dedication to guiding his students is well-known in the department. As students rotate through different training experiences, they often decide to stick around in Dr. Lichtman’s lab. Students that work with him are recognized for their exceptional work, achieving excellent grades and authoring multiple scientific publications. Dr. Lichtman collaborates with an exceptionally high number of VCU faculty colleagues and these interactions greatly enhance the training of his postdoctoral fellows and students. He also involves his students in his work with internationally acclaimed scientists outside VCU; this provides invaluable career-building connections for his students. One of the most impressive aspects of the mentoring record of Dr. Lichtman is the quality of scientists who have taken his students for post-doctoral training and positions in industry and academia.

Mindful of the need to develop an early interest in science, he took a lead role for almost a decade in an NIH-funded summer program that enabled underrepresented and disadvantaged high school students and their teachers to learn about and participate in biomedical research at VCU.

Dr. Lichtman’s former students describe his impact:

“As a naïve graduate student, his ability to communicate his knowledge in a useful manner improved my critical thinking skills and broadened my scientific interests,” recalls Laura E. Wise, Ph.D., a former student who is now an Assistant Professor, VCU Pharmacology and Toxicology. “As a faculty member, Dr. Lichtman meets regularly with me to review my progress and discuss research projects. He provides invaluable information, feedback, and opportunities for me to develop the skills and knowledge needed for a successful career in research.”

Joel Schlosburg, Ph.D., now a Research Associate at The Scripps Research Institute, entered Dr. Lichtman’s lab with an engineering background, and “Dr. Lichtman allowed me both the autonomy to improve and expand projects toward increased efficiency, while also reigning in my inevitable over-exuberance and maintaining focus on a handful of projects. As a result, we have published a dozen papers together and he assisted in my securing an individual training grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (F31).”

“Due in large part to the great mentoring that I received from the Department, and in particular from Dr. Lichtman, I gained a tenure-track faculty position and now advise my own students,” says Steven G. Kinsey, Ph.D., Assistant Professor at West Virginia University Department of Psychology. “I strive to emulate Dr. Lichtman’s excellent mentoring, which I still receive as I find my place and seek research funding.”

As Divya Ramesh, Ph.D., Columbia University Department of Psychiatry, describes, “Aron provides dynamic guidance, adapting to each mentee’s personality and research style. He has a unique ability to see inner talent and potential in students, and is not wary of taking on students with limited research experience. His mentoring style allows for students to grow into independent researchers, develop their own ideas and scientific thinking, thereby preparing us adequately for realities of the competitive research world.”

Dr. Aron Lichtman has influenced the future of science through his guidance of young scientists into productive research careers. As Lamont Booker, Ph.D., MTOX, Toxicologist at the Center for Excellence in Research, Defense Threat Reduction Agency of the US Department of Defense, declares, “For me, dreams I once felt were unattainable, I now have achieved due to the encouragement and guidance of Dr. Lichtman.”

Ellen L. Brock, M.D., M.P.H., and staff of the Center for Human Simulation and Patient Safety


Educational Innovation Award

When Ellen Brock, M.D., M.P.H., Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, became Director of the Center for Human Simulation and Patient Safety in 2008, it was tucked away in the former NICU in Main Hospital. As Dr. Brock led the development of Center services and recruited staff, the Center moved to 5400 square feet in North Hospital.

This spring, just five years since its beginning, the Center moved to its new home in the McGlothlin Medical Education Center, with seven staff members and 25,000 square feet of state of the art simulation spaces over two floors of the building.

“The Center, at its core, was designed to bring all of the individual programs and departments and their simulation projects together for the betterment of the entire institution,” says Mary Alice O’Donnell, Ph.D., Associate Dean and Director of Graduate Medical Education (GME). “These silos have gradually come together for the common good. This has been due mainly to the Center’s collaborative style and willingness to work towards excellence.”

“As skill deficiencies and opportunities are identified, simulation approaches are developed to address them. Successful approaches become integrated into the regular curriculum,” explains David Chelmow, M.D., Professor and Chairman, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. A simulation designed to improve emergency Cesarean deliveries “greatly enhanced our multidisciplinary teamwork and ability to respond to emergencies.”

The Center’s work with the GME “Walk the Walk” simulation experience for 140 new first-year residents each of the last four years is an example of the collaborative partnerships the Center has formed to support improved training and patient-centered care. This orientation is designed to assess and reinforce key skills that all residents are expected to perform, regardless of specialty, as they begin internship.

The Center’s development and execution of interdisciplinary training for VCU Medical Center’s code team, including physicians, nurses, pharmacists, respiratory therapists, chaplains and other health care professionals, allowed team members to improve interaction in these fast-paced, high-stakes situations. VCU Medical Center has subsequently seen a significant improvement in code survival in calendar year 2013.

Dr. Brock’s team develops novel uses of simulation to record and map hospital team work processes so that potential risks for failure in the system can be identified and avoided through re-engineered practice and communication procedures. The resulting improvements enhance the experience and safety of our patients.

“She is a thoughtful, approachable, and certainly innovative educator, who has partnered with colleagues across the enterprise to impact the quality of care and the quality of education at VCU Medical Center,” states L. Dale Dunlow-Harvey, M.S., R.N., Fellow of Patient Safety, and Director Performance Improvement, VCUHS.

“As the practice and education of health professionals has entered a new era defi ned by competency and quality, simulation-based training has become a dominant modality for education. Dr. Brock and her team have led or supported VCU’s efforts to be on the vanguard of these efforts,” agrees Alan Dow, M.D., M.S.H.A., Macy Faculty Scholar, Assistant Vice President of Health Sciences, Assistant Dean of Medical Education and Associate Professor of Internal Medicine.

As Ms. Dunlow-Harvey states, “No one embodies principles of innovation, or has executed them more eloquently … Dr. Brock is not constrained by tradition; rather, she seeks unique and innovative approaches, engaging learners and colleagues – and taking them on a journey with her.”

Susan E. Wolver, M.D.


Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award

Compassionate. Connected. Available. Energetic. Respectful. Enthusiastic. All of these are terms colleagues and students use to describe Susan Wolver, Assistant Professor of General Internal Medicine and Primary Care.

Colleague Betty Anne Johnson, M.D. Ph.D., very eloquently describes Dr. Wolver:

“Compassion is a core instinct for Dr. Wolver and defines her as a person. This instinctive sympathy allows her to imagine herself in the place of others, inspiring thoughtful answering of the question, ‘How would I feel if I were in the same situation?’ She is consistently Other-directed and Other-driven, thinking first, ‘How can I help?’ without regard to ‘What will it cost me to help?’ As a physician, she goes above and beyond routine patient care. She takes ‘ownership’ of her patients and considers it an honor and privilege to have patients entrust their care to her. She assesses patients not only in regard to their medical needs but also wants to make sure that their social situation and environment will support an appropriate treatment plan. She follows up with her sick patients either through the patient portal or by phone. She is always aware of her hospitalized patients and will find a few minutes for a social visit regardless of how frantic her schedule is. The sense of relief this engenders in sick, bewildered and frightened hospitalized patients is enormous … just knowing that the physician who
knows the most about them and who cares about them, is watching over their care. If she is concerned about the course of an illness, she will stay in touch with her patient on the weekend, even if not on call. When her patients are referred to Hospice Care, she still keeps in touch with the patient and their family, which her patients cherish.”

Dr. Wolver is an outstanding role model as an academic clinician. The consummate internist, she is always curious, always investigating the literature, always careful to deliver the best possible care as a physician. In 2012, Dr. Wolver was the lead author of an article in the Journal of General Internal Medicine highlighting case studies of the newly described allergic reaction to meat resulting from lone star tick bites. Her research targeted primary care physicians who might see related cases but be unaware of the allergy.

Described as a “joyous leader,” for two years Dr. Wolver has organized a “Biggest Loser” contest for Ambulatory Care Center (ACC) faculty and staff. In 2013, she organized Team ACC to participate in the Monument 10K as a fundraiser for Massey Breast Cancer Research in honor of several co-workers with a new diagnosis of breast cancer.

Dr. Wolver has been recognized by the Department of Internal Medicine with the Faculty Award for Outstanding Housestaff in 2006 and the Faculty Award for Distinguished Clinical Care in 2008. She has been named a Richmond “Top Doc” (voted by peers) by Richmond Magazine every year since 2008. Instead of basking in this recognition, each year she has championed a colleague for recognition in the same issue of the magazine.

Dr. Wolver’s faculty and staff colleagues describe her as “unbelievably compassionate,” “energetic beyond belief,” “an outstanding patient advocate,” “very giving to patients and staff,” “enthusiastic in ALL she does,” “respectful of peers and staff,” “a perfect Primary Care Physician and an amazing coworker.” For exemplifying the Tow Award ideals of outstanding compassion in the delivery of care, respect for patients, their families, and healthcare colleagues, as well as demonstrated clinical excellence, we gratefully recognize Dr. Susan Wolver.

Suzanne E. Barbour, Ph.D.


Women in Science, Dentistry, and Medicine Professional Achievement “WISDM” Award

Suzanne Barbour, Ph.D., certainly qualifies as a “triple threat” faculty member for her talent and accomplishments in teaching, service, and research. Moreover, Dr. Barbour has dedicated her career to supporting underrepresented students in achieving biomedical sciences careers.

Dr. Barbour joined the VCU faculty in 1993 after completing her Ph.D. in molecular biology and genetics at Johns Hopkins and training as a postdoctoral scholar at UC San Diego. By 1997 she had achieved the rank of Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, with affiliate appointments in both Microbiology and Immunology and Biology. In recognition of her potential as a leader, Dr. Barbour was accepted into the Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) Class of 2006-2007.

Ann Nichols-Casebolt, Ph.D., Associate Vice President for Research Development, VCU, recalls, “My first meeting with Suzanne was to discuss her success in securing grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF). It is rare for a biomedical scientist to obtain NSF funding, and she was one of the very few faculty in the School of Medicine (SOM) who had both NSF and NIH funding for their research.” Dr. Barbour has disseminated her work through over 50 publications, including peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and reviews and has served on numerous NIH and NSF review panels.

“Both Dr. Barbour’s research and teaching serve as an example of interdisciplinary bridging between departments in the SOM, colleagues and academic programs in the School of Dentistry and the Department of Biology in the College of Humanities and Sciences,” shares Dr. Jan F. Chlebowski, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Associate Dean for Graduate Education, VCU SOM. Dr. Barbour’s teaching has been recognized through over a dozen SOM Outstanding Teacher awards, the 2004 SOM Teaching Excellence Award, and the 2005 VCU Distinguished Teaching Award, the university’s highest honor for teaching.

Remarkably, given her exceptional record of achievement in each of these areas, what colleagues most often comment on is Dr. Barbour’s dedication to creating a new generation of scholars that reflects the diversity of the “real world.” “It was her vision that organized the various units in place on the SOM and Monroe Park campuses into a powerful driving force for diversity.” recalls Louis J. De Felice, Ph.D., Professor of Physiology and Biophysics and Assistant Dean for Graduate Education, SOM. “This effort, led by Suzanne, culminated in four funded grants and her appointment as Director of Research Training in the VCU Center on Health Disparities.” Many institutions would be happy to have the grant funding that Dr. Barbour herself has secured as a PI or Co-PI.

As Dr. Nichols-Casebolt describes, “her mentoring goes well beyond undergraduate students to include high school students through postdoctoral scholars … she has worked with them in her lab, taken them to research conferences, and provided them opportunities to learn the roles and responsibilities of a scientist.”

Francis L Macrina, Ph.D., Edward Myers Professor of Dentistry and Vice President for Research, VCU, explains, “She has been a leader in building a federal training grant portfolio that addresses minority access to careers in research and research training.” In recognition of her significant contributions to multicultural relations and diversity, Dr. Barbour received the 2010 VCU Faculty Presidential Award for Community Multicultural Enrichment (PACME).

“Suzanne Barbour is one of the most collegial, selfless, and energetic faculty I have ever known,” states Dr. Macrina. We celebrate Dr. Suzanne Barbour’s accomplishments and her dedication to increasing diversity in biomedical sciences leadership and research.

Betty Anne Johnson, M.D., Ph.D.


MCV Physicians Distinguished Clinician Award

When you think of VCU Health System you might first picture an intensive care unit, or transplant center, or busy emergency room – but every day, VCUHS improves the lives of many of our fellow citizens through primary care. Betty Anne Johnson, M.D., Ph.D., the 2013 MCVP Distinguished Clinician awardee, has built an outstanding academic medicine career through her commitment to delivering high-quality, patient-centered care over her nearly 30 years of service in the Division of General Internal Medicine.

Dr. Johnson was selected for the Hedwig van Ameringen Fellowship in Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) program for 2003-2004. Her leadership abilities have allowed her to serve in many key roles during this time, including Director of Student Health, Vice-Chair, Interim Chair, and Chair of her division, Interim Program Director of the Internal Medicine residency program, and Director of the Hospitalist Program.

Holding an M.D. from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Iowa, Dr. Johnson has demonstrated her skill and commitment to clinical research by serving as PI and co-PI on numerous funded projects. Dr. Johnson’s love of teaching is evident in her day-to-day interactions. Dr. Bennett Lee, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.P., observes, “She is the clinician that the rest of us in Primary Care go to when we have a clinical problem. Her breadth of knowledge is vast and she is constantly applying evidence based medicine to her patient care and keeps the rest of us up to date with the latest developments in diagnostic strategies, therapeutic options, and in preventive medicine guidelines.”

Dr. Johnson’s contributions to teaching include collaborating with others to create significant curricula in young adult women’s health and in pain management. The women’s health resources Dr. Johnson has developed support our residents in providing comprehensive and patient-centered primary care for young women, and constitute a significant portion of the Women’s Health Handbook for the VCU Internal Medicine Training program. In 2007, Dr. Johnson was part of the team that developed a web-based resource for health professionals and trainees on the assessment and management of chronic non-malignant pain in the outpatient setting. The developing team received the School of Medicine Teaching Excellence Educational Innovation Award and the School of Medicine and the Virginia Department of Health Professions collaborated to make this educational resource available to all health professionals in Virginia.

Directing health care services for tens of thousands of students is a daunting responsibility, but as usual, Dr. Johnson advanced her field of practice despite the daily demands of this work. During her tenure as Director of Student Health at VCU from 1987-2004, Dr. Johnson contributed significantly to the fi eld of college health through her clinical research efforts in developing improved protocols for screening for sexually transmitted diseases and TB. As a result of her leadership, VCU Student Health Services became a nationally recognized provider of primary care for student populations in health promotion and disease prevention.

Dr. Johnson has been recognized five times as a Richmond Top Doc and is recognized here at the VCU Medical Center as a role model for the many students, residents and multidisciplinary colleagues with whom she works with such enthusiasm and at such a high level of excellence each day.

Stephen A. Cohen, M.D., M.B.A.


VCU/VCUHS Leadership in Graduate Medical Education “LGME” Award – Program Director Award

When describing Dr. Stephen Cohen, David Chelmow, M.D., Leo J. Dunn Distinguished Professor and Chairman of the Department of OB-GYN observes, “I suspect a generation of graduates thinks immediately back to what he has taught them every time they are doing a difficult surgery or delivery.” His trainees confirm this suspicion. “As a physician in private practice, hardly a day passes that I do not reflect on some aspect of his mentoring and approach to OB-GYN.” declares Dr. Sandra Hall, a former VCUHS resident now working for Wilmington (N.C.) Health OB-GYN. After providing outstanding long term leadership as Residency Program Director from 1998-2009, and serving as Chair of the GME Council from 2010-2013, he continues to support and advance the education of our residents.

Dr. Cohen’s sense of service and willingness to apply his valuable insights and experience have led to his role as a valued leader for the VCU Health System and School of Medicine. He has had a unique impact on the continuum of medical education at VCU, having served as Chair of both the undergraduate medical education Curriculum Council and the graduate medical education GME Committee. As a founding member of the Medical Staff Oversight Committee, he helped develop the process for Focused and Ongoing Professional Performance Evaluation (FPPE and OPPE) in OB-GYN and at VCUHS. His work “will contribute to ensuring the highest quality and safest care is delivered to patients,” states Jeffrey A. Green, M.D., Vice-Chair, VCU Department of Anesthesiology and Boyan-Keenan Professor of Anesthesia Safety and Director of Cardiothoracic Anesthesiology.

Recognized as an exceptionally skilled surgeon with an empathic bedside manner, Dr. Cohen has trained residents at VCU for over thirty years. Among his considerable talents, his influence as a mentor and teacher may be foremost. “His ability to make learning fun and to engender self confidence in others is really unsurpassed in my experience.” reflects former trainee Ellen Brock, M.D., Associate Professor, OB-GYN and Director, VCU Center for Human Simulation and Patient Safety. Adds colleague and former Chair and Program Director, Leo J. Dunn, M.D. M.S.H.A., “In addition to his professional knowledge and skills he has a demeanor of inner personal confidence and optimism that he readily transfers to others, particularly at diffi cult times. No one has been more committed to the success of our residents.”

“He somehow manages to develop our strengths and nudge us along to become the best we can be, both personally and professionally.” recalls former trainee Dr. Nicole Karjane, now Associate Professor and Residency Program Director, VCU OB-GYN. “He is always up to date on the literature, pushes residents to use evidence-based medicine in their care of patients, and encourages participation in quality improvement activities.”

Dr. Cohen has received many outstanding teacher awards for his teaching across the medical center and beyond. He received national recognition in 2011 when he was awarded the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Council on Resident Education in Obstetrics and Gynecology Faculty Award for Excellence in Resident Education. Dr. Cohen’s leadership roles and his day to day teaching interactions have shaped the skills of hundreds of OB-GYN practitioners and, in turn, the care they provide to their patients. “He is the physician, teacher, and leader we all desire to be.” states former trainee Dr. Catherine Matthews, now Division Chief of Urogynecology and Reconstructive Surgery, UNC-Chapel Hill.

Dr. Karjane speaks for us all when she says, “I don’t think he has any idea of the profound impact he has had on all of the residents who trained under his leadership – we will be forever grateful!”

Amber Cox


VCU/VCUHS Leadership in Graduate Medical Education “LGME” Award – Program Coordinator Award

For ten years, as Education Administrator for the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Ms. Amber Cox has supported the administrative and academic aspects of the Orthopaedic Surgery residency program, maintained the departmental library, and handled personnel matters for the residents. She is also responsible for supporting two fellowship programs, coordinating the interview process for residency applicants, maintenance of records for accreditation, planning special events and responding to the day to day needs of up to 27 residents each year. And, Ms. Cox does all of this extremely well.

“I feel strongly that I have the best Program Coordinator in the world,” declares Wilhelm A. Zuelzer, M.D., Co-Program Director, Professor and Vice-Chair, Department of Orthopaedics. “She is organized second to none. Please feel free to review her file systems and her office.” Ms. Cox is also known for her personable and approachable demeanor as she supports busy residents and faculty. Her knowledge and experience are valued by program residents and faculty.

During Ms. Cox’s tenure as Program Coordinator there have been ACGME site visits for three programs, the Orthopaedic Surgery Residency Program and the Orthopaedic Adult Reconstruction and Trauma Fellowship Programs. Each program received full accreditation, no citations, and only commendations, due in large part to her careful preparation of documentation and meticulous record keeping.

Ms. Cox is well known at the Orthopaedic Resident Review Committee for her exceptional preparation and organization for internal program reviews. Dr. Robert S. Adelaar, Professor and Chairman, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, states that Ms. Cox has “grown with her experience and with her intellect to be one of the well-respected resident coordinators in the VCU Health System. She makes my job easier.”

“Simply put, the residency could not run without her.” declares Gregory F. Domson, M.D., Assistant Professor and Associate Program Director for Orthopaedic Surgery. “Amber is experienced, dedicated and reliable. She is always up to date and regularly attends (national) coordinator meetings to stay abreast of new developments.”

While managing the demands of supporting the residency program day to day, Ms. Cox takes the initiative to find new resources and offer suggestions for improving the residency program and interview process. Residency applicants rate their VCUHS interview experience very highly thanks to Ms. Cox’s organization and application of her experience to planning the interview process.

Ms. Cox further demonstrated her dedication to her profession by taking coursework to achieve certification as a training administrator of graduate medical education, a certification that she has held since 2009. She has served as a Steering Committee member of the Association of Residency Coordinators in Orthopaedic Surgery, a national professional organization for program coordinators of orthopaedic surgery residencies and fellowships. Ms. Cox has been a member of E.A.S.E. (Education, Administration, Scholarship, Evaluation) since 2005. She regularly attends professional development conferences to further her knowledge and skills.

In the words of Dr. Zuelzer, “What a partner.” We recognize Ms. Amber Cox for her ten years of outstanding service supporting Orthopaedic Surgery education.

Virginia Commonwealth University
VCU Medical Center
School of Medicine
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Updated: 08/19/2008