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School of Medicine Virginia Commonwealth University VCU Medical Center
School of Medicine profiles

November 18, 2013

Fidelma B. Rigby, M.D.

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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?”