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School of Medicine profiles

December 2014 Archives

December 15, 2014

Susan D. Roseff, M.D.


Enrique Gerszten, M.D. Faculty Teaching Excellence Award

We are fortunate to work in an environment with many gifted educators. Susan D. Roseff, M.D., Professor of Pathology, Chair of Clinical Pathology, and Director of Apheresis, stands out among so many talented teachers because of her exceptional dedication to her students.

She took a personal interest in my story, something I later noticed she does for all of her students. Nelya Ebadirad, medical student class of 2016

Dr. Roseff is recognized for her teaching at all levels of medical education. As co-director of the Marrow portion of the new C3 Marrow and Movement course, she incorporated team-based learning to take advantage of the interactive design of the new teaching spaces. She has been recognized with “Best Teacher” and “High Evaluation” awards multiple times by medical students. Currently Associate Director for the Pathology Resident Training Program, she supervises and trains Pathology residents. Residents consistently give her the highest ratings as a mentor and teacher, and in 2006 the graduating class honored her with the Saul Kay Award, which recognizes a Pathology faculty member who is uniquely dedicated and effective in resident teaching. Dr. Roseff also supervises and teaches fellows in Adult and Child Hematology-Oncology and Nephrology.

Dr. Roseff’s expertise and teaching skills are recognized nationally and internationally. She has authored or co-authored eleven American Society for Clinical Pathology “Check Samples,” clinical teaching tools that are widely used in specific laboratory-based specialties, and served as an executive editor of the publication. She also teaches in association with the AABB, including annual meeting presentations and three international teleconferences.

I can say without restraint that Dr. Roseff is the most professional individual that I have ever trained under. Joseph Bergeron, M.D., former Anatomic and Clinical Pathology resident

Dr. Roseff’s colleagues agree. “Over and over again I have observed the level of personal interest she takes in her students and trainees, and her untiring willingness to advise and coach them … Dr. Roseff is one of the very few teachers I have encountered among the faculty who can clearly and succinctly identify trainees’ needs for improvement, providing them with specific examples and with detailed advice on how to remediate.” says Margaret Grimes, M.D., Professor of Pathology and the 2012 Gerszten Faculty Teaching Excellence awardee.

Linda Costanzo, Ph.D., Professor of Physiology, and the 1999 Gerszten Faculty Teaching Excellence awardee explains, “Her lessons in the Hematology/Oncology course were literally clinics on clarity, balance, and good humor in the face of teaching difficult material … her scholarship runs deep, thus her teaching is utterly reliable.” Indeed, Dr. Roseff has an impressive record of scholarship, collaborating on grants from NIH, the military, and industry and authoring or co-authoring over 20 book chapters, 51 peer-reviewed publications, and nearly 50 published abstracts.

She continues to serve as an inspiration and a role model demonstrating what a great mind, great teacher, and endless energy can accomplish. Kim Sanford, M.D., Assistant Professor of Pathology

Dr. Roseff’s leadership skills have also been recognized with her membership on the Board of Directors of the Virginia Commonwealth University Health System Authority, where she serves as the Board’s Secretary and as a member of the Executive Committee. She has lent her expertise to dozens of national, regional, and University committees.

As a woman in medicine, she has truly led by example and inspired me with her personal story of achievement and perseverance. Sadia Sayeed, M.D., Chief Resident, Pathology

For her dedication to scholarship to inform her teaching, willingness to take the time needed to help students learn important information or skills that will benefit patients, and for her personal connection with and genuine interest in her students, colleagues, and patients, we recognize Dr. Susan Roseff with the School of Medicine’s highest recognition for teaching.

Catherine E. Grossman, M.D.


Irby-James Award for Excellence in Clinical Teaching

Associate Professor of Internal Medicine in the VCU SOM Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Dr. Cathy Grossman came to Richmond in 2000 for her residency and pulmonary fellowship training and joined the faculty in 2006. Katie Muzevich, Pharm.D., BCPS, a clinical pharmacist on the Medical Respiratory Intensive Care Unit (MRICU) remembers, “Rarely have I witnessed a teacher so gifted as Dr. Grossman, who routinely identifies opportunities to incorporate teaching into the daily practice of intensive care medicine.” Dr. Grossman creates a safe learning environment for her team, encouraging questions and discussion to support learning.

MRICU patients are extremely ill and their treatment is very complex. Even in this intimidating environment, Dr. Grossman teaches housestaff about ventilators, central venous catheters and chest tubes during rounds, building their proficiency with these tools. She provides an effective balance of independence and guidance to her trainees. Former student Gary Simmons, D.O., recalls working with a critically ill patient when Dr. Grossman collected supplies for him to place a central line and stayed with him to observe — rather than the more common situation, where the student would gather supplies for the attending to do the procedure. “To this day I remember this experience and how it impacted me.” Deborah Stahlnecker, D.O., FCCP, trained with Dr. Grossman. “I am amazed by her ability to analyze and explore even the most complex concepts … she also shared her knowledge with her patients, creating a very trusting and collaborative relationship with them.”

Dr. Grossman is dedicated to enhancing her teaching skills. She was an early adopter of team-based learning and the audience response system. She pursued professional education to learn to effectively use simulation mannequins, teach evidence-based medicine, use Process-Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL), completed the Stanford Clinical Teaching course, trained in InQuiry Based Problem Based Learning, and completed an intensive medical simulation teaching workshop. Dr. Grossman recently began taking an acting improvisation class. She explains, “I was looking to find and employ different ideas for teaching the dry topics of teamwork and communication skills. Improv pushes the skills of communication and teamwork in an non-medicine framework but has clearly defined principles which can be moved into the medical venue.” Dr. Grossman has designed a two hour workshop for second year residents to work with a local improv group to learn this new approach to communication, teamwork and situational awareness.

Lisa K. Brath, M.D., Professor of Medicine and Program Director for the Pulmonary-Critical Care Fellowship, has seen Dr. Grossman develop as an educational leader. “One mark of a dedicated educator is that they seek new opportunities, challenges and venues in which to practice and expand their skills. Dr. Grossman has certainly done this as evidenced by her leadership roles in our PCCM Journal Club, the VCUHS Walk the Walk conference, and the ACLS Code Simulation sessions.”

Dr. Grossman develops a relationship with each of her team members and pushes each to achieve their potential. Former trainees describe a lasting impact. Former fellow Henry Ostman, M.D., FCCP, declares, “Dr. Grossman’s instruction was central to my development of sound reasoning, critical thinking, and integrative skill.” Former resident Joseph H. Pitcher, M.D., recalls Dr. Grossman’s honest but fair feedback, remembering a fellow resident stating, “She gave me the hardest evaluations I have received all year, but they were absolutely true, and it is exactly what I needed to hear.”

Dr. Grossman is cited as a role model for humanism and professionalism. As Dr. Muzevich explains, “In the MRICU we are faced with difficult families, emotional reactions and sad circumstances. Dr. Grossman leads our team with dignity and addresses each patient and family with respect. Her dedication to professionalism ensures that our future physicians are taught good bedside manner, compassion, and respect for all.”

Dr. M. Thure Caire, PGY5 gastroenterology fellow, eloquently summarizes Dr. Grossman’s impact. “Cathy sets an example that transcends medicine: having worked with her inspires us to not only be better doctors but also to be better people. She is a synergy of art and science, of humanism and empiricism, of the traditions and the future of medicine.”

Diomedes E. Logothetis, Ph.D.


Distinguished Mentor Award

Dr. Diomedes Logothetis came to VCU School of Medicine in 2008 to serve as Professor and John D. Bower Chair of the Department of Physiology and Biophysics. Since then, in addition to his activities leading the department, he has mentored 18 predoctoral students, 27 postdoctoral students, and student advisory committees. He makes time to mentor summer undergraduate student interns. He has developed a program wherein graduate students prepare for upcoming seminar guest speakers by formally reviewing the speaker’s work, so that they build their knowledge and gain the most from these opportunities. He has developed programs to support talented scientists who did not speak English as their first language, including a week-long writing class and a one-on-one mentoring program. These are just a few examples of why Dr. Logothetis is being recognized with the 2014 Distinguished Mentor Award.

“What sets Diomedes apart are the countless hours he spends mentoring which do not “count” towards any formal role he serves,” states program graduate Rahul Mahajan, M.D., Ph.D. “Diomedes’ mentorship was integral in my obtaining an F30 in 2009 on my first submission.”

After Dr. Logothetis moved to Richmond, Miguel Fribourg, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Neurology, Icahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai University, travelled back and forth from New York to Richmond to continue his work with Dr. Logothetis. “Most people I consulted with indicated the challenges of long-distance mentoring and strongly recommended that I switch labs. Staying in Dr. Logothetis’ lab is undoubtedly the best professional decision I have ever made. His commitment to my training has gone far beyond any of my expectations, an endeavor that has crystallized in a first author publication in Cell and a patent submission.”

Dr. Logothetis is renowned for preparing students for the practical professional skills they will need to succeed, including writing and presentation skills. “Dr. Logothetis places very high standards on his students. His meticulousness is exemplified when I give presentations to an audience, no matter how informal…it is not uncommon to see Dr. Logothetis at my next personal meeting, waiting with pages full of notes he has taken during my presentation. He is always looking for ways to improve as a scientist and takes it upon himself as a mentor to see that I steadfastly improve in my endeavors,” describes Junghoon Ha, M.D.-Ph.D. Candidate, VCU SOM.

“Diomedes actively encourages teamwork and collaboration, traits that are indispensible in the current era of multidisciplinary research,” states Vasileios I. Petrou, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Research Student, Department of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics, Columbia University. Tooraj Mirshahi, Ph.D., Geisinger Health system, agrees. In his lab, “he fostered an environment that while demanding excellent science, remained a joy to work in and encouraged working together that benefitted all.”

“Our lab meetings are filled with lively discussions about current research. Recently, he has introduced think tank sessions where the lab can brainstorm collectively on new frontiers of research. Recently, I was awarded an F31 from the NINDS and this was a direct result of his mentoring,” explains Candice Hatcher-Solis, Ph.D. Student, VCU SOM.

Dr. Logothetis’ mentor, David Clapham, M.D., Ph.D., Aldo R. Castaneda Professor of Cardiovascular Research, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, Harvard Medical School Professor of Neurobiology and Pediatrics, Children’s Hospital Director of Basic Cardiovascular Research, recalls, “Diomedes approached me for a position in the laboratory to learn the techniques for patch clamp electrophysiology…he was the most persistent and dedicated student I have had.” Dr. Logothetis is passing on his passion and high standards to the next generation of scientists. Dr. Mahajan summarizes this very well. “I have often had the thought that although I benefitted greatly from my fortuitous decision to join Diomedes’ lab, the biggest beneficiaries of that decision will be my future graduate students who will hopefully prosper with my support as I attempt to emulate Diomedes.”

John (Christian) Barrett, M.D.


Educational Innovation Award

Team-based learning. Visits to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to explore principles of fellowship training. Reflective essays to highlight the humanistic basis of medical care. Individualized attention to students at all levels of training, from medical student, resident, and fellow. Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL). Blogging about medical education. These are examples of the innovative teaching and learning approaches that Dr. John “Christian” Barrett has dedicated himself to mastering and bringing to learners in the School of Medicine.

Dr. Barrett is an Associate Professor in the Division of Hematology, Oncology, and Palliative Care, and Associate Chair for Clinical Operations, Department of Internal Medicine. He has held a major educator role as co-course director for the second year Hematology-Oncology Course, and is now co-course director for the Marrow division of the Marrow and Movement Course in the new C3 medical school curriculum. He is also a Core Educator in the Internal Medicine Residency Program and Fellowship Director for the Hematology-Oncology Fellowship program. To each of these roles, he strives to bring the most effective learning experiences to his students, constantly bringing innovative teaching approaches to the learning studio and clinic.

Medical students are not always welcoming of new learning approaches, most having spent many years excelling in more traditional formats such as lectures. Dr. Barrett’s dedication to mastering new, more effective learning activities, as well as his enthusiasm, have won over many skeptical students. When small group learning in Hematology/Oncology was introduced to the second year class, medical student Kathryn L. Williams recalls, “The majority of the class, including myself, was resistant to the idea of a new method of educating after over a year of mostly self-study. Dr. Barrett was in no way discouraged by our poor attitudes…even those most resistant to the new learning style were won over by Dr. Barrett’s tireless commitment and enthusiasm.”

As the Hematology-Oncology Fellowship Director, Dr. Barrett begins the fellowship by meeting with the new fellows to discuss their individual learning goals and going to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to reflect on specific pieces of art Dr. Barrett has chosen to highlight core principles of the fellowship program, such as “integrity” and “teamwork.” This emphasizes the expectations of the fellowship, while allowing Dr. Barrett and the fellows to learn about one another through their individual interpretations and reflections on the artwork, insights that are valuable as they begin to work together.

Colleague Lisa Brath, M.D., Professor of Medicine, observes that Dr. Barrett has been an academic faculty member for just eight years. “I don’t know too many other faculty members who have joined the ranks of an academic practice and so quickly become so accomplished and recognized as an educator.” Dr. Barrett’s talent and accomplishments are becoming recognized beyond VCU in work with committees and educational activities with the American Society for Hematology and the American Society for Clinical Oncology.

As someone who has been both a student and colleague, Vikrant S. Brar, M.D., Hematology-Oncology Fellow attests, “I think the key to Dr. Barrett’s effectiveness as an educator comes from the emphasis he places on being a lifelong learner himself.” Dr. Barrett is enrolled as a Faculty Fellow in the Teaching in Medical Education (TiME) graduate certificate program and participates in faculty development opportunities to expand his knowledge and skills in effective medical teaching.

As Teresa J. Carter, Ed.D., Associate Dean for Professional Instruction and Faculty Development, and creator of the TiME program, summarizes, “It takes courage, vision, and foresight to teach with evidence-based practices. (Dr. Barrett) is a highly dedicated, innovative, and inspiring teacher and the VCU School of Medicine is fortunate to have his leadership and teaching expertise among the faculty.”

Gonzalo M. L. Bearman, M.D., M.P.H. and Michael P. Stevens, M.D., M.P.H.


Educational Innovation Award

Health professions students often participate in international health care experiences. While these experiences are popular and can be significant for the individual trainees, they are not always designed as rigorous learning experiences nor have they been designed to have more than intermittent benefit to the communities that serve as sites. Gonzalo Bearman, M.D., M.P.H., Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology and Community Medicine and Associate Hospital Epidemiologist and Chair, Division of Infectious Disease, and Michael Stevens, M.D., M.P.H., Assistant Professor of Medicine, Infectious Disease, and an Associate Hospital Epidemiologist have addressed both of these weaknesses through their innovative work in the VCU Global Health and Health Disparities Program (GH2DP).

GH2DP, created in 2008 to improve the health of people living in resource-poor locations, provides learners access to quality global health experiences and provides public health research opportunities. Drs. Bearman and Stevens are dedicated to making this an engaging service experience and a meaningful learning experience. GH2DP has worked primarily with “La Hicaca,” an area of approximately 2,000 people in 17 villages in a remote, mountainous area of Northern Honduras. 63 VCU medical students, over 40 medicine and pediatrics residents, 8 pharmacy students and multiple VCU engineering and public health students have participated in the program.

In a full-year commitment, participants must take the Service Learning Elective and study population health, public health practice, and effective clinical care in limited-resource settings. Physical exam skills are taught in a context of culturally-sensitive care. Essays written before and after the experience and presentations to peers promote self-reflection and personal growth. Thirty-two learners have been involved in research projects exploring ways to benefit resource-poor communities. Ten papers, seventeen presentations at local and national conferences, thirteen presentations at national conferences, and two presentations at international conferences have resulted from GH2DP research projects.

In 2012 a formal two-year track was established in the Internal Medicine Training Program offering advanced training and experience in global health. The GH2DP residency pathway requires design and implementation of an original research project, submission of the results for presentation at a national conference and submission of at least one manuscript for publication. A robust academic program includes graduate and on-line coursework at VCU and a journal club. Two international rotations and sixty hours of service for disadvantaged patients in the Richmond area are required.

The GD2HP Student Scholars program, created in 2013, formally mentors four Student Scholars who are working on projects on areas including water catchment (funded by a VCU Quest Innovation Grant), women’s health, and soil-transmitted parasites.

Medical student Jaclyn Arquiette states, “They have been more than teachers to me and have pushed me to further myself as a researcher and to incorporate research into my future career as a physician. In allowing me to take the lead in carrying out my research in Honduras, analyzing the data, preparing poster and oral presentations, and even in writing an original manuscript, they have supplied me with a skill set that I could not have obtained otherwise.”

“Through GD2HP, they teach learners how to identify the needs of the community, search the literature, select and implement methods of intervention, collect outcome data, and summarize and present the findings,” Jeffrey S. Wang, M.D., an Infectious Disease Fellow at UC-Irvine and a recent graduate from the Internal Medicine residency program recalls, “Through their mentorship an impressive body of research has arisen.”

The impact on La Hicaca is significant. Rev. Pedro José Hernández O’Hagan, SdJ, Saint George’s Catholic Parish Vicar, Olanchito, Yoro, Honduras, praises Dr. Bearman and Stevens, saying, “I can state without doubt that the work that (they) have done has definitely increased the population’s health and dignity of life … I very much appreciate Drs. Bearman and Stevens for their efforts in conveying a wider view of the world’s need for truly dedicated doctors, always in a quest for excellence.”

Steven H. Crossman, M.D.


Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award

Steve Crossman has been recognized for his willingness to connect with and advocate for others since he attended medical school here at VCU (M’95). Dr. Crossman has been an Associate Professor and member of the Department of Family Medicine and Population Health Medical Student Education team for 7 years. Dr. Crossman’s career, and his life, exemplify a true and enduring commitment to humanism in education, clinical care and service. His numerous accomplishments illustrate the value he places on his students, his patients and his community, both at home and abroad.

Dr. Crossman is an exceptional teacher. Students are drawn to his open-minded and accepting manner, his professionalism and his commitment to excellence. A prime example of his innovative teaching is his development of the enhanced teaching practice (ETP) model, which allows for inter-professional (medicine and pharmacy) student education while enhancing medical care for patients in two Richmond-area free clinics. Dr. Crossman serves as a lead preceptor to medical students and devotes countless hours to make this program a success. He has an impressive ability to engage students and sustain insightful dialogue by listening and asking the right questions. Leading by example, he teaches his students to be culturally sensitive and comfortable working with diverse patient groups.

Dr. Crossman holds multiple leadership roles within the School of Medicine, including serving as a HEART group leader for two groups each academic year. Dr. Crossman has inspired countless students, providing positive and meaningful mentoring and advising throughout their education, and after they graduate.

In the words of his students:
“Mentors like Dr. Crossman are few and far between.” “Dr. Crossman has the incredible ability to push students to the edge of their comfort zone and thus allow them to discover things about themselves only he could see.” “ I have become the student I am today in part because of Dr. Crossman’s leadership, guidance, and passion.”

Dr. Crossman’s approach to patient care has been described as “holistic, empathetic, and inspiring.” He recognizes each patient is an individual. He is attentive to stated and unstated needs, focusing on the life circumstances of patients and families when assessing problems and developing treatment plans. His patients trust him to provide the best possible care, never making them feel rushed or unheard. Dr. Crossman was recently honored as one of the top five family medicine doctors in Richmond Magazine. He holds himself to the highest of professional and humanitarian standards in teaching and patient care, actively seeking feedback from students and colleagues on his performance. He considers himself to be on a journey of discovery as both a teacher and a learner. He is currently earning his Master in Health Professions Education (MPHE) degree from the University of Illinois.

Dr. Crossman is dedicated to improving the health of underserved people. As Medical Director of Global Health Programs for his Department, he successfully leads medical student brigades to Honduras, providing direct clinical care to hundreds of community members in poor rural areas and life-changing, hands-on learning experiences for students. Dr. Crossman has a genuine connection with the people in this mountain community, and has earned their trust and loyalty through his persistence in negotiating the logistical and professional challenges of providing ongoing (between-brigade) care in remote, resource-poor areas of a foreign country. Dr. Crossman has also served as the Medical Director for the International/Inner City/Rural Preceptorship (I2CRP) Program, which is designed to increase the number of primary care physicians prepared to provide effective, high quality, compassionate care in underserved areas.

Dr. Crossman is a physician, a mentor, and a friend to many. His impressive accomplishments belie his humble and hardworking nature. His unwavering focus on encouraging medical students to become compassionate and effective physicians and to improving the lives of those less fortunate are rivaled only by his dedication to making meaningful change in the health care system to meet the needs of diverse patients and students. Dr. Crossman’s dedication and life of service make him the epitome of humanism in medicine.

Cathy J. Bradley, Ph.D., M.P.A.


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

“Tell me what you want to be known for and how I can help.”

These are words very familiar to those who have worked with Dr. Cathy J. Bradley, Tenured Professor and Chair, Department of Healthcare Policy and Research, Interim Chair, Department of Social and Behavioral Health, and Associate Director of Cancer Prevention and Control, Massey Cancer Center. Dr. Bradley came to VCU in 2005 and in 2009 became the first Chair of the newly formed Department of Healthcare Policy and Research (HCPR).

Her effectiveness is demonstrated by her strong record of continuous research funding over nearly twenty years from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, NCI, the National Institute on Minority Health Disciplines, and other sources for research on topics including primary care utilization, cancer prevention and treatment outcomes, and a NCI R25 postdoctoral research training program. Since becoming co-leader of the Massey Cancer CPC Program in 2007, Dr. Bradley has developed the program to include 30 interdisciplinary faculty researchers. Dr. Bradley has authored over 100 peer-reviewed publications and 150 peer-reviewed abstracts. Her many recognitions include the Cabell Professorship in Cancer Research and the 2009 Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award from the VCU School of Allied Health Professions.

Dr. Bradley is a master of the balance between supporting and challenging junior faculty. “She rejects the view that junior faculty must start small, closely follow the lead of more senior researchers, and slowly work their way up. She encourages (us) to think broadly and strategically about how to maximize the impact of our contributions to our field,” states Dr. Lindsay Sabik, Assistant Professor, HP&R. Departmental colleague Dr. April Kimmel agrees, “She has given me the freedom to make mistakes and grow on my own timeline, balancing this freedom with well-timed pushes to stretch myself. She does so with great ease, grace, strength, and fairness, which inspire confidence along with a drive to strive for more.”

Dr. Nicole Calloway Rankins, M.D., M.P.H., Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, is a mentee of Dr. Bradley in two programs, the CCTR KL2 research training program and the Clinical Faculty Scholars Program of the Center for Health Disparities: “The fact that she is able to provide such outstanding mentorship despite us being in different fields and me being a clinician and she is not, attests even further to her abilities. I will continue to count on her as a mentor for years to come.”

“Dr. Bradley has remained a steadfast advocate for my success and the success of many other junior faculty working at VCU,” declares Tiffany Green, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, HP&R. “As a woman of color, I am all too aware of the challenges faced by women from underrepresented groups in the academy. These challenges can include a relatively large service burden and a lack of research networks. I am incredibly fortunate to have a chair and mentor that works tirelessly to ensure that none of these issues form a barrier to my success.”

“I feel that she is my wise sister from whom I seek advice before I make important steps in my academic career,” says doctoral student Wafa W. Tarazi. She joins many others attesting to Dr. Bradley’s role in helping them to develop a research career path, be productive scholars, secure funding, improve patient care, and successfully navigate the world of academic medicine. For her leadership, scholarship, mentorship, and overall professional excellence, we are honored to present Dr. Cathy Bradley with the 2014 WISDM Professional Achievement award.

PonJola Coney, M.D.


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

PonJola Coney, M.D., Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Director, VCU Center on Health Disparities, understands the profound impact that can result from taking a personal interest in someone to help them reach their potential. Her high school science teacher encouraged her to have a career in the sciences and she became a medical technologist. While working in the hospital, a friend who was a medical student encouraged her to apply to medical school.

Dr. Coney received her M.D. from the University of Mississippi Medical Center in 1978, one of 15 African American students in her medical school class of 150. Inspired by recent advances in reproductive medicine, she became an infertility specialist. In 1984 Dr. Coney established the infertility program at the University of Oklahoma, six years after the world’s first “test-tube baby” was born, and went on to establish programs at the University of Nebraska and University of Arizona. Her efforts at these institutions yielded more than 500 births.

Moving to Meharry Medical College in 2002, Dr. Coney was the first African American woman physician to be appointed Dean of any U.S. medical school, also serving as Senior Vice President for Health Affairs. At Meharry, she doubled research funding in 3 years and established four national academic research centers that support and enhance training in health disparities. Dr. Coney has contributed steadily to the literature, and has garnered funding totaling over $27 million from NIH and industry.

Dr. Coney was in the first class of the Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) Program for Women and was a Founding Director of the Society for Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (SELAM, now WESH).

Dr. Coney serves as administrative core director for a National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHHD) funded Health Disparity Research Center of Excellence in Infant Mortality and Pregnancy Outcomes. As director of VCU’s Center on Health Disparities, she has built an impressive pipeline program for underrepresented students in the biomedical sciences and initiatives to address disease burden in minority populations.

Dr. Coney is board certified in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility and maintains a clinical practice. “She provides superb care to her patients,” declares David Chelmow, M.D., Leo J. Dunn Distinguished Professor and Chairman, OB-GYN. “On behalf of the department, I wish she had more clinical time to spend with us.”

With this wealth of experience, Dr. Coney is a valued advisor. “I have sought her advice on a number of occasions,” recalls Ellen Brock, M.D., M.P.H., Associate Professor of OB-GYN and Medical Director, VCU Center for Human Simulation and Patient Safety. “She has a good natured way of pointing out the inevitability of difficult decision making, the importance of informing those decisions with well considered priority-setting, and the need to move beyond those decisions as efficiently as possible in the interest of progress.”

Dr. Coney is a member of AOA and has received many honors for her work in academia and the community. In 2012, in recognition of her groundbreaking contributions to women’s health and health disparities, Dr. Coney was elected to the Institute of Medicine, one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine.

Her compassion, strong leadership skills, and determination make Dr. Coney an exemplary role model and advocate for all. She has positively impacted the lives of thousands of patients, community members, medical students, residents, faculty, and other health professionals. Dr. PonJola Coney is most deserving of the 2014 WISDM Professional Achievement Award.

Alpha A. (Berry) Fowler, III, M.D.


MCV Physicians Distinguished Clinician Award

Professor of Medicine Berry Fowler, M.D., has led the Division of Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care Medicine for over 20 years, a period when the Division has routinely been recognized for excellence in education, clinical care, research, and service. He came to VCU SOM as an internal medicine resident, training under renowned clinicians such as Robert Irby, M.D., G. Watson James, M.D., and Orhan Muran, M.D. Moving to Colorado for fellowship study, Dr. Fowler returned to VCU SOM as an Assistant Professor of Medicine and has stayed for the past 32 years.

As Daniel Grinnan, M.D. and Catherine Grossman, M.D. Associate Professors in the Division, explain, “he has always emphasized that the Division is a family, and that those within it should be treated as such.” Dr. Fowler has led this family as the Division has grown and incorporated new clinical areas such as interventional pulmonology, adult cystic fibrosis, and pulmonary hypertension. VCU’s Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care Medicine Division has been listed in US and World News Report as one of the nation’s best Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care Medicine Divisions.

Known for his love of clinical teaching, Dr. Fowler has said that he worked hard to become an effective teacher, desiring “to be able to convey very complex details in an understandable way to both medical housestaff and nursing staff.” This dedication was fruitful; in addition to teaching recognitions from students and residents, Dr. Fowler received the Irby-James Award for Excellence in Clinical Teaching from the School of Medicine in 2005. In 2006, Dr. Fowler was awarded the Virginia Commonwealth University Distinguished Teaching Award in 2006 and the prestigious Outstanding Faculty Award by the State Council of Higher Education in Virginia. Due in large part to his example, the Division has been recognized with “Best Teaching Division” awards by the Department of Internal Medicine for many consecutive years.

Dr. Fowler is an accomplished NIH-funded investigator, researching the molecular basis of lung injury and the role of ascorbic acid, a form of vitamin C, in reducing the effects of septic acute lung injury and organ failure. His work is a model of bench to bedside research. Drs. Grinnan and Grossman describe his work with vitamin C starting with many years of evaluating and treating patients in the Medical Respiratory Intensive Care Unit (MRICU). Suspecting a role for vitamin C in caring for these patients, Dr. Fowler proceeded with bench research and early clinical studies, which led to his current multi-million dollar, multi-center study that holds great promise for improved patient care. This integration of basic science and clinical knowledge is an outstanding feature of his laboratory and bedside teaching.

Dr. Fowler created an innovative multidisciplinary Pulmonary Nodule Clinic, working with Dr. Anthony Cassano from the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery in order to provide better integrated care to patients. A busy clinician, he sees patients in the private pulmonary clinic and in the fellows’ pulmonary clinic as well as (quite often) serving as the attending physician for the Pulmonary Consult Service.

Dr. Fowler mentors numerous medical students, residents, and fellows. He has been listed in the publication, “Best Doctors in America” for over 20 years. He is in demand as a consultant to the NIH, the FDA, and industry. He is the “go-to” clinician for difficult cases. Dr. Fowler credits his patients for molding him into the type of physician he wanted to be, “someone who is able to care for the most complex of the complex disease processes.” For his excellence in his clinical work, teaching, research, and leadership, Dr. Berry Fowler is most deserving of the MCVP Distinguished Clinician Award.

Jay H. Shapiro, M.D.


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

Anyone who reads Dr. Jay Shapiro’s resume is struck by the unique experiences that make up his professional and personal life: former volunteer firefighter and paramedic, member of the Central Virginia Beekeepers’ Association, one of the team members performing the first heart transplant in Guyana. No wonder Dr. Shapiro is described by his colleagues as “an outstanding role model” who handles “daunting changes with grace and style.”

After coming to VCU in 1989, Dr. Shapiro advanced through academic ranks to become a full professor in the Department of Anesthesiology. By 1999, he was the Program Director for the department’s residency program — a time described by the department chair as a low point due to unexpected departures of key staff members. In his reference letter, chairman John Butterworth writes, “Against overwhelming adversity, Dr. Shapiro stepped into this leadership role and through his own hard work and dedication maintained continued accreditation of the residency program … In recent years, Dr. Shapiro has had the pleasure of watching his program become recognized regionally and nationally for its quality.”

Another colleague describes him as a mentor who is sought out for counsel on difficult issues. Known for his wisdom and quiet leadership, Dr. Shapiro is a tireless advocate for residents, fellows, associates and patients. In addition to his demanding clinical and educational duties, he regularly embarks on medical mission trips to Guatemala. In June of 2003, he was awarded the 1st Annual Dr. Julian Metz Humanitarian Award by the International Hospital for Children (IHC). In 2009, IHC acknowledged him for ongoing efforts in support of IHC missions.

Anesthesiology Education Chief Resident, Nadia Hensley, has worked with Dr. Shapiro on the department’s education committee which is preparing an overhaul to the curriculum. She writes that he “is leading this paradigm shift in the way we will be taught in the future by discussing with the residents their thoughts on the most effective teachers … His active and enthusiastic role in developing our new didactic program demonstrates his leadership and commitment to graduate medical education.”

Nearly all of the letters recommending Dr. Shapiro for this award describe the “sea change” that occurred to the Anesthesiology Residency program under his leadership. Perhaps the comment made by Chief Resident, David Kast, embodies everyone’s feeling about this year’s awardee: “[he] serves as an outstanding role model as to the type of physician this program intends to produce. I can say without hesitation that I would allow Dr. Shapiro to care for my own children, a comment I do not make lightly and would extend to few others.”

Beth C. Marshall, M.D.


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

Dr. Beth Marshall is no stranger to VCU. After obtaining a B.S. in Zoology from Duke University, she came to VCU to complete another B.S. in Medical Technology, followed by medical school, residency and fellowship training. Her colleagues in the Department of Pediatrics have watched her grow from medical student to Director of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Fellowship Program. Dr. William Koch describes her as “a dedicated and effective teacher [who is] highly regarded among the residents for her clinical teaching and her approachable style.”

Boundless energy and strong organizational skills are key elements for any fellowship director and Dr. Marshall has a surplus of both, taking on the role soon after becoming a faculty member in the department and just prior to a site visit from the ACGME. Department chair, Suzanne Lavoie, writes that “through her tireless energy and work, we were able to get through that site visit with flying colors.” Dr. Lavoie continues her praise, saying that when Beth “takes on a job, it isn’t to just get it done, it is to do it with EXCELLENCE and flair.” Dr. Marshall serves as a role model for fellows and residents in her work ethic and her dedication to her patients, “demonstrating patient-centered care with every interaction.”

Outside of her department, Dr. Marshall has impressed the Assistant Dean for Preclinical Medical Education, Dr. Susan DiGiovanni, with her dedication, effort and excellence as a Physician Coordinator for the Practice of Clinical Medicine course — a new course for the new undergraduate medical education curriculum. Beth not only taught the lion’s share of the course, she also designed the curriculum, made syllabus materials, checklists and cases. In short, writes Dr. DiGiovanni, “she really did an extraordinary job putting the new course together!” Comments from students in her course echo these observations: “Dr. Marshall is so engaging” and “Dr. Marshall is very invested in our academic success.”

Perhaps the most telling praise comes from the fellows in her program:

“Dr. Marshall excels at teaching. I owe a major part of being a competent Pediatric Infectious Diseases physician to the knowledge she has imparted with one-on-one instruction … Too many times leaders only speak but never listen. Dr. Marshall improves upon her leadership on a daily basis by making listening a vital part.”

“On a personal note, Dr. Marshall is an inspiration for all professional mothers … As a new mother myself, I have felt torn between the desire for an intellectually stimulating career and the ability to adequately provide for my child’s needs. I have often looked to Dr. Marshall for an example of how to do both well with one role not excluding the other.”

“… few physicians blend education and patient care as eloquently as Beth Marshall. Her dedication and commitment to her patients embodies the archetype of the humanistic medical practitioner.”

Rachel Ferguson Van Hart


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

This year’s awardee, Rachel Ferguson Van Hart, clearly exemplifies the very essence of outstanding Residency Program Coordinator. Never obtrusive, but always calmly positive and incredibly efficient, Rachel guided not one successful fellowship, but many. Four fellows from the Hospice and Palliative Care Fellowship describe her as “one of the best facets of our program…[and] there is no better ambassador for the program or VCUHS.”

The life of a Residency Program Coordinator may best be described as that of a rollercoaster operator: the sharp climb up towards Match Day, the free fall down as graduating residents and fellows leave the program to take their places in their professional world and all the twists and curves in between. Through every curve, climb and fall, the Program Coordinator functions as the guiding rails for roller coaster carts. Not only seeing to the personal well-being of the program’s residents and fellows, the Coordinator must attend to details like accreditation paperwork, individual evaluations, call room needs and countless other items. In addition, a coordinator must be ever responsive to the needs of her program’s director. For such a highly integral job, the very best coordinators often function so seamlessly and effortlessly as to be invisible. Their programs and departments are known widely as being very successful and attractive to applicants, clinical faculty and others — and underlying that glowing reputation is the strong infrastructure of an excellent coordinator.

The letters of reference for Rachel’s candidacy were fervent in their praise of her:

“The expertise, maturity and wisdom that Rachel exudes is remarkable. Those characteristics, in addition to the humility, passion and sense of humor that she models is the embodiment of a true leader. Her contributions are truly limitless.” LaCretia Lewis and Jeanette Wood (Fellowship Coordinators)

“Rachel has humanistic qualities that shine in a medical setting.” Gonzalo Bearman, MD, MPH (Chair, Division of Infectious Diseases)

In addition to fulfilling her duties as a coordinator, Rachel collaborated as the managing editor and design and copy editor of VCU’s Medical Literary Messenger — all while taking coursework to complete her master’s degree in English and finding time to publish in a peer-reviewed journal.

Although Rachel is leaving us to pursue her education, we are honored to recognize her stellar contributions to the University and VCUHS.

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Updated: 08/19/2008