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School of Medicine profiles

October 2017 Archives

October 5, 2017

Kimberly W. Sanford, M.D.

Enrique Gerszten, M.D. Faculty Teaching Excellence Award

“Dr. Sanford was made for teaching,” states colleague, John A Svirsky, D.D.S. M.Ed., professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, VCU School of Dentistry. Her students agree enthusiastically: “One of the most kind and passionate professors we have had this year.” “There are not enough words in the English language for me to describe how amazing Dr. Sanford is,” and “Her enthusiasm and teaching excellence made Pathology come to life.”

Kimberly Sanford, M.D. (M.D.’01, Housestaff, ’06) has been on faculty since 2006, and is Associate Professor and Medical Director, Transfusion Medicine, Medical Director of Stony Point Laboratory, and Undergraduate Medical Education Director, Department of Pathology. After joining the faculty, she completed a fellowship in transfusion medicine at UVA. She serves as Course Director for the Foundations of Disease M1 Course and is the M2 Cardiovascular Pathology Instructor. Her educational leadership roles include serving as Chair of the SOM Curriculum Council Pre-Clinical Subcommittee for UME. Dr. Sanford provides daily instruction to residents and fellows in transfusion medicine and fulfills major educational leadership roles in the Schools of Dentistry and Allied Health Professions.

“Few educators have the ability, as Kim does, to touch the minds so personally of a hundred students in a lecture setting, as if she were elbow to elbow, eye to eye.” remembers former resident Catherine L.B. Palmer, M.D., Pathologist, Community Memorial Hospital Laboratory Medical Director.

Dr. Sanford led significant contributions to our new SOM curriculum, incorporating innovations to engage students and improve critical thinking. She is consistently ranked as one of the top course directors as well as one of the best teachers in our medical school. “Her gift, it seems, is the ability to put herself in the place of beginning students, to carefully discern the students’ needs, and then to deliver perfectly constructed lessons that leave the students begging for more,” describes Linda Costanzo, Ph.D., Professor of Physiology and Biophysics.

Dr. Sanford has received a Best Teacher Award every year since she began teaching the Pathogenesis course. Dr. Sanford also teaches high school students locally and nationally, inspiring young people interested in a science career. She is currently President of the Women in Science, Dentistry and Medicine (WISDM) professional development group,
supporting colleagues throughout their career development.

Dr. Sanford has over 50 published papers and abstracts, and has authored or co-authored ten book chapters. She is a member of the Editorial Review Board for the American Journal of Clinical Pathology. Dr. Sanford has had a significant impact on continuing professional education on the national level through her service for the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), one of the largest medical specialty societies in the U.S. “Dr. Sanford was one of the key individuals who revamped the ASCP’s annual meeting and subsequently planned all of the educational activities of this meeting for 4 years. Under her direction, the annual meeting tripled its attendance and is currently one of the premier pathology annual meetings,” states David Lewis, M.D., Immediate Past President of ASCP. In recognition of her accomplishments, Dr. Sanford was awarded an ASCP Mastership Award and in 2015 was presented with the ASCP H.P. Smith Distinguished Pathology Educator award for outstanding service and excellence in teaching.

Fellow ASCP board member Nathan H. Johnson, Colonel, USAF, BSC, Ph.D., Director of the Defense Health Agency Center for Laboratory Medicine Services, states, “Dr. Sanford cares about her students in a way that is highly unusual in today’s world. Personally, I am bringing my daughter, a very young medical laboratory professional, to our annual meeting this year, and Dr. Sanford is the one person I want her to meet!”

Because of her passion for excellence in pathology teaching and her genuine personal interest in her students, Dr. Sanford is often compared to Dr. Enrique Gerszten, for whom this award is named. It is most fitting to recognize her with this honor.

Duane C. Williams, M.D.

Irby-James Award for Excellence in Clinical Teaching

“Dr. Duane Williams is my role model as a human being.”

Dr. Duane Williams, Assistant Professor, Interim Division Chief, Pediatric Critical Care, joined our faculty in 2013, and in a short time has demonstrated his consummate skills as an extraordinary clinical teacher. He was selected for the Pediatric Housestaff Teaching Award after his fi rst year at VCU. “Residents adore his kind, compassionate demeanor as well as his ability to provide them with as much autonomy as possible in a busy and often stress-filled PICU,” states Clifton C. Lee, M.D., FAAP, SFHM, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Hospital Medicine, Children’s Hospital of Richmond (CHoR) at VCU.

Colleagues, residents, and students repeatedly cite Dr. Williams as one who teaches not only information, but by example. “I have always been taught medicine is multi-disciplinary, but Dr. Williams makes that lesson come to life; residents, nurses, respiratory therapists, and families all gather around the glass walls of the PICU as he whips out his dry-erase markers and illustrates the principles of mechanical ventilation, cardiac surgery, and asthma…he illustrates that all of those in the room are vital to the care of the patient.” recalls Nada Mallick, M.D., former Chief Resident, Pediatrics.

Dr. Williams has also directed the Proceduralist track in the pediatric residency program for the last three years, developing new lectures, workshops, and simulations. As his Chair, Bruce K. Rubin, MEngr, M.D., M.B.A., FRCPC, Jessie Ball duPont Distinguished Professor and Chair describes, due to the good news that pediatric codes are extremely rare, it can be hard for trainees to develop the skills needed to participate in or run a code. The mock code simulations that Dr. Williams has developed teach the important skills of teamwork, timing, communication, and effectiveness and provide immediate feedback to all providers. Former resident Sunana Dhir, M.D., can attest to the impact of this exercise. “The skills I learned with this mock code program gave me the confi dence to save a life of a 72-year old surgeon in cardiac arrest in a restaurant. Dr. Williams’ voice reverberated in my head even then: ‘If you’re not sure you feel a pulse, you’re never wrong to start compressions.’ ”

The ability to challenge learners while empowering them is rare, but Dr. Williams establishes a learning environment that is rigorous, yet supportive. “In addition to formal teaching rounds, ‘Dr. D.’ provides informal teaching with feedback on a daily, if not hourly, basis. As both a resident and a fellow, he has encouraged me to ‘question all decisions’ made by those more senior to me…He has a unique skill of using the trainee’s question to challenge the trainee to think through the possibility of several management options and the physiology behind each.” Kara Greenfi eld, D.O., Pediatric Critical Care Medicine Fellow.

“His kindness, his compassion, his willingness to sit with any parent any time, as long as it’s necessary to assure that all questions are answered, teaches our residents and fellows by example what it is to be a physician,” declares Doug Willson, M.D., John Mickell Professor of Pediatric Critical Care. PGY-3 Pediatrics resident Ali Hemyari, M.D., still recalls Dr. Williams’ response to a request for some time during a busy service, “How can I serve?” “Those words have stuck by me: he is a constant reminder that being a physician is fi rst and foremost a dedication to serve.”

We are so fortunate to have Dr. Williams at VCU. As a resident commented, “Whenever I work with him, I want to be a better doctor, I want to read more, I want to be more compassionate…He not only cares deeply for his patients, but also cares for the residents as well. Such a gift to work with him.”

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

Distinguished Mentor Award

In his 35 years of service at VCU, Alpha A. “Berry” Fowler, M.D., Professor of Medicine and Director, VCU Johnson Center for Critical Care and Pulmonary Research, has had a profound influence at VCU and beyond. Considering his robust grant support and over 300 publications and abstracts in clinical areas including adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and sepsis, he might well be lauded for that alone. Likewise, with over 16 years as Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care Medicine (PDCCM) Division Chair, with numerous “Top Doc” awards and other honors, his pursuit of excellence in clinical care, impacting thousands of patients and their families, might well be the highlight of most careers. Today, we honor Dr. Fowler for the countless students, residents, fellows, and interdisciplinary colleagues he has mentored and continues to mentor.

Dr. Fowler’s seemingly natural ability to recognize a person’s areas of strength and what is needed to develop further, combined with his genuine personal interest and dedication, has elevated the careers of a generation of learners, many of whom now work with Dr. Fowler as colleagues. His support continues beyond
graduation, or promotion, throughout his mentees’ careers.

Julia A. Messina, M.D., M.Sc., currently Transplant Infectious Diseases Fellow at Duke University, met Dr. Fowler in 2004, when she was applying to medical school, but was not invited to interview at her schools of choice. Dr. Fowler recommended she attend graduate school, offered her a position in his lab during her program, and has advised and encouraged her through admission to VCU SOM, residency, and fellowship to her current junior faculty position. “Dr. Fowler has been one of the most important mentors in my career, second only to my own father.”

Dr. Fowler makes a difference every day, sometimes with just a well-timed phone call. “Just after I graduated my fellowship, I was on weekend call as the attending physician in our busy, challenging, and invigorating MRICU. I was caring for several critically ill patients with complex medical problems, and it was a daunting feeling. Dr. Fowler had heard that I was working, and he called me…He let me know that he had confidence in me, but if I needed anything, he was spending the weekend in his office working on a grant, and was only a phone call away,” recalls Kristin Miller, M.D. Assistant Professor, VCU PDCCM.

Dr. Fowler is well-known for his dedication to developing his Division as a team and is extremely proud that Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine has won the Best Internal Medicine Faculty Teaching Division Award for 11 years in a row. He shows an interest in everyone in the Division, in every role, by helping them be the best they can be, personally and professionally. “In the 10 years that he served as my boss, I never once had to wonder if he supported me, if he wanted me to succeed, if he would go the extra step to get me where I wanted to go,” states division colleague Daniel C. Grinnan, Associate Professor of Medicine.

Lori Sweeney, M.D., Associate Professor of Medicine, VCUHS and Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center, keeps Dr. Fowler’s “pearls,” shared over nearly two decades, close to heart and says, “I think Dr. Fowler’s success in mentoring centers around his essence as a humanistic doctor. He is inherently selfless, ethical, and loving.”

Ramesh Natarajan, Ph.D. Professor of Medicine, PDCCM, agrees. “Another aspect of his mentorship is more subtle. This has to do with the way he leads his life, with the way he deals with obstacles that come his way and the gracious manner with which he respects all, regardless of skill or ability. And unlike a career path, this path deals with life itself and the way to conduct oneself. In this aspect, I believe Dr. Fowler is unsurpassed.”

S. Murthy Karnam, Ph.D.

Distinguished Mentor Award

Brilliant. Accomplished. Dedicated. Smiling. Warm. Generous. Humble. These are the words you hear over and over from those describing S. Murthy Karnam, Ph.D., currently Professor of Physiology & Biophysics. Dr. Karnam came to VCU as a postdoctoral scholar in 1988. He also holds an appointment in the Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology. He is universally known for his open door, welcoming smile, and willingness to make time to discuss a question, concern, or discovery.

Dr. Karnam’s guidance has significantly contributed to developing scientists; he has served as primary mentor for 9 Ph.D. students, one M.D-Ph.D. student, and 6 M.S. students. He has been on the thesis committees of 28 M.S. and Ph.D. students and has trained 17 Ph.D. and M.D. postdoctoral fellows. Dr. Karnam’s students have gone on to medical and dental school, highly prestigious postdoctoral positions, and faculty positions in universities and medical schools worldwide, becoming accomplished investigators, faculty members and clinicians in their own right.

Dr. Karnam is a world-renowned expert in the field of gastrointestinal smooth muscle physiology and cell biology, and has published over 150 articles and reviews in peer-reviewed journals. He is faculty on several NIH T32 Training Grants and lectures in the M-1 curriculum. He lectures, and has served as course director, for advanced graduate courses in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics, and the School of Dentistry. VCU undergraduate students who are interested in exploring research during the summer are welcome in Dr. Karnam’s lab. He has been recognized with the VCU SOM Research Recognition Award (2005) and the VCU SOM Teaching Recognition Award (2008).

Liya Qiao, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Physiology & Biophysics, recalls that Murthy is known for his quiet manner, but “I still recall when I first heard his “loud” voice from the hallway many years ago, I was eager to rush into the room to check on him… I found that he was with his student and giving a ‘lecture” on research projects with great excitement.”

“He broke all the barriers from the first day I joined the lab, the thing that gave me the freedom to do my own work with great flexibility and much respect. He considered my family as part of his lab, and his warmth and kindness made our long journey short and helped overcome homesickness.” Explains Othman Al-Shboul, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Physiology, Jordan University of Science and Technology.

Mentee Wenhui Hu, MD, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Pathology and Lab Medicine, Center for Metabolic Disease Research, Temple University, describes, “With his strong support and outstanding mentorship, my first NIH-R01 grant was funded in 2006. Since then, he has continuously mentored me…encouraging me work harder and better for my career development. In the past 8 years, my research was funded by 3 NIH-R01s, 1 NIHR21, and 1 DOD grant. In addition, I published 35 articles and built up several novel interesting projects for further extramural funding support. I believe that my career success in the past years is significantly attributed to Dr. Karnam’s excellent mentorship”

Sometimes something as simple as a smile can make a big difference. Charles Anderson, Jr. Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Physiology and Biophysics, recalls starting to tire during his dissertation defense, which was otherwise going well. He was asked a question, and wearily picked up a marker to draw a diagram. Dr. Murthy rose from his chair, smiling. “(He) knew I was flagging, took the marker from my hand, and said, ‘Andy, you’re going to get your Ph.D. You’re doing great.’ When he placed that marker back in my hand, and patted my shoulder, I knew how to answer the question. And I smiled while I answered it.” Dr. Karnam has helped many young scientists know how to answer questions, to our great benefit.

Michael Joyce, M.D. and Sammy Pedram, M.D.

Educational Innovation Award/Educational Research Award

“Coolest class ever.”

Point of care ultrasound allows us to be able to see inside a patient without scheduling them for X-Ray, moving them from their room, or worrying about ionizing radiation exposure. Images are obtained in real time, allowing quicker assessment and improved patient care. It has rapidly been incorporated into patient care in nearly every specialty, so it is important for our medical students to learn this skill. Introducing any curricular innovation, especially one that requires hands-on training, is challenging with a medical school class size of over 200 students. Even more daunting can be coordinating this new material with the rest of the curriculum to enhance and reinforce student learning.

Enter Drs. Sammy Pedram and Michael Joyce. Dr. Pedram joined the VCU faculty in 2009, and is Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine, Division of Pulmonary Diseases and Critical Care, Medical Director of the Resource Intensivist Program, and Co-Medical Director of the Pulmonary Fellows Clinic. He is certified in critical care ultrasonography from the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) and is a member of the Ultrasound Simulation Faculty of the ACCP. In 2012 he developed a formal curriculum in Critical Care Ultrasound for the Pulmonary and Critical Care fellows and continues to provide training and oversight. He has received the Distinguished Teaching Award, Outstanding Faculty Award, and Excellence in Teaching Awards from the Department of Internal Medicine.

As an attending, Dr. Pedram met intern Dr. Michael Joyce, who joined the VCU Faculty in 2015 as Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine, after completing a fellowship in Emergency Clinical Ultrasound. As a registered diagnostic medical and cardiac sonographer, Dr. Joyce is a key ultrasound educator for our faculty, residents, and students.

Seeing ultrasound as an extension of the physical examination, Dr. Pedram and Dr. Joyce collaborated to design an ultrasound course for first year medical students. The Ultrasound Course is designed to complement the longitudinal Principles of Clinical Medicine (PCM) course, which introduces history taking and physical examination skills. Students learn using an asynchronous “flipped-classroom” model. Students must complete pre-course reading and video assignments, and their progress is tracked to assure all modules are successfully completed before the hands-on class session. Then, students attend small group, hands-on training with experienced instructors using standardized patients. Students receive one-on-one teaching and immediate feedback about their technique, image acquisition, and interpretation. Whenever possible, ultrasound sessions cover the same topics as students are covering in PCM, for example, learning cardiac ultrasound (echocardiography) along with heart auscultation.

The new course started in the 2016-17 academic year and was immediately a favorite of students – and those teaching them. As Thomas Iden, M.D., Assistant Professor, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and a small group leader in the PCM Course, explains, “the wonderment that emerges as a first-year medical student visualizes the heart for the first time while performing his/her initial cardiac ultrasound – a picture really is worth a thousand words.”

As Course Directors, Drs. Pedram and Joyce were not satisfied with the glowing feedback they received – they want to see if their course is making a real difference. At the first annual SOM Medical Education Symposium last spring, they presented their preliminary data, comparing PCM student OSCE scores pre- and post- ultrasound course. Their work received an Honorable Mention award, recognizing their creativity and rigorous approach to evaluating their work.

Future plans for the Ultrasound Course include expansion to integrate throughout medical school, and the development of learning resources to allow students to continue learning ultrasound skills while on clinical rotations. As Directors of the VCU Undergraduate Medical Student Ultrasound Course, Dr. Sammy Pedram and Dr. Michael Joyce benefit our students, and our patients, through their dedication to innovative teaching and educational scholarship.

Harold F. Young, M.D.

Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award

Dr. Harold F. Young’s name is synonymous with excellence and humanism. He came to MCV as an Associate Professor of Neurosurgery in 1972, and served as Chair of the Department of Neurosurgery from 1985 to 2015. He is currently Professor of Neurosurgery, and Director of the Harold F. Young Neurosurgical Center. Dr. Young’s exceptional career has been dedicated to service to patients, service to his students, and service to improving health care through applied scholarship. As Chair, Dr. Young assembled a team recognized nationally for its research and clinical care. The VCUHS Neurosurgical Center, named for Dr. Young, trains young clinicians and scientists to work together to provide evidence-based and compassionate patient care; in fact, the stated mission of the Center is the commitment “to providing exceptional and compassionate patient care.”

If you ask patients or colleagues about Dr. Young, what you will hear about first and foremost is his commitment to his patients. His absolute expectation that all patients and their families, as well as colleagues from all disciplines, will be treated with the highest respect and consideration, without exception, has helped to raise the expectations for compassionate care throughout our medical center. Calling every patient the evening before surgery, and being in the O.R. to hold every patient’s hand as he or she is placed under anesthesia, are things that modern surgeons just don’t do, but they go a long way towards reducing a patient’s anxiety. In turn, he has taught his students and residents to do the same. His clinics tended to run late because he spent time talking with his patients— not just about their medical problems, but about their families, their communities, and their lives. Every evening, he would pick up the infamous stack of pink slips with phone messages from patients, and he would spend the rest of the evening returning their calls. When complimented on his achievements, he says, “I was able to do this because…” and lists his co-workers and their contributions, giving the credit to those around him.

Dr. Young’s connection with his patients is such that in 2010, a patient that Dr. Young had not seen in over 40 years, Donald Mason, traveled to VCUHS to be reunited with the physician who had treated him three separate times during Mr. Mason’s military service in the Vietnam War. In Chu Lai, Dr. Young saved Mr. Mason’s life by operating to repair damage from a significant brain injury caused by a missile wound. Later, Dr. Young cared for Mr. Mason at Fitzsimons Army Hospital in Colorado and again, in Kansas City. Although Mr. Mason did not know Dr. Young’s full name, he and his wife tracked down the surgeon who had such an impact on his life. “I thought about him every day.” said Mr. Mason, “He is just like family to me.”

In 2014, the VCU School of Medicine opened the McGlothlin Medical Education Center, funded, in part, by a gift of $25 million from the McGlothlin family in honor of Dr. Harold Young’s compassionate clinical care and excellence in teaching.

Dr. Young has served on the Board of Directors of the MCV Foundation since 1994. In 1997, he received the University Award of Excellence, the highest honor that VCU bestows on faculty and in 2014, Dr. Young was honored with the VCU Presidential Medallion.

Dr. Young is held in the highest regard by everyone he encounters and has served as a role model for generations of students, residents, and faculty. His humanistic approach to patients, their families, and colleagues underlies his excellence in clinical care, education, and scholarship, and exemplifi es the ideals of the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award.

Saba W. Masho, M.D., M.P.H., Dr.P.H.

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

Passion and commitment. These words come up repeatedly when students and colleagues describe Saba Masho, M.D., MPH, DrPH. Dr. Masho is Professor of Epidemiology in the VCU Departments of Family Medicine and Population Health, Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Psychology; her work focuses on maternal and child health epidemiology.

Dr. Masho came to VCU in 2001 and serves as PI for multiple federally funded research projects in the areas of perinatal health, youth violence prevention and provision of comprehensive care to underserved families. She has completed projects funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Richmond City Health Department, and Virginia Premier and has authored over 100 peer-reviewed publications, monographs, and book chapters. A popular speaker, Dr. Masho has given over 200 invited presentations at the local and national level.

Dr. Masho is Graduate Programs Director for the Division of Epidemiology, overseeing the MPH and PhD programs. She directs Community Engaged Research at the VCU Institute for Women’s Health, a federally designated National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health. Dr. Masho is a very popular mentor, formally mentoring over 80 graduate students, medical students, and medical residents, and 20 PhD students as dissertation chair or committee member.

At the VCU Institute of Women’s Health, Dr. Masho is responsible for developing a research agenda to guide community-based women’s health research at VCU, establishing and building collaboration with community based organizations to foster research, working with faculty to identify funding opportunities, and mentoring junior faculty in community based research.

Mentee Patricia Kinser, PhD, WHNP-BC, RN, Assistant Professor, VCU School of Nursing, states “She is gifted in her ability to explain a complicated research methodology in a simplified way to make data analysis methods seem uncomplicated to those without her extensive epidemiology/statistics background.”

Dr. Masho has maintained a significant formal teaching schedule, offering graduate and medical student courses on grant writing, epidemiology, global and population health, violence prevention, and perinatal health. She also serves as MPH practicum and PhD directed research faculty. She has received 11 teaching awards for teaching MPH, PhD, and MD students in Epidemiology and in the MD Curriculum.

Dr. Masho’s commitment to service is significant, from HRSA Consultant and Evaluation Consultant for projects in New York City, to participating in the CDC Technical Working Group and Youth Violence Prevention Alcohol Control Workgroup, and the HRSA National Health Start Evaluation Panel. She is a board member for the Carol Adams Foundation (supporting domestic and sexual violence victims in Richmond), the March of Dimes, Richmond Health Start, and the Community Engagement Federation. Since 2008 Dr. Masho has served as the VCU SOM Women and Science liaison with the AAMC to support advancement of women in science. In 2015, Dr. Masho was honored by Birth Matters Virginia as a Birth Matters Advocate of the Year for her work in improving birth outcomes and eliminating health disparities for women.

In 2016, Dr. Masho and co-principal investigator Terri Sullivan, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, VCU College of Humanities and Sciences, were awarded a $6 million, five-year, CDC grant to work with Richmond communities to promote healthy communities and reduce the rate of violence. The project supports the work of the Clark-Hill Institute for Positive Youth Development at VCU, one of five national centers of excellence for youth violence prevention funded by the CDC. Community partners include the Mosby, Whitcomb and Gilpin court neighborhoods in Richmond’s East End, as well as in Hillside Court and Bellemeade in South Richmond.

Recognizing her success as a mentor and role model to female faculty, her professionalism, leadership, scholarship, and teaching excellence, we honor Dr. Saba Masho today.

Uma R. Prasad, M.D.

MCV Physicians Distinguished Clinician Award

What more could you ask of your doctor than to demonstrate, in the words of a colleague, “clinical excellence and effectiveness, efficiency, availability for patient care, compassion, and responsiveness to patients and referring physicians”? Dr. Uma R. Prasad, interventional radiologist, Associate Professor of Radiology and Director of Ultrasound and the Non- Vascular Interventional Radiology Service, has demonstrated exceptional commitment to providing the best possible patient care during nearly 30 years of service in the VCU Health System.

Her Department Chair, Ann Fulcher, M.D., Professor of Radiology and Director of Abdominal Imaging, met Dr. Prasad, then a 3rd year VCU radiology resident, on her very first day as a resident in the Department of Radiology. “Even at that early point in my education, I recognized her dedication to patient care, professionalism, outstanding fund of knowledge and the respect shown to her by faculty members, fellow residents, and technologists. Since (then), I have witnessed on a daily basis the manner in which she cares for patients as well as her high level of expertise in the arenas of interventional radiology and sonography. At all times, her demeanor is one that exemplifies professionalism.”

Since joining the Department of Radiology as faculty in 1989, Dr. Prasad has been recognized for introducing or adopting procedures and processes to improve care for her patients. In the mid-1990’s, Dr. Prasad fostered transcatheter embolizations of splenic artery aneurysms in collaboration with radiology and trauma surgery colleagues and performed the first placement of metallic stents in the tracheobronchial tree at VCU. In 2003, Dr. Prasad pioneered the performance and implementation of uterine fibroid embolization and laser vein treatments at our institution. To this day, she is the primary VCU radiologist who performs uterine fibroid embolizations and who educates the community about the advantages afforded by this technique. In 2005, she founded the Non-Vascular Interventional Radiology Service which provides high quality and timely services such as biopsies and drainages for inpatients and outpatients. In 2006, she implemented the placement of Aspira catheters for palliative care patients at VCU which allowed the avoidance of repeated interventions to relieve ascites. In 2010, Dr. Prasad created a Botox injection service for the treatment of sialorrhea, especially helpful in Parkinson’s patients. In 2012, she adopted ultrasound guidance for abdominal wall injections for pain relief and, in the same year, implemented the placement of fistula plugs for the treatment of enterocutaneous fistulae. In 2013, in association with the VCU Division of Urology, she performed penile Doppler ultrasound. This year, Dr. Prasad established a contrast-enhanced ultrasound service at VCU. This technique is performed at only a few institutions in the US and is used to screen for and evaluate a number of diseases involving the liver, kidneys and ureters.

Dr. Prasad actively contributes to scholarship in her field, with over 66 articles published in peer-reviewed publications, and over 150 scientific posters and papers presented at specialty meetings. She has created instructional materials to train others in advanced clinical approaches. Dr. Prasad has been honored with the Best Teacher and Outstanding Faculty of the Year awards by radiology residents, the Anthony V. Proto Resident Research Fund Outstanding Faculty of the Year and Outstanding Mentor awards, and VCUHS Shining Knight honors from the Department of Surgery.

Dr. Prasad’s expertise in interventional radiology and sonography has benefitted innumerable patients and has advanced patient care in her field. She has shared this expertise with thousands of medical students, trainees, and colleagues. Dr. Uma R. Prasad is a role model for continuing improvement to provide excellent patient care, effective interdisciplinary practice, and professionalism, and we honor her with the 2017 MCVP Distinguished Clinician Award.

John Christian Barrett, M.D.

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

This year’s Fellowship Program Director award is honoring Dr. Christian Barrett for his service as the Hematology-Oncology Fellowship Director – a role he has occupied since 2011. In addition to managing the fellowship, Dr. Barrett is also the Associate Chair of Clinical Affairs for the Department of Internal Medicine, the Medical Director of the Anti-coagulation Clinic, Medical Director of the Central Virginia Center for Coagulation Disorders, and Co- Director of the M1 Marrow Course at the VCU School of Medicine.

In their letter of support for Dr. Barrett, Dr. John Nestler (Internal Medicine Department Chair) and Dr. Curtis Sessler (Interim Associate Chair for Faculty Development), refer to him as the “quintessential” fellowship program director. Dr. Barrett, they write, is providing a “dedicated and innovative approach to training the next generation of subspecialists that has been highly successful at VCU” and furthermore, plays a “central role in shaping the future of fellowship training across the country.” Their four-page letter glowingly describes his numerous achievements and accolades including multiple Outstanding Teacher awards. He is consistently scored highly as an attending physician by fellows and residents whose comments Drs. Nestler and Sessler sprinkled throughout their letter: “role model,” “superb mix of clinical teaching and academic science,” and “best two weeks on service ever.” Even quotes from colleagues both within and outside VCU are included in their praise: “Dr. Barrett is fantastic,” a “thought leader in Hematology-Oncology,” and “Dr. Barrett has emerged as a clear leader.”

In the spirit of collaboration, Dr. Barrett reaches beyond the traditional medical scope to provide innovative educational experiences for his trainees and colleagues. For example, he uses art from the Virginia Museum of Fine Art as a foundation for discussion and reflective exercises. He created a hematology core conference, structured research expectation and an annual faculty retreat emphasizing faculty development. Partnering with the VCU School of Theatre, Dr. Barrett developed a communication curriculum to address difficult topics such as delivering bad news and reporting medical errors. Ahead of the curve, he was one of the first fellowship directors to require his fellows to undertake additional quality and safety education via the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, allowing for formal quality analysis training.

As someone who teaches medical students in addition to managing a fellowship, Dr. Barrett receives extensive feedback from hundreds of learners. His nomination packet included close to a dozen pages of comments from them that attest to his presence in the classroom. Known for his distinctive bow ties as well as his unassuming demeanor, Dr. Barrett’s abilities were consistently noted and applauded in student evaluations over the years:

“Awesome!” • “Great professor. Knows his stuff and it shows” • “It was very apparent that he enjoys teaching and knows how to be an effective instructor” • “Dr. Barrett’s classes are the first ones where I feel like I could one day actually become a competent doctor. This guy is the best.” • “Awesome professor. Should win an award for professor of the year or something.” • “The man’s clothes are terrific and he is an outstanding lecturer. Give this man an award! And a raise.” • “Dr. Barrett inspired me and made me remember why I went into medicine in the first place.”

In a demanding sub-specialty, Dr. Barrett has found time to be an educational role model as well as a mentor and physician role model. We are pleased to award this year’s “Leadership in Graduate Medical Education – Fellowship Director” title to him.

Cindi Phares

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

The work of this year’s award recipient Cindi Phares never goes unnoticed. Her contributions are key to the strength and growth of the General Surgery Residency Program. Strong letters of support and words of gratitude are just small tokens of appreciation from the Department of Surgery, who has benefited from Cindi’s dedication to resident education since 2012. Prior to working for the Surgery Department, she was the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology’s Education Administrator for 11 years. She is motivated and innovative. She helped implement a weekly resident feedback processes and individualized attention fostering resident wellness and work-life balance. Third-year resident, Jonathan DeAntonio, states that Cindi “epitomizes what a residency coordinator should be because she cares about us as residents” and “is truly vital to our success as residents and along our transition to fellows and attendings”.

Trained as an Education Administrator with extensive experience in program coordination, and also TAGME certified, Cindi has been an integral part of VCU Health System since 1998. Now heavily relied on by Program Director, Dr. Rahul Anand and other administrative staff, Cindi continues to ensure organizational success through her decision making skills, critical thinking and compassionate attitude. Amanda Jabri, Administrative Assistant, notes how Cindi’s ability to manage conflict with “remarkable patience and admirable tact,” is just one way Cindi has earned such respect of residents, faculty and staff. She continues her support by explaining how Cindi is extremely task-oriented and always willing to take on difficult responsibilities. Her experience in graduate medical education and nurturing personality make her a great role-model and dependable resource. She is known for streamlining processes and bringing efficiency to training and administrative needs, while constantly helping to educate her peers as well. “Cindi brings passion to her position”, states Dr. Rahul Anand, eagerly expressing his gratitude for her hard work and tireless efforts given to numerous programs and successful classes of graduates.

Throughout narratives written for this special occasion, words such as “organized,” “valuable,” and “committed” are easily found to describe how Cindi has been instrumental to resident success. Nina Wickramaratne, a second year surgery resident, is thankful for how Cindi “fosters a sense of family among residents and faculty.” To do so, she “goes out of her way to provide everything we need to do our best both professionally and personally.” Her Department Chair, Dr. Vigneshwar Kasirajan, describes Cindi as “committed to excellence,” always exhibiting hard work, creativity and enthusiasm!

Christopher Kogut, M.D.

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

“Amazing” and “integral” are two of the descriptors recurring in multiple recommendation letters for this year’s LGME Residency Program Director Award. Since 2012, Dr. Chris Kogut
has directed the Psychiatry Residency program responsible for training 44 new residents annually. His department chairman, Dr. Joel Silverman, effusively praises Kogut, describing him as “exceedingly effective” and an “outstanding leader.” During his tenure as program director, Dr. Kogut has re-designed the curriculum leading to rising exam scores and high quality competition for residency spots. Despite significant administrative duties associated with program directorship, he maintains an active presence on the psychiatry consult service and is highly rated as an attending by both residents and medical students. Numerous teaching awards and a designation as one of Richmond Magazine’s “Top Doctors” underscores Dr. Kogut’s commitment to teaching and service. In fact, writes Silverman, as “an outstanding measure of leadership, dedication and capability,” Chris was asked by the graduating School of Medicine class of 2015 to serve as commencement speaker.

Dr. James Levenson, Chairman of Consultation/Liaison Psychiatry, has known Dr. Kogut since his early days as a psychiatry resident and psychosomatic medicine fellow. From there, writes Levenson, he became a colleague whose “upbeat attitude has been infectious, inspiriting both residents and faculty.” As a fellowship director himself, Levenson is aware of the demanding nature of a program director’s role and he praises Chris’s dedication to his career, calling him “an active voice for educational innovation in all arenas of teaching.” One such innovation is evident in the individualized learning plans Chris develops for his residents; apparently, he makes remediation so much fun that even those residents who do not need additional assistance choose to attend his sessions!

Current Chief Resident, Dr. Michael Fox praises his program director in these words: “He has been a source of support and encouragement throughout my time here and has been a perpetual role model. He was even a large part of my decision to come to the program. His enthusiasm for Richmond and VCU was contagious. Since being here I have found how integral he is to that town and our institution.”

Junior Chief Resident, Dr. Avneet Madan, writes that Dr. Kogut was the determining factor in her decision to come to VCU for residency training: “He has an open door policy which made the transition from medical student to intern smooth… He always finds a way to not only offer support, but actively assists us in working through concerns. He is invested in his residents and works tirelessly to ensure that our educational experiences are maximized… He is our strongest advocate and biggest supporter…[and] has an instinctual knack for seamlessly inspiriting a diverse coherency to not only get through residency, but also enjoy it.”

A former Chief Resident and now practicing psychiatrist in the community, Dr. Kara Beatty expresses her support of Chris Kogut by writing “[f]rom the moment I met Dr. Kogut on my interview day, I knew that VCU Psychiatry was a special place… I often tell incoming residency candidates that he is the biggest selling point to our program… When I started residency, I had concerns about moving to a new state without any family or friends nearby… [h]e provided the type of comfort and reassurance that is normally reserved for life-long friendships…I can recall multiple times that I visited his office to have a quick discussion that ended up resulting in a heart-felt conversation over an espresso… I often looked to him for guidance, but found that I was also provided with a dear colleague.”

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Updated: 08/19/2008