And the Humanism and Excellence in Teaching Awards Go to …

March 19, 2019 by School of Medicine Webmaster   |   Leave a Comment

(l-r) Robert Wiggins, MD; Alex Zimmet, MD; Michael Gallagher, MD; and Thomas Ball, MD. Not pictured: Amy Cohee, MD, and Samuel Cross, MD.

The Arnold P. Gold Foundation recently awarded its Humanism and Excellence in Teaching Award to six of our residents. This award recognizes outstanding humanistic teaching residents as identified by their students. This award is based on the residents’ exceptional teaching skills and commitment to the compassionate treatment of patients and families, students, and colleagues.

The awardees are: Thomas Ball, MD (Psychiatry); Amy Cohee, MD (Surgery); Sam Cross, MD (Pediatrics); Mike Gallagher, MD (Medicine); Robert Wiggins, MD (Neurology); and Alex Zimmet, MD (Medicine).

Dr. Thomas Ball

In his nomination letter, Ball was described as “an exemplary role model when it came to caring for the entire patient — he was always thoughtful and spoke/acted with intention. He was careful to consider the often-hidden challenges that patients face daily and worked ceaselessly to facilitate not only their medical care, but also to ameliorate their social challenges. Although I am ‘just a medical student,’ he would listen to and ask for my input, particularly in settings where the answer was not black or white. Each morning, we would have wonderful discussions that danced in the grey, embracing the ambiguity. I have had the pleasure of working with many residents and attendings over the last year, and there are few that can compare to the caliber of a person that Thomas is. He is the epitome of humanistic, and I hope to cultivate the same culture throughout the rest of my medical education and practice as a physician.”

Ball says he was surprised and honored to receive this award. “There are many residents in our health system and I believe that we all do the best we can each day to be good to our patients and fellow team members,” he said. “I am grateful to our nursing and medical students who contribute significantly to the patient care our interdisciplinary teams provide and who I think bring out the best in us by reminding us what it’s all about.”

Dr. Amy Cohee

Cohee was described in her nomination letter as “the most humanist resident I have worked with. I am currently working with her on my Thoracic rotation. She always takes time to explain things to us med students in the OR and rounds. She includes us in patient care and updates. She is very inclusive, always making us feel like part of the team. She takes ownership of her mistakes and helps us learn from our mistakes and hers.”

When asked how she felt about receiving the award, Cohee said, “It is humbling and inspiring to be recognized by UVA medical students for teaching and humanism. It pushes me to continue to strive to honor the value of every person who is treated, visits, learns, or serves in our institution. It also reminds me of how grateful I am for all those who have invested in my own education, both professionally and personally.”

Dr. Samuel Cross

“Sam always takes the time to teach and is so humble,” wrote his nominator. “He even mentions the things he learns from us as students that make him better. He stays patient and provides information even in situations where he does not agree with the patient’s (parents’ – it’s peds) choice. He is able to educate these families even when they start off very hostile. He is kind and understanding of the nurses, his patients, his fellow residents, and the students!”

Cross, too, is grateful to receive this award. “It means a lot,” he said. “And I’m thankful to be here in the UVA Department of Pediatrics, where there is a constant focus on teaching and where there are so many great teachers among the faculty. They make me want to be a better teacher every day.”

Dr. Michael Gallagher

“I had Mike on my CCU rotation in April,” wrote one of his nominators, “when he was an intern and I was a floundering, newly minted third year trying to figure out the wards with some of the sickest patients in the hospital. Although I was afraid of the challenge at first, I can’t help but think of myself as extremely fortunate that I had Mike there to help show me the way. He was (and is!) extremely technically competent and knowledgeable for his level, according to multiple upper-year residents and attendings during rounds. He was also extremely humble, knew what he did not know, was always willing to ask for help, and never said ‘no’ to the opportunity to practice a procedure, serving as a wonderful role model along the way.” The nomination went on to highlight Gallagher’s respect, sensitivity, compassion, professionalism, and approachability. His advice to students: Keep a notebook and, each day, write down one thing they did that helped a patient each day, or one nice comment a patient gave to you. On tough days, it can serve as a good reminder why we are here.

When asked how he felt about receiving this award, Gallagher said,It is incredibly powerful. To hear the words that my students had written about me was a truly moving experience. I certainly did not feel worthy of their praise, as I know I am far from perfect. I always hope to provide good clinical learning for my students, but to know that I contributed in a more meaningful way to their experience: I cannot imagine a greater feeling in medicine. I owe this both to the all truly incredible students with whom I am so privileged to work each and every day, and to my mentors who showed me how to care first about the person.”

Dr. Robert Wiggins

Wiggins was described by his nominator as “one of the most kind, genuine, and compassionate individuals I have had the pleasure of working with during my 3rd year. When we discussed treatment plans for patients, the first thing he was concerned about was their comfort and well-being. This especially became evident when we were caring for patients with terminal diagnoses who really just wanted to be comfortable and lucid during their remaining time in the hospital. All patients clearly trusted and believed in Rob. Rob instilled his compassionate attitude in the medical students he taught as well, and was a wonderful teacher even during a busy week of being on the consult service. He made sure that we learned something from every patient we interacted with, and was a perfect role model to learn both neurology and humanism from.”

Wiggins says that “the UVA medical students have reminded us that amidst the daily hospital grind, the important and lasting thing is how we treat one another, both our patients and our colleagues. This award is also a reminder to me that kindness is meaningful.”

Dr. Alex Zimmet

Zimmet’s nominator says that, of all the residents they have worked with, he was “the most genuinely interested in helping teach a new generation of competent, caring doctors. He seeks out opportunities to teach and frequently checks in to make sure his students are getting something positive out of their experience. I worked with Alex in the CCU where he displayed respect and kindness toward all patients and co-workers.”

Zimmet says that the biggest honor of receiving this award is in knowing that it is voted on by those to whom he is responsible for teaching: medical students. “It is an incredible compliment to know that they feel I provide humanistic care and dedicated teaching, and it motivates me to continue to grow in these essential qualities as an academic healthcare provider.”

Please join us in congratulating these six residents and thanking them for their commitment to our medical students and our patients.

Original Story From: UVA Connect

Filed Under: Education, Media Highlights, Student



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