Physicians have been revered by the ancient Egyptians, Babylonians and Greeks for their medical diagnosis, prognosis and examination techniques. Since its earliest days, the profession has benefited from many innovations and medical breakthroughs. But it’s the commitment and compassion of countless healers that has remained steadfast. As a result, we honor these leaders by celebrating National Doctors’ Day, March 30.
Leading up to National Doctors’ Day, the Office of Graduate Medical Education honored five College of Medicine residents with the 2015 Graduate Medical Trainee Award of Excellence. Criteria for the award included professionalism, interpersonal skills, leadership, dedication to teaching and fostering innovation and quality improvement.
This year’s resident awardees are:
Shaun Chandna, DO: A third-year fellow in gastroenterology and transplant hepatology, Chandna has truly distinguished himself by providing outstanding contributions to patient care, particularly with regard to the fostering of quality improvement. As part of his ambulatory clinical experience, Chandna questioned whether the protocol used at UC Medical Center to monitor organ recipients who had undergone liver transplantation for hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer) was optimal for patient care.
To address the issue, Chandna spearheaded a project to review data from all liver cancer patients at the hospital from 2000 to 2014. He reviewed the data and made suggestions, which the hospital has implemented to improve patient safety, reduce unnecessary imaging procedures and decrease costs for the liver transplant program.
"His knowledge base is broad and deep, as evidenced by his strong performance on the annual Gastroenterology Training (in-service) Examination,” nominators wrote of Chandna. "As a testament to his exceptional clinical abilities, Dr. Chandna was elected as one of only nine fellows around the country to participate in the Pilot Program in Transplant Hepatology.”
Elise Henning, MD: A third-year resident in internal medicine, Henning will remain with the University of Cincinnati next year as a chief medical resident. The department is indeed fortunate because of Henning’s tremendous interpersonal skills, which promote teamwork, emphasize accountability and lead to improved patient outcomes. With the robust evaluation system in internal medicine, in which residents graduate with thousands of assessment data points, Henning is the only person to have ever been rated the No. 1 physician by her peers and her patients.
Her patients describe her as "a very positive motivation force” in their lives and as physician who is "like a dear friend” because of the "care, understanding and humility” she offers. Henning’s younger trainees say her instincts are excellent. "She knows when to step in and when to hold back and let you come to your own conclusions,” according to one trainee. Henning is a prototype of a servant leader for serving as president of her internal medicine interest group, chair of the wellness committee and recipient of a Distinction in Community Service Award at Marshall University Medical School.
Megan Stevenson, MD: As a PGY (post-graduate year) 6 resident in the Department of Surgery, Stevenson is an "excellent technical surgeon with an excellent fund of knowledge,” according to her nominator. She is also a great team player and great role model for junior residents. Stevenson was the recipient of the Gold Foundation Humanism and Excellence in Resident Teaching Award in 2011 and was also a recipient of the UC College of Medicine Golden Scalpel Award for gross anatomy dissection.
Stevenson’s commitment, empathy and compassion were highlighted in a recent letter addressed to her by the family of a patient. "We were immediately impressed with how quickly and completely you understood Dad’s complicated history,” the letter stated. "We have had so many experiences with resident doctors who did not (take) the time to learn about their patient. I can’t imagine how difficult it is for a doctor to deal with a grieving family, but you did so with a remarkable grace and genuine compassion. Thank you for your patience as we processed everything. Thank you for really listening to us.”
Matthew Stull, MD: As a chief resident in the Department of Emergency Medicine, Stull has been described by faculty at in the College of Medicine as striking an "outstanding balance between appropriate aggressiveness of treatment when necessary and appropriate restraint when prudent” and as a conscientious, hardworking resident "who pays close attention to detail and demonstrates excellent medical decision making.”
Stull is a dedicated clinician who has also found time to publish scholarly papers and letters as a primary author in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Lancet, BMC Medical Education and even the New England Journal of Medicine. He has presented at the CORD Academic Assembly Advances in Education Research and Innovations Forum, Society for Academic Emergency Medicine’s Educational Innovations Forum and led two separate workshops at the Association of Medical Education of Europe’s annual meeting in Milan, Italy.
He is responsible for securing a grant from the Office of Medical Education at UC two years running for a new capstone course for senior medical students. This course, "Getting Ready for Residency,” involved hours of curriculum development and solicitation of guest lecturers, along with other administrative duties.
Saravanan Thiagarajan, MD: A second-year rheumatology fellow, Thiagarajan is completing his fifth year of postgraduate training and has distinguished himself for his compassionate care and dogged persistence in following through on difficult and complex rheumatic problems. College of Medicine faculty were impressed with Thiagarajan’s interaction with a patient at an ambulatory clinic at the Cincinnati Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center.
"He studied the medical literature until he felt he had come up with the correct diagnosis despite its rarity (and he had), made sure the right tests were ordered and the appropriate additional specialists were involved,” according to his nominator. "He kept the patient informed about his disease as well as the process to come up with the right diagnosis and care despite challenges he encountered in the medical system. We feel Saravanan approaches all of his patients with this type of earnestness and sincerity...”
Thiagarajan was recognized with the WOW-Act Award by the Clinical Council at the VA Medical Center because of his persistence. A consummate scholar, Thiagarajan is responsible for three publications in major journals on the subject inflammatory myopathies.
In addition to the residents, five attending physicians were honored with Doctors’ Day Awards by UC Medical Center. They were:
• Kenneth Davis, MD, Trauma Surgery, Exemplary Physician Award
• Shimul Shah, MD, Transplant Surgery, Impact Award
• Michael Archdeacon, MD, Orthopaedic Surgery, Clinical MVP Award
• Andrew Friedrich, MD, Anesthesiology, Sustained Excellence Award
• Dawn Kleindorfer, MD, Neurology and Rehabilitation Medicine, Collaborator Award