Commencement 2013

Family Medicine earns awards at Commencement

OHSU Department of Family Medicine faculty and graduates walked away with five awards at the June 3 School of Medicine Commencement, including the top two student awards.

Edward S. Hayes Gold-Headed Cane Award

Brian GarveyThree of the six nominees for the Edward S. Hayes Gold-Headed Cane Award are entering family medicine: Richard Bruno, MD; Brian Garvey, MD; and Sarah Williams, MD.  The award was presented to Garvey, who will be starting his residency with OHSU Department of Family Medicine residency later this month.  He received an engraved cane, a plaque and a monetary award.

“I was very surprised,” Garvey said.  “I was not expecting it. I am very honored.  It’s an incredible thing to be honored by your peers in this way – by people I have really come to love and admire.”

The Gold-Headed Cane Award is presented annually to a member of the graduation medical school class who has been selected for this high honor by a vote of his or her peers and teacher.  The award is given to a student in recognition of the compassionate devotion and effective service to the sick, with the conviction that its holder will forever epitomize and uphold the tradition of the true physician.

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Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award

Sarah WilliamsThree students entering family medicine – Richard Bruno, MD; Brian Lowell, MD; and Sarah Williams, MD, - were among the six nominated for the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award.  The award is presented to a graduating medical student and to a physician faculty member who are judged by his or her peers to best exemplify the humanistic qualities of a physician.  The nominees were recognized for their consistent expression of compassion, empathy, respect and sensitivity toward their patients and colleagues, while maintaining the highest professional and ethical standards and devoting themselves to the welfare of our citizens who are most vulnerable and in need of care.

The award was presented to Williams. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in human physiology and then joined the Peace Corp before starting medical school at OHSU.  She has been active in the Rural Medicine Interest Group, is a student director for the OAFP and is dedicated to providing medical care to underserved populations before serving in the Peace Corp.

“This is really incredible,” she said. “All of my peers are wonderful people and very deserving of this award. So it’s a great honor to receive it from my class.”

In April, Williams was presented with two awards from the Oregon Academy of Family Physicians:  The Outstanding 4th-Year Graduating Senior Student Entering a Family Medicine Residency and 2013 Lundy Award.  She will begin her residency in Family Medicine at Sutter Health in Sacramento.

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Excellence in Public Health Award

Annika MalyAnnika Giesbrecht Maly, MD, MPH, and Tessa Lynne Steel, MD, MPH, were presented with the Excellence in Public Health Award from the U.S. Public Health Service Physician Professional Advisory Committee. The School of Medicine was given special permission to nominate two students.

Maly, who will be doing her residency at Family Medicine Residency of Idaho, Boise, conducted a five-year public health project with the Pacific Northwest Cowlitz Indian Tribe to develop and implement a telephone-based CDC Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey tailored to fit the needs of the tribal population. She worked with the tribe to further her research interest in cancer prevention and cancer screening awareness among American Indians.

"It is a huge honor to receive this award," Maly said following the ceremony. "Today I also want to share this honor with the tribe. They are really the heart and soul of the project."

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Mentor dinner rewarding for all

Graduating medical students entering family medicine residencies honored their mentors at the Annual OHSU Family Medicine Mentor-Student Dinner on June 1 at the Hotel Monaco.

It was a rewarding evening for all as both students and their mentors shared memories and their appreciation for one another.

Melissa KjosMelissa Kjos, who will begin her residency in Idaho State University, Pocatello, ID, chose James Sinnott, MD, Coquille Medical Offices, Coquille, OR; and Lisa Dodson, MD, assistant professor/director, rural health program, as her mentors. While she learned a great deal from both of them, she appreciated their support during her pregnancy even more. It was during her second trimester when Kjos discovered her baby was a girl, and Dr. Sinnott was one of the first people she told.

"I was excited about it and shared my thoughts for the future and about being a parent and physician with Dr. Sinnott," Kjos said. "A couple of weeks after I left, I traveled to Illinois to take a review course. Then I went into labor and unexpectedly delivered my baby at 24 weeks gestational age, thousands of miles away from family and friends."

When Sinnott heard the news, he bought Kjos' husband a plane ticket so he could fly to Chicago to be with the family.He also emailed Kjos regularly, and through his connections found people who came and brought her a dinner or offered her a place to stay. 

"He was an incredible support person," Kjos said.  "It was so wonderful, and I can't ever thank him enough.  It was a very emotional time and his support was just... well just hard to put into words how much it meant to me.

Dodson was there to help Kjos get back on her feet when I returned to medical school. 

"I was very plagued with self-doubts about returning after my year and a half away, and she really helped me to build my self-confidence again," Kjos said. "She worked with me a long time on all my essays and personal statement.She helped me with picking residencies; she spent a lot of time on me.  She is someone to admire, she makes her career what she wants it to be, adds in the elements of rural medicine and academics, and she still spends so much time on the students who want her to, giving a lot of herself."

In addition to reminiscences, John Saultz, MD, department chair, presented the Robert B. Taylor, MD, Award to Brian Garvey and Richard Bruno. Robert B.Taylor, MD, professor emeritus and former department chair, established the award in 2002 to honor the student in each graduating class who best exemplified the qualities of the ideal family physician. Students are selected based on scholarship, leadership and dedication to Family Medicine as a specialty over the course of their four years in school.

Garvey, who will be starting his residency at OHSU, has shown leadership in family medicine, particularly with the Rural Interest Group.  He is an exceptional scholar, and was presented with the Edward S. Hayes Gold-Headed Cane Award at Commencement.

"I first learned about the Robert Taylor Award while studying Dr. Taylor's Textbook during my rural rotation in John Day, OR," Garvey said. "My preceptor - whom I very much admire - also won the award during his tenure as an OHSU student, and I was touched by the inscription Dr. Taylor wrote on the textbooks inside cover to commemorate that recognition. To now be inducted into that same group of awardees is a huge honor, but also a charge. In my future role as a resident at OHSU, I hope to follow his incredible example through on-going advocacy, leadership and humanistic clinical practice."

Bruno, who will be doing his residency at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, Baltimore, MD, has participated in student leadership throughout medical school both at the local and the national level.  During his second year he served as FMIG co-leader, and subsequently served as a student representative on an AAFP commission.  He has long been an advocate for the underserved and public health.

"I am thrilled to be honored by an award named for one of my greatest mentors," Bruno said. "Dr. Taylor has been an inspiration for me before, during and now following, medical school as I turn to his advice on the written pages he has published on important topics in medicine. He embodies a true physician, constantly seeking the best treatments, training future leaders and warmly spurring us all along our paths."

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