Two OHSU residency program coordinators garner national award

November 4, 2013

photo-2-web-300x258Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education recognizes Susan Bony and Cindy Koonz

Susan Bony, program coordinator for ophthalmology and Cindy Koonz, M.S., education manager for emergency medicine, have each received a national award for their work. The ACGME Program Coordinator Excellence Award was created to honor and recognize the very crucial role that program administrators play in the success of a residency program.

“Susan and Cindy are the first OHSU coordinators to receive this honor, and, with just four to five winners chosen each year from a pool of hundreds of nominees, they clearly represent the upper echelon of GME program coordinators,” said Patrick Brunett, M.D., FACEP, associate dean for graduate medical education. “And it is very unusual for two annual awardees to come from the same institution. Please join me in congratulating them for their outstanding contributions to residency training.”

Bony and Koonz were lauded with a toast (and tiaras) during the OHSU program coordinators monthly meeting. The ACGME states on its website that the Program Coordinator Excellence Award recognizes an in-depth understanding of the accreditation process, excellent communication and interpersonal skills, and projects to improve residency programs. Excerpts from their nomination letters describe how Bony and Koonz demonstrate leadership and professionalism in their work:

“Susan is the first in ophthalmology to be awarded the ACGME Program Coordinator Excellence Award. She has gained national recognition. Along with four other program coordinators, she chartered the Association of Ophthalmology Program Managers and Coordinators. This organization is a first for ophthalmology and it allows for sharing and exchange of information among program coordinators, thereby improving the educational curricula in ophthalmology training programs nationwide,” said Andreas Lauer, M.D., associate professor of ophthalmology and residency program director. Bony’s AOPMC executive committee colleagues from LSUHealth New Orleans School of Medicine, UTHealth Medical School at Houston, Sinai Hospital of Baltimore and Emory University supported her nomination.

In a letter signed by house officers Rory Allar, M.D., Ambar Faridi, M.D., Manjool Shah, M.D. and all the current residents and fellows at Casey Eye Institute, Bony received these accolades:

“Susan has always been approachable and available. Whether I need to hunt down lab coats or just need to talk to someone – she is always there with a smile on her face. Susan is beyond any description by word.”

“Susan cares about us ‘holistically.’ I feel like she wants me to be successful not just as an ophthalmologist but in all aspects of life.”



Koonz’s work was equally praised by her colleagues and emergency medicine trainees:

“Cindy has embraced the rapidly changing program requirements by helping to revamp our entire residency tracking and oversight process. She is currently leading efforts both in our department and institution-wide to successfully implement the Next Accreditation System,” said Lalena Yarris, M.D., associate professor of emergency medicine and residency program director. “Cindy is simply adored by our residents, and is considered one of the most important contributors to their education and the overall quality of the training program. I can’t imagine being program director without her!”

“Cindy also glues us all together. We talk about [Cindy] like we do many of the seasoned attendings in the department. ‘That’s what Cindy said’ means something powerful instantly and makes it easy for practitioners to be interconnected while communicating with administrators in emergency medicine,” said Dylan Dean, M.D., Ph.D., emergency medicine resident.

“There are 50+ program coordinators on OHSU’s campus, and Cindy has played an integral role in creating connections between and expanding professional development opportunities for this group,” said Debi Stabler, M.Ed., assistant education manager for anesthesiology and perioperative medicine. “Cindy is an exemplary leader. She is much admired among the graduate medical education community at OHSU.”


Bony and Koonz will receive their awards next spring during the 2014 ACGME Annual Education Conference in Maryland.


Pictured: (top - l to r) Susan Bony and Cindy Koonz; (bottom) OHSU residency program coordinators and GME staff toast Bony and Koonz during a recent meeting