Published June 18, 2018
Graduate Medical Education Awards of Excellence have been presented to the physician who directs the pediatric anesthesiology fellowship program and the administrator of the child and adolescent psychiatry (CAP) fellowship program.
Stacey A. Watt, MD, clinical associate professor of anesthesiology, received a program director award.
Elizabeth Sengupta was honored with a training program administrator (TPA) award.
A committee — which included one resident — chose the awardees based on nominations from supervisors, colleagues and trainees.
“Since the time she was a first-year resident, I have known Stacey to consistently strive to enhance the quality of patient care and patient safety through the sharpening of her own skills, the maintenance of high standards in the practice of anesthesiology and the teaching of same,” says Mark J. Lema, MD, PhD, professor and chair of anesthesiology.
Watt has held various roles as part of the educational leadership team of the anesthesiology residency training program. She previously served as educational site coordinator and clinical competency committee representative, and now serves as Education Committee chair and associate program director.
“To improve upon her very characteristic and knowledge-based teaching skills, Stacey continuously sought further experience in the field of education,” Lema says.
Watt became a Royal College of Physicians Program certified educator and subsequently enrolled in a master’s of public health education program at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
“Most indicative of her proven success in teaching and mentoring is her enthusiasm and passion that seem to stay with those taught by her with the knowledge and skill that were required under her supervision,” Lema adds. “As a result of her devotion to teach Stacey is one of the few recipients of the Michael Adragna Excellence in Mentorship Award.”
Cyrus Tanhaee, a pediatric anesthesiology fellow, notes that each year Watt assists in presenting pediatric and obstetric lectures to residents. He says that after pediatric fellows and attendings volunteer to give lectures, Watt takes the rest.
“Instead of delegating the rest of the lectures to attendings who may be too busy or don’t want to give lectures, she volunteers herself, and takes time out of her busy schedule to ensure the lectures are given by someone dedicated to their education,” he says.
Tanhaee also notes Watt “always puts patient care first, does not tolerate any misconduct that interferes with patient care or patients’ rights and resolves conflicts in the most professional way, where both sides feel understood.”
Watt is currently conducting a research project aimed at saving patients’ valuable time, decreasing their stress levels and reducing overall health care costs.
“She hopes to accomplish this by performing the anesthesia pre-op evaluation via video conferencing shortly after the patients see their surgeon in clinic, instead of when they come to the pre-op holding area on the day of surgery, as is the current practice,” Tanhaee says.
“This will give the parents information about the anesthesia and allow their questions to be answered well before the scheduled surgery, to help alleviate stress,” he notes.
Kimberly Everett, TPA for the pediatric anesthesiology fellowship, has worked with Watt for nearly 10 years.
“I have never seen a more dedicated and compassionate educator, physician or leader,” she says.
“I always tell her sometimes you just have to slow down and simply say ‘no,’ but if you look at her curriculum vitae it speaks volumes as to the type of person she is,” Everett says. “She does not slow down and does not believe in the word ‘no.’ You would be hard pressed to find a more deserving nominee.”
Sengupta has been TPA for the CAP fellowship for three years and brought her past experience as a teacher and neuroscience researcher to improve every aspect of the program, says Beth A. Smith, MD, clinical associate professor of psychiatry and chief of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
As a former director of the CAP program, Smith says she was thrilled when the CAP fellowship was cited for top performance in the 2016-17 UB GME Institutional Dashboard and said, “it was largely due to Liz’s strong organizational improvements and efforts.”
“She solves complex problems as they arise. When faculty, trainees or staff are stuck, she is the first person they rely on to lend a helping hand,” she says.
Smith says Sengupta functions as an educational consultant, meeting with faculty members to help design both lecture series and individual lectures.
She notes Sengupta uses her teaching expertise to help faculty better consider what learners should be able to know and do at the end of an educational experience and then works backwards with them to design that experience.
Sengupta has also been integrally involved in updating the program’s overarching curriculum, especially in presenting the right material at the right time, to create a more developmentally appropriate continuum of educational experiences, Smith adds.
“She is continually thinking of the educational, clinical and relational experiences of our fellows and seeking ways to improve their training,” she says.
Sarah Gibbons, a child and adolescent psychiatry fellow, says Sengupta is organized and efficient in all areas of management.
“Stating that Liz’s organizational skills are formidable is an understatement,” she says. “She has revamped our didactic day schedule and keeps everything running smoothly. She knocks on the door if lecturers are going overtime in order to make sure the fellows have a 10-minute break (which we desperately appreciate).”
Gibbons feels that Sengupta cares deeply about the fellows individually and about the fellowship program as a whole.
“She is warm, approachable and always available. She treats each fellow with respect,” she says. “She offers her cell number for urgent calls regarding fellowship issues even when she is ‘off the clock’ or on vacation.”
The fourth annual GME Awards of Excellence were presented May 22 at the new Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences building.
Roseanne C. Berger, MD, senior associate dean for graduate medical education, presided over the ceremony.
The Office of Graduate Medical Education presents the awards to one program director and one administrator each year.