Awards Honor Outstanding Clinical Rotation Teachers, Role Models

Published July 17, 2013

Story by Suzanne Kashuba

Six outstanding University at Buffalo medical residents and fellows have been honored with 2013 Arnold P. Gold Foundation Humanism and Excellence in Teaching Awards.


Nominators Cite Enduring Learning Experiences

The annual awards recognize integrity, compassion and profound dedication to patient care and teaching.

Award candidates are nominated by medical students who have just completed their third-year clinical rotations. The students nominate physicians who have most profoundly influenced them as teachers and as caring, ethical professionals.

Shaila Karan, MD, internal medicine resident

Nominator’s comments: “I was able to maximize my learning experience during this [infectious disease] rotation, more so than any other, due to Shaila’s presence.

“She made each patient feel as if they were the center of her attention and that she would do everything in her power to make them feel better.”

Marshall (Eli) Lutske, MD, surgery resident

Nominator’s comments: “By the end of [my] inpatient surgery [rotation], I felt like a trusted member of the team—and that was due to Eli’s teaching and pushing us to be as independent as possible.

“I can only hope that I am as poised and compassionate under stress as Eli during my future training.”

Brian Duffy, MD, anesthesiology resident

Nominator’s comments: “Dr. Duffy helped create a team that was intellectually stimulating, charismatic and fun.

“I learned a great deal by his compassion to everyone around him.”

Wudeneh Mulugeta, MD, internal medicine resident

Nominator’s comments: “[He] made sure that the students were taking a part in caring for the most interesting and educational patients.

“His humility and devotion to the well-being of the team and ultimately, the patient, is worthy of a nomination.”

Joseph Cestero, MD, psychiatry resident

Nominator’s comments: “Dr. Cestero made me an offer—he said he would be willing to go over everything we did for our patients and why, and he would also let me do the paperwork; it would take longer, but I would learn a lot more.

“Not only were our patients better off, but I feel my future patients will be better off for it.”

Wesley Papenfuss, MD, surgical oncology fellow

Nominator’s comments: “Even though there was a crisis going on, Dr. Papenfuss brought me right into the action…and kept teaching me throughout every procedure he did.

“He has a great sense of humor and is somehow able to keep everyone smiling even through a crisis.”

Selection Based on Ethics, Compassion

The medical school’s Professional Conduct Committee, chaired by medical student Artem Gindin, selected the awardees based on how well they demonstrated the following qualities:

  • ideal ethical behavior
  • professional behavior by example
  • cultural sensitivity
  • compassion and empathy toward patients and their families
  • compassion for students and colleagues
  • approachable and welcoming to students and staff
  • sincere commitment to teaching

Heart-shaped Stethoscope Symbolizes Award

The 2013 awards were presented July 1 in Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Research Studies Center.

Each awardee received a $250 prize, a certificate and a gold lapel pin depicting a heart-shaped stethoscope―the logo of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation.

Named for a noted pediatric neurologist at Columbia University, the foundation involves medical schools nationwide in efforts to nurture and preserve the tradition of the caring physician.

Awards Presented During Student Clinician Ceremony

The awards presentation coincided with this year’s Student Clinician Ceremony.

This annual event marks the transition of second-year medical students to their next stage of professional training—third-year clinical rotations.

These students will, in turn, nominate their most significant role models for the 2014 Gold humanism and teaching awards.