Published September 8, 2015
The director of the University at Buffalo’s hospice and palliative medicine fellowship and the administrator of a family medicine program have won the first UB Graduate Medical Education Awards of Excellence.
Amy A. Case, MD, clinical associate professor of medicine, received the inaugural program director award; Kerrie Parr, training program administrator, was honored for her work with the rural family medicine residency track in Olean, N.Y.
Both will receive professional development support to participate in national meetings. The awards were presented during a May ceremony.
“Every step of the way, Dr. Case encouraged and nurtured my growth to help me be the best physician, clinical educator and researcher I can be,” says former hospice and palliative medicine fellow Ashima Lal, MD, who nominated her mentor for the award.
Lal is now an assistant professor of medicine at Emory University in Atlanta, where she will pilot a palliative care program at Grady Memorial Hospital.
“This would not have been possible if not for Dr. Case’s guidance and leadership,” says Lal. “Her unique teaching methods have inspired me to continue to teach budding physicians and patients.”
Many fellows trained by Case have gone on to develop palliative care programs of their own, including international programs, Lal notes.
Case’s trainees also have succeeded as researchers.
With Case’s oversight, guidance and support, fellows in the program regularly publish and present posters at local and national meetings, notes Bruce R. Troen, MD, professor of medicine and chief of geriatrics and palliative medicine.
Lal says Case was integral in the writing process of her first review article on the palliation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, published in the Annals of Palliative Medicine.
“Since its inception, Dr. Case has been, and continues to be, the driving force responsible for the fellowship program’s ongoing achievements,” says Troen.
Case founded the program in 2005. It has achieved full accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, most recently with commendation.
“Rotations on Dr. Case’s service have become integral parts of training for residents in internal medicine and family medicine, and they are a much-sought elective for medical students,” notes Robert A. Milch, MD, associate professor of medicine.
Milch also praises Case for “recognizing the critical role of the interdisciplinary professions in palliative medicine.”
“Dr. Case has fostered ongoing, collegial collaborations with faculty of the schools of nursing and social work, as well as community agencies such as the Center for Hospice and Palliative Care,” he says. “These are reflected in a number of research studies, continuing projects, textbook chapters and peer-reviewed publications, as well as collaborative clinical training.”
Among accomplishments on the national level, Case was selected to chair the special interest group on education for the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine.
In this role, she will help develop curricula and programs for national dissemination.
She also has been invited to sit on the editorial board of the Annals of Palliative Medicine.
Galvin D. Anderson, MD, assistant professor of clinical family medicine, praises Parr as “the ultimate self-starter“ and “the single most efficient and organized individual I have ever encountered.”
“She is a role model for residents, faculty and staff in professionalism, confidentiality, integrity and efficiency,” adds Anderson, also associate program director. “Olean General Hospital depends on her guidance and expertise for funding and for meeting the regulatory requirements for the residency program.”
Annmarie Zimmermann, MD, clinical assistant professor of family medicine, agrees.
“Kerrie is one of the most dedicated and hardworking people I know,” she says.
She also lauds Parr’s work with trainees. “She develops a close working relationship with each of the residents and their families so that she is able to guide them through the learning process,” says Zimmerman.
William F. Mills, MD, senior vice president of quality and professional affairs at Olean General Hospital, says Parr provides him with information enabling him to educate medical staff, hospital administration and the board of directors on all aspects of the residency program.
“I have seen the rural family practice program mature into an excellent residency program,” he says. “A major factor has been the outstanding performance of Ms. Parr.”
Among numerous accomplishments, Mills credits Parr with helping to ensure that the hospital receives the appropriate funding from New York State for public health care programs.
The committee — which included one resident — chose the awardees based on nominations from supervisors, colleagues and trainees.
“The awards pay tribute to the key and varied roles of program directors and training program administrators in the development of residents and fellows,” says Roseanne C. Berger, MD, senior associate dean for graduate medical education.
“They are educators, project managers, mentors and confidantes. They are the backbone of the programs.”
The Office of Graduate Medical Education will give the awards to one program director and one administrator each year.