April 06, 2021

Eight faculty, staff receive 2021 Graduate Medical Education awards

Recipients will be honored during a virtual reception on May 3

GME Awards

The Office of Graduate Medical Education (GME) recently announced its GME Award recipients for 2021. They are: 

Program Director Excellence Award 

Jakob McSparron, M.D., an associate professor of internal medicine in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care, is one of two recipients of the Program Director Excellence Award, which recognizes a residency or fellowship program director who has had a significant impact by optimizing the quality of education in a training program, enhancing the residency/fellowship experience for trainees, helping individuals to reach their greatest potential, and/or enhancing graduate medical education at institutional levels (Michigan Medicine inpatient and outpatient experiences and/or VA Hospital system).

McSparron has proven to be an outstanding and empathetic leader and is recognized for his remarkable inspiration of an entire team of pulmonary and critical care fellows to rise to the exceptional challenge of sustained care of COVID-19 patients for months on end. To quote the clinical faculty of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care: Week after week, our fellows give their hearts to saving lives at very high patient loads, long after other parts of the system returned to more or less normal. The fellows do so because Jake McSparron led them. For Jake, it is never about Jake. He listened to the fellows and learned from them what needed to change. When somebody needed a few days off, he made that happen. He made sure the faculty and hospital had their back. He reinvented a curriculum for them. He helped them give more than they thought they could, and as a group they adore him for it.

Jean Wong, M.D., an assistant professor of family medicine, is the second recipient of the Program Director Excellence Award. Wong leads with a strong vision and commitment to diversity and has brought vision and stability to the family medicine program both before the pandemic and at a time when unpredictable change and challenges were occurring on a regular basis. She has relentlessly advocated on behalf of resident education and wellness and has successfully championed curricular changes based on resident feedback and has played a key role to make long-term structural changes to the growing adult inpatient service.

Wong has implemented initiatives aimed at increasing diversity amongst trainees, educating residents to train a diverse patient population, adapting to the educational needs of residents, and rapidly adjusting the curriculum due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She brings honor to the department of Family Medicine and Michigan Medicine.

Program Administrator Excellence Award

Raven Kellum, M.A., C-TAGME, a GME program administrator in the Department of Emergency Medicine, is one of two recipients of the Program Administrator Excellence Award, which recognizes the outstanding skills of program administrators who possess and utilize an in-depth knowledge of graduate medical education, excel in the day-to-day management of a residency or fellowship program, demonstrate excellent communication and interpersonal skills and/or those who have implemented innovative projects to improve graduate medical education, streamline processes, or assist in training other GME professionals.

Kellum is an integral part of the success of the emergency medicine residency program and has exhibited tireless dedication to both the program and her own development. She possesses in-depth knowledge of graduate medical education policies and practices which she applies for the effective running of the program. Kellum supports all 64 residents not just as an efficient administrator, but also as a lovely, compassionate human.

Laura Gwyn, a GME program administrator in the Department of Neurology, is the second recipient of the Program Administrator Excellence Award.

Gwyn is an invaluable member of the Neurology Residency team. She works seamlessly with the residents, program faculty, departmental educational team and GME office. One of Gwyn’s strengths is her unbridled enthusiasm to fully immerse herself in new technologies and incorporate them into the program. Laura took it upon herself to learn all details about a new virtual interview platform, led our faculty and resident training sessions about the new platform, and served as a knowledgeable resource for the many “on-the-fly” questions that came up on interview days. She is an essential part of the department’s success and is described as one of the most organized, skilled, knowledgeable, flexible, energetic and creative program administrators that the department has ever had.

GME Staff Award

Phil Hebert, an administrative assistant senior in the GME Office, is recipient of the GME Staff Award, which recognizes the outstanding skills of a GME staff member who possesses a commitment to advancing GME, service excellence and collaboration, and/or has implemented innovative processes to improve residency education, streamline processes, or assist programs.

Hebert has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to the GME community and takes it upon himself to provide exceptional support to program administrators seeking assistance. He is a valuable GME staff member who provides high-quality service with customer-focused orientation to advance the mission of graduate medical education within Michigan Medicine.

Mentor of the Year Award

Sarah Hartley, M.D., an associate professor of internal medicine, is recipient of the Mentor of the Year Award, which recognizes a faculty member who has served as an outstanding mentor or teacher for a resident or fellow trainee through dedication, leadership, teamwork, advocacy, role modeling, instruction in research, clinical care, and education.

Hartley has exemplified what it means to be a dedicated leader and a team player and has shown this through her presence and support to her residents during the pandemic. Through her selflessness and devotion to patient care, she demonstrated bravery in the face of the unknown. Dr. Hartley is described as a paragon of leadership; has passion for patient care, education, advocacy; and has a dedication to mentorship.

Faculty Equity and Inclusion Award

Matt Wixson, M.D., an associate professor of anesthesiology, is recipient of the Faculty Equity and Inclusion Award, which recognizes faculty who have fostered an environment of equity and inclusion within their training program in efforts to improve disparities.

Wixson has redefined how the department of anesthesiology engages in diversity, equity, and inclusion. He used interdepartmental town halls, panels, and education initiatives around racial justice to bring junior and senior colleagues together to tackle these complex issues with renewed curiosity. He has inspired resolve to actively mine for biases and aspire to new levels of honest transformation in relationships with one another and larger Michigan communities. He is spearheading a national NIH-funded initiative, RADAR—Raising Anesthesiology Diversity and Anti-Racism—which is expected to help anesthesiology departments and residency programs across the country elevate diversity, equity and inclusion. He has drawn upon his intelligence, charisma, vision, energy, and dedication to advance diversity.

Faculty Innovation Award

Shitanshu Uppal, MBBS, an associate professor of gynecologic oncology in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, is recipient of the Faculty Innovation Award, which recognizes faculty who have made outstanding and innovative contributions to graduate medical education through areas in evaluation, education, quality, patient safety, leadership skills development, global outreach, and wellness.

Uppal is a trailblazer in graduate medical education. He is recognized for his dedication to both resident and fellow education, utilizing various teaching modalities to innovate surgical education. As the COVID virus disrupted the education of our residents and fellows, he created a website (www.GyoEdu.org) to facilitate gynecologic oncology education nationwide. Using a crowdsourcing methodology, he solicited fellowship directors from around the country to give lectures on Zoom to an audience of trainees. These lectures were recorded and cataloged on the website. Since its inception, in April 2020, nearly 1,800 unique viewers have watched the videos 15,800 times. It’s a remarkable achievement in a such a short span of time and is one example among many.

The recipients will be honored during a virtual reception on May 3.