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Annual Professional Achievement Award

Call for nominations: 22nd Annual Professional Achievement Award

Due date: Monday, February 24, 2014

The WISDM Professional Achievement Award is presented annually by the Women in Science, Dentistry, and Medicine (WISDM) Faculty Organization, VCU School of Medicine, MCV Campus. This unique award was established in 1993 to acknowledge the special contributions and accomplishments of women faculty in the School of Medicine. The primary purpose of this award is to recognize a woman who is a role model and mentor, promoting the professional development of other women faculty. Nominees should demonstrate excellence in the following areas:

  1. Success as a mentor and role model for women faculty
  2. Professional excellence: accomplished in their primary area of practice (clinical, basic sciences, etc.)
  3. Leadership: university administrative duties and other leadership roles
  4. Scholarship
  5. Teaching expertise
School of Medicine

Nominations are solicited annually from all School of Medicine faculty members and should include a letter from the primary nominator, a CV, and no more than five (5) support letters from supervisors, faculty, trainees, and/or students addressing the five areas of excellence. Previous nominees can be renominated with an updated CV and no more than five (5) support letters, which may include old and/or new letters, from supervisors, faculty, trainees, and/or students addressing the five areas of excellence. The letters should be addressed to Dr. Julie Mayglothling, WISDM President. Send all materials to:

Debbie Stewart
P.O. Box 980565
Fax: 804-828-4048
E-mail: dstewart@vcu.edu

The award will be presented at the annual WISDM Leadership Conference, Friday, April 25, 2014, MCV Campus, and at the 2014 SOM Faculty Excellence Awards in the fall. Nominations are sought for SOM women faculty only.

School of Dentistry

The VCU School of Dentistry manages their WISDM Professional Achievement award process separately. For criteria and selection process contact: Meredith Bryk, mlbryk@vcu.edu

All faculty members in the schools of medicine and dentistry are invited to submit nominations to their respective schools. The awardees will be notified in time to accept the award at the 22nd Annual WISDM Leadership Conference on Friday, April 25, 2014.

Previous Professional Achievement Award Winners

School of Medicine

School of Dentistry

Congratulations to all our outstanding women faculty in the Schools of Medicine and Dentistry!

Ellen L. Brock, M.D., M.P.H.

Ellen BrockQuietly influential. A skilled medical professional who changes the lives of both her patients and those she has mentored. Ellen L. Brock, MD, MPH, Associate Professor, Obstetrics & Gynecology, epitomizes what the WISDM Professional Achievement Award signifies.

"I could not have asked for a better role model. " wrote Marie Menke, MD, MPH, an assistant professor in Ob-Gyn. "She…inspires me to strive for excellence in all that I do and has proven to be personally committed to my professional growth and development," agreed Chief Resident Makeba Williams, MD, "She has a way of identifying and developing the individual talent, skills and abilities of the residents."

Among the gifts she shares with those who are mentored by her and who work beside her is her ability to quietly and confidently deliver superior medical care - whether at VCU Medical Center or providing care, as a volunteer, to women in rural Thailand or Swaziland.

In addition to her responsibilities as the Section Head in General Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dr. Brock recently created a year-long didactic/simulation training course for residents, teaching them minimally invasive surgery, primarily laparoscopic surgery. "Her passion for laparoscopy and its utility in the better treatment of common gynecologic problems is exciting for those that train under her," Dr. Williams added. "She has infused new energy into our resident education series by developing cutting edge techniques for teaching minimally invasive surgery."

Dr. Brock also has just been named the first Medical Director of the Center for Human Simulation and Patient Safety for the VCU School of Medicine. This position will include training for students, residents, fellows, practitioners, and hospital staff. According to a colleague, this appointment "reflects her continued efforts to improve care as well as her desire to constantly challenge herself."

"Probably the most telling tribute to her capabilities is the fact that numerous professional colleagues have chosen her as their primary physician," one colleague wrote. "Dr. Brock is a surgeon with an outstanding reputation," added Leo J. Dunn Distinguished Professor and Chair John W. Seeds, MD. He added that she also "is a teacher of rare quality. She can cut to the heart of an issue in a nanosecond and teach the student or resident the essence with clarity and compassion."

Her quest to constantly increase her skills base and expertise and then to use those skills to help others is legendary. While maintaining her full-time medical career and academic medical responsibilities, she obtained her Master's in Public Health degree in 1997, and then took her combined medical and public health knowledge to improve the conditions of those in serious need in places such as Vladivostok and Azerbaijan. She is equally committed to her non-medical activities, including serving on the Board and as former Chair of both the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton and the Virginia League for Planned Parenthood, and engaging her passion in gourmet cooking.

"Ellen is a renaissance woman in that she balances her accomplished professional life with several outside passions, which she pursues with the same degree of depth and vigor that she does medicine," added one of her mentees, Carolyn Matthews, MD. Her ability to excel as a physician, leader and mentor, as well as make time for her friends and family, the greater community and herself is a source of awe and inspiration to those around her.

A moniker given to her by a recent residency class neatly summarizes why Dr. Brock so richly deserves this year's WISDM award. In recognition of her excellence as a physician, surgeon, educator and mentor, her nickname was simply this: "The Gold Standard."

Wendy S. Klein, M.D., F.A.C.P.

Dr. Wendy KleinThere are idea people and there are action people. And then, very rarely, there are the Wendy Kleins of the world—hybrids who astound all around them with their innovative approaches, dedication and energy.

What a difference she has made in the lives both of women overall and of women in medicine.

She has been the primary care physician for thousands of women, providing care so exemplary that she was repeatedly honored as not just one of the best physicians in Richmond, but one of the best doctors in America. One of her former patients, and current colleague, has this to say of her: “Dr. Klein is not only a model and mentor for women in medicine, she is a friend to women in every discipline,” wrote M. Njeri Jackson, Chair, Department of African American Studies at VCU. “Her pioneering work and accomplishment remind us of how far we have come and how much work is ahead of us. Her passion commitment, endurance, persistence, diplomacy, sense of humor and love of the healing professions are THE measures of professional achievement.”

She co-founded the Women’s Health Center at Stony Point, where she served as Medical Director from 1993–1998. “This thriving multispecialty clinic could not exist without Dr. Klein’s ability to organize, lead and engage other stakeholders to invest in a vision for better health care for women,” said Molly Carnes, M.D., M.S., Director of the Center for Women’s Health Research, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

She designed the unique Women’s Health Residency Program at VCU. “The education and exposure to all aspects of women’s healthcare is simply top-notch,” wrote Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates’ Sarah Schenck, M.D. “The VCU women’s health track is the most all inclusive, thoughtfully designed program in the country, bar none.” “Her training program is outstanding; not only does Wendy provide an outstanding educational experience, but she also has mentored and developed her graduates to be future leaders in their field,” added Melissa McNeil, M.D., M.P.H., of the University of Pittsburgh.

To understand her impact in developing the Women’s Health Residency Program, you need only listen to the voice of someone who has experienced it: “She has been the single most instrumental person to me in my development as a women’s health physician, and is indispensable in her community, her field, and the VCU Medical Center as an academician and clinician,” explained Kelsey E.S. Salley, M.D., Department of Internal Medicine and Women’s Health Track resident. Dr. Klein continues her involvement as both the Program Director of the Women’s Health Track in the Internal Medicine Residency Program, and as an Associate Professor in Internal Medicine and Obstetrics Gynecology at VCU.

“Not content with one excellent program, Dr. Klein co-founded the Association of Academic Women’s Health Programs, (AAWHP), a national consortium of women’s health residencies of which she is president elect,” added Mary Nettleman, M.D., M.S., Chair, Department of Medicine, Michigan State University. “She also established an annual Women’s Health Conference that is now one of the premier conferences in the country.” Her annual Women’s Health Update Continuing Medical Education Conference is outstanding, VCU School of Medicine WISDM Professional Achievement Award Wendy S. Klein, M.D., F.A.C.P. added Dr. McNeil. “She brings speakers with national reputations who highlight exciting and controversial clinical issues. Her mission to education practitioners in the quality care of women is deeply felt, flawlessly executed and without peer.” She also is the founder of the Leadership Conference, which has grown to a major regional professional development conference, now co-sponsored by the three Virginia medical schools, the Medical Society of Virginia, the Richmond Academy of Medicine, the Via Virginia College of Osteopathy, the VCU School of Dentistry, and the Virginia Dental Association.

“Not only has she been a major leader for advancing women in academic medicine, she has been an innovator by combining her academic leadership skills in this area to enhance women’s health, something that women leaders in academic medicine have a personal vested interest in,” explained C. Noel Bairey Merz, M.D., Medical Director of the Women’s Health Program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles.

She is Deputy Editor of the Journal of Women’s Health, Co-Chair of the VCU School of Medicine’s Committee on the Status of Women and Minorities, and Gubernatorial appointee to both the Virginia Council on the Status of Women and the Governor’s Task Force on Cervical Cancer. “She also is a scholar who has a thoughtful approach to clinical research in women’s health,” added Dr. Nettleman.

Not without irony, she also is the founder of the Women in Medicine Professional Achievement Award, and was the founding president of the VCU Women in Medicine faculty organization, now known as WISDM. She also is co-founder and current vice president of the Association for Academic Women’s Health Programs.

And, perhaps most outstandingly, she was the co-founder and former director of education for the VCU Institute for Women’s Health, now a National Center for Excellence. She serves the Institute currently as Senior Deputy Director.

“A clear pattern has emerged: Dr. Klein creates, organizes, manages, integrates and leads strong and innovative local, regional and national programs to support women faculty, women practitioners, women house staff and women students in academic medicine and in the community,” explained VCU School of Medicine Associate Dean for Faculty and Instructional Development Carol L. Hampton. “The impact is to influence and change both individual lives and the culture in our academic medical center.”

”Wendy lifts the sprits of women who engage her because of her warmth and enthusiasm,” added Catherine Matthews Nichols, M.D., a VCU obstetrician-gynecologist. “She is always kind, compassionate, encouraging and empathetic. She is my role model for how to be an advocate for women, and I do whatever I can to follower her example.”

“When she undertakes something, she makes it the best,” added Dr. Nettleman. “Project after project has blossomed under her leadership.”

The WISDM Professional Achievement Award is not Dr. Klein’s first honor. Far from it. She was named VCU Woman of the Year in 1996, for example. But, for someone who has invested virtually her entire professional career to advance the health of women and the careers of women in medicine, it may very well be the sweetest. Congratulations, Dr. Klein.

Ann Simpson Fulcher, M.D.

Ann Simpson Fulcher, M.D., the Chairman of the Department of Radiology at VCU’s School of Medicine and VCU Medical Center is the medical center’s youngest chairperson, the only woman chair of a clinical department at the School, and one of fewer than a handful of women Radiology Chairs in the nation. Yet, as impressive as those facts are, they in no way communicate who Dr. Fulcher is. Her deep concern for and interest in patients, residents and colleagues. Her inspirational work ethic. Her modest demeanor despite tremendous success.

It is said that the foundation of success is having both roots and wings. Virginia is fortunate that Ann Fulcher’s roots are here. She was raised in the small town of Stuart, and received her medical education and residency training at VCU, MCV Campus, completing her medical training in 1987 and her residency in Diagnostic Radiology in 1991.

The “wings” came next. Following the completion of her residency, Dr. Fulcher was stationed at Andrews Air Force Base, where, after only one year, she was named Chair of the Radiology Department. In recognition of her contributions, Major Fulcher was awarded the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal. Her wings earned, she then returned to her roots, joining the University in 1995 as an Assistant Professor in the Abdominal Imaging Section of the Department of Radiology.

Her rise within the Department has been deservedly rapid. By 2000, she was named Associate Professor. A year later, she was Vice-Chairman of Operations for Radiology and, 18 months later, she was named Chairman of the Department.

“Her career reflects excellence in leadership, scholarship, clinical expertise, administrative ability and professional accomplishments. In addition, she has been a highly successful mentor, role model, and promoter of the professional development of women in medicine,” wrote Dr. Fulcher’s colleague, Mary Ann Turner, M.D., Professor of Radiology, Vice-Chair of Radiology, and 1997 recipient of the WISDM Professional Achievement award. “Ann is one of the most gifted, brightest, hardest working, best organized and energetic people I have ever known.”

Since joining the University, she has been asked to share her expertise at more than 75 invited presentations throughout North America, has published more than 50 pieces in peer reviewed journals, contributed chapters to five books, and serves as the Senior Deputy Editor of Radiology.

Surprisingly, given her administrative and research loads, she also continues to see patients two days a week, and was named a “Top Doc” by Richmond Magazine. “Here, she truly leads by example,” explained Laura R. Carucci, M.D., Assistant Professor of Radiology. “She is always the first one in the reading room in the morning and the last one to leave at night. She approaches her work with a meticulous attention to detail and a passion for quality. She takes time to point out important findings to her residents and students. Although clearly a leader in her field, she welcomes the opinions of her peers and instills confidence in her junior faculty.”

Building residents’ confidence while helping them learn, is one of Dr. Fulcher’s specialties. “Every resident has a ‘Dr. Fulcher moment.’” Wrote Kenneth Hite, M.D., Chief Resident, Department of Radiology. “This ‘moment’ consists of studying an abdominal CT or MRI scan for quite some time, confident that you have made all the findings and the correct diagnosis. She then praises you for your hard work and thoughts and then humbles you with her expertise. All of this is done without making the resident feel less about him or herself. That is what an exceptional teacher does.”

“Ann embodies all of the qualities that this unique award recognizes,” agreed Cecelia H. Boardman, Assistant Professor, Gynecologic Oncology. “Her support of her peers, staff and faculty outside of her own department as a mentor and role model has helped many women faculty navigate the challenging waters of academic medicine.”

“Her success is based upon the triad of intelligence, work ethic and personality,” agreed Robert Al Halvorsen, Jr., M.D., Professor of Radiology. “She combines the assets of being one of the brightest individuals I have had the pleasure to meet, a habit of hard work, and superb interpersonal skills, to make a great leader.”

Her leadership extends far beyond the VCUHS, particularly in relation to magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) “Her work in setting up an MRCP service, popularizing this technique, and researching and reporting its capabilities has made her an internationally recognized leader in the field.” Dr. Turner added.

In nominating her for the award, colleagues wrote of her “meteoric rise,” called her a “superstar,” and were amazed at “miraculous turn around” she engineered within the Department of Radiology. Echoing those thoughts, and hinting to even greater achievements ahead, Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education James M. Messmer, M.D., summarized: “Ann has accomplished an incredible amount in her relatively short career and, in my opinion, has only just begun.”

Women in medicine and science conference honors professor.

by Michael Ford, University News Services

Sandra Welch, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology and toxicology in VCU’s School of Medicine, has earned the School of Medicine Women In Medicine and Science Professional Achievement Award.

Presented at the 10th annual Women in Medicine and Science Leadership Conference, this unique award was established in 1993 to acknowledge the special contributions and accomplishments of women faculty in the School of Medicine. Recipients have excelled in scholarly endeavors, teaching expertise and clinical practices. The award selection committee also considers administrative skills, professional accomplishments and demonstrated success as a mentor and role model.

Held March 1 at the Jefferson Hotel, the WIMS conference, sponsored by VCU’s School of Medicine, University of Virginia School of Medicine and Eastern Virginia Medical School, in collaboration with the Medical Society of Virginia and the Richmond Academy of Medicine, was the largest ever with 342 attendees from 16 states.

Dr. Welch earned her bachelor of science degree from Dakota State College in 1971. She majored in biology and math. She completed her master of science degree in biology from the University of North Dakota in 1973. Welch earned her Ph.D. in pharmacology and toxicology from VCU in 1986 and joined the faculty in 1989.

Welch’s research involves cannabinoids, morphine and other opiates. One study could lead to the development of analgesic agents for use at the spinal level in the treatment of acute and chronic pain. Published research and studies have appeared in the Journal of Pharmacology Experimental Therapeutics and “Drug and Alcohol Dependence.”

In 1993 and 1995 pharmacology graduate students named Welch Professor of the Year. In 2000, she was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society and named Teacher of the Year by VCU medical students.

VCU News • April 3, 2002

Kathryn “Kitt” S. Finely-Parker , D.D.S.

Dr. Kitt Finley-Parker began her career in dentistry over twenty-five years ago, first as a dental hygienist and later as a general dentist. An active participant in the Richmond and Virginia dental communities, Dr. Finley-Parker is a member of the Metropolitan Academy of Dentistry, the McKee Study Club, and a part-time clinical faculty member at the VCU School of Dentistry.

Currently, Dr. Finley-Parker is serving as President of the Richmond Dental Society. Her past posts within this organization include six years on the Board of Directors, most recently in 2003, and one year on its New Members Committee. Dr. Finley-Parker served three years as an Alternate Delegate to the Virginia Dental Association and one year on its Financial Aid/Scholarship Committee. On a national level, Dr. Finely-Parker is a member of the American Dental Association, a fellow of the Pierre Fauchard Academy, and a member of the Academy of General Dentistry.

Receiving her B.S. in Dental Hygiene from the VCU School of Dentistry in 1978, Dr. Finley-Parker worked for several years as a dental hygienist. In 1984, she resumed her studies at VCU, earning her D.D.S. degree in 1988. Dr. Finley-Parker received several honors and distinctions as a dental student including the I.E.A. Award, induction into the Omicron Kappa Upsilon Dental Honor Society, the American Academy of Peridontology Award, and the Quintessence Publishing Award.

After one year as an associate with a Richmond dental practice, Dr. Finley-Parker opened her own general dental practice in 1990 and had been running this successful practice ever since.

Betsy Hagan, D.D.S.

Throughout her 25 year career at the VCU School of Dentistry, Dr. Betsy A. Hagan has been a strong role model and mentor for the professional development of faculty and students.

Dr. Hagan currently serves as Senior Associate Dean and Director of Clinics for the VCU School of Dentistry. In her role as Director of Clinics, she is responsible for the oversight of the dental school’s clinical operations, information systems department, quality assurance and risk management programs and regulatory compliance. She consistently brings excellence and leadership to her profession.

Dr. Hagan joined the VCU School of Dentistry in 1980 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Community Dentistry. After her promotion to Associate Professor with tenure in the Department of General Practice in 1991, Dr. Hagan was appointed to the position of Assistant Dean for Clinical Affairs and then Associate Dean for Clinics in 1999 and subsequently Senior Associate Dean in 2003. She is Chair of the School of Dentistry’s Quality Assurance and Clinical Affairs Committees and Course Director for Practice Administration and Patient Management and Professional Conduct. This past year, she also assumed the role of President of the Dental Faculty Practice Association and Chair of the Dental Faculty Practice Committee.

Dr. Hagan was appointed as a Clinical Sciences Consultant for the American Dental Association’s Commission on Dental Accreditation in 2000. She also chaired the School of Dentistry’s accreditation self-study subcommittee for the Standard on Patient Care Services. Dr. Hagan has served on VCU’s Governance and Commitment to Rules Compliance Subcommittee of the NCAA Self-Study Steering Committee and was appointed to VCU’s Intercollegiate Athletic Council in 2003.

Dr. Hagan graduated from Virginia Tech with a Bachelor of Science in Biology in 1974 and earned her D.D.S. from the VCU School of Dentistry in 1978, and a Masters in Business Administration from the VCU School of Business in 1984. Dr. Hagan is a member of the American College of Dentists, the American Dental Education Association, the American Dental Association and the MCV Alumni Association. She has served as an officer in the American Dental Education Association’s Sections on Practice Administration and Clinic Administration.