VCU/VCUHS Leadership in Graduate Medical Education “LGME” Award – Program Director Award

When describing Dr. Stephen Cohen, David Chelmow, M.D., Leo J. Dunn Distinguished Professor and Chairman of the Department of OB-GYN observes, “I suspect a generation of graduates thinks immediately back to what he has taught them every time they are doing a difficult surgery or delivery.” His trainees confirm this suspicion. “As a physician in private practice, hardly a day passes that I do not reflect on some aspect of his mentoring and approach to OB-GYN.” declares Dr. Sandra Hall, a former VCUHS resident now working for Wilmington (N.C.) Health OB-GYN. After providing outstanding long term leadership as Residency Program Director from 1998-2009, and serving as Chair of the GME Council from 2010-2013, he continues to support and advance the education of our residents.

Dr. Cohen’s sense of service and willingness to apply his valuable insights and experience have led to his role as a valued leader for the VCU Health System and School of Medicine. He has had a unique impact on the continuum of medical education at VCU, having served as Chair of both the undergraduate medical education Curriculum Council and the graduate medical education GME Committee. As a founding member of the Medical Staff Oversight Committee, he helped develop the process for Focused and Ongoing Professional Performance Evaluation (FPPE and OPPE) in OB-GYN and at VCUHS. His work “will contribute to ensuring the highest quality and safest care is delivered to patients,” states Jeffrey A. Green, M.D., Vice-Chair, VCU Department of Anesthesiology and Boyan-Keenan Professor of Anesthesia Safety and Director of Cardiothoracic Anesthesiology.

Recognized as an exceptionally skilled surgeon with an empathic bedside manner, Dr. Cohen has trained residents at VCU for over thirty years. Among his considerable talents, his influence as a mentor and teacher may be foremost. “His ability to make learning fun and to engender self confidence in others is really unsurpassed in my experience.” reflects former trainee Ellen Brock, M.D., Associate Professor, OB-GYN and Director, VCU Center for Human Simulation and Patient Safety. Adds colleague and former Chair and Program Director, Leo J. Dunn, M.D. M.S.H.A., “In addition to his professional knowledge and skills he has a demeanor of inner personal confidence and optimism that he readily transfers to others, particularly at diffi cult times. No one has been more committed to the success of our residents.”

“He somehow manages to develop our strengths and nudge us along to become the best we can be, both personally and professionally.” recalls former trainee Dr. Nicole Karjane, now Associate Professor and Residency Program Director, VCU OB-GYN. “He is always up to date on the literature, pushes residents to use evidence-based medicine in their care of patients, and encourages participation in quality improvement activities.”

Dr. Cohen has received many outstanding teacher awards for his teaching across the medical center and beyond. He received national recognition in 2011 when he was awarded the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Council on Resident Education in Obstetrics and Gynecology Faculty Award for Excellence in Resident Education. Dr. Cohen’s leadership roles and his day to day teaching interactions have shaped the skills of hundreds of OB-GYN practitioners and, in turn, the care they provide to their patients. “He is the physician, teacher, and leader we all desire to be.” states former trainee Dr. Catherine Matthews, now Division Chief of Urogynecology and Reconstructive Surgery, UNC-Chapel Hill.

Dr. Karjane speaks for us all when she says, “I don’t think he has any idea of the profound impact he has had on all of the residents who trained under his leadership – we will be forever grateful!”