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

Anyone who reads Dr. Jay Shapiro’s resume is struck by the unique experiences that make up his professional and personal life: former volunteer firefighter and paramedic, member of the Central Virginia Beekeepers’ Association, one of the team members performing the first heart transplant in Guyana. No wonder Dr. Shapiro is described by his colleagues as “an outstanding role model” who handles “daunting changes with grace and style.”

After coming to VCU in 1989, Dr. Shapiro advanced through academic ranks to become a full professor in the Department of Anesthesiology. By 1999, he was the Program Director for the department’s residency program — a time described by the department chair as a low point due to unexpected departures of key staff members. In his reference letter, chairman John Butterworth writes, “Against overwhelming adversity, Dr. Shapiro stepped into this leadership role and through his own hard work and dedication maintained continued accreditation of the residency program … In recent years, Dr. Shapiro has had the pleasure of watching his program become recognized regionally and nationally for its quality.”

Another colleague describes him as a mentor who is sought out for counsel on difficult issues. Known for his wisdom and quiet leadership, Dr. Shapiro is a tireless advocate for residents, fellows, associates and patients. In addition to his demanding clinical and educational duties, he regularly embarks on medical mission trips to Guatemala. In June of 2003, he was awarded the 1st Annual Dr. Julian Metz Humanitarian Award by the International Hospital for Children (IHC). In 2009, IHC acknowledged him for ongoing efforts in support of IHC missions.

Anesthesiology Education Chief Resident, Nadia Hensley, has worked with Dr. Shapiro on the department’s education committee which is preparing an overhaul to the curriculum. She writes that he “is leading this paradigm shift in the way we will be taught in the future by discussing with the residents their thoughts on the most effective teachers … His active and enthusiastic role in developing our new didactic program demonstrates his leadership and commitment to graduate medical education.”

Nearly all of the letters recommending Dr. Shapiro for this award describe the “sea change” that occurred to the Anesthesiology Residency program under his leadership. Perhaps the comment made by Chief Resident, David Kast, embodies everyone’s feeling about this year’s awardee: “[he] serves as an outstanding role model as to the type of physician this program intends to produce. I can say without hesitation that I would allow Dr. Shapiro to care for my own children, a comment I do not make lightly and would extend to few others.”