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

The work of this year’s award recipient Cindi Phares never goes unnoticed. Her contributions are key to the strength and growth of the General Surgery Residency Program. Strong letters of support and words of gratitude are just small tokens of appreciation from the Department of Surgery, who has benefited from Cindi’s dedication to resident education since 2012. Prior to working for the Surgery Department, she was the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology’s Education Administrator for 11 years. She is motivated and innovative. She helped implement a weekly resident feedback processes and individualized attention fostering resident wellness and work-life balance. Third-year resident, Jonathan DeAntonio, states that Cindi “epitomizes what a residency coordinator should be because she cares about us as residents” and “is truly vital to our success as residents and along our transition to fellows and attendings”.

Trained as an Education Administrator with extensive experience in program coordination, and also TAGME certified, Cindi has been an integral part of VCU Health System since 1998. Now heavily relied on by Program Director, Dr. Rahul Anand and other administrative staff, Cindi continues to ensure organizational success through her decision making skills, critical thinking and compassionate attitude. Amanda Jabri, Administrative Assistant, notes how Cindi’s ability to manage conflict with “remarkable patience and admirable tact,” is just one way Cindi has earned such respect of residents, faculty and staff. She continues her support by explaining how Cindi is extremely task-oriented and always willing to take on difficult responsibilities. Her experience in graduate medical education and nurturing personality make her a great role-model and dependable resource. She is known for streamlining processes and bringing efficiency to training and administrative needs, while constantly helping to educate her peers as well. “Cindi brings passion to her position”, states Dr. Rahul Anand, eagerly expressing his gratitude for her hard work and tireless efforts given to numerous programs and successful classes of graduates.

Throughout narratives written for this special occasion, words such as “organized,” “valuable,” and “committed” are easily found to describe how Cindi has been instrumental to resident success. Nina Wickramaratne, a second year surgery resident, is thankful for how Cindi “fosters a sense of family among residents and faculty.” To do so, she “goes out of her way to provide everything we need to do our best both professionally and personally.” Her Department Chair, Dr. Vigneshwar Kasirajan, describes Cindi as “committed to excellence,” always exhibiting hard work, creativity and enthusiasm!