Enrique Gerszten, M.D. Faculty Teaching Excellence Award

“Dr. Sanford was made for teaching,” states colleague, John A Svirsky, D.D.S. M.Ed., professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, VCU School of Dentistry. Her students agree enthusiastically: “One of the most kind and passionate professors we have had this year.” “There are not enough words in the English language for me to describe how amazing Dr. Sanford is,” and “Her enthusiasm and teaching excellence made Pathology come to life.”

Kimberly Sanford, M.D. (M.D.’01, Housestaff, ’06) has been on faculty since 2006, and is Associate Professor and Medical Director, Transfusion Medicine, Medical Director of Stony Point Laboratory, and Undergraduate Medical Education Director, Department of Pathology. After joining the faculty, she completed a fellowship in transfusion medicine at UVA. She serves as Course Director for the Foundations of Disease M1 Course and is the M2 Cardiovascular Pathology Instructor. Her educational leadership roles include serving as Chair of the SOM Curriculum Council Pre-Clinical Subcommittee for UME. Dr. Sanford provides daily instruction to residents and fellows in transfusion medicine and fulfills major educational leadership roles in the Schools of Dentistry and Allied Health Professions.

“Few educators have the ability, as Kim does, to touch the minds so personally of a hundred students in a lecture setting, as if she were elbow to elbow, eye to eye.” remembers former resident Catherine L.B. Palmer, M.D., Pathologist, Community Memorial Hospital Laboratory Medical Director.

Dr. Sanford led significant contributions to our new SOM curriculum, incorporating innovations to engage students and improve critical thinking. She is consistently ranked as one of the top course directors as well as one of the best teachers in our medical school. “Her gift, it seems, is the ability to put herself in the place of beginning students, to carefully discern the students’ needs, and then to deliver perfectly constructed lessons that leave the students begging for more,” describes Linda Costanzo, Ph.D., Professor of Physiology and Biophysics.

Dr. Sanford has received a Best Teacher Award every year since she began teaching the Pathogenesis course. Dr. Sanford also teaches high school students locally and nationally, inspiring young people interested in a science career. She is currently President of the Women in Science, Dentistry and Medicine (WISDM) professional development group,
supporting colleagues throughout their career development.

Dr. Sanford has over 50 published papers and abstracts, and has authored or co-authored ten book chapters. She is a member of the Editorial Review Board for the American Journal of Clinical Pathology. Dr. Sanford has had a significant impact on continuing professional education on the national level through her service for the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), one of the largest medical specialty societies in the U.S. “Dr. Sanford was one of the key individuals who revamped the ASCP’s annual meeting and subsequently planned all of the educational activities of this meeting for 4 years. Under her direction, the annual meeting tripled its attendance and is currently one of the premier pathology annual meetings,” states David Lewis, M.D., Immediate Past President of ASCP. In recognition of her accomplishments, Dr. Sanford was awarded an ASCP Mastership Award and in 2015 was presented with the ASCP H.P. Smith Distinguished Pathology Educator award for outstanding service and excellence in teaching.

Fellow ASCP board member Nathan H. Johnson, Colonel, USAF, BSC, Ph.D., Director of the Defense Health Agency Center for Laboratory Medicine Services, states, “Dr. Sanford cares about her students in a way that is highly unusual in today’s world. Personally, I am bringing my daughter, a very young medical laboratory professional, to our annual meeting this year, and Dr. Sanford is the one person I want her to meet!”

Because of her passion for excellence in pathology teaching and her genuine personal interest in her students, Dr. Sanford is often compared to Dr. Enrique Gerszten, for whom this award is named. It is most fitting to recognize her with this honor.