Enrique Gerszten, M.D. Faculty Teaching Excellence Award

Associate Professor of Medicine and Academic Hospitalist at McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC), Frank Fulco, M.D., R.Ph., has held numerous administrative and educational leadership positions since 2001. He is currently Internal Medicine Site Director for the Combined Emergency Medicine/Internal Medicine Residency program, Associate Director for the MIII Internal Medicine Clerkship at McGuire VAMC, and Associate Program Director for the Department of Internal Medicine (DOIM) Residency Program. Dr. Fulco completed the VCU Post-Baccalaureate Graduate Certificate in Teaching in Medical Education (TiME) in 2015.

Dr. Fulco’s dynamic and interactive process of teaching is renowned. “He is a master at identifying the way to reach each individual learner and intuitively knows how to tailor his evaluations and feedback to foster professional development among his trainees,” observes Jeffrey Kushinka, M.D., Associate Professor and Chair, Division of General Internal Medicine.

“Dr. Fulco’s mentorship has been essential to my career.” attests Monika Kumar, M.D., now practicing at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. “It is easy enough to teach facts from a book, but to teach young physicians how to become the best versions of themselves, to push them into uncomfortable territory and then to see them excel – these are the skills that have made an impact on me and many of my co-residents.”

Comments from resident learners reflect their appreciation of this process:

“He continually readdresses his expectations of you, constantly giving you more independence and makes you work to be your best!” “He models enthusiasm, compassion, critical thinking, and teaching every day.” “He loves to teach, and it shows.”

The number of educational activities Dr. Fulco supports or has created is remarkable. In part, he helps coordinate DOIM morning report, M&M conferences, journal clubs, serves as a Foundations of Clinical Medicine medical student small group leader, is a core advisor and educator for the DOIM residency program, and a M4 medical student mentor and core advisor. Dr. Fulco mentors DOIM residents on quality improvement (QI) and patient safety and serves as a module facilitator for the DOIM Immersion Experience in Comparative Physiology. He played a key role in developing a novel Acute Cardiology Experience (ACE TEAM) rotation and a QI and Patient Safety curriculum block at the VAMC. Additionally, he is Scientific Chairman and Coordinator for CME Internal Medicine Grand Rounds at the VAMC.

Dr. Fulco has received dozens of recognitions, including Outstanding Clerkship Teaching Awards, Outstanding Faculty Awards, and Outstanding Ward Attending Awards and the Most Skilled Clinicopathology Conference Diagnostician Teaching Award from DOIM residents. Dr. Fulco was honored with the SOM Irby-James Award for Excellence in Clinical Teaching in 2011.

The primary curriculum designer, mentor, and recruiter for the Chief Resident in Quality and Patient Safety (CRQS) program, Dr. Fulco has developed early career internists into experts in QI and patient safety. These trainees have gone on to leadership positions, including one at the national level within the V.A.

Dr. Fulco has shared his process for designing and reporting morning report sessions at the Association of Program Directors for Internal Medicine Chief Residents for the past 7 years. In addition to significant clinical research, he has published as part of a multi-institutional study applying a validated evaluation tool, MERSQI, to systematically review high impact educational literature.

Lenore Joseph, M.D., Associate Chief of Staff/Education, at McGuire VAMC echoes many learners and colleagues in describing Dr. Fulco. “He is deliberate in honoring the dignity of all patients and treating clinical team members of all disciplines and contributions with great respect and appreciation. . . . At the end of the day, notwithstanding his many accolades and achievements, Dr. Fulco remains one of the kindest and humblest individuals that I know, a true servant leader.”