Irby-James Award for Excellence in Clinical Teaching

“The average experience for a medical student on a radiology rotation usually entails sitting quietly in their chair with their eyes stuck on the screen of their phone in a desperate attempt to stay awake,” recalls Mashya Abbassi, M.D, former VCU medical student, and current radiology resident at Boston University. “I had the good fortune of being paired with Dr. Vossen. My time there was anything but average; she showed me interesting cases, talked me through the search patterns of various joint plain films, went through anatomy and even had me sit and play-dictate some studies.”

This is a typical story from students of Dr. Josephina Vossen, Assistant Professor of Radiology, and Medical Director of Stony Point Radiology. Dr. Vossen, who joined the VCU faculty in 2016, is a musculoskeletal radiologist, interpreting radiographs, CTs, MRIs, and performing image-guided procedures. She became the Musculoskeletal Fellowship director in 2018 and the Radiology Residency Program Director for 35 residents this July.

Dr. Vossen teaches medical students, resident, fellows, faculty, and staff in Radiology - but also learners in Orthopedics, Internal Medicine, Rheumatology, and other specialty areas.

“With medical students who rotate in our reading rooms, Dr. Vossen engages in non-threatening Socratic dialogue that captures attention and sparks both understanding and enthusiasm,” observes colleague Peter Haar, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Radiology.

Matthew Herczyk, M.D. former Radiology resident and fellow, explains, “She is knowledgeable, organized, incredibly hard-working and most of all develops inspiring relationships with her students. I attribute most of my knowledge and skill with Musculoskeletal ultrasound to her and, under her guidance, won a Cum Laude aware at the annual Radiological Society of North America event with a digital presentation on talus fractures. Josephina has consistently shown dedication in her role as an educator and take personal responsibility for the success of her patients.”

Dr. Vossen teaches in many venues, including procedure rooms, grand rounds, multidisciplinary conferences, and reading rooms during image review. Her ability to teach practical clinical skills effectively to her audience’s level and needs makes her much in demand by multiple Schools and departments to teach students, trainees, and faculty. Dr. Vossen is often the first contact in radiology for clinical medical students. She has mentored students to present educational exhibits to clinical radiologists at meetings including the American Roentgen Ray Society, The Radiology Society of North America, and the Society of Skeletal Radiology.

In 2016 Dr. Vossen received international recognition for her teaching when she was awarded the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) Certificate of Merit Award for an educational exhibit. In 2017, she received a Cum Laude Award for an educational exhibit, also at the RSNA. In 2017 and 2019, Dr. Vossen received the VCU Klaus Ranninger Memorial Award for Excellence in Teaching; the recipient of this award is selected annually by the Diagnostic Radiology Residents. Dr. Vossen has contributed over 30 peer reviewed publications, 12 book chapters, and nearly 100 paper and poster/educational exhibit presentations.

Underscoring the impact that Dr. Vossen’s teaching has had on learners from varied backgrounds, Travis Prowant, MSHS, RRA RT (R), Registered Radiology Assistant, Department of Radiology notes, “Lest I fail to mention those of us, working alongside Dr. Vossen, who garner an educational experience that may include a new phrase or a new way to share knowledge in a way that any patient (or bystander) could understand. Her uncanny abilities, clinical acumen, and willingness to teach is beyond critique. Resident, fellow, medical student, radiologist colleague, Radiologic Technologist, rotating Orthopedic resident, or honestly anyone else that shares an encounter with Dr. Vossen will eventually share in her caring smile and welcoming nature, in addition to her imaging expertise, can-do attitude, and determination to deliver clinical outcomes.”