VCU/VCUHS Leadership in Graduate Medical Education Fellowship Director Award

If you had served as fellowship director of the Internal Medicine Geriatrics Training Program for 15 years, as Angela Gentili, M.D., associate professor of internal medicine, has, you might be tempted to just “do what has worked.”

However, when colleagues and trainees describe Dr. Gentili, you repeatedly hear words like “creative”, “innovative”, “thinks outside the box”, and “constantly trying to improve.”

As Peter Boling, M.D., professor and chair of geriatric medicine explains, “I have known Angela for over a decade and have watched with great admiration and learned from her. Angela has personally invested tremendous amounts of time and energy, has always sought the best possible experience for the fellows, and has repeatedly refreshed the curriculum.”

“She is a dedicated teacher, educator, mentor and tireless advocate for geriatric fellows,” Julie L. Beales, M.D., interim chief of staff at the McGuire VA Medical Center, says.

“[Gentili] doesn’t just do what everyone else has done,” describes a peer fellowship coordinator. “She is creative and truly looks to build her program. She is a well-respected role model for other program directors.”

“She serves as a mentor for many of us in developing templates, new evaluations, new systems,” agrees Stephanie Call, M.D., M.S.P.H., associate chair for education and training program director in the Department of Internal Medicine. During her recent program accreditation review, Dr. Gentili was “informed, skilled, organized and presented a very strong program,” which received full accreditation without a single citation.

A colleague, Hana Ayele, M.D., associate professor of internal medicine, praises Dr. Gentili’s “creative evaluations and feedback, including simulation, patient-based evaluations and mini-CEX (clinical examination exercise) observed experiences.”

Among Dr. Gentili’s innovations are a mini-CEX on falls in older patients and a checklist for nursing home admission notes and recertification notes, allowing fellows to make sure they are meeting all of the Federal and Joint Commission requirements. Dr. Gentili also developed a system of chart reviews wherein fellows assess themselves to be sure they are applying what they learn in didactics to the care of their patients.

Former fellow Saima Habib, M.D., now assistant professor of internal medicine, recalls, “Dr. Gentili was outstanding: the most devoted and committed teaching physician that I have worked with,” describing her “pleasant personality, expertise in her specialty, easy approachability and constant willingness to help us excel in our training.”

Dr. Gentili also serves as the course director for Geriatrics Grand Rounds and the Geriatrics Core Curriculum Conference at McGuire VA Medical Center. She received the Outstanding Service Award from the American Geriatric Society in 2008 and 2012 for contributions to the Clinical Practice and Models of Care Committee. The Department of Internal Medicine recognized her with the 2007 J. David Markham Award for Excellence in Teaching as well.

Dr. Gentili is active in the Association of Directors of Geriatric Academic Programs Fellowship Directors Group and the teacher section of the American Geriatrics Society. She presents national workshops to teach geriatrics competencies, cognitive disorders and approaches to falls in older patients.

Lenore Joseph, M.D., associate chief of staff/education at McGuire VA Medical Center, sums it up well.

“Dr Gentili is like a grand and fruitful vine in GME, planted, blooming, and flourishing,” Joseph says. “To meet the needs of patients who collectively are more vulnerable than other patient populations due to the physical and psychological stressors of military service, challenging financial times and multiple comorbidities requires tremendous humanism, integrity and perseverance. This is an even more compelling truth for our elderly veterans. I am delighted to report that Dr. Gentili rises to this challenge every time. She expects no less of her trainees, inspiring them with her day-to-day example of energy, endurance and empathy.”