VCU/VCUHS Leadership in Graduate Medical Education Program Coordinator Award

All of us hope to have a colleague that helps to keep everything together and moving forward, is incredibly efficient and competent and detail-oriented, and is great to work with. The OB-GYN residency program is fortunate to have just such a person in Donna Barrett. After serving as residency program coordinator for the Department of Pediatrics for five years, Barrett took on the challenge of becoming the program coordinator for OB-GYN just as a new program director took over the program and with an accreditation internal review rapidly approaching.

Within a month, she got all of the records up to speed, duty hours in order and developed a wonderful relationship with the faculty and students,” explains Nicole Karjane, OB-GYN program director.

Administrative chief resident Sarah Milton describes the contributions that Barrett has already made in her short time in the position. “She brought with her unique ideas that have already resulted in drastic improvements within our department,” Milton says. “For example, she suggested streamlining our schedule using an online schedule template, which has resulted in a dramatic improvement in the communication between administrators and residents with regard to scheduling and has eased the transition from one academic year to the next.”

Colleagues from the Department of Pediatrics are happy to share their experiences with Barrett during her tenure there. “She has touched the lives of every resident who has passed through this program,” says Gauri Gulati, M.D., associate program director for the pediatric residency program. “One of our current residents attributes Donna’s presence as one of the major factors in her decision to match at VCU.

“[Barrett] is willing to take on any challenge, no matter how big or small. Improving the residency program was not a job for Donna but more of a personal goal in which she took great pride.”

Former chief resident in pediatrics, Susanne Appleton, M.D., recalls, “I started referring to her as ‘the eternal chief’ in my own head given that she seemed to not just be the one on top of all the background tasks that it takes to make a residency program run, but, even more importantly, seemed to be the go-to person for me and many other residents when it came to needing a motherly friend so far from home.”

Indeed, the new Class of 2016 already describes Barrett as “a great asset to the OB-GYN department” and describes how she has “gone
out of her way to make our transition go as smoothly as possible. We truly appreciate all she has done for us, even at such an early time in our residency

Colleagues in both pediatrics and OB-GYN describe Barrett as leaving no detail to chance: learning how to pronounce new
residents’ names and coaching others so the new residents would feel welcome, working long hours to be sure every facet of recruitment, from paperwork to
food, was perfect, and coordinating multiple educational activities smoothly, from conferences to rotations to re-certifications and retreats.

Despite juggling numerous important responsibilities, Barrett remains an excellent role model. “No matter what task she is assigned, she tackles it with enthusiasm, dedication and humor,” Milton says. “Her attitude is contagious and working through the trials of scheduling and interdepartmental communication all seems to occur with ease in her presence.”

Fidelma Rigby, M.D., associate professor and OB-GYN clerkship director comments, “She is the nicest, most generous coordinator I have known in my 23 years in association with academic medicine.”

For her longstanding dedication to excellence in residency training, it is an honor to recognize Donna Barrett for her leadership in graduate medical education as the recipient of the LGME Program Coordinator Award.