Dr. Georgia McIntosh has been a role model for humanism in the Department of Medicine since completing her residency here at VCU in 2003. Now Associate Professor, Hospitalist Pathway Director, and Internal Medicine Residency Program Core Educator, she is consistently recognized by learners, patients and staff members for her collaborative and compassionate approach to patient care. As one of her student nominators states, “She always lifted up members of the team and supported residents in their work… Never once did I ever hear Dr. McIntosh talk down or speak poorly of (anyone) in the hospital. Truly set a benchmark of the type of physician I would want to be. Best attending I had during my M3 year.”
Dr. McIntosh has consistently received high evaluations from her students and residents for her empathetic medical care. In residency, she was a finalist both for the School of Medicine Arthur Klein Memorial Award for Exemplary Qualities as a Physician, as well as the Faculty Award for Humanistic Qualities towards Patients. Due to her stellar evaluations, she was chosen to participate in the “Exemplary Teaching Attendings Project”, a novel study identifying what makes a quality attending, currently in development by the University of Michigan.
Learners frequently comment that her calm, reassuring presence fosters clinical independence while simultaneously providing mentorship for learners as they gain confidence and autonomy. This skill has been recognized formally as she was awarded the Outstanding Ward Attending from the residency class in 2013. Later in 2016 she was presented with the Dr. J. David Markham Award for Excellence in Teaching by the Department of Internal Medicine. Dr. McIntosh was voted a 2020 “Top Doc” by her peers in Richmond Magazine.
Dr. McIntosh champions interprofessional collaboration and has been a co-teacher and facilitator in the Interprofessional Education and Collaboration Care 502 course since 2016. This innovative course combines students from the schools of medicine, nursing, pharmacy and allied health to work alongside each other while learning key components of patient safety and quality improvement.
Colleague Kimberly Pedram, M.D., Assistant Professor and Associate Chair for Education, Hospital Medicine, Associate Course Director, Practice of Clinical Medicine and Medical Director, Progressive Care Unit, was a medical student when she met Dr. McIntosh, who was her Chief Resident. She describes Dr. McIntosh as the “unofficial role-model of the ideal physician for her colleagues, who turn frequently to her for guidance and instruction when dealing with difficult patient situations, or simply when they need some reassurance and a reminder of their self-worth. She truly makes everyone she interacts with feel valued, cared-for, and important.”
Another student nominator recalls how Dr. McIntosh made a difference in her life. “There was a time during my clerkship, when I felt the weight of the world crushing down on me. I couldn't breathe nor speak as shame, guilt, and disappointment weighed on my heart and mind until I finally cracked, crying for fifteen minutes at 5:30am in the team room by myself. That day, Dr. McIntosh immediately recognized that I needed help. She did not disparage or embarrass me. She not only handled my breakdown professionally, she handled it with such warmth. I realized what it means to be a patient under her care - to be treated with humility and compassion regardless of my circumstances. Dr. McIntosh is the physician and human being that everyone should aspire to be.”
Most recently, Dr. McIntosh has been a leader in calling for limiting the use of force against people protesting against system racism in our community.
For these reasons, and many more, we are honored to recognize Dr. Georgia McIntosh with the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award.