FACS“She talks to her pediatric patients like the humans they are. She is full of energy and extremely kind and patient with her patients and families.” This is how Rajanya S. Petersson, M.S., M.D., FACS, Associate Professor of Otolaryngology, and Section Director, Pediatric Otolaryngology, CHOR describes Kelley M. Dodson, M.D. FACS, this year’s Tow Humanism Award recipient.

Dr. Dodson serves as Professor and Residency Program Director, VCU Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery (HNS), joining the faculty in 2005 after completing medical school and residency at VCU. A respected clinician, she has shared her grant-funded scholarly work through dozens of presentations and 35 peer-reviewed publications. Dr. Dodson has also received numerous recognitions for her teaching, clinical care, and bedside manner. Her residents can often be heard commenting, “Dr. Dodson knows everything!” As residency Program Director, she has taken a special interest in helping learners who need some extra mentoring and assistance, collaborating to carefully construct a path to success. Her students and colleagues admire not only her accomplishments, but the manner in which she accomplishes them – thoughtfully, with compassion and patience.

Richard Costanzo, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Physiology and Biophysics and Otolaryngology/HNS recalls, “When I first met Kelley during her residency I could tell from the start that she was a very special person. She was not only very smart but also quiet and humble. … As I observed her over the years as she interacted with residents and with patients my initial impressions were confirmed over and over again. I expect anyone who knows Kelley most likely has had the same impression, she is an amazing physician, a kind and compassionate human being and a role model for those around her.”

“I look up to Dr. Dodson as a model for both academic achievement and clinical excellence. How she is able to do this - maintain a thriving practice, produce rigorous scholarly output, oversee the entire educational program of our residents, all while running a busy and loving family life – simply defies understanding,” declares Daniel H. Coelho, M.D., Hayden Professor, Otologic & Neurotologic Surgery, VCU Department of Otolaryngology/HNS.

Evan R. Reiter, M.D., Professor and Vice Chairman of Otolaryngology/HNS, shares his personal experience. “Having observed her directly caring for multiple patients including my own family members, I have consistently been struck with her earnest compassion. She recognizes the combination of perceived vulnerability, uncertainty, and anxiety of separation from parents in her patients, and strives to mitigate these fears. She generally stays at the patients’ side from the time they leave the parent to when they are induced under anesthesia, consoling them, holding them, and trying to entertain them by showing their favorite videos on her phone. These seemingly small things are by no means standard among even pediatric physicians and show a true compassion many would do well to emulate.”

Her patients agree:

Dr. Dodson is a fantastic person and doctor. Her vibrant personality brings joy to a trip to the doctor. She has been an advocate for my son and educational needs due to hearing loss. I cannot say enough good things.

Dr. Dodson has a great caring attitude combined with the knowledge and professionalism that every MD should adopt. I am sure that her attitude has a positive effect on everybody around her.

If you are looking for a provider face from VCU Health that says "We really care about you", you do not have to look any further than Dr. Kelley Dodson.

As Dr. Petersson summarizes: “She exemplifies what a physician should be through her compassion, rapport, intelligence, communication, professionalism, and moral compass.” We are so fortunate to have Dr. Dodson among us.