School of Medicine celebrates excellence at annual awards ceremony

During the 24th annual Faculty Excellence Awards Program, honorees were recognized for exemplary performance as leaders, clinicians and educators.

By Anthony DePalma VCU School of Medicine

September 23, 2022

At the 24th annual Faculty Excellence Awards Program on Tuesday, Sept. 20, VCU School of Medicine team members from six clinical departments received recognition for their commitment to compassionate patient care, innovative education and dedicated mentorship. 

During the livestreamed event, Betsy Ripley, M.D., vice dean of the VCU School of Medicine and senior associate dean for faculty affairs, commended her colleagues for their achievements. 

“Every day, our faculty and our teams inspire me as they take care of our patients and they teach our learners,” Ripley said in her closing remarks.  

David Chelmow, M.D., interim dean of the VCU School of Medicine, echoed that sentiment, noting in his remarks that “to stand out from this pool of applicants is truly remarkable.”  

“This year’s award recipients exemplify our school’s mission and values with an admirable commitment to our learners, patients and colleagues,” Chelmow said. “It is a privilege to work alongside and learn from each of them.”  

Teaching Excellence Awards

Enrique Gerszten, M.D. Faculty Teaching Excellence Award

Mark S. Parker, M.D., FACR 
Professor, Department of Radiology

Since arriving at VCU in 2001, Mark S. Parker, M.D., FACR, has established himself as a dedicated and highly regarded educator to thousands of students, residents and fellows. Described by a former resident as “a gifted radiologist, a skilled educator, the epitome of professionalism and a role model inside and outside of the reading room,” Parker is known for fostering a positive learning environment, encouraging questions from learners and maintaining a sense of humor. He has received numerous accolades for his contributions as a teacher and mentor, including the 2022 Distinguished Educator Award from the American Roentgen Ray Society. 

Irby-James Award for Excellence in Clinical Teaching 

Danielle Noreika, M.D. 
Associate Professor, Department of Internal Medicine 

Danielle Noreika, M.D., exemplifies a philosophy that the relationship between student and teacher is a partnership, with a pedagogical approach that is curated to each student. A former pre-medical student wrote that Noreika “powerfully demonstrated many intangible qualities that physicians should possess: compassion, humility and patience," and a colleague added that her “dedication to her patients is matched by her devotion to medical education for all levels of learners.” Noreika has received an average of three awards or honors each year since 2015, and in 2022 she was elected to the fellowship committee for the Association of Specialty Professors. 

Distinguished Mentor Award

S. Stevens Negus III, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology

Through his distinct open-door policy, approachability and collaborative spirit, S. Stevens Negus III, Ph.D., has mentored students, postdoctoral fellows and colleagues not only at VCU, but across the U.S. and Europe. Negus is a member of nine professional societies related to drugs, neuroscience, pharmacology and pain; he serves on the editorial board of four journals; and as of June 1, 2022, his work had been cited 12,677 times. His mentees note his ability to joyfully present complex material with clarity. “To put it simply, Dr. Negus makes his students betters students,” said former student Luke Legakis, M.D., Ph.D. 

Educational Innovation/Educational Research Award 

Kimberly Pedram, M.D. 
Associate Professor, Department of Internal Medicine 

With a teaching approach that students and colleagues describe as “welcoming and engaging” and “the perfect balance of autonomy and supervision,” Kimberly Pedram, M.D., is a leader in compassionate clinical medicine education. As course director of the Practice of Clinical Medicine (PCM), Pedram led an overhaul of the longitudinal course by making the course more engaging and establishing hands-on opportunities for students to practice conducting physical exams and communicating with patients in sensitive situations. Ashley Hadjis, M.D., a former medical student, said Pedram “has mastered creating curriculum and innovating to improve the educational experience for students.” 

Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award

Presented by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation 

Robin Foster, M.D. 
Professor, Department of Pediatrics 

Robin Foster, M.D., has spent her career as a pediatrician specializing in child abuse and child injury and neglect. With a trauma-centered approach, Foster cares for these vulnerable populations in the emergency room, the courtroom and the foster care system. A colleague said “ observe her compassionately care for these children and tirelessly fight for their health and healing is to witness an individual who is clearly driven by a deep care and concern for those she feels called to serve.” Foster cofounded the child protective team at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond, where she still serves as a medical director to this day. Throughout her career, Foster has been honored for her dedication to pediatrics, and she was named a 2022 Top Doc in both pediatric emergency medicine and child abuse.  

Women in Science, Dentistry and Medicine Professional Achievement "WISDM" Award

Patricia J. Sime, M.D., FRCP 
Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Internal Medicine 

Described by a colleague as a “true quadruple-threat academician,” Patricia J. Sime, M.D., FRCP is known for both her work ethic and sense of humor. After becoming the first female chair of the Department of Internal Medicine in 2019, she was instrumental in helping VCU navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. As “a leader among leaders,” Sime has served on numerous committees, associations and foundations. She has garnered various awards and recognitions, including the 2022 Elizabeth A. Rich Award from the American Thoracic Society for her significant contributions in the fields of pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine. 

MCV Physicians Distinguished Clinician Award

Christopher M. Wise, M.D. 
Associate Professor, Department of Internal Medicine 

Christopher M. Wise, M.D., described as a “clinician’s clinician,” is known for his ability to simplify complex conditions while maintaining a warm disposition for patients. He also displays a relentless commitment and availability to his students, residents and peers. This commitment has driven his recent work in improving patient access to rheumatology clinics to provide timely evaluations of those affected by rheumatologic and autoimmune conditions. Colleague Wilhelm Zuelzer, M.D., said Wise “has served as an ideal role model for medical students, residents and his peers.” 

VCU/VCUHS Leadership in Graduate Medical Education Awards

Award for Fellowship Program Director 

Kerri Carter, M.D. 
Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics 

Those who have worked with Kerri Carter, M.D., cite her intelligence, warmth and commitment to pediatrics education. “Her approachability belies her brilliance and attentiveness to detail,” said Mohamed Kuziez, M.D., a current pediatric cardiology fellow. When Carter became program director for the pediatric cardiology fellowship – only four years after completing her own fellowship – she led a comprehensive overhaul of the program’s curriculum, goals and objectives. Scott Gullquist, M.D., a pediatrics colleague, said fellows have described their time with Carter as “the single largest contributor to their success in the fellowship program.” 

Award for Program Director 

David Friedel, M.D., FAAP, FACP 
Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine and Department of Pediatrics  

David Friedel, M.D., FAAP, FACP, program director for the internal medicine-pediatrics residency, is known for being approachable and “a consistently helpful and wise advisor.” As a member of numerous medical associations and professional organizations, and with an extensive teaching portfolio, Friedel has received multiple awards for both teaching and clinical care. Suzanne R. Lavoie, M.D., said Friedel navigates the challenges of being program director — such as supporting residents both personally and professionally and managing schedules across two departments — “with aplomb.”  

Award for Program Coordinator

Evan Ward
Department of Surgery 

As the program coordinator for the general surgery residency, Evan Ward provides coordinative, administrative, logistical and caring interpersonal support for 46 surgical trainees. Her door is “always open,” and colleague Patty Lange, M.D. said “I always marvel at how organized and thorough she is.” Current resident Matt Wishnoff, M.D., reflected on the impact Ward had when he interviewed at VCU. “Evan gave an enthusiastic and informative overview of Richmond, its neighborhoods, VCU Health and our program,” he said. “With her charismatic and engaging personality, I can't imagine a better face to welcome recruits to the program.”