UPSOM Accolades

2019-2020 Faculty & Trainee Professionalism Accolade Recipients


J. Michael Beckham, MD: "I was very fortunate to have Michael (John) as my senior resident. He is an engaging, knowledgeable teacher and helped me think critically about my patients while also ensuring I felt like a valued member of the team… Michael also prioritized my learning as a medical student, ensuring I saw a variety of diagnoses [and] also had [an] opportunity to interact with patients of particular interest to me. He was always available to ask questions, taught me valuable skills such a how to review a patient's overnight telemetry, and never missed an opportunity to teach on rounds. And despite the number of patients he was caring for, Michael always demonstrated wonderful bedside manner and empathy towards patients. His demonstration of professionalism, especially as a new senior resident, was exemplary and made my internal medicine that much more enjoyable." - Submitted by a UPSOM student (2020: Adult Inpatient Medicine)


Sylvia S. Choi, MD: "I just wanted to commend Dr. Choi on creating a safe and welcoming environment for our online bystander training as incoming MS3's. Considering the format and the content, this zoom encounter called for a skillful and warm leader. Dr. Choi delivered that for us. I really appreciated her personal anecdotes and the way that she involved all of us in the discussion. At the end of the discussion she was very open to feedback and made us feel that we truly played a key part in the iterative process of curriculum reform. I just wanted to say that we really appreciated her sincerity, it came across even the most awkward of formats." - Submitted by a UPSOM student (Spring 2020: Preclerkship Course)


Kristen Ehrenberger, MD: "Kristen was one of the most supportive senior residents I have had the privilege of working with throughout my third-year of medical school. She truly advocated for and empowered her medical students and allowed us ample opportunities to teach the team, formulate plans, educate patients and families, and continue to grow and thrive as medical students. She is organized, proactive, efficient, as well as a phenomenal leader and team player -she kept the team on time for daily rounds, while still managing to squeeze in valuable teaching opportunities while walking from room to room. I can only hope to one day emulate what I have learned from Kristen once I am a resident myself!" - Submitted by a UPSOM student (2020: Pediatric Inpatient Medicine Clerkship)


Jacquelyn Gallo, MD: "Jacquelyn was an outstanding resident and teacher. I worked with her during clinic and in the ED, and she made a conscious effort to delegate responsibilities to students and teach, even though she was extremely busy on both occasions. She was always encouraging and supported the development of my knowledge base, instead of pointing out the gaps. I'm happy I've gotten the chance to work with her and the other wonderful St. Margaret's residents!" - Submitted by a UPSOM student (2020: Family Medicine Clerkship)


Catherine Go, MD: "Dr. Go upholds the highest standards of professionalism as witnessed by her countless interactions with patients, OR staff, colleagues, and medical students. Despite a busy schedule, she always remembered people's names, devoted time to make patients feel cared for, and empowered students during cases. She particularly deserves recognition for going above and beyond in the care for a particular patient when coordinating dressing changes, blood draws, and procedures, as she was aware of not just the physical, but the emotional needs of the patient." - Submitted by a UPSOM student (2020: Magee Women's Hospital)


Katherine Hrebinko, MD: "Katie was the most phenomenal resident that I had all throughout my third year. She went above and beyond to teach me suturing, radiology, and surgical techniques. There were many afternoons she spent going over scans with me frame-by-frame to teach me how to recognize pathology. She went out of her way to give me meaningful opportunities to be involved with patient care. She always made me feel valued as a team member even though I was just a medical student. Her care and kindness towards her patients is something I hope to exemplify as I move throughout my career. Katie is a true gem of a human being and I felt so fortunate to be able to work with her." - Submitted by a UPSOM student (2020: Obstetrics and Gynecology Clerkship)


Ruchira Jha, MD: "Dr. Jhais an incredible teacher and remarkably compassionate provider, all while managing medically complex patients. Rounds with her were highly educational, comprehensive, and a joy to experience. I was particularly impressed with her ability to handle so many complicated patients, all while providing high-level teaching to trainees. Learning from her was a highlight of my medical school education." - Submitted by a UPSOM student (2020: Neurology Clerkship)


Susan Lang, MD: "Dr. Lang is a star. In the midst ofa very busy clinic schedule, a particularly demanding patient confronted Dr. Lang... Dr. Lang remained kind, incredibly patient... Dr. Lang really put the patient first in this moment… Her ability to treat a patient with kindness and grace, when the same kindness was not given to her as a clinician was impressive to see. She was genuine, considerate, and answered all questions with grace. She is an exemplary physician and is what I aspire to be like as a future physician. It was a real joy to work with her." - Submitted by a UPSOM student (2020: Obstetrics and Gynecology Clerkship)


Jose Mantilla Rivas, MD: "During my psychiatry rotation, Dr. Jose Mantilla-Rivas created a positive environment that valued team-work and transparency. Without knowing him at all and having just met, he allowed me to sit with him on day 1 while he got feedback on his psychiatry interview from his supervisors, a vulnerable position for him to be in but a unique learning experience for me that many people may not have facilitated. This showed me an honest dedication to medical education. Throughout the rotation, he challenged me to be ready and willing to have autonomy with patients through his teaching and encouragement. Dr. Mantilla-Rivas is an amazing physician and it is clear that heis dedicated to sharing his craft, working with him was one of my favorite experiences of MS3!” - Submitted by a UPSOM student (2020: Psychiatry Clerkship)


Jason Rosenstock, MD: "Dr. Rosenstock’s appointment as Interim Associate Dean for Medical Education has resulted in a dramatic improvement in the learning environment. He has literally transformed the culture into an open-door policy and tangible changes are occurring faster than I have ever seen during my time at Pitt. The positive impact of his leadership style is palpable upon entering OMED. His commitment to medical students is evident by his relentless pursuit of advances in medical education while incorporating feedback and suggestions from students. In addition to his remarkable efforts as Associate Dean, he continues to mentor psychiatry applicants and prepare them for everything they will need to be successful in the match. Dr. Rosenstock is a tremendous asset to medical students and the entire UPSOM community." - Submitted by a UPSOM student (Fall 2019)


Laura Jeannerette, MS: "LLJ is always a supportive, knowledgeable and caring resource for students, especially during USMLE board prep. However, amidst this challenging and evolving time in medical education, LLJ has gone above and beyond to communicate information to students. She always provides compassionate and realistic advice. She embodies the meaning of "positive learning environment" and encourages all students to lift each other up. LLJ is a fierce advocate for Pitt Med students, and we are so lucky to have her guidance!” - Submitted by a UPSOM student (Spring 2020)


Kenny Pelton: “Kenny consistently creates a positive learning environment at UPSOM. I look forward to seeing his smiling face every day and being greeted with a heartfelt “good morning!” Kenny always goes above and beyond to help anyone that walks through our doors. Prior to the renovation of Scaife, the handicap feature on the front doors often would not work. I spent months coming to school in a wheelchair and Kenny took it upon himself to watch for my dad’s car to drop me off. He would always get up and come prop the doors open so that I could get in the building. He also welcomed me with an unrestrained smile day after day. When I was at my lowest point, Kenny went out of his way to cheer me up. He is an immense asset to the School of Medicine and transforms the atmosphere with his presence.” - Submitted by a UPSOM student (Spring 2019)


Jennifer de Groot, MD: "Jenn was so welcoming in my first experience in the OR while on rotations. It made the entire shift so much more comfortable and I felt like it was the night that I was able to learn the most. Thanks Jenn and please keep it up!” - Submitted by a UPSOM student (Fall 2020: OB/Gyn Clerkship)


Jacqueline Estevez, MD: "Jackie Estevez was absolutely the most helpful fellow/resident I have worked with during my third year. She took a personal interest in my education and wanted to ensure that I got everything I could put my Liver transplant rotation and made me feel like a real caregiver. Her willingness to answer questions and perfect notes will without a doubt help me for the rest of Med school and beyond. She deserves all the accolades for being a brilliant clinician, patient advocate, and educator.” - Submitted by a UPSOM student (Fall 2020: Liver Transplant Service)


Yeahwa Hong, MD: "Yeahwa is an absolutely amazing resident, mentor, and teacher. As a fourth year medical student on rotation, not going into surgery and in a pass/fail clerkship due to COVID, I have never been as motivated and inspired to work hard as under Yeahwa's leadership. I was inspired to get in early and push myself - not because it was expected of me, but because I was inspired by his leadership. He was constantly striving to be better which inspired me to do the same. It's hard to describe how invested he was in both the patients and my learning. One time, during rounds at 5am, we walked into a patient's room to check up on her. However, the nurse told us the patient had had an accident and had to be changed. I started walking out, thinking we would come back, only to see Yeahwa already at the patient's bedside helping the nurse change the patient's sheets and help clean the patient. Truly a leader by example. Just to speak to how invested he was in my education, even if he was post-call or if we had a late day, he would still take so much time to teach me both in terms of clinical topics, and clinical skills. He is truly an amazing resident, an amazing teacher, and an amazing physician and I hope I can be as good at all my roles when I'm at a similar stage in life.” - Submitted by a UPSOM student (Fall 2020: Surgery Clerkship)


Spencer Keil, MD: "Dr. Keil is one of the best residents I have had the pleasure of working with so far. He went above and beyond to improve my presentation, note taking, patient interviewing, and studying skills. He also made a great effort to treat the whole patient and was extremely sensitive and compassionate in talking to patients about difficult diagnoses. Truly a role model in the field of medicine!” - Submitted by a UPSOM student (Fall 2020: Adult Inpatient Medicine Clerkship)


Kathy Molter: "Students and residents both know that when we are have an administrative question we can contact Kathy and are greeted with straightforward answers and kindness. She has assisted so many of us coming back into the clinical space post-covid with a quick turn-around on emails and made our zoom sessions a breeze. I don't think the psychiatry rotation would be the same without her. She has been a huge help to us all. When we have a question, we say " Kathy will know, and if she doesn't know, she will know who knows." Thank you Kathy for your hard work and making us 3rd years settle in to clinical life at WPIC!” - Submitted by a UPSOM student (Fall 2020: Psychiatry Clerkship)


Joshua Shulman, MD: "For the whole medical interviewing course, Dr. Shulman was encouraging and understanding. He made sure to give us positive, but useful, feedback. When I specifically had some difficulty with one of the cases affecting me emotionally, he took the time to check up on me afterwards and extend his support if needed. Overall, Dr. Shulman is a great asset to the medical school community.” - Submitted by a UPSOM student (Fall 2020: Introduction to Medical Interviewing)


Scott Symonds, MD: "I was rotating in an ICU with Dr. Symonds where he initially established a precedent as a future clinical educator and mentor. For example, while the code team was responding to a Condition A, he took the time to educate the learners on what was happening and to teach us about resuscitation and ACLS. More important, and what truly sets Dr. Symonds apart, is how he treated a learner on a different team. During the abovementioned Condition, we learned that it was a medical student who initially recognized the patient was pulseless, immediately started compressions, and instructed the nurse to call a Condition. After 30 minutes of resuscitation, it was obvious that the patient would not live, at which point the medical student became emotional. Despite being surrounded by approximately 30 bystanders, no one asked him how he was doing. However, Dr. Symonds recognized the student's pain and spent time comforting and reassuring them. This small act may have gone unnoticed to many, but it was largely consistent with exemplary behavior consistently demonstrated by Dr. Symonds. He is an incredibly compassionate intern, and I am assured that the learning environment at Pitt Med will be a better place because of residents like Dr. Symonds.” - Submitted by a UPSOM student (Fall 2020: ICU)


Elise Martin, MD, MS: "Dr. Elise Martin has been the brilliant and calming advocate and guide for our medical students throughout the pandemic.
Dr. Martin has made herself available at all hours of the day or night, weekdays and weekends, to support us as we field student exposures and questions. She answers emails and texts promptly... She always says “yes” to last minute town halls, leadership meetings, urgent conference calls, and to editing changing-by-the-minute updates... She has offered her email address directly to students to make sure that they know that UPMC Infection Prevention is always there for them. Most importantly, she is a truly inspirational role model in the way that she does all of this with unequaled patience and kindness.

Our ability to safely care for our medical students and our patients through this pandemic has been made possible because of Dr. Martin. She represents the best of our profession and our faculty at UPSOM.” - Submitted by UPSOM Administration (December 2020)


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