UPSOM Accolades

2019-2020 Faculty & Trainee Professionalism Accolade Recipients


YeahwaHong, MD: “Dr. Hong was one of my senior residents during my time at UPMC St. Margaret. Now that my general surgery rotation is complete I can say that I have worked with numerous residents...but Dr. Hong without question took the most interest in my success in the OR. He took time during a case to work through some specific skills, and gave my pointers on peri-operative career/career planning in between cases. He made me feel included, and gave me the benefit of the doubt at all the times that I needed support. Thank you Dr. Hong.” - Submitted by UPSOM medical student (Surgery Clerkship, Spring 2021)


Shreya Desai, MD: “Dr. Desai deserves recognition for responding to the code at my request when Dr. Lundeensent me to get help from our FM team. When I told her what was wrong, she dropped everything and ran to help out her co-resident without questioning or minimizing my request. She took me seriously as a trainee in an emergent situation and prioritized helping our colleague who needed back up. For these incredible acts of professionalism during a critical situation, she deserves recognition.” - Submitted by UPSOM medical student (Spring 2021)


Jennifer de Groot, MD: “Dr. Anhut[de Groot] had an important oral examination in the afternoon that she had clearly prepared for extensively. A patient encounter that morning, however, was running very late. With less than 5 minutes to spare, she could have prematurely ended the patient encounter, as she had to go to her examination, but instead chose to continue with an extended (and clinically appropriate) workup for the patient. I witnessed this myself, and I was impressed by how committed she was to patient care, even at the possibility of being reprimanded by a supervisor.” - Submitted by UPSOM medical student (Spring 2019)


Emily Cunningham, MD: “I worked with Dr. Cunningham on my OBGYN rotation and spoke with several other students who have worked with her in the past. She consistently goes out of her way to provide students with a great learning experience. Her commitment to medical education is remarkable and rare. She often uses Pictionary to teach, which is fun and helpful. She is engaging, caring, and creative in how she teaches medical students. She challenges her students with an approach and demeanor that allows them to learn without feeling intimidated. She allows students to take an active role in surgery and deliveries, regardless of their specialty interest. She is a major asset to the Pitt Med community. I hope that all students here have an opportunity to work with someone like Dr. Cunningham.” submitted by UPSOM medical student (Obstetrics and Gynecology Clerkship, Spring 2021)


Benjamin Carnahan, MD: “During my time at UPMC St. Margaret hospital, this resident consistently included me in the team, and shared advice and constructive criticism with me on a daily basis. He knew I was very nervous about preparing for future rotations/intern year...and therefore took a specific interest in preparing me for my AI/answering all questions that I had. He lead by example as well… and always volunteering when new/unexpected/unattractive work arose. Nothing was beneath him. Thank you Ben!” - Submitted by UPSOM medical student (Surgery Clerkship, Spring 2021)


Jose Mantilla Rivas, MD: “Jose was a fantastic resource during my month at Southside. He helped me take ownership of my patient's progress and encouraged me to improve my ability to connect with patients. He fostered interesting conversations about the material at hand and made me feel comfortable enough to ask lots of questions.” - Submitted by UPSOM student (Spring 2021)


Kristina Lundeen, MD: “Besides being an amazing teacher, Dr. Lundeenis an amazing role model. She demonstrated astute leadership in the face of uncertain directives by different teams about a condition called for a patient in a 3rd party unit. She advocated for this patient who was rapidly decompensating when the rest of the resident code team was debating whether they were supposed to respond to conditions in this particular context. She escalated the patient's care based on excellent clinical judgement and liaised with several members of the code team to help facilitate a response without overstepping the role she was filling on behalf of a our teammate who was attending to another sick patient. She proceeded to help me understand the situation at hand and her clinical reasoning. It was truly inspiring.” - Submitted by UPSOM medical student (Spring 2021)


David Koes, PhD: “Utilized the benefits of online learning to create a very effective, welcoming, and pleasant learning environment. This is not something I experienced in any of my other classes at Pitt, so excellent job!” - Submitted by UPSOM graduate student (Spring 2021)


Caitlin McNamara, MD: “Dr. McNamara is the kind of physician I want to be one day. She created such a positive space for learners and encouraged us to think critically about the science, the reasoning, and the psychosocial factors involved in pediatric disease management. Everyday she sat down with us to teach a core clinical lesson for our level of training. She set goals for us to learn components of the physical exam/patient interview and made specific goals unique to our individual development to work on each day. It was extremely encouraging to see Dr. McNamara's excitement for us when she gave us feedback about our improvement. I feel like Dr. McNamara is a teacher, as well as an advocate for her trainees, and she deserves recognition for the positive learning environment she creates.” - Submitted by UPSOM medical student (Spring 2020)


Carissa Pokrant, DO: “Dr. Pokrantwas my first resident I had the privilege of working with on my first clerkship in pediatrics. She was an incredible patient advocate and took a significant amount of time working with me on how to approach family centered rounds. She was an amazing teacher and helped me to understand bigger picture management pearls. She promoted my growth as a student and always made time to give feedback on my notes and presentations each day. As an FM resident on rotation from UPMC Horizon, she went above and beyond for a team brand new to her and committed herself to creating a positive learning environment.” - Submitted by UPSOM medical student (Pediatrics Clerkship, Spring 2021)


Ibrahim Sultan, MD: “Dr. Sultan was by far the best attending I've had during medical school. He was interested in my learning, pushed me during the rotation, and showed me why cardiac surgery is undoubtedly the most interesting and challenging surgical field. Certainly one of the biggest reasons in spurring my decision to pursue cardiac surgery.” - Submitted by UPSOM medical student (Fall 2018)


Christopher Schott, MD, MS, RDMS, FACEP: "“I took your CCM elective last February and wanted to let you know that because of your teaching, I legitimately saved someone’s life. I was the doctor on call and responded to a Condition A. I literally had this moment where I thought to myself, “this is it. This is what I have been training for.” While it had been over a year since completing your course, I mentally returned to the WISER room and calmly and methodically worked my way down the mental checklist. I navigated several hurdles and we managed to get a pulse back after intubation. I will never forget that moment where I 100% earned my M.D. Your class has been instrumental throughout my intern year and I have been able to serve as a resource to my co-interns who did not have the opportunity to take a similar course. Thank you for all that you do for students and please know it truly makes an impact for patients.” - Submitted by UPSOM graduate/UPMC resident (CCM, Spring 2021)


Amber Fontenot: “I had e-mailed Amber to help her find a replacement for my Period 1 course and although there was initially a miscommunication, she took the time to explain the process and ease my anxieties. She even offered to meet with me to better go over their next steps. I know that the office is very busy at the moment, but it was so refreshing to receive a compassionate and detailed response about the rescheduling process in regards to a Board study elective.” - Submitted by UPSOM student (Spring 2021)


Mohamad Issa, MD, MS: “I've been spending my first week of my ENT rotation on Head and Neck Surgery. Moe has been my chief during this time and he continually goes above and beyond expectations. He not only excels at managing the team regarding knowledge and preparation for his patients, but he also is a superb teacher and exhibits a love of doing so. Moe is always looking for opportunities for me to learn and goes out of his way to help me thrive. He excels at what he does and I wanted to recognize him for making my week exceptional.” - Submitted by UPSOM student (Spring 2021)


Joseph Darby, MD: “Dr. Darby is a great teacher and leader who is a positive role model for everyone working with him. During the morning round, he is willing to listen to every team member's opinion include the nurses and social workers. He also takes a substantial amount time to address and teach the medical student. He always treats everyone around him with dignity and respect.” - Submitted by UPSOM student (2017)


Arvind Srinath, MD, MS“Dr. Srinathupholds all the values that a teacher in medicine should have. He's dedicated and compassionate to his patients, technically/clinically skilled with experience, and is excited to teach students everyday. His positivity and constant smiles are infectious. He treats all those under him as his teammates and leads by example. I enjoyed and will value the week I had under Dr. Srinath. He's the type of teacher and attending I hope to be in the future.” - Submitted by UPSOM student (Spring 2021)

Kathleen Wolff, MSN, CRNP: “On my NICU rotation at CHP, I worked with a ton of the APPs, but Kathleen specifically stood out as someone who went above and beyond to teach me and find opportunities for me to get the most out of my rotation. On one of my first days on service, Kathleen spent nearly an hour walking me through basic calculations for our baby's feeds, fluids, and medications. Soon after, she encouraged me to accompany our babies to their procedures, which opened up the opportunity to participate in their surgeries for the rest of the month! With every new patient presentation, she spent time explaining our protocols for workup and management. She taught me how to consent parents for certain interventions and was available during these discussions to answer questions and offer support. These are only some of the many lessons and opportunities Kathleen provided, and she was singlehandedly the best teacher I had during my month on service.” - Submitted by a UPSOM student (Fall 2020: Neonatology)


Sara Myers, MD: “Dr. Myers was easily the best teacher I've had during my time at Pitt Med. She was extremely supportive and provided extensive feedback with respect to what could be improved upon in a way that was relatable and not embarrassing. Hoping Pitt hangs on to her in the future, as I would be extremely grateful to have her as a boss one day.” - Submitted by a UPSOM student (Fall 2020: Surgery Clerkship)


Eloho Ufomata, MD, MS: “I wanted to take a moment to highlight what an absolutely wonderful and invaluable advisory dean Dr. Ufomatahas been to us. She is there for us whether it's via zoom, email, call, or text. She finds away to fit you in no matter how busy she is. Most of my requests for a meeting result in us talking within a day. I don't know how she does it but she finds a way to fit you in. Not only is Dr. Ufomataa supremely skilled physician, but she is also just as amazing as an educator, advisor, and leader. I feel like I could talk to her about anything and I do not know how anyone survives this virtual interview process without a Dr. Ufomatain their life. She is both supportive and honest in her feedback. If I was in charge and someone had questions about how to be a mentor, I would send them to Dr. Ufomata. Even though she is new to the role, it already feels like she has been doing this forever. She is the kind of physician and person that I strive to be. It has been an honor to know her and to be mentored by her. - Submitted by a UPSOM student (Spring 2021)


Erin Cummings, MD: “Dr. Cummings and I worked together during my Inpatient Pediatrics rotation. She went above and beyond multiple times during that week. She made sure to give feedback daily and set expectations clearly. She provided additional one-on-one feedback at the end of the week and was always transparent. Unlike any other attending I've worked with thus far, she annotated our Cerner progress notes and H&Ps with handwritten feedback that was tangible and applicable for our futures. She was kind, approachable, and a great teacher. I look forward to working with her again one day.“ - Submitted by a UPSOM student (Fall 2020: Pediatrics Clerkship)


Jonathan Li, MD: “Today, I was fortunate to witness DrLi go above and beyond in his care of our patient. The patient had a complicated medical history. It has been a difficult time for the patient and her family. Jon decided to take a step back from it all and approach the whole situation with fresh eyes. He addressed every question, every concern with such compassion. He provided thoughtful explanations to the processes at play. He was honest with his information in what he knew, what he did not know, with his ideas for prognosis, and with the reassurance that despite it all he would be working to improve the situation in any way he could. The more time he spent with this mom, the more you could see the weight lifted from her shoulders. It was inspiring. On afternoon rounds, the patient's mother brought up how impressed she had been with the care.” - Submitted by a UPSOM student (Spring 2021: Pediatrics Clerkship)


Thiagarajan Meyyappan, MD: “Thiaguwas easily one of the most supportive residents I've worked with during my medical education. He went out of his way to go over patients with me, while also taking time to go over teaching points most days. He always addressed my questions in a respectful manner and was darn smart to boot. He was easily the best younger resident I've been with during my time at Pitt. Wish I could have him as a teacher again.” - Submitted by a UPSOM student (Fall 2020: Surgery Clerkship)


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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