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Resident Opportunities and Recognition

Program For Away Rotation Sites

The Saint Louis University School of Medicine Graduate Medical Education Office provides support for a limited number of away electives for resident training. These rotations are intended to enrich the educational experience of a resident and the residency training program, expand SLU's visibility locally and internationally, and create unique opportunities for residents to provide care to the underserved.

Applications are reviewed twice each year and must be received by May 1 or November  1.   

For a full description of the Program for Away Rotation program,  download the guidelines.

Program  2019-2020 Rotation Site
Internal Medicine India
Internal Medicine Panama


Program 2018-2019 Rotation Site
Family Medicine Belize
Family Medicine Honduras
Internal Medicine Kenya
Internal Medicine Belize
Maternal-Fetal Medicine China
Otolaryngology Spain


Program 2017-18 Rotation Site
Emergency Medicine Thailand
Otolaryngology Nigeria
Radiology Kenya


Program 2016-17 Rotation Site
Neurology India


Program 2015-16 Rotation Site
Otolaryngology Spain
Maternal-Fetal Medicine Congo


Program 2014-15 Rotation Site
Orthopaedic Surgery Malawi
Internal Medicine Belize
Internal Medicine Puerto Rico
Internal Medicine New Dehli/Rishikesh


Program 2013-14 Rotation Site
Family Medicine  South Africa
Orthopaedic Surgery Malawi
Internal Medicine  India
Emergency Medicine China


The financial structure of Medicare Graduate Medical Education training requires residents to work physically within the hospital system that provides the financial support for the educational experience. Resident rotations away for special educational activities, volunteering for underserved populations and international experiences are not supported through traditional GME cost report funding. It is difficult to arrange away rotations, even within the same city, without dedicated financial support.

Many Saint Louis University faculty volunteer clinically outside of the United States and would welcome resident participation but lack a financial mechanism for such rotations. Prospective residents often ask about international or away electives during the interview process and indicate that the Saint Louis University mission of service is a reason for selecting our school and residencies. Many desire the opportunity to provide additional care to the underserved, generally outside of the United States, as a part of the training program. Some residents also desire specialized educational opportunities that are not available at our School or affiliated training hospitals. These rotations away require external stipend support not available through the current hospital or GME training budgets.

Program Structure
Each academic year, selected residents will be allowed to engage in training outside of the Saint Louis University affiliated sites for a maximum of four weeks each. This is a competitive process which requires an application, approval and supporting documentation. A committee will review the application and determine if funding and support will be provided by the GME office for this experience. Applications must be received at least two months in advance of the expected training period.
Funding Support

Up to 28 days (approximately $5,000) per resident will be covered through the GME office for stipend, benefits and malpractice coverage (if U.S.-based rotation) during the away rotation. An additional travel allowance of up to $1,000 will be provided to offset a portion of the cost of airfare/transit to an international location and up to $500 to a U.S.-based location. Trainees remaining in St. Louis will not receive a travel allowance.

When partial existing funds are available for a rotation or travel, partial support may be provided by GME to offset unfunded expenses. The resident or program will be responsible for lodging, meals, required vaccinations or prophylactic medications, incidental costs, and fees associated with processing, licensing or credentialing at the away site, purchasing of international health insurance (mandatory) or additive malpractice coverage (optional).

The resident's training program will be responsible for any programmatic costs associated with the trainee's absence. International health insurance is available for a minimal cost through Saint Louis University via the SLU Marketplace website.

This program will neither replace established funding mechanisms for resident away rotations, nor fund experiences that are a required component of the residency training program. This program is intended to provide support for unique opportunities, resident-initiated experiences, or initial development of international training partnerships for resident education. This program is not intended to fund established or annual "senior year" away rotations for a department/program. External or departmental support is expected for recurring away experiences. Denial of funding through this GME-supported program does not imply denial of approval by the GME office for the away experience; other funding mechanisms should be pursued.

Program Requirements

Each training program may submit up to two applications for consideration during an academic year. Applications and supporting documentation must be completed before being considered by the review committee. Applications must clearly demonstrate the educational benefit to the trainee and program and the support of the program director and department. Upon return from the rotation, the trainee will be required to provide an educational presentation of the experience, complete a post-rotation report for the GME office and serve as a resource for other trainees who may be interested in away rotation experiences.

A local faculty advisor and an off-site supervisor must be identified for each away experience. The advisor will be responsible for assisting the resident with the application process, obtaining necessary supporting documentation, monitoring the resident's participation in the away rotation and ensuring an evaluation of the resident takes place. The off-site supervisor must complete an end-of-rotation evaluation and agree to the term established for the away rotation. The resident, faculty advisor and program director are responsible for all planning, paperwork and travel arrangements.

A rotation description including goals and objectives, clinical responsibilities, and the supervision and evaluation process must be created by the program director, and an evaluation of the trainee must be performed at the end of the experience by the supervising clinician. When required, the program director must submit a program letter of agreement between Saint Louis University and the away site which outlines the resident responsibilities, educational activities, and supervision structure of the away rotation. The program director must complete any paperwork required by the away rotation site at least one month in advance of the start of the rotation.

The away rotation must not place undue clinical or service stress on other trainees or compromise patient care. Participating residents must not be required to extend residency training by participating in the away rotation. The away rotation must provide a certifiable educational experience as outlined in the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) Resident Review Committee Program Requirements for the trainee's specialty.

Selection Process

Applications will be reviewed for merit and priority by the Program for Away Rotation Review Committee comprised of resident, faculty and GME members. Applications will be reviewed for approval/funding twice each year (May 1 and Nov. 1). A resident must be in good standing with the training program and the school and is eligible to participate in a GME supported away rotation only once while in training at Saint Louis University. Priority will be given to those trainees who:

  • Are a PGY-2 or higher
  • Utilize the full four-week rotation period
  • Engage in clinical activities accompany a Saint Louis University faculty on the rotation
  • Provide care to an underserved population
  • Work internationally
  • Participate in a well-established governmental educational or philanthropic program/organization
  • Engage in an educational activity that is not available at Saint Louis University affiliated training sites

The away rotation cannot take place in a restricted location, site of military conflict or area which would place the trainee in physical danger. 

House Staff Poster Competition

Each year, residents/fellows are encouraged to participate in our annual House Staff Research Symposium Poster Competition. Prizes are awarded to the four oral semifinalists, best at-poster discussion, and best quality improvement poster.

The research on which the submitted poster is based may have been conducted over the last two years; and may also have been presented outside the University, but may not have been presented at a previous SLU House Staff Poster Competition.

2019 Results

Rebecca Rimsza, M.D., obstetrics/gynecology: Best At-Poster Discussion. Rebecca Rimsza, M.D., obstetrics/gynecology: Best At-Poster Discussion.

View 2019 Posters

Oral Competition:

  • William Perez, maternal-fetal medicine: First place
  • Cara Buskmiller, obstetrics/gynecology: Second place
  • Alyssa Higgins, pathology: Honorable mention
  • Elias Ghossoub, forensic psychiatry: Honorable mention

At-Poster Discussion:

  • Rebecca Rimsza, M.D., obstetrics/gynecology: Best At-Poster Discussion
  • Thomas Fay, M.D., pathology: Best Quality Improvement Poster
2018 Results

View 2018 Posters

Oral Competition Winners:

Courtney Crider, dermatology: First place
Oluwasayo Adeyemo, internal medicine: Second place
Peyman Dinarvand, pathology: Honorable mention
Manish Malkar, pediatric cardiology: Honorable mention


At-Poster Discussion Winners:

Martin Schoen, hematology/oncology: Best At-Poster Discussion
Pujan Patel, pulmonary disease/critical care: Best Quality Improvement Poster

Caring Physician Award 

Physician recipients and nominees live out the ideals of our mission in their practice. All attending physicians, fellows and residents who practice at SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital and who have not received the award in the last seven years are eligible for nomination. 

2019 Caring Physician Award Nominees
  • Steven Abboud, M.D.
  • Zach Berg, M.D.
  • Aakash Bodhit, M.D.
  • Amber Bokhari, M.D.
  • Michael Diffley, M.D.
  • Peter Everson, M.D.
  • Samkon Gado, M.D.
  • Noam Grysman, M.D.
  • Aniruddh Kapoor, M.D.
  • Jen Lobb, M.D.
  • Vatche Melkonian, D.O.
  • Brian O’Byrne, M.D.
  • Amith Reddy, M.D.
  • Amanie Salem, M.D.
  • Neha Sarvepalli, M.D.
2018 Caring Physician Award Nominees
  • Jonathan Ben-Zev, M.D.
  • Neil Evans, M.D.
  • Gabrielle Navon, M.D.
  • Krishna Patel, D.O.
  • Garrett Rampon, M.D.
  • Zachary Urick, M.D.
  • Brandon Wojcik, M.D.
2018 Caring Physician Award Winners
  • Neil Evans, M.D., Department of Internal Medicine
  • Krishna Patel, D.O., Department of Internal Medicine
2017 Caring Physician Award Nominees
  • Jonathan Chica, M.D.
  • Mudasir Kamal, M.D.
  • Maheen Khan, M.D.
  • Andrew Kichura, M.D.
  • Jonathan Lebovitz, M.D.
  • Aaron Miller, M.D.
  • Zachary Oman, M.D.
  • Amith Reddy, M.D.
  • Douglas Snyder, M.D.
2017 Caring Physician Award Winners
  •  Jonathan Chica, M.D., Department of Surgery
  • Andrew Kichura, M.D., Division of Cardiology
2016 Caring Physician Award Nominees
  • Jonathan Chica, M.D. 
  • Michael Cooper, M.D. 
  • Najib El Tecle, M.D. 
  • Christine Henderson, M.D. 
  • Sam Kuchinka, M.D. 
  • Kate Shoemaker, M.D. 
  • Irum Yaqub, M.D. 
2016 Caring Physician Award Winners
  • Matthew Pierson, M.D., Department of Neurological Surgery
  • Annie Mooser, M.D., Department of Surgery

Humanistic Healer Award

Saint Louis University wants to recognize residents and fellows that deliver exceptional, humanistic patient-centered care. The Humanistic Healer Award will be given to house staff who are recognized by others for the care provided to patients and families. Evidence of exceptional care includes single or repeated events within the past three months in which the physician went above and beyond expectations by demonstrating:

  • Advocacy and respect for everyone as a sacred human being
  • Respect for a patients' right to life and to a dignified death
  • High quality of care for our patients
  • Holistic, innovative and spiritual care
  • Contributions to the hospital, University or community at large

Nominations can be sponsored by residents, fellows, medical students, program directors/coordinators and clinical staff. Repeated nominations will be accepted, however prior awardees are not eligible for repeat awards during the same academic year. Nominations will be reviewed and selected at least quarterly by members of the Graduate Medical Education Committee and will receive recognition and a monetary award.

Second Quarter 2019 Winners

Melissa Hager, D.O., a rheumatology fellow, provides support, compassion, and exceptional care for her patients. One of her patients, who used to sing professionally, developed myositis and was at one point unable to perform daily activities or sing for 1 year. Once this patient recovered, Dr. Hager attended the patient's comeback performance on a Friday evening at a local bar on her own personal time. The patient had tears in her eyes when she saw her doctor in the audience supporting her. More patients deserve and need caring physicians like Dr. Hager.

Krishna Patel, D.O., an internal medicine resident, exemplifies what it means to be a good doctor through her professionalism, knowledge, and charisma. She is always happy to take consults and assist colleagues in managing patients. When consulting with Dr. Patel on a patient with metastatic breast cancer, she provided same-day recommendations, and even went ahead to talk with oncology and pharmacy to determine if one of the patient’s cancer medications could be held to allow for wound healing. Dr. Patel always makes a point to make sure consults are handled expediently and in a professional manner.

First Quarter 2019 Winners
Caitlin Francoisse, M.D., a plastic surgery resident, is a compassionate healer of medicine that advocates for patients when they cannot do so for themselves. While working in the Burn ICU, Dr. Francoisse worked with a patient that was 70% burned. When this patient took a turn for the worst, Dr. Francoisse offered comfort, reassurance, and an active listening ear, that the family much appreciated. Although the patient succumbed to her injuries, Dr. Francoisse was there 100% of the time. She was kind, compassionate and considerate to the family during this hard time of withdrawing care and letting their loved one pass on in peace.

Sara Henen, M.D., a pediatric gastroenterology fellow, cares tirelessly for her patients and is very attentive to their needs. One of her patients with IBD had a hard time staying in compliance with a non-solid food diet. Dr. Henen promised the patient that she would drink Pedialyte for the entire 10 days to show that it could be done. She was so committed to this that, even when she had to go out of town for the weekend for a prior commitment with friends, she did not eat any food either. Her example was great for the patient, and it made it easier for the patient to adhere to the diet. The patients spirits were much higher because Dr. Henen made the extra effort to do the best she could to comfort and be a good model for her patient.

Thomas Heitker, M.D., an internal medicine resident, goes above and beyond for each and every one of his patients and their families. In working on a tough case where a patient coded and eventually resuscitated, Dr. Heitker spent extensive time with the patient's father. The father needed a phone charger to charge his phone but no one in the area had one that was compatible. Dr. Heitker left for 10 minutes and came back with a brand new phone charger that he bought personally from the gift shop to give to the father. Dr. Heitker went the extra mile to ensure that the patient's family had everything they needed.
Fourth Quarter 2018 Winners

Daniela Hermelin, M.D., a blood banking and transfusion medicine fellow, demonstrates exceptional patient advocacy that extends well beyond the immediacy of the patient-physician interaction. With a patient who had a difficult-to-manage condition, she advocated for the well-being of the patient by addressing complicated transportation issues, making sure the necessary medications are always available at the patient’s preferred pharmacy, and serving as the interface with the patient and neurologist on multiple occasions. Her caring disposition has had a tremendously positive impact on this patient’s complicated clinical situation. Dr. Hermelin is an unparalleled system navigator for her patients.

Douglas Snyder, M.D., an internal medicine resident, is a strong advocate for his patients and always goes the extra mile.  When Dr. Snyder was called to assist a co-resident with a difficult patient situation regarding insurance, he learned that the patient had tested positive for HIV earlier in the day. He spent nearly two hours providing support and comfort to the patient assuring the patient that the diagnosis of HIV was not a death sentence. Not only did Dr. Snyder put the patient at ease about the diagnosis but stayed after hours to help tailor the patients other medical condition for insurance. He was able to find a regimen for the patient that was $0 out of pocket cost.

Mudasir Kamal, M.D., a psychiatry resident, goes above and beyond the call of duty to ensure quality patient care. He is effective at using the patient-centered approach to connect with patients even the most challenging personality disordered patients that others find difficult and has created extra patient slots outside his regular work hours to help patients in dire need. In addition, Dr. Kamal helped establish the first student-run psychiatry clinic and was instrumental in helping patient without insurance obtain treatment for mental illnesses. He takes challenges with a smile and provides a positive patient experience.

Third Quarter 2018 Winners

Aliza Machefsky, M.D., an obstetrics/gynecology resident, provides exceptional, compassionate care to all our patients.  She always puts the patient's values, needs, and desires first.  She takes the time to talk with her patients in a professional manner that the patient can easily understand.  Dr. Machefsky spent many hours with a mother who was delivering premature twins.  This was an emotionally difficult time and the mother asked Dr. Machefsky to continue caring for her in the hospital. Dr. Machefsky put the patient's needs ahead of everything else to spend additional time with this mother.

Samkon Gado, M.D., an otolaryngology resident, is a true advocate for each patient he sees. He has excellent bedside manner and delivers holistic, innovative, and spiritual care through his outreach to Nigeria and for the patients of our community. Dr. Gado saw a patient with nasal complaints and not only took the time to provide the routine care, but also to explain the dangers of chronic daily opioid use. He personally accompanied a patient to the hospital for admission and took additional time to speak with the family of a disabled patient who needed extra attention for recurrent nosebleeds.

Second Quarter 2018 Winners

Ashley Meyr, M.D., a family medicine resident, is not satisfied unless every stone has been turned to get answers and appropriate care for her patients. She is thorough, thoughtful and diligent and will track down patients who do not come to appointments. Dr. Meyr guided a non-English speaking immigrant patient through a complex and confusing medical illness that required multiple biopsies to determine the final diagnosis. She did not stop looking for the correct diagnosis despite initial negative testing. The patient's husband is also now coming to Dr. Meyr for his primary care.

Jenna Fine, D.O., a pediatric critical care resident, consistently provides life-saving care to children and families in crisis with thoughtful concern, kindness and consideration. Even when challenged by urgent, life-threatening problems she takes the time to discover a family's true needs and identify their wishes and fears regarding their children. Dr. Fine has assisted families of children with severe genetic conditions to understand the medical decisions that must be made and to guide families in making difficult decisions. 

Joannie Ivory, M.D., an internal medicine resident, is always going the extra mile to establish a rapport with patients. She cares deeply for their well-being, and she will go out of her way to make sure that their stay in the hospital is as pleasant as possible. Dr. Ivory has bought games, books, and coffee to patients who were hospitalized for long periods of time and may not have stayed to complete much-needed medical treatments.

First Quarter 2018 Winners

Nathan Wilgus, M.D.: Nathan Wilgus, M.D., a pathology resident, has done a tremendous job for one of his recent patients. Wilgus and his attending went down to the operating room to perform a frozen section evaluation for a possible lung tumor. After looking at the slides it was determined that there was no cancer, but the sample was worrisome for a rare infection. He went to the bedside, introduced himself to the patient and his family, and obtained additional information that suggested the patient had an infection that could be treated with antibiotics. Wilgus went above and beyond to help make this diagnosis and reassure the family and patient.

Jinhua Piao, M.D.:  Jinhua Piao, M.D., is a pathology resident who is highly respectful, treating each patient, and their family members, as individuals worth of our service. She has gone above and beyond expectations to know our patients and explain how we are impacting their care. She has also been a strong advocate for vulnerable patients in complicated medical situations for which the proper therapeutic way forward is unclear. One weekend, Piao was responsible for two therapeutic plasmapheresis procedures and did a marvelous job of supporting the patients and the nurse performing the procedure, staying at the patient's bedside to assure a safe, comfortable and successful experience.

Pujan Patel, M.D.: Pujan Patel, M.D., is a pulmonary critical care fellow who provides the very best care to his patients. We breathe a sigh of comfort whenever we know Patel is working in the ICU. He always says to us that he looks after patients as if they were our own family members and this shows by the respect and attention he gives the patients and families. Patel is always calm and collected, which makes both the patient and staff feel reassured. He remains humble and approachable and always listens to the nurses concerns regarding the patients. In caring for a very sick cancer patient, Patel made a point to regularly sit down with the family at the bedside to explain everything and how things were going every few hours. He also assisted a blind patient with a tracheostomy in getting resources to better communicate with her care providers.

SLUSOM Awards Banquet

2019 Resident Award Winners

Outstanding Clinical Educator Award for a Resident in: 
  • Family Medicine: Ashley Meyr, M.D.
  • Internal Medicine:  Nikhil Malhotra, M.D.
  • Neurology: Kevin Yeboah, M.D.
  • OB/GYN: Amy Gee, M.D.
  • Pediatrics: Megan Ottomeyer, D.O.
  • Psychiatry: Nathalie Boulos, M.D.
  • Surgery: Jennifer Keller, M.D.
  • an Elective Rotation: Elizabeth Billquist, M.D.
Pillar of Professionalism Award for a Resident:
  • Jennifer Keller, M.D.
2018 Resident Award Winners

Outstanding Clinical Educator Award for a Resident in:

  • Family Medicine: Steven Song, M.D.
  • Internal Medicine: Andrea Ramirez-Gomez, M.D.
  • Neurology: Jeff Calvin, M.D.
  • OB/GYN: Cara Buskmiller, M.D.
  • Pediatrics: Mary Kate Lockhart, M.D.
  • Psychiatry: Sohail Nibras, M.D.
  • Surgery: Anne Mooser, M.D.
  • an Elective Rotation: Peter Boor, M.D.
2018 Resident Award Nominees

Outstanding Clinical Educator Award for a Resident in: 

  • Family Medicine: Dillon Cleary, M.D., Noah Cooperstein, M.D., and Steven Song M.D.
  • Internal Medicine: Andrea Ramirez-Gomez, M.D., Garrett Rampon, M.D., and Aaron Schenone, D.O.
  • Neurology: Jeff Calvin, M.D., Neel Parikh, M.D., and Arun Solanki, M.D.
  • OB/GYN: Cara Buskmiller, M.D., Ionana Marcu, M.D., and Joe Shi, M.D.
  • Pediatrics: Mary Kate Lockhart, M.D., Perry Morocco, M.D., and Dajana Sabic, D.O.
  • Psychiatry: Vikas Mandadi, M.D., Amir Mohebbi, M.D., and Sohail Nibras, M.D.
  • Surgery: Amit Kainth, M.D., Sean Massa, M.D., and Anne Mooser, M.D.
  • an Election Rotation: Peter Boor, M.D., Ryan Haskamp, M.D., and Alex Myong, M.D. 

GME Faculty Scholarship for ACGME Course

The Office of Graduate Medical Education offers a scholarship for two faculty members to attend the ACGME course on "Developing Faculty Competencies in Assessment" each year. This scholarship is intended for residency and fellowship program directors, associate program directors, chairs and members of the Clinical Competency Committees (CCCs) and any faculty members with major responsibility for the assessment of residents/fellows.

2019 Winners
  • Naila Ahmad, M.D., Pediatric Anesthesiology
  • Stephen Cagle, M.D., Family Medicine
2018 Winners
  • Oscar Cepeda, M.D., Hospice & Palliative Medicine
  • Muhammad Ali Javad, M.D., Critical Care Medicine
2017 Winners
  • Gabriela Espinoza, M.D., Ophthalmology
  • Jason Keune, M.D., Surgery
2016 Winners
  • D. Gregory Ward, M.D., Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Kimberly Spence, M.D., Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine

Alpha Omega Alpha 

Resident-Fellow Induction Class of 2018
  • Jennifer Aleshire (pediatrics)
  • Sarah Horn (internal medicine)
  • Nicholas Rockefeller (OB/GYN)
  • Samkon Gado (otolaryngology)
  • Anne Mooser (general surgery)
Resident-Fellow Induction Class of 2017
  • Christopher Brownsworth
  • Sean Massa
  • Cassie Shaw
  • Kanika Turner
  • Melissa Wehrmann

Other Resident Awards

  • Juri Bassuner, M.D., Interventional Radiology-Integrated, has been awarded RSNA Roentgen Radiology/Fellow Research Award from Radiology Society of North America (RSNA)

SLU Resident/Fellow Behavioral Health Advisory Board

In 2011, the SLU Resident/Fellow Behavioral Health Advisory Board (BHAB) was established to share feedback and ideas regarding the behavioral health needs of SLU residents and fellows. The BHAB meets 2-3 times per academic year to discuss ideas for raising awareness of services, issues in seeking services, input on issues and relevant behavioral health topics of interest. We welcome new members each academic year! If you are interested in joining the BHAB, please email your interest to The list will be submitted to the GME office who will request approval from your program director for participating.

 Resident/Fellow BHAB Member 

Program / Department

Dr. Brigham Voigt Anesthesiology
Dr. Ritesh Ghandi Family Medicine
Dr. Amber Bokhari Infectious Diseases
Dr. Fernand Bteich Internal Medicine
Dr. Ghassan Daher Internal Medicine
Dr. Cristian Popu Internal Medicine
Dr. Imran Shaikh Internal Medicine
Dr. Rebecca N. Verhaeghe Neonatal Perinatal Medicine
Dr. Ashley Boerrigter OBGYN
Dr. Haley Bray Otolaryngology
Dr. Mary Kate Lockhart Pediatrics
Dr. Gianfranco Frojo Plastic Surgery
Dr. Amir Mohebbi Psychiatry
Dr. Miriam Ruiz Surgery
Dr. Chizoba Ezepue Vascular Neurology