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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 annually and must be received by May 1 or Nov.  1.

For a full description of the Program for Away Rotation,  download the guidelines. (Word)

Program 2022-2023 Rotation Site
Gero Track Psychiatry Nepal
Emergency Medicine Haiti
Gastroenterology University of Pittsburgh
Plastic Surgery Colombia
OB/GYN Democratic Republic of the Congo
Plastic Surgery Bolivia
Program 2018-2019 Rotation Site
Internal Medicine India
Internal Medicine Panama
Family Medicine Panama
Otolaryngology Sydney
Pediatrics Belize
Gastroenterology Belize


Program 2017-18 Rotation Site
Family Medicine Belize
Family Medicine Honduras
Internal Medicine Kenya
Internal Medicine Belize
Maternal-Fetal Medicine China
Otolaryngology Spain


Program 2016-17 Rotation Site
Emergency Medicine Thailand
Otolaryngology Nigeria
Radiology Kenya


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 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 SLU's 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 the United States, as a part of the training program. Some residents also desire specialized educational opportunities unavailable 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 train outside of the Saint Louis University-affiliated sites for a maximum of four weeks each. This competitive process requires an application, approval and supporting documentation. A committee will review the application and determine if the GME office will provide funding and support for this experience. Applications must be received at least two months before the expected training period.
Funding Support

Up to 28 days (approximately $5,000) per resident will be covered through the GME office for a 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 the 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 residents, 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 and accompany SLU 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. 

2023 Sister Shirley Kolmer Memorial Grant

Missi White-Luster, B.A., EMIB

Missi White-Luster

Proud recipient of a Sister Shirley Kolmer Individual Leadership Development Award to attend the 2023 Group on Resident Affairs (GRA) and Organization of Resident Representatives (ORR) Professional Development Conference sponsored by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).

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 previous two years. It may also have been presented outside the University, but may not have been presented at a previous SLU House Staff Poster Competition.

2023 Results

Six winners stand in a row against a wall.

Poster Competition winners (from left to right) Joshua Leu, Kevan Long, Peyton Murin, Abdullah Hakoun, Peter Firouzbakht, John House.

Not pictured: Ashley Ojeaga

Oral Competition

  • First Place: Peyton Murin, M.D., Neurology
  • Second Place: Kevan Long, M.D., Emergency Medicine
  • Honorable Mention: Peter Firouzbakht, M.D., Plastic Surgery
  • Honorable  Mention: John Houser, M.D., Orthopaedic Surgery

At-Poster Discussion

  • Quality Improvement: Joshua Leu, M.D., Emergency Medicine
  • Research: Ashley Ojeaga, M.D., Dermatology
  • Research: Abdullah Hakoun, M.D., Neurology
2022 Results

View 2022 Posters (PDF)

Oral Competition:

First Place: Erica Bonura, M.D., Pediatric Cardiology 
Second Place: Chen Wu, M.D., Neurology
Honorable Mention: Saniya Shaikh, D.O., Dermatology
Honorable  Mention: M. Khurram Afzal, M.D., Neurology
Honorable Mention: Mohammad Al Majali, M.D., Neurology

At-Poster Discussion:

Quality Improvement: Sandeep Jain, M.D., Chief Quality and Safety Fellowship
Research: Claire Wunker, M.D., Surgery
Research: Kavita Darji, M.D., Dermatology
Research: Wilson Rodriguez, M.D., Neurology

2021 Results

View 2021 Posters (PDF)

Oral Competition:

Nishika Moradia, surgery: First place
Yusuf Agamawi, otolaryngology: Second place
Bryce Stash, plastic surgery: Honorable mention
Andrew Jilwan, Ophthalmology: Honorable mention

At-Poster Discussion:

Najib El Tecle, neurosurgery: Best At-Poster Discussion
Jasmin Meinke-Zhao, internal medicine: Best Quality Improvement Poster

2019 Results

View 2019 Posters (PDF)

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 (PDF)

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 past seven years are eligible for nomination. 

2022 Caring Physician Award Nominees
  • Jacob Grodsky, M.D.
  • Joshua Leu, M.D.
2021 Caring Physician Award Winner

3 SLUH Caring Physician Award Winners stand together and hold a plaque

  • Grace Wang, M.D., Department of Internal Medicine
2021 Caring Physician Award Nominees
  • Dakota Dreher, M.D.
  • Caleb Overfelt, M.D.
  • David Owens, D.O.
  • Michelle Mangold, D.O.
  • Jay Desai, M.D.
  • Grace Wang, M.D.
  • Keric Lickerman, M.D.
  • Zachary Kisley, D.O.
  • Tanner Wallen, M.D.
2020 Caring Physician Award Winners

4 SLUH Caring Physician Award Winners stand in a row holding plaques

Congratulations to Drs. Julie Gammack , Farzana Hoque , Elsayed Abo Salem, Peter Shawki, and Caitlin Francoisse from SLU Department of IM for being the recipients of 2020 SSM Health SLUH Caring Physician Awards.

  • Elsayed Abo-Salem, M.D.
  • Caitlin Francoisse, M.D.
  • Julie Gammack, M.D.
  • Farzana Hoque, M.D.
  • Peter Shawki, M.D.
2020 Caring Physician Award Nominees
  • Caitlin Francoisse, M.D.
  • Varun Halani, M.D.
  • Lemuel Sibulo, D.O.

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 patient's 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.

Third Quarter 2023 Winners
  • Dr. Halim Bou Daher (Internal Medicine): “Halim's approach to care is centered around kindness, patience, and commitment; which are key components of exceptional, humanistic, and patient-centered care. He understands that the patient's experience goes beyond just treating their medical condition, and that a kind and caring demeanor can greatly improve their overall well-being. Dr. Bou Daher's commitment to his patients is unwavering. He prioritizes their best interests above all else, working tirelessly to ensure that they receive the highest quality care. He keeps up-to-date with the latest medical research, and always seeks to provide patients with the most effective treatments and interventions.”

    “Halim refused to believe that an elderly patient we had was simply ‘demented and needed hospice.’ He believed the patient was delirious from other reversible underlying causes. After extensive workup, and addressing all possible causes of delirium, the patient's mental status improved and she was granted the ability to go to a facility to get stronger, rather than the original plan to go home on hospice.”
  • Dr. Jacob Grodsky (Ophthalmology): “Jake demonstrates empathy, kindness and always goes above-and-beyond to help patients, staff and colleagues.  He takes the time to listen to patient and colleagues’ concerns, answer their questions, and provide emotional support when needed. Dr. Grodsky provides excellent team-based care to patients.”
Second Quarter 2023 Winners
  • Dr. Kellen Smutz (Internal Medicine): “Dr. Smutz is always learning and involving empathy and passionate care in his daily practice. Kellen shows a humanistic spirit with every visit and every conversation with patients or family members. He leans to be at the eye level of the patient and explains what is going on with so much patience.  He holds the hand of the patients while examining them if there's any sign of anxiety. He takes time and shows that he cares in every encounter.  If needed, he comes back later to make sure the information was understood and that the patient has been able to handle it. He provides the support patients should have when dealing with a serious illness.”

“Dr. Smutz provides constant comfort for his patients. Kellen is genuinely concerned while providing a regiment of healing. He not only demonstrated this in the manner of which he explains courses of action, but carries a most sincere tone & delivery of information. I am thankful for his authenticity & good bedside manner. Dr. Smutz's demonstration of going above & beyond includes visiting his patients during rounds and at the end of his shifts. He's taken time to listen and to discuss care options.”

  • Dr. Yousef Omar (Internal Medicine): “Yousef is exceptionally upbeat and always willing to go the extra mile for his patients. He is kind, caring, excited to teach/work with medical students, a humble learner, and all around great to work with. His positive attitude improves the entire team environment. He really takes time to ensure he is doing what he believes the patient and family would want, and not what is easiest. Dr. Omar also makes sure to research his patients and provide top-level up-to-date care. I would want Yousef to care for my family.”
First Quarter 2023 Winners
  • Dr. Lynn Bourn (Plastic Surgery): “On July 28, my husband arrived at SLU Hospital with a severe arm injury from a rollover ATV accident. Not knowing the extent of his injury and being four hours from home, we were nervous to say the least. The first day we met a ton of doctors and surgeons from ortho, trauma and plastics. They were all good doctors and very nice, but one of them stuck out to us from the beginning, Dr. Lynn Bourn.

    We went through five surgeries over the next two-and-a-half weeks. One of these surgeries consisted of a skin flap taken from his thigh. Immediately after the surgery, we ran into complications and live leech therapy had to be used. During this whole time, Dr. Bourn was constantly checking on him. Morning and night she was there, whether she was on call or not. There were times she told us she was going home, only to show back up to make sure he was still doing well. She told us everything that was happening, everything to expect, and was always honest and straightforward.

    When the skin flap failed, and we had to go back to surgery, she was truly as devastated as we were and showed so much compassion. After this surgery, she was an advocate for us to be able to go home to avoid depression and getting down from being in the hospital. She taught us exactly what to look for and how to change all the bandages. On two separate occasions at home, we had to call the hospital after hours due to concern of infection. Both times she personally called us back within minutes, had us send pictures and arranged for us to come to the hospital. Every time we’ve arrived at the hospital she has made sure to be there.

    This accident was life-changing for us and the hardest thing we’ve ever had to go through. There are no words to describe what Dr. Bourn has done for us. During the hardest time of our lives, she has been our calm to keep us going. Never once have we questioned if she was doing the right thing, if she cared, or if we should get a second opinion. Her compassion and knowledge far exceed expectations. Dr. Bourn doesn’t look at you like you are just another patient, another surgery, or a new case number. She has treated us like family since the moment we met her, and to us, she is family now. She always goes above and beyond the expectations of a doctor. We are so blessed beyond measure to have her. Dr. Bourn sets the standard for all other residents and doctors. Her future in medicine is destined to be legendary and unmatched. She is truly one of the greats, and I have no doubt her name will go down in history and be used as an example to teach future doctors and surgeons.”
  • Dr. Sajeeka Jeyakumar (Gero Trak Psychiatry): “Dr. Jeyakumar spends significant amounts of time caring for her complex geriatric patients and their families outside of clinic hours. She tries to find the best therapist for her depressed patients, the best support group for her Alzheimer's patients' families, and the best long-term care placement for those needing it. She is always exploring promising new treatments, using sound-bowl therapy recently as part of a relaxation scheme together with yoga for an anxious older adult patient. During nursing home visits, she shows her empathy and caring for even our sickest patients. On the ECT service, she spends extra time reassuring patients and families to give them hope. She is a great advocate of providing high-quality mental health care for needy/underserved and minority populations and volunteers in an inner-city clinic.”
Fourth Quarter 2022 Winner
  • Dr. Muhammad Khurram Afzal (Neurology: Dr. Afzal provides excellent team-based care to patients.  As a consult for seizures, Dr. Afzal came immediately to the bedside when called and assisted the primary team with medication administration.  He was patient throughout the situation and taught/de-briefed with the student after resolution of the seizures. When also consulted for a patient with quickly progressing ascending sensory deficits, he was quick to try to obtain an LP on his solo weekend day. When unsuccessful, he updated the primary call team, started empiric treatment, and ordered future labs/procedures in an attempt to expedite the process of providing great care to the patient. Dr. Afzal’s demeanor, professionalism, and willingness to help our team was exceptional and he should be recognized for his great work!
Third Quarter 2022 Winners
  • Dr. Malia Gresham (Otolaryngology): Malia is an empathetic physician who connects with her patients and sees their innate humanity. She has demonstrated this in many ways over the last five years at SLU as a resident physician. She consistently takes the time to talk to patients and families, to hear and address their concerns without making them feel like they are taking up her time. She validates her patients' feelings and often recognizes that their symptoms are actually related to a deeper emotional issue. Malia brings this spirit of humanistic healing to her work every day.
  • Dr. Nelly Bellamy (Internal Medicine): Nelly was always ready to see any patient and help us take care of the patient no matter what other million things were going on. Nelly also enjoyed the team’s contributions to patient care and would include every member of the team, including medical students, and always asked what we would like to learn to increase our fund of knowledge in order to help the next patient. Her readiness to serve, speak with patients and stay later than all other residents to make sure the patient had their needs taken care of make her a fantastic nominee for the Humanistic Healer Award.
Third Quarter 2022 Nominees
  • Dr. John Green (Orthopaedic Surgery): Dr. Green demonstrates both exceptional care for his patients and provides an outstanding example for his co-residents. He never complains about taking on additional work and approaches patient care with enthusiasm. He is consistently deserving of the humanistic healer award for maintaining this high level of care with a positive attitude.
  • Dr. Karsen Corn (Orthopaedic Surgery): Karsen came in on her day off to help our team which is short-handed. Her interactions with patients make each feel unique and cared for.
  • Dr. Brianna Whithorn (Surgery): Dr. Whithorn has a passion for patient care and always goes the extra mile. She is determined that each of her patients gets equal opportunities and advocates for them to ensure the highest quality of care. I truly admire her resiliency and one day should I ever need surgery I would trust her completely.
  • Dr. Amresh Kumar (Nephrology): Dr. Kumar went above and beyond to help a patient regarding his clinical condition. He has great communication skills, is always available to help his co-fellows, and has been very nice, kind and listens with a lot of patience about all of his patients' concerns.
  • Dr. Michael Scott Lasky (Anesthesiology): While on an off-service rotation at the VA walk-in, Scott went the extra mile for a veteran that was having multiple medical problems including a psychiatric crisis. He delivered comprehensive care and ensured appropriate follow-up. He demonstrated humanistic care by addressing the entire patient as a whole and not a collection of medical problems.
Fourth Quarter 2021 Winner
  • Dr. Keric Lickerman (Emergency Medicine): Dr. Lickerman is an exceedingly kind physician. He focuses on providing the best care possible no matter how frustrating, exhausting, or complex a case may be. He is compassionate and thorough with his patients and treats his fellow staff members with respect and empathy. Dr. Keric creates an environment of trust and enables his staff to treat patients with care and respect. He is an inspiration, who consistently focuses on the caring aspect of medicine.
Third Quarter 2021 Winner
  • Dr. Megan Ottomeyer (Neonatology): Dr. Ottomeyer consistently goes above and beyond for her patients.  She is respectful of patient/family autonomy and will always root for the underdog.  Not only does she strive to save lives, but in the event that she cannot, she tactfully and compassionately prepares the families for the unthinkable.  In a recent situation regarding care for a patient fighting for his life; Megan advocated for the family's end-of-life wishes, was a leader in his palliation, and was even asked to speak at his funeral.  Dr. Ottomeyer is both a fantastic physician and wonderful human being.
Second Quarter 2021 Winner
  • Dr. Luke Momper (Orthopedic Surgery): Dr. Momper has demonstrated compassion, empathy, and active listening when providing care. In a tough situation regarding care for a critically ill patient, he sat with and listened empathetically to the family as they expressed their wishes.  He also demonstrated intense listening as one of the family members shared stories about the patient and their current state prior to hospitalization.  Luke's compassion and empathy while navigating through some of the most difficult parts of medicine should be applauded.
First Quarter 2021 Winners
  • Dr. Jordan Hendrickson (Internal Medicine): Dr. Hendrickson goes above and beyond for her patients and families, calling families and ensuring they are updated and staying late to meet with families when they are available. She recently cared for an elderly veteran with metastatic lung carcinoma who had a very poor prognosis. His second hospital day was his birthday and all he wanted was chicken noodle soup. Dr. Hendrickson went out and purchased quality chicken noodle soup and a cupcake and coordinated with the nursing staff as they sang him "Happy Birthday." She also coordinated with our house supervisor to get him visitation approval so his wife could come see him on his birthday, as well.

  • Dr. Eric Marin (Neurology): Dr. Marin has repeatedly demonstrated both compassion and empathy when having discussions with families. But more importantly, he listens to the families – to their stories about their loved ones under his care, and how much they mean to them. He skillfully navigates them through the possible next steps in their care and supports them with whatever decision they make. Dr. Marin was recently involved in a case involving a young patient with an unexpected severe brain injury with little-to-no chance of meaningful recovery. Dr. Marin reviewed the findings of the patient’s exam and imaging, and afterward, he sat with the family and offered his support.
Fourth Quarter 2020 Winners 
  • Dr. Tejas Sangoi (Internal Medicine): Dr. Sangoi goes above and beyond to make sure that his patients receive everything they need. If given permission, and if the patient wishes it, he will call families multiple times a day to ensure that they know everything that is happening with their loved ones in these rough times. He will make sure to read about his patients hours before scheduled visits to ensure he doesn’t waste time by asking questions that he should already know the answer to. Before COVID, he received many hugs from patients for the exceptional care he had provided.
  • Dr. John Capelle (Orthopaedic Surgery): Dr. Capelle takes time to explain to patients their diagnosis and treatment plans in a manner that is understandable and reassuring. He treats his patients in a very respectful demeanor, asking about both their physical and mental well-being. In addition to going above and beyond for his patients, Dr. Capelle is always willing to help his fellow workers around the hospital and has done this consistently for the past five years.
Third Quarter 2020 Winners
  • Dr. Jon George (Pediatrics): Jon is eager to go to the bedside. He never turns away from an opportunity to interact with patients. When you call with concerns, he is there immediately to assess the patient. When the unit is busy at night he is walking around room to room making sure everyone is doing okay. He offers to help anyone that needs it, and has even been seen stocking bedside carts. He is an asset to Cardinal Glennon and has the “Glennon” touch. 
  • Dr. Raymond Okeke (General Surgery):  Ray cares so much about his patients and makes the nurses feel like a valued part of the care team.  There is a level of mutual respect with him that I do not see with other physicians. He came to the beside multiple times for a patient who was anxious about surgery and returned multiple times to check afterward. He does all of this with a positive attitude and he greets and acknowledges everyone in the morning when he is rounding with his team. It is truly a privilege to work with him.
Second Quarter 2020 Winners
  • Dr. Lemuel Sibulo, D.O., anesthesiology resident, is empathetic and caring for all his patients. He is a fierce advocate for ensuring the highest quality of care they can receive. During his obstetrics anesthesia rotation, he took his time explaining the risks and the benefits of an epidural blood patch and calmly allayed not only the patient's fears about the situation but also her husband's. He performed such a smooth epidural block on a mother with multiple traumatic epidurals in the past that she was considering naming her child after him. He is a stellar human being - patients and staff love him. 
  • Dr. Claire Murray, D.O., a neonatal-perinatal fellow, respects her patients, listens to them and validates their concerns. She engages her team to ensure everyone is held to the same standard of care and is always prepared to help someone with patient care. Dr. Murray provided great anticipatory guidance to expectant parents of a child with Trisomy 13. Her empathetic communication allowed for seamless care when the child was delivered. Dr. Murray led a resuscitation of an infant with several anomalies who was not expected to survive after birth. She was purposeful and sensitive to avoid unnecessary pain and suffering and allow the infant die with dignity.
First Quarter 2020 Winners
  • Dr. Paul Eckerle, M.D., a pulmonary disease and critical care fellow, consistently demonstrates the highest ideals of humanistic medical care and is a role model to other providers. Whether it was making sure to call all the patients' families on the MICU to update them regarding care due to constraints of visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic, consoling and helping with decision-making for a family member whose loved one was not likely to survive COVID-19, or making sure his patient's wife was able to see her dying husband via Facetime, Dr. Eckerle always shows compassion and his thoughtful approach to medical care is tailored to each patient.
  • Dr. Victoria Hayes, M.D., an OB/GYN resident, always puts the patients' needs first and works hard to ensure they are well taken care of. In a tough case where a young patient had been sexually assaulted by a family member and delivered at home, Dr. Hayes showed incredible leadership and compassion. She led the multi-disciplinary group in regard to the case, established excellent rapport/trust with the patient, helped educate the patient on the process that was unfolding, and ensured the patient was placed in a safe environment upon discharge. Dr. Hayes showed a truly amazing display of exceptional, humanistic, patient-centered care.

2020 SLUSOM Awards 

  • Passion For Education Award: Dr. Carole Vogler
  • Humanism in Education Award: Dr. Fred Rottnek
  • Pillar of Professionalism Award: Dr. Chad Miller
  • Excellence in Mentorship Award: Dr. Sarah Barnett
  • Cynthia Fairchild Award for Outstanding Staff: Debbie Crisler
2020 M1-M2 Preclinical Awards
  • Outstanding Small Group Facilitator:  Dr. Adam Merando

  • Outstanding First Year Course: Anatomy

  • Outstanding Lecturer in a First Year Course: Dr. David Brink

  • Outstanding Second Year Course: Renal

  • Outstanding Lecturer in a Second Year Course: Dr. James Deckert

2020 M3-M4 Clinical /Clerkship Awards

  • Outstanding Faculty Member in the Family Medicine Clerkship: Dr. Matthew Breeden

  • Outstanding Resident in the Family Medicine Clerkship: Dr. Randy Jackson

  • Outstanding Faculty Member in the Psychiatry Clerkship: Dr. Anjan Bhattacharyya

  • Outstanding Resident in the Psychiatry Clerkship: Dr. Amy Gallop

  • Outstanding Faculty Member in the Neurology Clerkship: Dr. Sean Goretzke

  • Outstanding Resident in the Neurology Clerkship: Dr. Ronald Jones

  • Outstanding Faculty Member in the Pediatrics Clerkship: Dr. Anne Beck

  • Outstanding Resident in the Pediatrics Clerkship: Dr. Nora Olson

  • Outstanding Faculty Member in the Internal Medicine Clerkship: Dr. Adam Merando

  • Outstanding Resident in the Internal Medicine Clerkship: Dr. Neil Evans

  • Outstanding Faculty Member in the Surgery Clerkship: Dr. Kaitlin Farrell

  • Outstanding Resident in the Surgery Clerkship: Dr. Annie Mooser

  • Outstanding Faculty Member in the Ob-Gyn Clerkship: Dr. Michael Thomure

  • Outstanding Resident in the Ob-Gyn Clerkship: Dr. Hannah Kert

  • Outstanding Faculty Member in an Elective Rotation: Dr. Tina Chen

  • Outstanding Resident in an Elective Rotation: Dr. Zachary Farwood

  • Outstanding Clinical Educator Award for a Community Preceptor: Dr. Amy Zimmerman


Resident Awards

2022 Resident Award Winners

Outstanding Clinical Educator Award for a Resident in:

  • Psychiatry: Amy Gallop, M.D.
  • Neurology: Wilson Rodriguez, M.D.
  • Pediatrics: Sam Richey, M.D.
  • Internal Medicine: Bilal Khan, D.O.
  • Surgery: Vatche Melkonian, D.O.
  • OB/GYN: Alison Watkins, M.D.
  • Elective Rotation: Luke Momper, M.D.
2021 Resident Award Winners

Outstanding Clinical Educator Award for a Resident in:

  • Family Medicine: Marco Garcia, D.O.
  • Internal Medicine: Aditya Suresh, M.D.
  • Neurology: Eric Marin, M.D.
  • OB/GYN: Victoria Hayes, M.D.
  • Pediatrics: Charlie Boyle, M.D.
  • Psychiatry: Allison Montgomery, D.O.
  • Surgery: Raymond Okeke, M.D.
  • Elective Rotation: Michael Gasser, M.D.
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.
  • Elective Rotation: Elizabeth Billquist, M.D.
      Pillar of Professionalism Award for a Resident: Jennifer Keller, M.D.

OPO Excellence in Professionalism Award

The Office of Professionalism Oversight seeks to highlight and celebrate the positive attributes in our learning environment.

2022/2023 Awardees

Keric Lickerman (Emergency Medicine)

"Dr. Lickerman is committed to professionalism within the learning environment."

Lisa Velez-Velez (Otolaryngology)

"Lisa Velez is the type of doctor whose empathetic demeanor, skills as a team player, and strong intellect allow her to lead by example and act as a role model for others. Since starting at SLU as an ENT resident, she has had an unwavering work ethic that continues to this day, despite the fact that she came into residency during a pandemic, is far from her family in Puerto Rico, and that a surgical subspecialty residency isn’t an easy task to begin with."

"Her fluidity in working with a diverse population of patients and co-workers allows her to minimize conflict or miscommunications. She thrives in an environment that can sometimes be hectic; her calm presence is contagious to those of us around her (those of us who sometimes let situations raise our own blood pressure and cave into the escalation of stress). Lisa has improved our program with her effortless work prioritization, her intellect, her ability to care for difficult patients, and her ability to thrive under stressful environments (including COVID, flooding/power-outages/natural disaster in her home country of Puerto Rico, busy clinic and operative schedule here at SLU). Lisa has shown what it means to be a strong but soft-spoken leader."

Louisa Ragsdale (Plastic Surgery)

"Louisa has earned the reputation of the resident who is often sent into difficult patient rooms as she has the unique ability to meet each patient on his or her own level and to make them feel heard when they previously may have felt dismissed by the medical system. It is not often that doctors, or more particularly surgeons, are known to possess this level of compassion. She makes everyone she comes in contact with feel valued."

"Dr. Ragsdale taught me to find the joy and interconnection in all realms of medicine. She is able to seamlessly integrate topics and concepts from everything from into her Plastic Surgery lessons. She is the only doctor who could somehow make a lesson on pressure sores interesting."

2021/2022 Awardees

Malia Gresham (Otolaryngology)

"Malia has been an incredible chief and educator to all medical students and junior residents. As an educator, she has a unique ability to teach difficult topics in an approachable and palatable way where every level of learner has an opportunity to engage in the topic at hand."

"She strives to have a welcoming learning environment where everyone can feel welcome to ask questions or raise concerns. From formal Grand Rounds topics where she distills complex research data into understandable and implementable clinical concepts to teaching intricate head and neck anatomy during informal discussions, Malia is a role model educator."

"Through years of working with Malia, she has made me into a more conscious colleague/co-worker with regard to professionalism by helping bring light to how some interactions may be perceived by different team members. She has helped me be more aware of how content that is presented my be perceived by my audience and the importance of self reflection with regard to my work."

Sandeep Jain (Chief Quality & Safety Fellowship)

"Dr. Jain has impacted my experience in ways that go beyond words. Because of how engaged and encouraging he is towards his teams, it has made my medical school experience enjoyable and educational. He makes me feel like a valued member of the team, which has allowed for me to truly focus on learning."

Alejandro Mendez-Castillo (Radiology)

"Dr. Mendez-Castillo shows great competency in handling complex issues within Radiology. He has committed to work with faculty and residents as well as chairmen to make reasonable harmony within the system. He is very sincere and empathetic, listens to problems and presents step-by-step solutions.  His presence in Radiology has brought a huge relief to everyone."

"Dr. Mendez-Castillo is optimistic and actively engages with everyone. His always-positive attitude does not go unnoticed."

Amy Gallop (Psychiatry)

“Even during busy inpatient rotations she makes time for teaching the med students vital psychiatry topics, making the experience fun, engaging and always looking out how to help a student improve their work and convince them to apply to psychiatry! Dr. Gallop is always looking to promote stronger interdisciplinary resident connections.”

“Dr. Gallop has shown me what it means to be a leader, someone who translates vision into reality. She is a psychiatrist who cares deeply for each patient and will be a psychiatrist leader who will move the field forward.“

Oluwabamise "Ray" Akinnawo (Emergency Medicine)

"Dr. Akinnawo exemplifies professionalism in academic medicine. Ray provides competent and compassionate care to all patients, regardless of their background. As a recent example, he supported a family through a palliative extubation and death for a patient with a large intracerebral hemorrhage. The family commended Ray for his compassion in this difficult time."

"Ray acknowledges the contributions of all team members and celebrates the wins of his colleagues. He has been recognized by medical students for providing exceptional on-shift teaching."

"Ray is a joy - very easy to teach - intellectually curious, absorbs information, and consistently expresses appreciation for faculty's guidance."

Wilson Rodriguez (Neurology)

"Dr. Rodriguez shows incredible passion for both the field of neurology and teaching medical students. He always takes extra time out of his day to talk with patients and discuss their conditions as well as teach medical students."

"Wilson gives excellent and succinct presentations on a variety of topics.  He makes teaching interactive and more engaging by using the board and providing real-life examples."

"Dr. Rodriguez provides a lot of understanding and respect to the field of neurology, which is often a field that medical students fear because of it's complexity and challenging long-term conditions. Dr. Rodriguez makes experiences for the general neurology team much more educational and has truly allowed students to connect with the field."


Top Banana Resident Award

2020 Winner

Dr. Amy Gee (OB/GYN): “I would like to nominate Dr. Gee for this award for her exceptional dedication to medical student education and involvement in patient care. Despite her busy schedule, Dr. Gee always makes time to teach her students on a clinically unique case currently on service and/or on a high-yield topic. She also actively engages students in patient care, meeting each student where they are in their skills and knowledge base and helping build them up from there. She is always supportive, encouraging, and patient with her students (and she was incredibly patient and supportive of my education). She is fantastic with patients; her bedside manner is one that I aspire to. She is truly a wonderful resident to observe and learn from. She is not just the top banana; she’s the best of the bunch!”

“Great resident, loved by students, kind and friendly, wants to make students feel included and give them opportunities to learn.”

2020 Nominees

Dr. Vatche Melkonian (Surgery): "Straight-forward, encourages students to work through ideas, will help anyone indiscriminately, always improves himself, has fun."

Dr. Bachir Zoghbi (Radiology): "Bachir could always be found in the neuroradiology reading room with several medical students circled around him, listening to him teach. He always taught at each persons individual level and engaged them with questions and clinically relevant knowledge. While it is often difficult to teach radiology to medical students who are not interested in the specialty, Bachir was able to engage each student he taught and leave them with knowledge relevant to their future field. With those students interested in radiology, he went above and beyond to get them experience with both imaging and procedures to prepare them for their future."

Dr. John Kelly (Anesthesiology): "Dr. Kelly was an incredible teacher during my one month rotation with him at Cardinal Glennon. He consistently taught anesthesia theory, provided feedback and tips on skills and encouraged me to be involved in patient care. He was always receptive to answering questions and I particularly enjoyed his penchant for asking about "what if" scenarios as a jumping off point for his teaching. He is a strong resident with great work ethic and stayed cool and professional in stressful situations in the OR."

Dr. Shane Grace (Dermatology): "I would like to nominate Dr. Shane Grace for the Top Banana Resident Award for his dedication toward serving the medical student community. Myself and many other medical students have been mentored by Dr. Shane grace over the past two to three years, during which time Dr. Grace has always been there to offer encouragement, kind words, and support in navigating clerkships, research, board exams, and residency applications. No matter the day or time, Dr. Grace is always responsive to the questions and concerns of students, and acts as a daily role model for students by demonstrating leadership amongst his fellow residents, compassion, kindness, teamwork, and devotion to selflessly help others succeed."

Dr. Scott Akridge (Psychiatry): "Scott goes above-and-beyond to teach students, provide resources, answer questions, and meet with them to discuss their concerns."

Dr. Nada Zmeter (Internal Medicine): "Nada shows compassion to all her patients and goes out of her way to teach medical students. She is so kind and supportive to students and makes sure that we don’t get left behind! I appreciated that she shared patient updates with medical students to help us stay in the loop and better contribute to the team."

Dr. John Buck (Nephrology): "Dr. Buck is an exceptional resident (now fellow). He sets a wonderful example through his tireless work ethic and dedication to his patients. He is an exceptional team leader, making sure everything runs smoothly while still finding time to teach and encourage medical students. He is truly and empathetic and patient-centered physician and role model."

Dr. Bryan Beck (Internal Medicine): "Dr. Bryan Beck did an outstanding job helping medical students on a regular basis. He consistently went over pre-rounding strategies with students and helped guide them through the daily tasks of an internal medicine workday. Additionally, he went above and beyond to provide extra guidance and leadership in the afternoons after rounds. He always made sure that students had an excellent understanding of their clinical materials and was a role model in the internal medicine field because of his dedication and commitment to the team. I would highly recommend working with him again!"

Dr. Michael Baltes (Family Medicine): "For his demonstration of conscious and non-judgmental care of patients. For his patience and generosity in sharing time and energy with students even in the midst of all other existing responsibilities."

Dr. Randy Jackson (Family Medicine): "Awesome dude. Personable. Goes above and beyond."

Dr. Samkon Gado (Otolaryngology): "Great teacher, so much fun to work with ! A role model."

Dr. Annie Mooser (Surgery): "Dr. Mooser pushed me to become a high functioning and useful member of the medical team very early in my third year. While it took a few days to adjust to her style, I quickly came to appreciate that she expected a lot from students in order to help us realize our potential. In a setting where medical students are often looked over, Dr. Mooser repeatedly made sure we were actively included in every aspect of the Trauma service. As a student who did not go into a surgical field, my time on arrive with Dr. Mooser remains some of my most memorable experiences of medical school. I learned to push myself and really work hard for the good of patients in large part due to the attitude and guidance of Dr. Mooser and I am grateful for it."

Dr. Divya Mani (Pediatrics): "Divya inspires me in so many ways. She inspires me as a Pediatrician, as a friend, as a human being, as a mother. She looks at the best in everyone and makes everyone around her feel appreciated and calm. The way Dr. Mani holds herself is how I hope to one day hold myself as a future resident - calm and steady but strong and supportive for her colleagues and peers in the face of any challenge. I will never forget my time with Divya on the Blue Team at Cardinal Glennon. Thank you Divya for making my Pediatric rotation even more special and meaningful!"

Dr. Jennifer Keller (Surgery): "Overall role model in surgery. Talented, great leader, enthusiastic about her job, and offers to give advice as well."

Dr. Courtney Kaar (Pediatrics): "There are few residents that support medical students as much as Courtney does. She always provides opportunities to offer medical students constructive feedback on oral presentations, notes, and day-to-day work. She is always supportive, encouraging, and uplifting. Her personality and leadership skills always drives the team to perform better. From what I observed, she was great at providing guidance to the interns on her team. She is a fantastic person to work with and left a great impression of pediatrics on me, even though I’m going into a different field."

Dr. Zarir Ahmed (Internal Medicine): "He offered the most helpful feedback I've received from a resident as a student, and I was able to develop my skills more readily afterward. Truly a fantastic resident and chief."

Dr. Amir Mohebbi (Psychiatry): "Dr. Mohebbi is one of the best teachers I’ve met- and he does it all with a relaxed and chill attitude. He makes students excited about psychiatry, ties together complex neuroscience and psycho-social theory."

Dr. Shannon McAllister (Pediatrics): "Shannon is the epitome of a phenomenal resident. I was fortunate enough to work with her during my sub-internship which was a true blessing. She was always compassionate, encouraging, and willing to help in any way she could. She would always take the time to ensure every patient on the team was getting the absolute best care, and always answered any questions or concerns that I had. Even after the rotation, she went above and beyond and kept in contact with me - asking about the residency application process and always willing to help with any questions I had. She is the person I strive to be this year as an intern."

Dr. Paul Kunnath (Internal Medicine)

Dr. Allison May (Urology)

Dr. Cynthia Morris (Pediatrics)

Dr. Vikas Mandadi (Psychiatry)

GME Faculty Scholarship for ACGME Course

The Office of Graduate Medical Education offers a scholarship for 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.

2022 Winners
  • Joseph Wheeler, M.D., Internal Medicine
  • Justine Purdy, M.D., Internal Medicine
2021 Winners
  • Amy Bilyeu, M.D., OB/GYN
  • Sean Massa, M.D., Otolaryngology
  • Adam Kilian, M.D., Rheumatology
  • Gillian Heinecke, M.D., Dermatology
2020 Winners
  • Kimbell Kornu, M.D., Internal Medicine and Hospice & Palliative Medicine
2019 Winners
  • Naila Ahmad, M.D., Pediatric Anesthesiology
  • Stephen Cagle, M.D., Family Medicine

Alpha Omega Alpha 

Resident-Fellow Induction Class of 2022
  • Peter Firouzbakht (Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery)
  • Tikku George (Neurology)
  • John Green IV (Orthopaedic Surgery)
  • Aurora Kareh (Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery)
  • Vatche Melkonian (General Surgery)
  • Kelvin Pollard (Internal Medicine)
  • Wilson Rodriguez (Neurology)
  • Aditya Suresh (Internal Medicine)
  • Megan Ottomeyer (Pediatrics - Neonatology)
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)
  • Kristen Dougherty, M.D., Surgery, has been awarded SLU Hospital Resident of the Quarter (Spring 2022)

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

Emergency Physician of the Year Award 

Congratulations to Dr. Teddy Harper, Saint Louis University emergency medicine senior resident, on receiving the R. R. Hannas Emergency Physician of the Year Award for 2021.

Headshot of Teddy Harper

About Dr. Harper
Nominated for the R. R. Hannas Emergency Physician of the Year Award by Craig Krausz, M.D., residency program director for the emergency medicine residency program at Saint Louis University, Dr. Harper is the resident liaison for SLU's Emergency Medicine Interest Group.

Prior to his residency at SLU, Dr. Harper attended Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine and the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, and was a microbiologist at the Centers for Disease Control.

Dr. Harper is currently the vice president of MediQUES, which "mentors and facilitates educational opportunities for minority students interested in pursuing careers in medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine."

About the Emergency Physician of the Year Award

Dr. Ralston R. Hannas was a "founding father" of emergency medicine. As a past president of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), Hannas was the co-organizer of the first ACEP Scientific Assembly in 1969. He was also chairman of the committee that founded the American Board of Emergency Medicine (ABEM) and helped start the emergency medicine residency at Northwestern University in 1973 before moving to Kansas City, Missouri.

Learn More About the R. R. Hannas Emergency Physician of the Year Award