Program Award: NYITCOM Residency and Career Services

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Deborah Heineman

Residency and Career Services (RCS) at NYITCOM — led by Deborah Heineman, MA, and Holly Proffitt, PhD  is unique because the school's two campuses are separated by 1,100 miles (Jonesboro, Ark., and Long Island, N.Y.) and feature major differences in their student populations. Yet, both NYITCOM campuses have worked collaboratively to use their diverse backgrounds and skill sets to create a comprehensive career development and residency curriculum for all four years of students' medical education. RCS accomplishes this by providing career advising, counseling, and education. Even though the locations are divided by geographic distance and time zones, the staff have found ways to collaborate allowing for real-time presentations (via Zoom or live stream) and events to provide students with the opportunities to interact with each other and residency program staff. 

Holly Proffitt
Holly Proffitt

RCS collaborates with the NYITCOM Mentoring program. When entering medical school, each student is provided with a faculty mentor, and RCS resources are shared with the mentors. Students are referred to RCS by their mentors when looking for ways to enhance their CV or application. To further support students in the residency application and match process, NYITCOM recently established a Clinician Support Group, which meets monthly to discuss challenges students are facing within the residency application process such as red flags or low number of interviews.

In a unique year with COVID-19, NYITCOM provided specialty specific group meetings for the changes in specialty application requirements for the 2020-2021 residency cycle. One of NYITCOM's greatest resources for educating and providing information on specialty and residency selection is their outstanding alumni. On a yearly basis, alumni share their experiences. Interviewing skills workshops with alumni who serve as program directors, speaking at our "A Day in the Life of a Resident" Program, creating resident/alumni connections or networking in specific specialties or programs are examples.

Faculty Advisor Award: Christopher M. Woleben, MD, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine

Christopher M. Woleben, MD, associate dean for student affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) School of Medicine in Richmond, Va., is a tireless champion of our learners and is well-known for his accessibility and willingness to help, even outside of the typical channels. He creates a judgement-free, collaborative environment for all--which extends to the education faculty and staff in the clinical departments with whom he coordinates VCU's advising efforts. 

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Christopher M. Woleben

Despite having to step up and serve as interim senior associate dean for undergraduate medical education over the past year, he continued to spend significant time still on student advising, frequently still holding individual advising meetings, guiding half of the M4 class through residency applications, and leading his Learning Community advising group. Most recently, he has navigated the myriad challenges brought about by COVID in a successful way, even giving of his own free evening time by hosting a weekly virtual "Dining with the Dean(s)" every Monday night since the pandemic began. It is efforts such as these that continue to exemplify his student-focused mindset and everyone can see that this is his guiding principle even while making necessary but difficult decisions.

Dr. Woleben has created a longitudinal curriculum based on the CiM framework across all four years of our medical school. He is a Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) Certified Instructor/Facilitator and marries this assessment tool uniquely into the career development curriculum. His expertise in using the CIM framework and materials has been recognized in his invitation to be a panelist and peer-reviewed workshops at multiple national conferences, such as the AAMC Student Affairs/Careers in Medicine Professional Development Conference and Learn Serve Lead conferences. Locally, he has co-created a workshop for the departmental specialty advisors to ensure they are aware of the national online resources to ensure they are providing a data-driven approach in their own departments. His longstanding "stoplight" program, now featured on the CiM website, includes a data-driven algorithm that categorizes students into their predicted chances of a successful match, allowing earlier and visually easier identification of at-risk students. For this work and more, Dr. Woleben has received numerous awards at VCU.

Support Staff Award: Ryann Quigley, New York University School of Medicine

Ryann Quigley, senior program manager of the Violet Society Program (VSP) at the New York University (NYU) Grossman School of Medicine in New York City. The VSP is a comprehensive program that combines academic coaching, career advising, and peer mentorship to support student’s professional and personal growth. 

Ryann Quigley
Ryann Quigley

Ryann is "effectively the glue that holds this program together and eagerly takes on responsibility for every facet." She provides full support for our twelve VSP faculty advisors, who depend on her for keeping them on track with their scheduled student meetings and program updates. To this end, over the course of the year, Ryann helps coordinate more than 1,500 individual and group meetings between advisors their 8-10 assigned students per class per year. The VSP advisors repeatedly state that they would be lost without Ryann’s support and guidance for these meetings.

Ryann further organizes biweekly meetings of all the faculty advisors through which the faculty have developed strong relationships with each other and with her. She is always available to answer any questions and is the “go to” person for help in navigating our online advising resources, including CiM. The advisors especially appreciate Ryann as she is always quick and helpful in her response to any questions, with a cheerful and upbeat attitude.

Ryann has also established strong relationships with students. She helped establish and now leads the Peer Mentor Program, a program in which two senior students are selected from each faculty advising group to provide “near peer” support to students. The students have greatly appreciated Ryann’s receptiveness to their feedback on the program and suggestions for how to improve it. Allyson Alfonso, class of 2021, says, "Since her arrival at NYU (I've been lucky to be a student for her complete tenure here thus far), Ryann has been at the center of ensuring students are supported in their transition from trainee to professional. Though she formally helps establish peer-to-peer and faculty relationships through the Violet Society Program, I think it should be recognized that through her welcoming personality, genuine care for us, and excitement for education; from a student perspective she has actually become a mentor herself. Finding someone who is not only a mentor but a sponsor for opportunity in our journey to become physicians is rare, but we have been lucky to have that in Ryann."