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VUSM recognizes annual award winners

Posted by on Wednesday, May 18, 2022 in Alumni, Awards, Commencement, Student Initiatives .

MD Class of 2022 stands outside in their doctoral regalia with Dean Balser. VUMC buildings surround them.
MD Class of 2022 Photo: Anne Rayner

Each spring, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine recognizes members of the graduating MD class for outstanding academic achievement, service, research, and leadership.

VUSM faculty and fellow students celebrated the following recipients of school and departmental awards at the MD Class Day ceremony on Thursday, May 12, 2022:


The Albert Weinstein Prize in Medicine

This award recognizes graduating students who have demonstrated high academic achievement, superior clinical competence, and the qualities of dedication and professionalism that characterize a good physician.

  • Sarah Brown, Littleton, MA
  • Rachel Chang, Irvine, CA
  • Evan Mercer, Marietta, GA
  • Benjamin Reisman, Beachwood, OH
  • Alexander Wells, Piedmont, CA


American Academy of Neurology Medical Student Prize for Excellence in Neurology

This award recognizes medical students for excellence in clinical neurology.

  • Elizabeth Moore, Greenville, SC


Amos Christie Award

This award recognizes the student in the graduating class who has demonstrated the outstanding qualities of scholarship and humanity embodied in the ideal pediatrician.

  • Jacqueline Antoun, San Diego, CA


The Award for Excellence in Infectious Diseases

This award is presented annually by the Divisions of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Medicine and Pediatrics to the student who has demonstrated outstanding aptitude and performance in clinical and investigative efforts in infectious diseases or microbiology.

  • Caroline Maguire, Atlanta, GA


Beauchamp Scholarship

This award is endowed and awarded to the student showing the greatest progress in the field of psychiatry.

  • Elizabeth Flook, Menlo Park, CA


Chapman Society Award

With nominations generated from the fourth-year class, this award is presented to a member of the graduating class who possesses those intangible qualities of common sense, knowledge, thoughtfulness, personal warmth, gentleness, and confidence which combine to make the “ideal doctor” — the person fellow classmates would most like to have as their personal physician.

  • Steven Scaglione, Armada, MI


David L. Zealear, Ph.D. Otolaryngology Scholar-Initiative Award

This award is presented to a medical student who excels beyond clinical competence and who has become distinguished for outstanding effort towards the academic mission of otolaryngology through research, teaching, and/or outreach.

  • Mallory McKeon, Lynnfield, MA


David N. Orth Award in Endocrinology

This award is presented by the Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolism and the Endocrine Society, the largest professional association devoted to all aspects of endocrinology, to a graduating medical student who has demonstrated outstanding performance in clinical or research endocrinology. The award honors Dr. David Orth for his contributions to and leadership in endocrinology, including his service as director of Vanderbilt’s Endocrinology Division and as president of the Endocrine Society.

  • John Walker, Nashville, TN


Dean’s Award

This award is presented to the medical student or students distinguished by outstanding service to the School of Medicine and the community.

  • Roman Gusdorf, Saint Louis, MO
  • Austin Triana, San Antonio, TX


The Dean’s Award for Research

This award is presented to the graduating medical student who best exemplifies the attributes that lead to success in basic science or clinical research including creativity, dedication, productivity, and careful diligence.

  • Hernán González, Miami, FL
  • Kevin Manz, Fair Lawn, NJ
  • Elizabeth Moore, Greenville, SC


Dixon N. Burns Award in Medical Ethics

This is an award given by the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society to the graduating medical student who has gained distinction in biomedical ethics through notable scholarship, excellence in clinical ethics consultation, and collegial engagement in the life of the center as a medical student.

  • Claire Lo Reasoner, Shaker Heights, OH


Excellence in Emergency Medicine

This award is given on behalf of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine. It recognizes a medical student who demonstrated outstanding ability in and commitment to the specialty of the Emergency Department at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

  • Cooper March, Springboro, OH


Excellence in Public Health

The Excellence in Public Health Award is distributed by the Physicians Professional Advisory Committee of the United States Public Health Service. The purpose is to recognize medical students who conduct public health work in their community and exemplify the USPHS and its mission to protect, promote, and advance the health and safety of our nation.

  • Tavia (Tita) González Peña, Dallas, TX


The Geoffrey David Chazen Award

This award for innovation in medical education was established to recognize a student, resident, fellow, or faculty member who has made special contributions to the educational programs of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine through the development and implementation of effective innovation in educational approach.

  • Sharon Kam, Vancouver, B.C., Canada
  • Hannah Kay, Lincolnshire, IL
  • Cooper March, Springboro, OH
  • Mario Davidson, Ph.D., Faculty


The George and Barbara Burrus Medical Missions Award

This award is presented to a student who has demonstrated exceptional interest and participation in providing medical care to the poor during medical school either locally or abroad.

  • Sarah Brown, Littleton, MA
  • Tavia (Tita) González Peña, Dallas, TX
  • Nicole Kloosterman, Boca Raton, FL


Gerald Fenichel Award in Neurology

Dr. Gerald Fenichel, professor of neurology and pediatrics, founded the Department of Neurology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and served as chairman from 1969 to 2001. As one of the founders of the Child Neurology Society, he made immeasurable contributions to the fields of neurology and child neurology. This award is presented to a graduating medical student entering neurology or child neurology who has demonstrated outstanding aptitude for clinical neurology and a devotion to patient care.

  • Alex Brito, Brentwood, TN


The H. William Scott, Jr. Prize in Surgery

This award is presented to the graduating medical student who exemplifies the qualities of leadership, performance, and character reflecting the ideal surgeon.

  • Katie McKay, Holmdel, NJ


Hospital Award of Excellence

This award recognizes the fourth-year medical student, chosen by the chief residents of the services, as having contributed most toward excellent patient care by demonstrating sensitivity, compassion, and concern in clinical responsibilities to patients of Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

  • Christian Nguyen, New Orleans, LA
  • Steven Scaglione, Armada, MI


J. Donald M. Gass Award in Opthalmology

This award is established in honor of Dr. Donald M. Gass, a graduate of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Class of 1957, and a renowned retina specialist. This award is given to a student who demonstrates excellence in ophthalmic education and research.

  • Patrick Donegan, Huntington Beach, CA


James Gwathmey Prize in Anesthesiology

This award is presented to the Vanderbilt medical student who most clearly demonstrates the potential for excellence in academic anesthesiology.

  • Alice Liao, Toronto, Ont., Canada


John L. Shapiro Award for Excellence in Pathology

This award, given upon action of the Department of Pathology, recognizes outstanding student performance in pathology. It is given annually or otherwise depending upon action by the department and honors the memory of Dr. John L. Shapiro, who was a professor and the chairman of the Department of Pathology from 1956 to 1971. Dr. Shapiro remained an active participant in a variety of university and community activities until his death on July 15, 1983.

  • Benjamin Coiner, Alto, MI
  • Stephanie Hart, Nashville, TN


The Kaufman Prize in Medicine

This award, honoring J. Kenneth Kaufman, M.D. (’39), is presented to a graduating medical student who has demonstrated qualities of humaneness, dedication, and unselfish service in the study of medicine and will apply these qualities in medical practice.

  • Timothy Schurz, Lusaka, Zambia
  • Aisha Suara, Bolivar, TN
  • Somto Ukwuani, Gaithersburg, MD


Laura Knox Humanitarian Award

This award recognizes a graduating student in the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences who possess and exemplify compassion for others through service leadership.

  • Rebecca Richardson, Mansfield, OH


The Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award Presented by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation

This award is given to a graduating student and a faculty member who demonstrate compassion and empathy in the delivery of health care, and who engender trust and confidence in both their patients and colleagues while adhering to professional ethical standards.

  • Tita González Peña, Dallas, TX
  • Robert F. Miller, MD, Faculty


Lonnie S. Burnett Award in Obstetrics and Gynecology

This award is given to the student demonstrating superior performance and who exemplifies the qualities of dedication, leadership, compassion, and integrity in the field of obstetrics and gynecology.

  • Tita González Peña, Dallas, TX


Mildred T. Stahlman Award

This award, honoring the achievements and pioneering spirit of Vanderbilt pediatrician Dr. Mildred Stahlman, is presented to the graduating student entering pediatrics whose performance exemplifies the highest standards of leadership, professionalism, and commitment to improving the lives of children.

  • Caroline Maguire, Atlanta, GA


The Orthopaedic Surgery Clerkship Award

This award is presented by the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery to the student who has excelled in both the third- and fourth-year orthopaedic clerkships, and who has demonstrated outstanding potential in the field of orthopaedic surgery.

  • Rachel Windmueller, Pittsburgh, PA


Oscar B. Crofford Award for Diabetes Research

This award is presented by the Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolism and the Vanderbilt Diabetes Center to the graduating medical student who has performed outstanding research in the area of diabetes. This award honors Dr. Oscar B. Crofford for his contributions to diabetes research at Vanderbilt and throughout the world. He served as director of Vanderbilt’s Diabetes Division and as president of the American Diabetes Association.

  • Sharon Kam, Vancouver, B.C., Canada


Paula C. Hoos Award

The Class of 2022 presents this award in recognition of excellence in student teaching in the basic sciences and to express our sincere appreciation for the assistance of members of the graduating class.

  • Michael Clark, Cleveland, OH
  • Andrew Schaffer, San Antonio, TX


Richard B. Johnston, Jr. Award

This award is presented to a graduating student entering pediatrics who has demonstrated excellence in academic scholarship and an extraordinary commitment to clinical medicine exemplifying the highest professional standards of the physician scientist.

  • John Walker, Nashville, TN


Roentgen Award

This award is given to a graduating medical student who has made important contributions in one of the radiological sciences during four years of study. Named for Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen, a pioneer in diagnostic radiology, the award recognizes discoveries in either clinical or research areas.

  • Aaron Lim, Walnut, CA


The School of Medicine Award of Distinction

This award is presented to the student who has demonstrated outstanding leadership abilities in service to the School of Medicine.

  • Leland Dunwoodie, Stevensville, MI


Sten H. Vermund Award in Global Health

This award recognizes the graduating medical student who has most demonstrated a strong commitment to improving the health of the people of or from a low- or middle-income country through distinguished scholarship, education, and/or contributions to the improvement of clinical care. The award was established in 2017 to honor Dr. Sten H. Vermund, who was the founding director of the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health.

  • Kia Quinlan, Duluth, GA


Tennessee Academy of Family Physicians Award

This award is presented by the Tennessee Academy of Family Physicians in recognition of an outstanding student in family medicine.

  • Alan Grusky, Los Angeles, CA


The Tom Nesbitt Award

This award is presented by the Nashville Academy of Medicine in recognition of the service and contribution of Tom Nesbitt, M.D., as a member of the academy and 133rd president of the American Medical Association. It also honors the quality of medical leadership in Nashville, as evidenced through the eight AMA presidents elected from the Nashville Academy of Medicine, the most of any country in the country. For achievement in educational, socio-economic, and legislative affairs, the Tom Nesbitt award is presented to the graduating medical student who has understanding and appreciation for such endeavors, and who demonstrates exemplary character and leadership.

  • Noah Harrison, Huntington Beach, CA

Congratulations to these outstanding graduates!