Honoring the 2016 Robert C. Cefalo House Officer Award Winners

This year’s five recipients were honored for their demonstrated empathy for patients and their families; effectiveness in listening to and communicating with patients and families; advocacy for and demonstration of the highest standards of patient care; and maintained exemplary professional and interpersonal interactions with colleagues, staff, patients, and visitors.

The awards are named in honor of Robert C. Cefalo, MD, who served with distinction over 25 years as the director of residency and fellowship programs at UNC Hospitals. Cefalo passed away in 2008 after a battle with cancer.

A selection committee of physicians, nurses, and other clinical and administrative staff selected this year’s five honorees, who will each receive a monetary award of $1,000 to cover expenses associated with professional development.

This year’s winners:

Tyler Armstrong

Tyler Armstrong, MD:

Tyler Armstrong, is the chief resident in the Department of Emergency Medicine. Colleagues say Armstrong is able to quickly develop a rapport with all patients and displays a great deal of empathy for their individual circumstances. His nominators for this award said that Armstrong is loved by the ED nurses, technicians and clerks, and, as chief resident, serves as a mentor and role model for his fellow residents.  

Amy Jones

Amy Jones, MD:

Amy Jones is a third-year resident in the Department of Pediatrics. She is described as a thoughtful, kind, and knowledgeable physician with an extraordinary ability to relate to her patients and their families. She has a collaborative spirit when working with other physicians and works seamlessly in interprofessional settings. She serves as a leader in the Critical Care Interest Group and is also a productive researcher, participating in multiple research and quality improvement projects.

Sophia Paraschos

Sophia Paraschos, MD:

Sophia Paraschos is a third-year resident in the Internal Medicine-Pediatrics Residency program. In nominating her for this award, her colleagues praised her outstanding clinical skill and remarkable bedside manner. Her unselfish nature often draws praise from patients, who admire her poise and compassion. She has also served as a Wellness Champion for her residency program, helping her fellow residents, collaborating with fellow residents and the GME to advocate for her colleagues and the profession. One nominator, summed her qualifications up very succinctly: “I cannot think of any resident with whom I have worked in the past 20 years who is more deserving of this award.”

Ben McCormick

Benjamin McCormick, MD:

Benjamin McCormick is a first year resident in the Department of Urology. McCormick is the only first-year resident to ever receive the Cefalo award. He earned this distinction for always going above and beyond in his dealings both with patients and the nursing staff. Staff report that he takes time for all of his patients’ concerns, addressing their fears and calmly explaining the rationale behind all medical care decisions.

The nursing staff says that he is always quick to communicate with them, and collaborative in decision-making when it comes to patient care. Overall, McCormick is a team player who treats everyone with equal dignity and respect.

Amita Shah

Amita Shah, MD, PhD:

Amita Shah is chief resident in the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. In nominating her for the Cefalo Award, her colleagues describe her top notch patient care and unwavering professionalism. That patient care has occasionally even been rewarded with homemade gifts and cards from grateful patients and families. She is the ultimate team player, capable of quickly earning trust and respect.

They also praise her great surgical skill and abilities as a leader and mentor for her fellow residents.

She is never satisfied, however, to rest on her laurels, constantly exploring new and innovative techniques for improving care.

In summary, one nominator provided the ultimate compliment: “I would trust Amita with my care.”

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