The Robert C. Cefalo House Officer Awards are presented to residents who both demonstrate sincere dedication to patients and their families and maintain exemplary professional and interpersonal interactions with colleagues, staff, patients and visitors. This year, four outstanding physicians were honored.


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 four honorees, who will each receive a monetary award of $1,000 to cover expenses associated with professional development.

Members of the Cefalo family were in attendance to meet and celebrate alongside this year’s winners.

Read more about each of this year’s honorees:

Mark Ehlers, MD, Urology

Ehlers was recognized for his outstanding clinical skill and the compassionate care he provides to all patients. He has previously been recognized by the Department of Urology as their Resident of the Year. Due to a professional conference, Ehlers was unable to attend the awards ceremony in person, but FaceTimed in from San Francisco to receive his award!

Here’s what one of his nominators had to say: “Mark is thorough, sensitive, and attentive to each patient and family’s individual needs. He is consistently professional in his interactions with staff in a variety of settings, demonstrating an orientation towards servant leadership that benefits all of us.”

Erin Finn, MD, Internal Medicine/Pediatrics

Finn was praised for her outstanding communication skills, clinical expertise, and willingness to go out of her way in teaching and helping others.

In the words of one of her nominators: Every resident in our program, as well as the categorical Internal Medicine and Pediatric residencies, looks to Erin as the model of professionalism, patient care, scholarship, wellness, and intellectual curiosity.

Daniel Lindsey, MD, Radiation-Oncology

Nominators praised Lindsey’s down-to-earth leadership and professionalism. They also noted that in addition to providing outstanding care, Lindsey often goes above and beyond to help patients navigate all of the social factors and stresses that come along with their conditions.

From one of his nominations: “On more than one occasion, he has noted psychosocial factors that directly impact our patients’ cancer care. He takes an active role in doing everything he can to ameliorate those factors – involving social work for help with bills and gas cards, submitting documentation for exemptions for housing locally during treatment, and hand-delivering Ensure nutrition supplements to patients during clinic. All of these seemingly small individual efforts dramatically improve the experiences of our patients as they navigate the challenges of a cancer diagnosis and subsequent radiation treatments.”

Hayden Shafer, MD, Family Medicine

Nominators describe Shafer as a compassionate, selfless, hardworking physician, always willing to partner with patients to solve problems. During his time in Family Medicine, Shafer has been a departmental champion in the care of LGBTQ patients, helping to break down barriers between patients from marginalized communities and primary care.

One story from his nomination: “In an attempt to break down the barriers between the LGBTQ population and primary care, Hayden went in search of patients. He specifically sought out gay bars and left his business cards at each one, meeting new patients along the way. It is difficult to estimate exactly how many patients overall that Hayden has recruited for our clinic, although in the past year he has personally recruited at least 10 patients who identify as transgender and is truly our clinic champion for gender affirming treatments.”