Summer 2015 news and updates from BIDMC's Internal Medicine Residency Program.
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Residency Program Update: Summer 2015

Welcome to the latest edition of BIDMC's Department of Medicine Alumni News. This time of year always brings a lot of changes to the residency program with graduating chief residents, categorical residents and preliminary interns, and the arrival of new interns and chief residents. We’ve also taken this opportunity to change the format of our newsletter to appear in the body of your email. Our hope is that this new design will make the newsletter easier for you to access and read, but we realize that this may not work perfectly across all platforms and devices. So we very much welcome your feedback. We also hope to deliver updates about your residency program on a more regular basis. Each edition will provide news about the residents, the program and the medical center. We’d also like to highlight you, our alumni, so please send us updates about your lives and careers. 

In addition to this newsletter, we've been exploring ways to help you stay connected to your residency class and other alumni. After investigating several options and surveying some recent alumni, we believe Doximity is the easiest and most practical social media tool to help you connect with one another. For those of you who, like us, have not readily engaged in social media, Doximity is a physician-focused tool that is easy and quick to use, and it offers some nice features like free faxing and publication lists tailored to your interests. You can learn more about Doximity on their website at As always, we welcome your feedback and would love to hear from you!

Chris Smith, MD (1999) - Director, Internal Medicine Residency Program
Eileen Reynolds, MD - Vice Chair for Education, Department of Medicine
Mark Zeidel, MD - Chair, Department of Medicine

Welcome to Our Newest Alumni and Interns 

We’d like to welcome the newest group of BIDMC alumni to the newsletter. They include 48 categorical residents, 15 preliminary interns and 6 chief residents who recently graduated and have moved on to the next chapter of their careers. They have provided smart, thoughtful and conscientious care to our patients, sought to improve the health care system we work in, worked to advance science and clinical care, and offered exceptional teaching to students, peers and faculty. We wish them the very best.

As this group graduates, we also welcome 63 outstanding new interns and welcome back 6 amazing new chief residents to our residency program (shown here on our annual Boston Harbor cruise during orientation week). A few fun facts about this group:

  • These 50 categorical and 14 preliminary interns consist of 34 women and 29 men.
  • They herald from 43 different colleges (Harvard, Brown, Yale and Georgetown being the most common) and 40 different medical schools (Harvard, UConn, Brown and Cincinnati being the most prevalent).
  • They are clearly very bright and successful with 15 holding advanced degrees including 6 PhDs; 2/3 of the class has publications in the medical literature, with well over 100 peer reviewed publications.
  • They have a remarkable average Step I Board score of 244 and the majority from AOA-eligible schools were elected into Alpha Omega Alpha.

In addition to their academic successes, they have diverse interests, skills and hobbies.

  • They speak 18 different languages.
  • They play a wide array of instruments, participated in a range of college athletics and are artistically gifted with award winning artists, writers and poets.
  • They love sports, cooking, wine tasting, beer making, hiking photography and a myriad of other fascinating hobbies.
  • They are former newspaper editors, researchers, consultants, coaches, teachers, physical therapists and pharmacy techs, and they have been recognized for their hard work through patents, musical awards, educational awards and Eagle Scouts honors.

Humanism in Medicine Celebrated

The last week of May marked the 7th annual Katherine Swan Ginsburg Celebration of Humanism in Medicine week. Housestaff and faculty shared stories, attended lectures and gathered insight toward practicing humanism in medicine. The celebration took place as part of the Katherine Swan Ginsburg Program for Humanism in Medicine, established in memory of Katherine Swan Ginsburg, MD (1988), a house officer at BI who died of cancer at 34, shortly after completing her training. To sustain her legacy, Katherine’s family and loved ones support efforts at BIDMC to foster the ideals she embodied and to improve the quality of life of house staff with curricula for physicians related to professionalism, ethics and humanistic values. (The photo above shows members of the Swan and Ginsburg families, including Geoff Ginsburg, MD (1987), Katherine's husband and BIDMC alumnus, along with KSG honorees.)

“To kick off the series, we transform our usual weekly Morbidity and Mortality conference into ‘Music and Musings,’ an opportunity for house staff to read poetry and other literary works or to play music that underscores the theme of the week,” explains Amy Ship, MD (1997), KSG Program Director. Medical Grand Rounds and Primary Care Grand Rounds were both dedicated to humanism as well. Visiting professor Mark Linzer, MD, Director of General Internal Medicine at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis gave both talks, which were entitled Preventing Burnout, Preserving Humanism: Building a Sustainable Institutional Culture, and Working Conditions in Primary Care and Residency Training.

Jazmine Sutton, MD (2015) led a Journal Club during the week to discuss predictors leading to persistent burnout in Internal Medicine residents. In addition to these events, Katherine Swan Ginsburg Awards in Humanism were given to a faculty member and a senior resident who consistently provide compassionate care, engage in reflective practice and exhibit excellent communication and collaboration among peers, patients and families. The House Officer Award was given to Sarah Lieber, MD (2015) and the Faculty Award was given to Lachlan Forrow, MD, Director of Ethics and Palliative Care. "At BIDMC, we are so fortunate to have the KSG Humanism in Medicine Program," Dr. Ship said. "Its presence supports and sustains housestaff and faculty, and reminds us always to focus on the human qualities that are essential to outstanding patient care."

Where Are They Now?
News and updates from fellow alumni

"I must be among the oldest of the surviving BIH house staff, having just had my 98th birthday. One of my house staff duties in 1942-43 was to go to the roof of the BI with a plane identifier manual and be on the lookout for German warplanes." - Herb Lewis, MD (1942)

"I can’t believe it's been [more than two years] since I finished residency. I had a great experience at BIDMC and felt well prepared in my first year of clinical practice. I've truly enjoyed my fellowship at UCSF." - Kate Wrenn, MD (2013)

"It's great to get news from Boston here in Argentina. I'm a 1977 Internal Medicine Resident from the old New England Deaconess Hospital and still in touch with many of my residence friends and staff." - Hipólito Echeverría, MD (1980)

"I have started to moonlight recently, which made me think of BIDMC. Even after one year of 1,000 colonoscopies/endoscopies, I realize I am still confident in taking care of internal medicine patients. I have Eileen Reynolds and the residency to thank for such strong training." - Ozzie Rahni, MD (2013)

Email us your news today!

Alumni Spotlights

Anjala Tess, MD

During this spring’s Quality Improvement Reunion, which she organized, Anjala Tess, MD (2000) recalled the meeting at which the Internal Medicine Residency Program’s Stoneman Elective was born. It was 2001 and Dr. Tess, then a new hospitalist, was in a conference room with senior leaders from Medicine and Health Care Quality. The group, which included Ken Sands, MD, MPH (1990), Carol Bates, MD, Richard Schwartzstein, MD (1982) and Saul Weingart, MD, MPP, PhD (1997) was discussing the need for residents to get hands-on QI training and access to actual cases. Thus was born the Stoneman Elective, which Dr. Tess now heads as one of BIDMC’s foremost leaders in QI.

During the QI Reunion, each of the alumni highlighted below came back to BIDMC and spoke in Sherman Auditorium, reflecting on their residency experience.

Brijen Shah, MD

Brijen Shah, MD (2007) describes himself as “an educator at heart.” He now serves as the Director of QI and Patient Safety Education for the Mount Sinai Health System in New York, as well as Director of GME for Faculty Development, QI and Patient Safety. Looking back on his BIDMC experience, Dr. Shah said he discovered the importance of weekly educational sessions like M&M and, ultimately, he “learned to be an educator here.” In his work supervising a student-run clinic in East Harlem, he has embraced students as active partners in planning and management, integrating them into high-level meetings, just as his mentors did at BIDMC.

Inga Lennes, MD, MPH, MBA

Inga Lennes, MD, MPH, MBA, (2006) is now the Clinical Director of Quality at MGH. Reflecting on what she most appreciated about her residency experience, she noted the “great people,” including Eileen Reynolds, MD, Ken Sands, MD, MPH (1990), Mark Zeidel, MD, and Julius Yang, MD, PhD (2000). She also recalled a comment made by Mike Howell, MD, MPH (2002) that has stuck with her over the years: “You’ll never go wrong if the patient is your North Star.” While at BIDMC, she says she learned the importance of other disciplines to the field of medicine. In fact, that lesson led her from BIDMC to MIT where she earned an MBA.

Frank Volpicelli, MD

Frank Volpicelli, MD, (2012) is now a hospitalist at NYU’s Tisch School of Medicine. He’s also the Co-director of the QI rotation there, which he jokingly said he “outright stole from Anjala [Tess].” Dr. Volpicelli noted, “I’m aware of how young I am for the responsibility I’ve been given, and that’s 100% because of the training I got at BIDMC.”

Read about our residents, fellows and faculty in recent annual reports from the Department of Medicine.
Global Health Update

BIDMC's engagement in global health projects and partnerships was celebrated during "Beth Israel Deaconess Abroad: Global Partnerships for Health," a morning-long symposium on April 2nd. Speakers from Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology and Neurology presented their work on several different continents. Featured among the Department of Medicine's efforts was its close collaboration with Scottish Livingstone Hospital (SLH) in Botswana. The BIDMC-Botswana Program, now in its fifth year, continues to grow with over 30 residents visiting each year, along with three new fellows and a full-time BIDMC attending (Tomer Barak, MD (2013) shown above on the far right). We're pleased to report that as of Jan. 2016, the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology will also have a full-time attending physician based at SLH. Read more.

Residency Program Leadership

Program Director
C. Christopher Smith, MD (1999)

Primary Care Program Director
Howard Libman, MD

Associate Program Directors
Grace Huang, MD (2002)
Ken Mukamal, MD, MPH
Ben Schlecter, MD (2011)
Anjala Tess, MD (2000)
Anita Vanka, MD (2008)
Julius Yang, MD, PhD

Education Manager
Ruth Colman

Vice Chair for Education
Eileen Reynolds, MD