Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine’s Honors Convocation annually recognizes the school’s distinguished academic achievements — though it was a bit different in 2020.

2020 Honors Convocation at OUWB offers different look, same significance
An image showing the 2020 Honors Convocation logo

Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine’s Honors Convocation annually recognizes the school’s distinguished academic achievements — though it was a bit different in 2020.

That’s because the COVID-19 pandemic forced cancellation of the in-person event traditionally held the day before OUWB’s commencement.

But that doesn’t mean the school skipped recognizing those who would have otherwise been honored at the special event.

Traditional school honors were awarded to faculty members and medical students for scholarly excellence and outstanding performance such as Diversity & Inclusion Student Excellence Award, and the Michele D. Raible Award of Honor, just to name a few (see complete list at end of story).

New this year, however, were two awards: the Excellence in Diversity Staff Award, and another, in the works for the last three years, the OUWB Golden Apple Awards.

The Golden Apple Awards are an entirely student-led initiative to honor faculty and resident teachers.

“The main goal of this is to have a very strong student voice in giving appreciation for particular professors, clinicians, and instructors on their teaching qualities and effective teaching methods,” said John Nguyen, a rising fourth-year medical student at OUWB and part of the group of more than 20 students who established the awards.

Stephanie Swanberg, MSI, associate professor, Information Literacy & eLearning Librarian, OUWB, helped the students with their idea. (Swanberg also is a member of the Faculty Recognition Committee, which hands out four awards every year.)

A graphic showing the winners of the 2020 OUWB Golden Apple AwardsIn developing the awards, Swanberg said she worked with, among others, OUWB Class of 2020 alumna Sophia Khalil and Parvati Dhuvas, as well as Nguyen and rising third-year medical student (M3) Thomas Holt. A subcommittee made up of 14 OUWB students also helped in development.

“It has been so amazing to see the evolution of the awards as they have been developed over the past three years,” said Swanberg. “Our students have volunteered their precious time to develop them from scratch and all because they truly appreciate and recognize the valuable contributions of our OUWB faculty and resident teachers.”

Swanberg said 2020 is particularly special “as the awards come to life with the inaugural nine faculty and resident recipients this year.” (See sidebar for list of recipients.)

There were plenty of others recognized for various achievements.

Capt. Joseph Adamson, Class of 2020, OUWB, was promoted from his previous rank of 2nd lieutenant. Aniela Sosnowski, Class of 2020, OUWB, received the 2020 U.S. Excellence in Public Health Award.

Leslie Rocher, M.D., retired OUWB associate dean for Clinical Affairs and professor of Internal Medicine received an inscribed chair for the Recognition of Distinguished Service “in gratitude of exceptional commitment and service to OUWB.”

Leslie Rocher, M.D.

Rocher

After 41 years as a physician and 30 years with Beaumont Health, Rocher, senior vice president and chief medical officer at Beaumont , Royal Oak, retired from his leadership roles at Beaumont and OUWB.

Rocher shared his passion for medicine and medical education with OUWB for more than 10 years. Rocher’s contributions as chair of the Committee on Appointments, Promotions, and Tenure (CAPT) helped shape important policies and procedures, impacting the faculty lifecycle.

“OUWB is grateful for Dr. Rocher’s leadership,” said Duane Mezwa, M.D., Stephan Sharf interim dean, OUWB. “He never wavered in his support for the school, where his impact will be long standing.”

The Michele D. Raible Award — named in honor of the founding associate dean of OUWB was awarded to Brett Friedman, Class of 2022. Raible, who was deeply committed to educating and inspiring future medical students, succumbed to leukemia on June 21, 2010.

William Miles, M.D., Raible’s widow, describes recipients of the award as those who “best personify the qualities that Dr. Raible brought to the school.”

“These qualities include a student who is compassionate, a learner and an educator, one who cares deeply about others, and one who functions as a mentor for everyone he or she meets,” said Miles. “This student is one whom all students everywhere should want to emulate.”

Recipients of the honor are nominated by their respective peers.

In nominating Friedman for the award, comments included:

“Brett is an amazing contributor to our class and consistently helps with his great attitude, class resource sharing, empathetic caring, and wonderful sense of humor.”

“Brett is an extremely caring, dedicated, and collaborative student. Not only does he treat every class member with kindness and sincere interest, he is committed to helping our class succeed in any way possible.”

“I think that Brett is deserving of the Michele D. Raible Award because he has consistently showed nothing but compassion and caring for others since he has arrived (at OUWB).”

Please see below for the rest of the OUWB 2020 Honors Convocation Awards:

Award for Outstanding Student Achievements

Class of 2020 M1 Award for Outstanding Academic Performance
Recipients: Dalton Blood, Nathan Loudon, and Brandon Moretti

Class of 2020 M2 Award for Outstanding Academic Performance
Recipients: Dalton Blood, Allyson DiMagno, and Catherine Gilligan

Class of 2020 M3 Clerkship Awards

Award for Outstanding Performance in Family Medicine Clerkship
Recipient: Prachi Shah

Award for Outstanding Performance in the Internal Medicine Clerkship
Recipient: Allyson DiMagno

Award for Outstanding Performance in the Neurology Clerkship
Recipient: Amanda Simon

Award for Outstanding Performance in the Obstetrics and Gynecology Clerkship
Recipient: Amanda Amen

Award for Outstanding Performance in the Pediatrics Clerkship
Recipient: Cheryl Cheah

Award for Outstanding Performance in the Psychiatry Clerkship
Recipient: Amanda Amen

Class of 2020 M4 Clerkship Awards

Award for Outstanding Performance in Anesthesia and Pain Medicine Clerkship
Recipient: Justin Yuan

Award for Outstanding Performance in Diagnostic Medicine Clerkship
Recipient: Capt. Joseph Adamson

Award for Outstanding Performance in Emergency Medicine Clerkship
Recipient: Amanda Amen

Embark Competitive Scholarship Award Recipients

Ann V. Nicholson Embark Program Manuscript of the Year Award
Recipient: Moses Evbuomwan
Factors that Influence Students' Willingness to Consent and Submit Their DNA for Medical Research: A Cross Sectional Study of Oakland University Students
Mentor: Inaya Hajj Hussein, Ph.D.

Newman Family Foundation Embark Program Competitive Scholarship Award
Recipient: Prachi Shah
Assessing Cultural Competence of Physicians in Diabetes Management during Ramadan
Mentor: Asha Shajahn, M.D.

Ravitz Foundation Embark Program Competitive Scholarship Award
Recipient: Allyson DiMagno
Chronic Kidney Disease Impact on Total Joint Arthroplasty Outcomes
Mentor: Inaya Hajj Hussein, Ph.D.

Ravitz Foundation Embark Program Competitive Scholarship Award
Recipient: Diana Jomaa
Submission Title: The Effect of Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) on Outcomes Following Colorectal Surgery
Mentor: Harry Wasvary, M.D.

Ravitz Foundation Embark Program Competitive Scholarship Award
Recipient: Md Saon
Performance of CT Colonography and Impact of Extracolonic Findings
Mentor: Sayf Al-Katib, M.D.

Ravitz Foundation Embark Program Competitive Scholarship Award
Recipient: Alison Thomas
Anatomical Considerations of the Recurrent Laryngeal Nerve and its Vulnerability during Surgical Procedures of the Neck
Mentor: Jickssa Gemechu, Ph.D.

Ravitz Foundation Embark Program Competitive Scholarship Award
Recipient: Justin Yuan
The Role of Stereotactic Radiosurgery in Treatment for Brain Metastases from Small Cell Lung Cancer
Mentor: Inga Grills, M.D.

Embark Presentation Dean’s Award Recipients – Funded by OU Credit Union
Embark Program Oral Presentation Dean’s Choice Award 1st Place
Recipient: David Weinfeld
Examining Color Vision Deficient Medical Students' Performances and Attitudes in Histology
Mentor: Stefanie Attardi, Ph.D.

Embark Program Oral Presentation Dean’s Choice Award 2nd Place
Recipient: Justin Yuan
Stereotactic Radiosurgery as a Component of Treatment for Brain Metastases in Small Cell Lung Cancer Patients
Mentor: Inga Grills, M.D.

Embark Program Oral Presentation Dean’s Choice Award 3rd Place
Recipient: Nicholas Kondoleon
Do Inhaled Anesthetics Accelerate the Progression of Parkinson Disease?
Mentor: Dwayne Baxa, Ph.D.

Awards of Distinction

Diversity & Inclusion Student Excellence Award
Recipients: Rafey Rehman and Kala Seawright

Excellence in Diversity Staff Award
Awarded to: Berkley Browne, Ph.D.
Assistant Dean for Student Affairs

Excellence in Diversity Faculty Award
Awarded to: Claudio Cortes, DVM, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Immunology, Department of Foundational Medical Studies

Glasgow-Rubin Certificate of Commendation for Academic Achievement
Recipients: Belinda AsareAllyson DiMagnoSara Margosian, and Danielle Yee

Awards for Outstanding Faculty Achievements

Foundational Medical Studies Educator of the Year
Awarded to: Stefan Walter, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Foundational Medical Studies

Clinical Science Educator of the Year
Awarded to: Bhavinkumar Dalal, M.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Internal Medicine

Excellence in Research Award
Awarded to: Barry Franklin, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Internal Medicine

Excellence in Service Award
Awarded to: Rachel Yoskowitz, MPH, BSN
Assistant Professor, Department of Foundational Medical Studies

PRISM Mentors Recognition 

(Click on link to read more about group members and tributes written to each mentor.)

Frank Borschke, M.D.
Borsch-keys to Success

Michael Hanna, M.D.
Grey’s Hannatomy

Mohmmad Jafri, M.D.
King Jafri

Abdul-Majid Khan, M.D.
Khan’t Touch This

Rebecca Wasvary, M.D.
Wizards of Waz

For more information, contact Andrew Dietderich, marketing writer, OUWB, at adietderich@oakland.edu

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