Monday, March 30, 2015

Visiting Professor at Washington University

by: Amalia Cochran, MD, MA, FACS, FCCM

On a cold and snowy February 17 & 18, I had the privilege of visiting Washington University in St. Louis as the Ephgrave professor.  Dr. Stephanie Bonne was an amazing host, organizing a trip that provided perfect exposure of the medical students, residents, and faculty.  I had the opportunity to tour many of the surgical areas at Barnes- Jewish Hospital, including participation in their Trauma QI/M&M meeting and rounds with both the Trauma team and the Surgical ICU team.  I very much enjoyed and appreciated some dedicated time with Stephanie, who is a developing leader in the AWS, and with Kathy Raman, a vascular surgeon who shares my interest in telemedicine.  I also had some focused time with John Kirby, the medical student clerkship director, and Paul Wise, the residency program director, to compare notes on challenges our institutions face in the education of the next generation.

I delivered Grand Rounds on Tuesday evening with my talk entitled, “Bullies Throwing Tantrums:  Disruptive Surgeon Behavior in the Perioperative Environment.”  Professionalism and disruptive behavior is a particular interest of Dr. Tim Eberlein, the Department chair, and he specifically asked that I share my research in this area.  Grand Rounds was followed by a wonderful dinner at a local restaurant that included women faculty, women chief residents, and Adrienne Davis, who is a Vice Provost and member of the University’s law faculty.

My area of clinical expertise is in burn care, and Wednesday morning began with me teaching about the complexities of burn physiology for the weekly resident’s conference.  An innovative way in which the residency program at Wash U capitalizes on the experience of visiting professors is by having a “fireside chat” at the conclusion of Wednesday conference, giving residents an opportunity to discuss issues about education, academic surgery, and life as a surgeon in a more casual environment.  After the fireside chat, Elspeth Hill (a plastic surgery intern) shared her PhD dissertation about women in surgery with me; her eye-opening qualitative work was done about the system in the UK, but has some interesting implications that are also relevant in the US.  After a visit to see the weekly skills lab activities for the residents, I had lunch with the AWS Student Chapter Leadership.  Best wishes to Grace and Amelia in the upcoming match, and thanks to Lindsey and Ema for spending time with me as well.  After an interesting case presentation from the Surgical ICU team, it was time for me to head home from my great St. Louis adventure.

Special thanks to the AWS for sponsoring me as the Ephgrave visiting professor this year, to Tim Eberlein for his enthusiasm for my work, and to Stephanie Bonne for doing some “heavy lifting” to make my visit go seamlessly.  It was an honor to be your guest, and the hospitality was without parallel.

Dr. Amalia Cochran is Associate Professor of Surgery at the University of Utah.  She is heavily involved in undergraduate medical education, serving as the Surgery Clerkship Director and the Director for the Applied Anatomy track for 4th year medical students at the University of Utah.  Her research interests lie in surgical education and in clinical outcomes in burns.  She is completing her term as Vice President for the Association of Women Surgeons. 


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