Obstetrical Honor Society Welcomes New Inductees

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Silhouetted students toss graduation caps into the air

In its traditional place, opening the George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) Commencement Week events, the Kane King Dodek Obstetrics Honor Society recognized this year’s outstanding faculty, residents, and students during its 84th annual induction and awards reception, May 12.

“The students who have been chosen to be members of the society are joining an illustrious group,” said Nancy Gaba, MD ’93, RESD ’97, in her welcoming remarks to those who gathered virtually for the event. Gaba, the Oscar I. and Mildred S. Dodek and Joan B. and Oscar I. Dodek Jr. Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at SMHS, explained that selection for the obstetrical honor society is not just based on inductees’ grades. They were also chosen for “their contributions to the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences and the Washington, D.C. community, as well as their contributions to scholarly work and research in obstetrics and gynecology.”

Gaba also took a moment to reflect on the passing of John W. Larsen Jr., MD, FACOG, FACMG, Professor Emeritus of Obstetrics and Gynecology at GW SMHS.

“For those of you who didn’t know Dr. Larsen, many people refer to him fondly as ‘the forceps whisperer,’ but he was much more than that to many of us,” recalled Gaba. “He was quite proud of bringing midwifery back to GW, and we have him to thank for that. And he really had the vision of what collaborative care could be for the department, and I'm so grateful for that.”

Highlighting the induction ceremony this year was Haywood Brown, MD, who discussed professionalism and mentoring in medicine in the annual Founders Lecture. Brown, a senior associate vice president of academic affairs at the University of South Florida Health, vice dean of faculty affairs for Morsani College of Medicine, and a former president of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, took elements of the 2004 classic, “All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten,” and the Five Rs of Cultural Humility, to outline some fundamental principles of professionalism.

Common sense practices taught at the earliest stages of development, such as sharing, fair play, living a balanced life, and — especially relevant in the age of COVID — washing your hands, easily pair, said Brown, with the Five R traits: reflection, respect, regard, relevance, and resiliency.

“Once you receive your medical degree, you are a physician all the time,” Brown began, and as such, new graduates have to demonstrate professional behavior. “That’s whether you are in the clinic, at grocery store, whether you go through the airport, or you’re in the cafeteria getting your lunch.

“We all have some beliefs and attitudes about race, about gender, about ethnicity and culture, and about work style. These are some guiding principles.”

“There’s nothing more important than trust,” said Brown. “We have to trust our colleagues. We have to trust our patients, and they have to trust us.”

Society, he added, is multicultural: at GW, in Washington, D.C., around the world, and most importantly in medicine. “When you think about cultural competence and cultural awareness and cultural sensitivity, they are all critical components as we’re dealing with multicultural societies, multicultural patients.

“We all have some biases,” Brown reminded the audience. “If we allow it, those biases can erode our professionalism. … And this is why I go right back to that little book about those 10 things that are essential about behavior that we learn as children.”

Following the Founders Lecture, Gaba and department leaders presented the 2020 awards and inducted the Kane King Dodek Honor Society’s newest members.

The society was founded in 1937 by Samuel Mayer Dodek, MD, in honor of Albert Freeman Africanus King, MD 1861, professor of obstetrics at GW from 1871–1913 and dean of the medical school from 1879–94. In 1945, Howard Kane, MD ’12, professor of obstetrics and genecology — who actually delivered Oscar I. Dodek Jr., MD — was memorialized with the addition of his name to the society. Upon the 50th anniversary of the society, Samuel Dodek, MD, was added to the name.

Teaching awards

This year’s Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics Teaching Award was presented to Susanne Bathgate, MD ’86, RESD ’90, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology. For the second consecutive year, the society awarded Anna BuAbbud, MD, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology with the Oscar Dodek Faculty Member for Excellence in Teaching. The 2021 Award for Excellence and the Resident Award for Excellence in Teaching went to Emily Capbarat, MD.

Kane King Dodek Obstetrical Honor Society

Resident Inductees

  • Annam Abbasi, MD, chief resident
  • William Berry, MD
  • Hannah Ermon, MD
  • Catherine Hennessey, MD, chief resident
  • Avani Raythatha, MD
  • Tarangi Sutaria, MD
  • Princess Urbina, MD

Class of 2021 Inductees

  • Christine Archuleta
  • Rabab Barq
  • Megan Fuerst
  • Brittney Imani Gordon
  • Elaine Bywater Hynds
  • Megan Konigkramer
  • Rose Saskia Milando
  • Margot Coleman Quinn
  • Noushine Myriam Sadeghi
  • Koumudi Thirunagaru
  • Mary Maria Tsaturian
  • Taniya Varnae Walker
  • Molly Jean Zepp

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