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Graduating Residents Bring Compassion and Purpose to New Roles

Posted on Jun 25, 2019

2019 graduating residents

The Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital pediatric residency program honored the 2019 graduating class at a June 15 ceremony that celebrated their strengths, successes and next steps in their journey of compassion and care.

Teachers and mentors shared their pride in the graduates’ accomplishments and inspiring advice as they move ahead to new opportunities, while acknowledging the role of parents, siblings and spouses in helping these new pediatricians achieve their dreams.

The 12 graduates were the first to have the opportunity to learn from second-year and third-year residents above them as well as from faculty members. The Johns Hopkins All Children’s residency was accredited in 2012, welcomed the first trainees in 2014 and graduated that inaugural class of residents in 2017.

Program Director Akshata M. Hopkins, M.D., described the graduates as goal-oriented, courageous change-makers. “I’ve learned so much from the power of your support for your peers and the compassion and kindness you share with patients and families,” she says, reminding them of the happiness that can be found when career choices and passions come together.

Class speaker Jameson Dyal, M.D., recalled the group starting out as strangers and growing to be a family, finding common purpose in the hospital hallways as they watched sunrises over Tampa Bay.

Vice Dean and Physician-in-Chief George Jallo, M.D., encouraged the graduates to continue to focus on “their why.” Though medicine is changing, they should always continue to learn from their patients. Recalling the words of Sir William Osler, a legendary Hopkins physician and teacher, he urged them to use their talents and gifts to contribute to the field of pediatrics, continue to ask great questions and immerse themselves in finding answers.

Special awards were given to several residents and faculty:

Victoria Elliott, M.D., (class of 2020) received the All-We-Do Resident Award for her commitment to the mission and vision of the residency program and the thoughtful, positive and supportive attitude that permeates everything she does.

Alana Koehler, M.D., (class of 2020) was named Resident Scholar of the Year. She has presented at national meetings and is already changing the world through scholarship. She designed and implemented a comprehensive advocacy curriculum for residents and led collaborations with community groups. Koehler received an American Academy of Pediatrics CATCH grant for her commitment to improving water safety for children in Pinellas County, an initiative that reflects her goal to pursue training in pediatric emergency medicine.

Anna Grindy, M.D., (class of 2019) received the Resident of the Year Award, the program’s highest honor recognizing excellence in leadership, scholarship, education and advocacy. Grindy displayed great initiative in developing and implementing a new handoff process that is now used when patients are being transferred from the pediatric intensive care unit to another inpatient area. She supported her peers as an active member of the resident wellness committee. She will continue to support Johns Hopkins All Children’s residents as one of two chief pediatric residents for the academic year that starts July 1.

Palak Patel, M.D., (class of 2019) received the Allen Root Award for Continuous Excellence in Residency for performing at the highest level and serving as a role model for her peers. She builds a strong connection with patients and their parents and will continue this focus as she begins a career in general pediatrics.

Melissa Brinn, M.D., received both the All-We-Do Faculty Award and Faculty Teaching Award. As director of the General Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine Continuity Clinic, she plays a key role in preparing the residents to care for patients at every stage of childhood and adolescence.

The graduates’ collective achievements include podium presentations at national pediatric meetings, publications, research and quality improvement projects, and securing $35,000 in grant-funding from the city of St. Petersburg for school-based programs to address childhood trauma.

Faculty speaker, Taryn Hill, M.D., described a special bond with this group of residents, having joined the hospital just as they began their training. She reminded them to keep their vision and their passion. “You are meant to be where you are today.”

Congratulations and best wishes to the class of 2019:

Kelli Baldwin, M.D., will be a community pediatrician in San Antonio, Texas.

Jameson Dyal, M.D., begins a pediatric cardiology fellowship at Emory University in Atlanta.

Scott Furer, M.D., will work as a pediatric hospitalist and hopes to join the Epidemic Intelligence Service of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Anna Grindy, M.D., will serve as a chief resident at Johns Hopkins All Children’s and then pursue a pediatric critical care fellowship.

Svetlana Kozlovich, M.D., begins a neonatal-perinatal medicine fellowship at Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

Neha Manikonda, M.D., will be a community pediatrician in Dallas.

Nicole Neveln, M.D., begins a neonatal-perinatal medicine fellowship at Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston.

Brittany Odom, M.D., will provide pediatric urgent care in Orlando.

Michael O’Halleran, M.D., will be a community pediatrician in Monterey, California.

Palak Patel, M.D., joins the general and urgent care pediatrics program at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston.

Zachary Spoehr-Labutta, M.D., will be a community pediatrician in Pinellas County.

Alyssa Woodard, M.D., will serve as a chief resident at Johns Hopkins All Children’s.


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