January 17, 2022

Inaugural members of the Vanderbilt Academy for Excellence in Clinical Medicine announced

The inaugural members of the Vanderbilt Academy for Excellence in Clinical Medicine (AECM) have been chosen.

The inaugural members of the Vanderbilt Academy for Excellence in Clinical Medicine (AECM) have been chosen. The AECM was created in 2021 by leaders of Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Vanderbilt University School of Medicine to recognize and advance exceptional patient care.

The initiative to establish the AECM grew out of a proposal from the Physician Council for Clinical Service Excellence and was formed to “honor exemplary clinicians who combine humanism, professionalism and a passion for patient care with a scholarly approach to improving patient health and who will establish a community of leaders to promote clinical excellence.”

“I want to recognize the critical role Dr. Howard Baum and Dr. Brent Graham played in conceiving the idea for this academy and then partnering with Dr. Maureen Gannon to bring it to fruition,” said David Raiford, MD, professor of Medicine, chief of Clinical Staff for VUMC, and senior associate dean for Faculty Affairs. “Being chosen is a peer-reviewed honor and not a lifetime achievement award. It is a recognition of excellence and a commitment to be part of a service entity with deeply held core values.”

The AECM is led by Baum, associate professor of Medicine, and Graham, associate professor of Pediatrics. The ACEM’s executive sponsors are Raiford, Maureen Gannon, PhD, professor of Medicine and associate dean for Faculty Development, and Paul Sternberg Jr., MD, George Weeks Hale Professor of Ophthalmology, chief medical officer for Vanderbilt Medical Group and associate dean for Clinical Affairs.

In addition to honoring members for their efforts as outstanding clinicians, the ACEM promotes excellence through education and mentorship of faculty and trainees. As one of their responsibilities, new AECM members will help plan an annual symposium on clinical excellence.

“Some of the nominees conveyed in their applications and personal statements that they want to be part of building culture and passing on the legacy of clinical service and excellence,” said Baum. “Among those who were selected there is a diversity of experience and a diversity of the departments recognized. That happened organically during the selection process.”

“The most striking part of the selection process was to review the comments and letters of support from peers, staff and patients. It was very humbling to see the absolute glowing remarks that people were making about their colleagues. There is no other explanation for that other than they were genuinely impressed,” said Graham.

“The reviewers for this inaugural class are leaders from across the institution. They were very grateful to learn about these physicians and clinicians through their nomination packets and were so impressed and excited to be part of the same team and institution with these people,” said Gannon. “These comments were reiterated over and over by the reviewers during the review process.”

Inaugural members elected to the AECM underwent a rigorous selection process that included the following steps:

  • Calls for nominations were sent to all VUMC faculty via email with a description of the Academy’s mission and the eligibility criteria, along with a link to a REDCap survey so they could suggest nominees.
  • Faculty who received three independent nominations through the REDCap system were then vetted by the Office of Faculty Affairs to ascertain that they spent at least 50% of their effort in clinical practice and met patient satisfaction score metrics — for those in patient-facing disciplines.
  • Faculty who met these criteria were then invited to submit a full nomination package, which included their CV and personal statement, as well as references from peers, learners, patients and families, and staff.
  • Those who submitted a complete packet were reviewed by a committee of nine senior clinical leaders from across the institution. The nominees were discussed in a Zoom meeting with the full committee to determine those who were accepted into the Academy.

“This project to recognize our colleagues is not a de novo recognition, but rather is the result of a decade-long process where the organization has really made a concerted effort to recognize our clinicians as key members of our VUMC community,” said Sternberg. “This started with the launch of the Physician Council. Dr. Graham was an inaugural member of the Council and part of the initial discussions where we talked about ways where we could provide greater recognition.”

Sternberg said that additional efforts to provide greater physician recognition include examples like the clinical practice track becoming a more robust mechanism for promotion, faculty awards now recognizing clinical excellence, and this new recognition as well.

“This is part of an institutional process where the leadership really wants our clinicians to, appropriately, feel they are equal members of the community in terms of excellence and importance,” Sternberg said.

“Part of the mission, the purpose for this recognition, is the expectation that these individuals will promote the qualities that they’re bringing to their clinical work amongst their peers, whether they are more junior or of equal experience,” said Baum.


Inaugural Members of the Academy for Clinical Excellence Include:

Rochelle Andreotti, MD, professor of Clinical Radiology and Radiological Sciences

Donald Arnold, MD, MPH, professor of Pediatrics

Garrett Booth, MD, MS, associate professor of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology

Cassandra Brady, MD, assistant professor of Clinical Pediatrics

Charlotte Brown, MD, assistant professor of Clinical Pediatrics

Thomas Davis, MD, Judith Payne Turner Professor of Neurology

Sean Donahue, MD, PhD, Sam and Darthea Coleman Professor of Pediatric Ophthalmology

Thomas Doyle, MD, Ann and Monroe Carell Jr. Family Professor of Pediatric Cardiology and professor of Pediatrics

Susan Eagle, MD, professor of Anesthesiology

Jennifer Green, MD, MPH, assistant professor of Medicine

Christopher Lind, MD, professor of Medicine

Harold “Bo” Lovvorn III, MD, professor of Pediatric Surgery

Nicole Miller, MD, professor of Urology

David Morgan, MD, associate professor of Medicine

Anne O’Duffy, MD, associate professor of Clinical Neurology

Anna Person, MD, associate professor of Medicine

Robert Piana, MD, professor of Medicine

Jonathan Schoenecker, MD, PhD, Jeffrey W. Mast Professor of Orthopaedics Trauma and Hip Surgery and associate professor of Orthopaedic Surgery

Craig Sussman, MD, associate professor of Clinical Medicine

Uyen Tran, MD, professor of Clinical Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

Liza Weavind, MBBCh, MMgt, professor of Anesthesiology

Kathleene Wooldridge, MD, assistant professor of Clinical Medicine

Aaron Yang, MD, associate professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation