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Highlighting the Heroes: a University of Michigan Graduate is up for a $25K Award

Our H.E.R.O. Award -Honoring Excellent Resident Observations – was launched to highlight the personal sacrifices and educational commitment during a medical resident’s professional adult life.  We realize, considering the fast moving changes in healthcare,  how courageous medical residents are to embark upon a career in medicine with such an uncertain future.  This award is our way of recognizing that courage.

We wanted to take a moment to introduce you to our nominees individually:

H.E.R.O. AwardKatherine Gast,MD MS

Plastic Surgery, Univeristy of Michigan, Ann Arbor MI – Ann Arbor, MI
Katherine (Katy) Gast is a graduate of the University of Michigan Medical School. During this time, Dr. Gast was able to obtain a Masters of Science in Clinical Research from the University of Michigan School of Public Health. In addition to a full schedule of coursework, she dedicated more than 1,000 hours of volunteer work at a women’s health clinic dedicated to an under-served patient population. She ultimately decided to specialize in reconstructive plastic surgery secondary to her interest in breast reconstruction after mastectomy. Dr. Gast stayed on as a house officer in Plastic Surgery at the University of Michigan and is expected to finish the program in 2016. The University of Michigan Plastic Surgery residency program is dedicated to training future leaders in both patient care and research. When looking at various residency programs, Dr. Gast wanted to not only become skilled in the operating room, also to focus on the entire patient care experience to ensure that her patients will receive the highest level of care. With Michigan’s strong institutional emphasis on continuous quality improvement the University of Michigan Plastic Surgery residency program is “the right fit” for her. Since matriculating at the program she has not only become a technically strong surgeon but also become an advocate for patients and their families and a champion of quality improvement within the residency and the institution as a whole. Spending long days and nights at the hospital are difficult for every resident, but this difficulty is magnified when time at work means time away from a new baby. Dr. Gast and her husband welcomed a baby girl during her residency. She had to return to work shortly after the baby was born. Due to her clinical responsibilities, frequently there are days when she does not see her child, leaving before she wakes up in the morning and returning home after the baby is asleep. Sacrificing limited time with her family, she has demonstrated an impressive depth of academic productivity as a resident. Dr. Gast has presented her research on the need for systems of care for transgender patients internationally. She has also performed scholarly work to elicit which factors predict an academic career after plastic surgery residency; the results have received attention at the Plastic Surgery Research Council and American Association of Plastic Surgeons national meetings. Vote for Katherine here. If you know a resident that deserves to be recognized, please nominate your candidate here.