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:
Chris graduated from Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (RWJMS) in the class of 2010. He will always be remembered for three reasons: first, he was the guy who people went to for help when they needed technical support - from troubleshooting networks and upgrading computer memory to manually disassembling, fixing and reassembling electronics. He even took on the job of “Quality Control and Infrastructure Director” at the Urban Health Initiative Adult HOP
student run clinic.
Secondly, Chris is fluent in Polish. He was in one of the last classes who had the chance to do clinical rotations in south Jersey at Cooper Hospital. There were many occasions during his rotations where Chris would spend extra time at the hospital to help translate for Polish patients. On one occasion Chris spoke with doctors in Warsaw and helped make arrangements to have his patient flown back home to Poland to be with his family.
The third reason Chris will be remembered during medical school has to do with his competitive nature. He won a nutrition competition for giving the “best presentation,” he placed in the top 3 for fundraising during a week long telethon for the alumni association, and he won the annual “Ping-Pong Championship” two years in a row.
Chris is an Emergency Medicine (EM) resident at Rutgers – RWJMS. EM is the perfect profession for Chris since it allows him to work with patients across the spectrum of medicine. He uses his problem solving skills to help diagnose patients on a daily basis. Chris decided to extend his EM training for an additional year to pursue an Emergency Ultrasound Fellowship under the mentorship of Rajesh Geria, MD at Rutgers – RWJMS. It is the perfect specialty for Chris. He is responsible for troubleshooting the ultrasound equipment, teaching residents and medical students, and advancing the field of emergency ultrasound through academic research. The fellowship has also provided Chris the freedom to work with medical students at his alma mater where he helped set up an Ultrasound interest group.
When I asked Chris what his motivation was to build a career in medicine, he told me about his childhood. Chris was born in Warsaw, Poland in the 1980?s. He remembers growing up at a time when many families, including his own, had to stand in line for a portioned amounts of meat and dairy products. Common items we take for granted, such as toothpaste, were difficult, if not impossible, to buy. The level of healthcare in Poland never quite made it up to par in the aftermath of World War II. During elementary school he spent time at his grandparents’ apartment helping his grandfather change various dressings on his great grandmother. Sadly, she required such care due to several medical problems she sustained while spending years in a concentration camp in Siberia. This exposure to medicine at such a young age left a lasting impact on him and was his greatest motivation to enter medicine. Shortly after his eighth birthday Chris and his mother vacationed to the United States to visit an aunt. They were so impressed with the conditions that they decided to stay permanently and were followed by his father a few years later.
During his four years in medical school earning his MD, Chris had to sacrifice life outside the hospital. There were many times when he missed family gatherings, graduation parties, and various other celebrations because of the demanding schedule of exams and obligations during clinical rotations. Beyond that, Chris donated a large portion of his free time to the Adult HOP clinic where he helped provide free medical care for the uninsured patients in the city of Camden.
Vote for Christopher here.
If you know a resident that deserves to be recognized, please nominate your candidate here.