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Family Medicine and Community Health faculty recognized

Shields and Silk win Chair’s Awards of Excellence

January 25, 2012

Since being a family practice doctor is a more-than-full time job, and teaching family medicine is yet another one, those dedicated individuals who go above and beyond while doing both often earn respect and admiration from their colleagues. Two such physician-educators, Sara Shields, MD, and Hugh Silk, MD, both clinical associate professors of medicine, were formally recognized for exceptional achievement with the 2011 Chair’s Awards for Excellence.

The annual awards recognize extraordinary accomplishments by department faculty who have enhanced their specialty, community and school with contributions including new and innovative training and fellowship programs, research initiatives and clinical innovations. The awards were instituted at UMass Medical School several years ago by Daniel Lasser, MD, chair and professor of family medicine & community health.

“In 2011, we expanded the selection process for these awards, with nominations coming from the department’s leadership team,” Dr. Lasser said. “To Sara and Hugh, we thank you for your extraordinary contributions!”

Dr. Shields was cited for providing dedicated leadership over many years to maternity services at the Family Health Center of Worcester (FHCW), a UMMS family medicine residency site, including development of the Centering Pregnancy Model, which provides interdisciplinary group visits for pregnant women and infants; as co-author (with colleague Lucy Candib, MD, professor of family medicine & community health) of Woman-Centered Maternity Care in Pregnancy and Childbirth, a textbook based on the patient-centered model of care as applied to maternity care; for her commitment over many years to training in Advanced Life Support in Obstetrics (ALSO), a collaboration with the family medicine residency programs at Boston University, Brown University and the University of Connecticut; and for her participation in the Worcester Area Infant Mortality Task Force, which she now co-chairs.

“I'm honored to receive this and am grateful to Dr. Lasser and the department for this award. The residency's commitment to maternity education has allowed the ALSO program to flourish for learners and teachers alike. I'd like to acknowledge the perinatal team at FHCW, including nurses, nurse practitioners, midwives, advocates, medical assistants and medical records clerks, without whom we could not do what we do for this needy population,” said Shields. “I look forward to continuing this work and encouraging us all to find ways to improve our processes and outcomes, so that every baby, every mother and every family in Worcester is as healthy as possible.”

Dr. Silk, the family medicine residency training director at the Hahnemann Family Health Center, was cited for his advancement of oral health education across the country, highlighted by his work as a co-developer of the “Smiles for Life—A National Oral Health Curriculum for Family Medicine Project,” which was awarded the Most Innovative Curriculum Award from the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine in 2007; for his teaching of and advocacy for oral health across the Medical School curricula, including a community health clerkship for first-year students, clinical correlations for second-year students and a required oral health interclerkship for third-year students; for his creation of the Thursday Morning Memo, a weekly reflective essay submitted by family physicians, residents and students speaking to the true commitment and sometime struggle of primary care physicians; and for providing valuable interprofessional opportunities for dental and medical residents.

“I have been very fortunate to have the support of the department, my fellow faculty and staff at Hahnemann Family Health Center, and great colleagues across the state and country who have helped me to work on meaningful projects,” Silk said. “My mom was a public health nurse who was always forward looking in her approach to health and I have tried to follow in her footsteps with projects that I hope will make our work more meaningful, and patient health, including oral health, better day by day. It is nice to be recognized for creative approaches to difficult, complex problems.” 

Related links:
Family Health Center of Worcester Faculty—Sara G. Shields, MD, MS
Hahnemann Family Health Center Faculty—Hugh Silk, MD
UMMS faculty and students honored by Worcester District Medical Society
Personal stories capture medicine’s highs and lows
Medicine from the heart . . . Sara Shields
Medicine from the heart . . . Hugh Silk
Medicine from the heart . . . Hugh Silk: Pursuing a better balance
Medicine from the heart . . . Hugh Silk: Bagels and Donuts