Spotlight on 2018 ASE Education Award Winners

Clerkship Coordinator Recognition Award

Cate Unruh, MEd

Cate grew up in far Northwest Chicagoland but has called Iowa home for the past 18 years. She has a Bachelor’s of Arts in English and Religious Studies from the University of Iowa and a Master of Education from Kaplan University. She has been the Medical Student Administrator for the Department of Surgery at the University Of Iowa Carver College Of Medicine since 2010.  She is currently the Chair of the Committee on Coordinators in Surgical Education for the Association for Surgical Education. She was in the 2017 inaugural class of coordinators who received the Academic Program Administrators Certification in Surgery.  Her professional interests include increasing the use of technology in the clerkships and professional development for coordinators.  When not working she’s traveling, baking, crocheting, reading, hiking and keeping up with her precocious 6 year old, Lola.

Outstanding Resident Teacher Award

Kelly Haisley, MD

Kelly Haisley grew up in the mountain community of Sun Valley, Idaho. Her mother was an emergency room doctor and her father a teacher and eventually principal of the local elementary school. She was active in sports including competitive snowboarding, soccer, basketball, hockey and softball.

After high school, Kelly traveled across the country to Chapel Hill, NC where she attended the University of North Carolina. During her time in college, she raced for the UNC snowboard team, winning the ACC championship in boarder-cross her senior year. She also spent 6 months living in Madrid, Spain studying language and art. She graduated in 2007 with a major in biology with honors, a major in Spanish with commendation, and a minor in chemistry.

Kelly returned to her hometown after graduation where she spent a year working as an EMT/firefighter, Spanish medical interpreter, and ski/snowboard instructor before matriculating in medical school at the University of Washington. There, she excelled as a member of the Hispanic health pathway, earning high marks throughout her training and being elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society.

Having found a love for surgery, Dr. Haisley then began her residency at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, Oregon. She received the department of surgery award for Outstanding Intern in her first year. She served for 1 year on the department of Surgery’s education committee and has licensed new technology for providing procedural feedback for surgical residents. She has gone on to develop a productive research career with multiple peer reviewed publications and chapters in prestigious journals and books. She has traveled to Haiti to perform volunteer surgical work and is a regular presence in the OHSU simulation center where she assists with teaching of junior residents and high school visitors interested in learning more about laparoscopic surgery.

Dr. Haisley will be completing her fellowship in minimally invasive surgery at Providence Medical Center in Portland, OR and hopes to continue a career in academic surgery thereafter.

When not working, Kelly enjoys spending time with her fiancé Jason and dog, a yellow Labrador named Hurley. They love to travel, boat, hike and ski.

Cheyenne Sonntag, MD, MS

Dr. Cheyenne “Cassie” Sonntag obtained her Bachelors of Science from the University of California Santa Barbara, a Master of Science in Global Medicine from University of Southern California, and her Doctorate of Medicine from the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. Cassie’s passion for medical education is inspired by her late grandparents.  Her Granddad was a microanatomy professor, who bought Cassie her first toy microscope and told bedtime stories which all seemed to prominently feature the scientific method.  Her Grandma was a professor of special education and her passion for teaching and pension for sharing pedagogy was contagious.  As a general surgery resident at Penn State Hershey Medical Center in her academic development years, Cassie has merged these inspirations and has pursued research and projects that focus on surgical and medical education and simulation. She has engaged in educational programming through Harvard Macy Institute Program for Postgraduate Trainees, ACS Residents as Teachers and Leaders, the Stanford Faculty Development Course in Clinical Teaching, and through the medical education “Hippocrates” track offered by Penn State GME. She has participated in curriculum and course design for both undergraduate and graduate medical education at Penn State, in addition to leading lectures and workshops. Cassie earned an instructor certificate in Teaching with Simulation at the Penn State Center for Clinical Simulation, and in collaboration with the center has traveled as an invited instructor to course offerings in Chile and Costa Rica. Her current research projects include a SAGES funded validation study for FES training modules on a VR simulator, work with a dynamic haptic robot trainer for central lines, and next week she will be traveling to Ghana as part of a global surgery exchange where she will perform an educational needs assessment at Eastern Regional Hospital to guide development of simulation-based educational programing.

Jennifer Yu, MD

Dr. Jennifer Yu is a resident physician in general surgery at Washington University School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis.  She graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in 2008 with a dual degree in biomedical engineering and chemical engineering and matriculated to Washington University School of Medicine, receiving her medical degree in 2012.  As part of her residency training, she participated in a research fellowship in surgical oncology and completed a master’s degree in Population Health Sciences in 2015.

Linnea Hauge, PhD Promising Education Scholar Award

John Falcone, PhD

John Falcone is a western NY native that did his surgical training at The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. He is currently a general and vascular surgeon in Owensboro, KY, and is charge of a rural surgery residency rotation for the University of Louisville. He and his wife Trasey have three beautiful children. John has been a SERFer, a SERF mentor, and SERF faculty member, and is the rising Chair of the Education Research Committee.

Excellence in Innovation in Surgical Education Award

Dimitrios Stefanidis, MD, PhD

Dimitrios Stefanidis, MD, PhD, FACS, FASMBS is a Professor of Surgery at Indiana University School of Medicine and serves as the Vice Chair of Education for the Department of Surgery and Chief of Minimally Invasive and Bariatric Surgery. Dr. Stefanidis received his medical school degree from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece, and did his doctoral work at the University of Bonn in Germany. He completed his general surgery residency at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in San Antonio, a surgical simulation research fellowship at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, LA, and his minimally invasive bariatric surgery fellowship at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, NC. Dr. Stefanidis joined IU after 10 years at Carolinas Healthcare System in Charlotte, North Carolina where he had helped establish Carolinas Simulation Center, a dually accredited education institute by the ACS and SSH. He served as the center’s first medical director and later surgical and research director.

Dr. Stefanidis serves as a board member of the Association for Surgical Education (ASE) and the ASE recorder of the American Journal of Surgery and has been the chair of the ASE program, simulation, and development committees. He also serves as a board member of the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES) and chair of the SAGES Guidelines Committee and co-chair of the Research and Development Committee of the American College of Surgeons Accredited Education Institutes and an associate editor for the Journal of Simulation in Healthcare

Dr. Stefanidis has served as principle or co-investigator on research projects totaling over 2 million dollars, has more than 140 peer reviewed publications, written several book chapters, and has won numerous competitive grants and research awards. His research focuses on surgical education, simulation, surgical outcomes and patient safety. He has mentored numerous surgical fellows, residents, and medical students over the years and has helped them grow as clinicians and researchers. For his work he received the educator of the year award by the Charlotte Business Journal in 2012 and a presidential citation for his contributions to simulation by the Society for Simulation in Healthcare in 2016.

Phillip J. Wolfson Outstanding Educator Award

Kevin Y. Pei, MD

Kevin Pei grew up in a Washington DC suburb and completed residency at George Washington University in Washington DC and critical care fellowship at University of Hawaii.  While in Hawaii, one of his mentors was President elect Susan Steinemann who encouraged him to pursue education.  He is currently faculty at Yale School of Medicine and completed a medical education fellowship under the tutelage of Dr.  Janet Hafler, Dean of Education.   He is currently pursuing a Masters in Education at Yale and is working on bullying and professionalism at the workplace among faculty surgeons.  Leaders of this organization such as Amalia Cochran, Adnan Alseidi, and Pamela Rowland have been instrumental mentors in his development as an educator.

Distinguished Master Educator Award

Paul J. Schenarts, MD 

A native of Connecticut, he graduated Summa Cum Laude from Fordham University and received his medical degree from the University of Connecticut, where he also completed a post-sophomore fellowship anatomic pathology.  He was also elected into medical honor society, Alpha Omega Alpha. Dr. Schenarts completed his general surgery residency at Maine Medical Center, during which he also completed a two-year NIH trauma research fellowship in the Investigational Intensive Care Unit at the University of Texas Medical Branch.  After residency, he completed trauma & surgical critical care fellowship at Vanderbilt University, after which he served as co-medical director of Vanderbilt Life Flight.  He was then recruited to East Carolina University, School of Medicine, where he spent the next 12 years.  While at East Carolina, Dr. Schenarts served as Director of the General Surgery Residency, Assistant Dean for Clinical Academic Affairs and Director of the Surgery Clerkship.

Dr. Schenarts is a nationally known surgical educator and has won numerous teaching awards including the University Board of Governors Award as one of the best teachers within the entire UNC system of 17 colleges and universities. He was also the recipient of the Master Educator Award, the Jones Award for Excellence in Teaching, The Best Clinical Educator Award and received the National Outstanding Teacher Award from the Association for Surgical Education.  Similarly his research interests are focused on surgical education and leadership.

In addition to his academic and clinical pursuits, Dr. Schenarts was Colonel in the US Army Medical Corp and has served four deployments in Afghanistan and two in Iraq.  He has served as commander of Forward Surgical Teams and Chief of Surgery at Combat Support Hospitals. He has also been awarded the Bronze Star and the Meritorious Service Medals for his actions in Afghanistan.

In July 2012, he assumed the role of Chief of Trauma, Surgical Critical Care, & Emergency Surgery at the University of Nebraska, College of Medicine. He also serves as the Physician Medical Director for the City of Omaha Fire Department.