Innovation in Surgery Research Fund names inaugural recipients at annual Teaching Awards program

The first recipients of the Zwischenberger-Rounsavall Fund for Innovation in Surgical Research and Education were announced during the annual presentation of the Department of Surgery Teaching Awards on Wednesday morning, June 10. Dr. William B. Inabnet III, Department Chair, and Dr. Jay Zwischenberger, former department chair and the fund’s sponsor, were co-presenters of the fund’s inaugural year.

Samuel C. Tyagi, MD, a Vascular Surgery faculty member and researcher, was the primary recipient of the fund in support of his original research. However, the review committee also elected to name a secondary fund recipient, Dr. Bud Sauer, a fifth year Plastic Surgery resident.

The Zwisch-Rounsavall Fund, established by Jay and Sheila Zwischenberger, G. Hunt, and Cynthia Rounsavall, is intended to foster a culture of original thinking in surgical research and surgery education. Open to all UK faculty and eligible residents at the University of Kentucky, the fund provides initial support for “innovative research projects that feature novel approaches to surgical techniques or medical instrument development.” Proposals were reviewed and selected by a committee of Surgery professors.

Dr. Bud Sauer

Being the inaugural year of awarding the fund, former Department of Surgery chair Dr. Jay Zwischenberger made the initial presentation to Dr. Tyagi. Dr. Tyagi’s proposal, “Ketamine to Improve Pain Control Following Complex Aortic Surgery Repair,” examines the feasibility of ketamine as an alternative to opioids for pain control in the post-operative patient.

Dr. Inabnet followed with the announcement that Dr. Sauer’s research proposal would also receive support through this fund. Dr. Sauer’s proposal involved the design of a suturing skills curriculum for medical students. The innovation is in developing “a standardized video assessment and instruction model with trainee feedback.” Video assessment provides a low stress environment for suture instruction that might possibly lead to increased student interest in surgery as a specialty, Dr. Sauer said. 

It was originally decided that the fund would be awarded to one recipient in 2020, but after proposals were reviewed, the committee recommended that some support be channeled to Dr. Sauer to reward his original thinking, Dr. Inabnet said.

As the fund continues to grow, the vision is for this fund to provide support to an increasing number of original ideas in surgery research, Dr Inabnet continued.

In addition to the Zwisch-Rounsavall Award presentation, Cortney Lee, MD, Department of Surgery Clerkship Director, and Dr. Inabnet also presented the annual teaching awards for 2020.


Faculty Teaching Awards for 2020 -

Faculty receiving 2020 Teaching Awards for excellence in resident and medical student education are the following: Meera Gupta (Transplant), Daniel Stewart (Plastic Surgery), Zachary Warriner (Trauma/Critical Care Surgery), Erin Burke (Surgical Oncology), Cortney Lee (Endocrine Surgery), Greg Charak (Colon and Rectal Surgery), Joseph Bobadilla (Vascular and Endovascular Surgery), Melissa Newcomb (Gastrointestinal & Minimally Invasive Surgery), Jessica Reynolds (Trauma/Critical Care Surgery), and Sam Tyagi (Vascular Surgery.)

Emily Marcinkowski, MD, a Surgical Oncology faculty member and the Surgery Advanced Development Director for medical students, was presented the 2020 Ward O. Griffen Award for excellence in medical student education.

Prakash Pandalai, MD, assistant professor of Surgical Oncology, was presented the Ben Eiseman Award for excellence in resident education. He earned this award during his first year as a member of the UK medical faculty.


Surgery Resident Teaching Awards for 2020

The following surgery residents are recipients of the 2020 Medical Student Education Awards: John Hahn (PG 5), Wesley Wilt, (PG 1), Heath Brashear, (PG 4), Erika Almodovar, (PG 2), Brittany Levy (PG 1), Callie Dowdy (PG 5), Sam Walling (PG 3), Christopher Howell (PG 3, Plastic Surgery), Heather Sinner, (PG 4), Satya Dalavayi, (PG 1), Travis Hughes, (PG 3), and Mansi Shah (Cardiothoracic Fellow).

Brittany Levy - Bobbie Powell Award as Outstanding Surgical Intern

Brittany Levy, MD, a categorical General Surgery intern finishing her first year of residency, was awarded the Bobbie C. Powell Award, which is given each year to the most outstanding surgical intern. Drs. Shyanie Kumar and Danielle Kay presented the award to Dr. Levy.

Congratulations to all the honorees at the 2020 Teaching Awards program.