2019 Class Day Awards

Faculty and staff recognized by graduates for passion, care

the group of HMS awardees

HMS graduates recognized faculty and staff for touching their lives and supporting their educations at the Class Day ceremony on May 30.

Excellence in Preclinical Instruction Award

Anand Vaidya, HMS assistant professor of medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Dr. Vaidya is an endocrinologist at Brigham and Women’s where he serves as director in the Center for Adrenal Disorders. To first-year HMS students, he is a beloved teacher in Homeostasis II who was able to present complex clinical concepts in systematic, accessible ways. Most importantly, he was attuned to students’ needs outside of the classroom. During the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting, he thoughtfully reflected on the tragedy with his class, inviting people into a safe conversation rather than retreating. He is emblematic of the educator who will impact future generations of American physicians.

Excellence in Clinical Instruction Award

Faculty: Yamini Saravanan, HMS instructor in medicine at Cambridge Health Alliance

As a primary care doctor at Cambridge Health Alliance and the medicine clerkship director of the Cambridge Integrated Clerkship, Dr. Saravanan goes above and beyond as a teacher and mentor to students, providing students with autonomy in a safe, supported environment that values them as human beings with lives outside of medicine. She has the rare gift of being a teacher open to learning from her students’ experiences. Dr. Saravanan has become committed to improving primary care access to treatment for addiction as a result of conversations with students and driven by her desire to best meet patients’ needs.

Resident: Joshua Jolissaint, HMS clinical fellow in surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Dr. Jolissaint is a post-graduate-year-three general surgery resident at Brigham and Women’s whose clinical instruction represents the highest quality of surgical education available at HMS. Simply put, he is one of the best residents, mentors and overall people in the entire Harvard hospital network educating and supporting medical students.

Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award

Jennifer E. Potter, HMS professor of medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Dr. Potter exemplifies selfless commitment to serving others through her leadership positions as advisory dean of Castle Society, founding director of the Women’s Health Center at Beth Israel Deaconess and co-chair of the Fenway Institute, where her research focuses on reducing health disparities of LGBTQ populations. Despite her many responsibilities, students have praised her outstanding individualized mentorship and guidance through both professional and personal challenges. For her special ability to make each mentee her top priority, we are honored to celebrate her at our graduation.

Daniel Kamin, HMS assistant professor of pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital

Kamin is an attending physician in the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at Boston Children’s. At HMS, he stepped into two unprecedented roles as a Homeostasis II GI curriculum developer and instructor for the newly developed Pathways curriculum; in addition to taking us Pathways guinea pigs on as a new Cannon Society advisor, it has been difficult to miss Dr. Kamin’s passion for teaching and mentoring. He has an amazing sense of humor and makes a habit of going above and beyond to make students feel welcome, feel heard and feel confident that someone has our back through thick and thin.

Bernard Chang, HMS associate professor of neurology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Dr.  Chang serves as the advisory dean and director of Peabody Society as well as the director of the first-year Mind, Brain and Behavior course. Dr. Chang has exemplified everything it means to be a mentor: he is selfless with his time, generous with his wisdom, supportive with his advocacy and empathic with his care. Both for his official and unofficial advisees, he quickly became a trusted guide through all major milestones of medical school. He has touched the lives of so many in this graduating class and exemplified how to be a mentor that exudes passion, thoughtfulness and care.

Sara Selig, HMS instructor in medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital

As the associate director for the Community Outreach and Patient Empowerment Program in partnership with Navajo Nation for Partners In Health and a faculty affiliate at the HMS Center for Primary Care, Dr. Selig serves as a treasured source of inspiration for students interested in health equity and primary care. From large projects like helping to organize an educational trip to Navajo Nation to learn about the work of community health workers to smaller efforts mentoring individual students interested in primary care and advocacy, Dr. Selig pushes her students to think deeply about justice in health care and how students might use their skills and talents in service to vulnerable and underserved patients. 

Daniel Ricotta, HMS assistant professor of medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

As co-director of the Principal Clinical Experience at Beth Israel Deaconess, Dr. Ricotta has played an invaluable role in the formative years of students’ clinical training. Throughout this time, he served as an advisor to PCE students and as a preceptor to first-year students supervising their first work taking histories and giving physicals. Students routinely distinguish Dr. Ricotta for his unparalleled commitment and reliability, always carving out time from his busy schedule to provide guidance and support. He sets the standard for bringing selflessness and joy to mentoring and has been a role model to so many in this graduating class.

Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award

Brent Shoji, HMS assistant professor of surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Dr. Shoji is an extraordinarily talented general surgeon at Brigham and Women’s who embodies humanism in medicine, who constantly places patients as his priority, delivers outstanding and empathetic medical and surgical care, and builds an environment of trust, rapport and respect with patients from a variety of backgrounds, cultural beliefs, socioeconomic statuses, and medical and psychiatric conditions. From the clinic to the operating room and beyond, he treats all patients with dignity and kindness, gives each patient his undivided attention no matter how busy his schedule may be, individualizes care plans to best address each patient’s needs and priorities, and goes above and beyond to support his patients no matter the hour, day of the week or holiday. Dr. Shoji is also an excellent leader, teacher and team player, collaborating well with all health care professionals in every specialty. He is incredibly humble, leading through example to inspire all peers, residents and students to strive to be their personal best and emulate his compassion, humanism and commitment to providing outstanding patient care.

Staff Student Life Award

Franceny Johnson, customer service attendant

Franceny Johnson is a shining example of going above and beyond for students on a daily basis. She is celebrated and praised for her unmatched ability to know and remember each and every student at the medical school and for always demonstrating genuine interest and empathy for the well-being of students. She brings joy to all those who cross her path. Most of all, she provides the precious gift of always being seen and heard. As we prepare to embark on seeing patients for who they are, Franceny will always be an example we can proudly learn from.