From the Society

Presenting the 2020 SHM Award of Excellence winners


Excellence in Teaching

Kathleen M. Finn, MD, M.Phil, SFHM, is the senior associate program director for resident and faculty development in the Massachusetts General Hospital internal medicine residency program at Harvard Medical School, both in Boston, where she also is an assistant professor of medicine. She has excelled at teaching at all levels and in all kinds of settings, from clinical teaching on inpatient rounds, educating faculty through workshops to serving as course director for Hospital Medicine 2018 in Orlando. She constantly strives to think creatively and to teach in new ways and considers her career to be a synergy of all three domains in medical education: clinical teaching, leadership, and research.

Dr. Kathleen M. Finn is the senior associate program director for the resident and faculty development in the Massachusetts General Hospital Internal Medicine residency program at Harvard Medical School, Boston

Dr. Kathleen M. Finn

Her interest in improving the art of inpatient teaching has also taken Dr. Finn into the medical education research space, where she has conducted and published several significant studies.

She was the codirector of the Boston chapter of SHM for 18 years and is well known for her dedication to SHM’s annual conference. She gained a reputation on the Annual Conference Committee for coming up with creative topics, including the Great Debate series.

Dr. Finn has previously served on the editorial board for the Journal of Hospital Medicine, where she continues to be a reviewer. She is a senior fellow in hospital medicine.

Excellence in Teaching

Juan Nicolás Lessing, MD, is an assistant professor of medicine within the division of hospital medicine at the Medical School at the University of Colorado at Denver, Aurora. He has dedicated himself to the teaching and study of clinical reasoning processes and has cocreated a resident clinical reasoning curriculum, which has been expended to all residency classes.

Dr. Lessing’s dedication to mentorship has been extraordinary. In fewer than 5 years, he has mentored more than 50 learners, resulting in 54 competitive abstracts, posters, and presentations. He has led more than 24 workshops and consistently sponsors junior colleagues to join him. In summary, he teaches learners how to learn rather than what to learn. Additionally, Dr. Lessing created and facilitated several impactful department-wide sessions on how we can learn from our mistakes to openly discuss missed diagnoses. He served as a co-PI on the LOOP study, a multicenter endeavor to provide real-time feedback to admitting residents on a patient’s clinical course, which was published in the Journal of Hospital Medicine.

Dr. Lessing has been actively involved with SHM since medical school, is a graduate of SHM’s Academic Hospitalist Academy, and serves on the executive board for the Rocky Mountain chapter of SHM.

Clinical Leadership for NPs/PAs

Ilaria Gadalla, DMSc, PA-C, is a hospitalist at Treasure Coast Hospitalists in Port St. Lucia, Fla., and also serves as the physician assistant department chair/program director at South University, where she supervises more than 40 PAs, medical directors, and administrative staff.

Ilaria Gadalla is a hospitalist at Treasure Coast Hospitalists in Port St. Lucia, Fla., and also serves as the physician assistant department chair/program director at South University

Ilaria Gadalla

She continuously drives innovative projects for NPs and PAs to demonstrate excellence in collaboration by working closely with C-suite administration to expand QI (quality improvement) and education efforts. A prime example is the optimal communication system that she developed within her first week as a hospitalist in the Port St. Lucie area. Nursing, ED, and pharmacy staff had difficulty contacting hospitalists since the EMR would not reflect the assigned hospitalist, so she developed a simple contact sheet that included the hospitalist team each day. This method is still in use today.

Ms. Gadalla is the chair of SHM’s NP/PA special interest group who was integral in drafting the recent white paper on NP/PA integration and optimization.

Excellence in Humanitarian Services

Khaalisha Ajala, MD, MBA, is a hospitalist and associate site director for education at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. She cares for patients of diverse backgrounds directly and also has a deep-seeded passion for public health and patient education, always demonstrating how to bring this passion to trainee education.

Using her knowledge as an MBA, Dr. Ajala has designed, developed, and now maintains her own nonprofit agency, Heart Beats & Hip-Hop. Through this organization, she has hosted public health fairs to conduct health screenings in less-traditional local settings, where community members who may not have access to care can gain exposure to a health care provider.

More broadly, in the last year, she has made two journeys – one to Thailand and another to Ethiopia – to work with Emory trainees in educational and clinical efforts to help them engage the global community in health improvement. In Thailand, she taught students how to care for patients at risk for trafficking and sexual exploitation. While in Ethiopia, she served as an educator and clinical preceptor to Emory residents in the global health pathway, teaching them to care for high-risk patients at a local hospital.

With her active and unrelenting humanitarian efforts in mind, she was also chosen as a member of the executive council for SHM’s Care for Vulnerable Populations special interest group.

Diversity Leadership

Kimberly D. Manning, MD, FACP, FAAP, is a professor of medicine and the associate vice chair of diversity, equity and inclusion at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, where she also is a hospitalist at Grady Memorial Hospital. She demonstrates a strong passion for building and strengthening diverse clinical learning environments. This inspired her to promote cultural competency via lectures, curriculum development, and more.

Dr. Kimberly Manning is a professor of medicine and the associate vice chair of diversity, equity and inclusion at the Emory University, Atlanta

Dr. Kimberly Manning

Dr. Manning has designed a new educational modality – Bite-Sized Teaching (abbreviated “BST” and read as “BEAST”-Mode Teaching). This engages trainees as the teachers of their peers. As part of those sessions, Dr. Manning intentionally encourages and engages trainees from all backgrounds, including women, minorities, and trainees with varied ethnic and cultural perspectives.

Her leadership on the Emory Task Force on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion led her to be named the department of medicine’s first associate vice chair of diversity, equity and inclusion. Due in large part to her engagement, the medical school just admitted its largest class of underrepresented minorities, nearly doubling numbers from prior years.

She has received the 2018 AGCME Parker J. Palmer Courage to Teach Award and the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award by the Association of Black Women Physicians.


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