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UMMC faculty, programs in national spotlight

Published on Monday, October 9, 2023

By: Patrice Guilfoyle, pguilfoyle@umc.edu

Medical Center faculty and staff often are recognized regionally, nationally and internationally for their academic or medical achievements. These accolades place UMMC among health science centers worldwide.

Manucha receives 2023 CAP Distinguished Patient Care Award

Varsha Manucha

The College of American Pathologists recognized Dr. Varsha Manucha, division director of cytopathology and section chief of head and neck pathology and urologic pathology, with the 2023 CAP Distinguished Patient Care Award for her unparalleled and ongoing commitment to pathology and the CAP.

Established in 2006, the CAP Distinguished Patient Care Award recognizes and honors a member who has made an outstanding contribution to patient care. It recognizes behavior that, when emulated, enhances the practice of pathology. In addition, this award reflects the mission, vision, and values of the CAP.

Since 2018, Manucha has been at the forefront and now leads the CAP Foundation’s See, Test & Treat® program at UMMC, benefiting hundreds of women in the area. The program has grown and last year included biannual free cancer screening and health education to medically underserved communities. In addition to her Distinguished Patient Care Award, Manucha is also being honored with the CAP Foundation’s 2023 Gene and Jean Herbek Humanitarian Award for her work with the UMMC See, Test & Treat program.

Inspired by her See, Test & Treat experiences, Manucha also has established a cervical cancer screening program in a peripheral clinic serving disadvantaged women in India. Manucha is an active member of the CAP’s Cytopathology Committee and volunteers for the American Society for Clinical Pathology’s Partners for Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment in Africa program.

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AMWA honors Willis for achievement in medicine

Dr. Alissa Willis

Dr. Alissa Willis, associate professor and chair of neurology at UMMC, has been named a winner of a 2023 INSPIRE Award from the American Medical Women's Association.

Presented annually, the awards honor women in medicine who stand for “the highest values in vision, integrity, service and collaboration in medicine and health care,” as stated by the AMWA.

Willis is one of this year’s 66 honorees. They work in private practice, in academia or as hospitalists and represent such institutions as the Stanford School of Medicine, Emory University, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Dartmouth Cancer Center, and Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School.

“The AMWA INSPIRE Award celebrates women who exemplify vision, integrity, service and collaboration in medicine,” Willis said. “I am honored to be recognized in the company of 65 outstanding women physicians in the U.S.

“This award also provides the opportunity for women UMMC neurology residents and fellows to enter a leadership certificate program. I am most excited about seeing their transformation and accomplishments.”

Willis, a 2007 graduate of the UMMC School of Medicine, completed her internship and residency in neurology at UMMC and a fellowship in clinical neuroimmunology at the Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis, Cleveland Clinic, where she served as medical director.

The Jackson native was appointed chair of the UMMC Department of Neurology in 2019.

The AMWA Leadership Council introduced the INSPIRE Awards in 2021. Recipients are nominated by colleagues, mentees, supervisors, students or collaborators.

“They are lauded for their leadership and mentorship in practice, for impressive research and academic accomplishments, and for their impact in supporting and advancing the culture and community of women in medicine,” said Dr. Nicole Sandhu, past president of AMWA, in a statement.

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Medical Center joins national well-being effort

National Academy of Medicine Action Collaborative on Clinician Well-Being & Resilience.UMMC has signed on as a member of the inaugural cohort of the Change Maker campaign, part of an effort to further recognize worker well-being in health care.

The campaign is led by the National Academy of Medicine Action Collaborative on Clinician Well-Being & Resilience, co-chaired by Dr. Darrell Kirch, president emeritus of the American Association of Medical Colleges and featured speaker for the Vice Chancellor Lecture Series in August.

NAM’s Clinician Well-Being Collaborative is a network of expert volunteers and leaders committed to reversing trends in health worker burnout.

The Medical Center’s involvement builds on a growing commitment to employee well-being since 2014, when the Employee Wellness Committee was created. The Office of Well-Being itself opened in 2018.