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Appleseed Awards Presented To Outstanding Residents, 2020-21

Wednesday, June 23, 2021
Appleseed Awards 2020-2021

Duke Ob/Gyn is proud to announce the 2020-21 Appleseed Resident Teaching Award recipients. Three residents, Vivienne Meljen, MD (Class of 2021); Mary Katherine Montes De Oca, MD; and Elizabeth Howell, MD, were recognized for outstanding performance as educators and mentors and were selected by a democratic vote by Duke medical students “because they not only exceeded expectations of medical pedagogy, but have shown genuine passion for training the next generation of doctors…”

“"Each year since 2008, the Appleseed Award Program has recognized outstanding resident teachers on the wards. From teaching us the differential of abnormal uterine bleeding, to helping us perfect the ideal subcuticular stitch, residents play a tremendous role in medical student education. It is an honor to be here today to recognize these contributions," noted Pranalee Patel, MD Candidate, Class of 2023, Duke University School of Medicine, at the virtual presentation. "Appleseeds are awarded through a democratic voting process. Throughout the year, second year medical students nominate or vote for superb resident teachers and submit a short comment or essay to support their nomination. While so many residents are deserving of an Appleseed Award, our democratic process selects for no more than the top 10% of each residency program."

The Appleseed Resident Teaching Award was created by Duke medical students in an effort to recognize, support and reward exceptional teaching and mentoring by house staff. The awards are presented annually to no more than 10% of the total residency classes, and are designed to highlight their positive impact upon education.

Included among the praises each awardee received are the following testimonials to why they were selected:

Dr. Vivienne Meljen

“Dr. Meljen is a fantastic role model. I honestly was inspired by her to be a better advocate for my patients and also for my fellow peers in medicine. She showed a genuine interest in teaching students but also in improving aspects of the clinical environment that made the workflow of Ob/Gyn smoother for residents, interns, and students! She also showed genuine interest in getting to know things about the students she worked with, by asking real questions rather than just small talk. This made me feel seen and more welcome as a student on her team."

Dr. MK Montes De Oca 

“MK was a pleasure to work with — she was clearly excited about her field and dedicated to improving her technical and clinical skills. I admired her ability to give feedback and elicit feedback on her teaching in a comfortable and productive manner. She kept students involved, engaged, and excited about the clerkship. She is awesome."

Dr. Elizabeth Howell 

"Elizabeth was an incredible mentor and colleague. She worked so well with every nurse, midwife, and patient. She taught me how to stay calm in high-stress situations and spent any free moment teaching me how to do nearly everything from simple Epic tasks to managing complex comorbidities. I hope to be as good a doctor as she is someday!"