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Transition to Clinic 2024 Celebrates Students’ Milestone

May 6, 2024

By August Ryan

On May 1, 2024, MD program students, faculty and staff from Drexel University College of Medicine at Tower Health gathered to celebrate the class of 2026 for the annual Transition to Clinic event. The occasion highlights MD program students’ accomplishments in their first two years of medical education and their entry into clinical rotations at Tower Health – Reading Hospital.

Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg Dean and Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs Charles B. Cairns, MD, spoke during the event on the importance of clinical training.

“Clinical rotations are the cornerstone of medical education, offering invaluable hands-on experience that prepares students for the challenges of real-world patient care,” Cairns said. “Throughout the Tower Health system, our clinical partners’ commitment to our students' education and professional development ensures our graduates are not only competent but also deeply connected to the communities they serve.”

Tower Health has increased the clerkship rotations they offer to 60 medical students, ensuring that they master patient care skills and gain knowledge in a variety of specialties at Reading Hospital.

Teaching and mentoring from instructors and faculty helps medical students reach their highest potential, said Cecilia M. Smith, DO, associate dean of the West Reading Campus, and professor and interim academic chair, Department of Medicine, Drexel University College of Medicine.

“Instructors play a pivotal role in medical students’ journeys during their rotations. As mentors, they impart not only medical knowledge but also practical wisdom for navigating the complexities of patient care,” Smith said. “Our instructors’ dedication underscores Tower Health's steadfast support for our students and our medical school.”

Leon McCrea II, MD, MPH, Deborah J. Tuttle, MD and John P. Piper, MD Vice Dean for Educational Affairs, spoke about the meaning of the day’s honors.

“The recipients of our faculty, staff and student awards exemplify the depth of this collaboration and the bright future it promises for medical education,” McCrea said.

Take a look at photos from the 2024 Transition to Clinic ceremony.


Alexis Price-Moyer, president for the Class of 2025, spoke of the important role staff members play in students’ educational experience.

“Staff members play a pivotal role in creating a supportive learning environment, handling administrative tasks, and providing invaluable support,” Price-Moyer said. “Their contributions are vital to the success of our cohort.”

Carole L. Whalen received the Outstanding Student Advocate Award, which is given to a staff member who has gone above and beyond in advocating for medical students.


Instructors nominated by rising fourth-year medical students received the following awards:

Outstanding Department Award: The Department of Family Medicine at Reading Hospital won this award for excellence in patient care, medical education and professionalism.

Outstanding Educator Award - Attending: Krysta Brown, DO, an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at the College of Medicine and a Tower Health internal medicine physician, won this award for exemplary instruction in medical student education.

Outstanding Educator Award – Resident: Stephanie Michalik, DO, a PGY-4 resident in the Reading Hospital OB/GYN Residency Program, won this award for exhibiting excellence in medical student education.

Professionalism Excellence Award – Attending: Bernice L. Robinson-Bennett, MD, an assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at the College of Medicine and a Tower Health cancer gynecologist, won this award for excellence in professionalism when working with medical students, patients, and colleagues.

Professionalism Excellence Award – Resident: Three Tower Health – Reading Hospital residents won this award for excellence in professionalism when working with medical students, patients and colleagues: Nana Kwasi Appiah, MD – PGY-1, Internal Medicine Residency; Hannah Thompson, DO - PGY-3, OB/GYN Residency Program; Rachel Yoo, MD – PGY-4, General Surgery Residency Program, MD ‘21


College of Medicine faculty members selected rising third-year medical students for the following awards:

Outstanding Community Service Awards: The Office of Community Engagement selected awardees based on their leadership, commitment, community impact and trailblazing during the first two years of medical school. The honorees are:
Lana Al Doori; Madhu Badri; Stephen Chien; Sujay Deshpande; Taylor Goldberg; Tom Parker; Nikki Rimlinger; Amanda Ross; Marquis Winston

Award for Frontiers Population Health Challenge: Grading faculty and the Frontiers course director collaborated to choose honorees based on posters created for the Population Health Challenge, in which students worked in groups to review community population health data and identify a major public health problem. Students then researched population health programs and interventions geared to addressing a specific health condition and developed population health interventions to address a health challenge. The recipients are:
Chelsea Bailey; Hannah Daley; Sujay Deshpande; Dayna Johnson; Nuhu Le; Matthew Varano; Amba Vishwanathan; Marquis Winston; Emmaline Wittwer

Award for Small Group Participation and Professionalism: Students were nominated by their peers for outstanding participation and professionalism in small group work. The awardees are:
Rachael Avidor; Caitlyn Curley; Hannah Daley; Kate Lijoi; Zoey Na; Tom Parker; Ashini Patel; Amanda Ross; Amba Viswanathan; Nikki Rimlinger

Basic Science Awards: Honorees scored in the top 10 percent of their class in Phase One Basic Science courses:
Jenna Gannon; Amba Viswanathan

Tony Romano Award: Year one or two case-based learning faculty facilitators chose award-winners based on excellence in initiative and attitude, leadership in facilitating the group process, professionalism and courtesy toward other students and faculty, knowledge and the ability to know how and when to share it, and meaningful, appreciative debrief. The honoree is:
Johanna Rivas

Following the awards ceremony, attendees and students walked to Reading Hospital where they were greeted by cheers from hospital leaders, instructors and staff. They were welcomed by Sue Perrotty, president and chief executive officer, Tower Health; Charles Barbera, MD, president and chief executive officer Reading Hospital and senior vice president Tower Health; and Wei Du, MD, senior vice president, Academic Affairs, chief academic officer Tower Health and designated institutional official. Students toured the facility and learned more about their upcoming clerkship years.