Three physicians will receive VA’s highest award for excellence in health professions education, the David M. Worthen Award, on July 27.

Andrew Grock, MD, staff emergency medicine physician at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, will receive the Rising Star Award. The Innovator Award will be presented to Dr. Jessica Feinleib, staff anesthesiologist at VA Connecticut Healthcare System. And The Career Achievement Award will be presented to Dr. Ismene Petrakis, chief of mental health services at VA Connecticut Healthcare System and professor of psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine.

VA’s Chief Academic Affiliations Officer Dr. Paul Greenberg says the three are each devoted to training the next generation of health professionals to care for Veterans. “These doctors are educators who are creating new and better ways to teach the next generation of health care providers utilizing the latest technologies and evidence-based treatments to improve the quality and safety of care for patients in VA and across the country,” Greenberg said.

Andrew Grock

Dr. Andrew Grock

“We make decisions that affect people’s lives.”

The Rising Star Award to Dr. Grock is for developing national resiliency curricula to reduce emergency medicine physician and residency burnout, which has been associated with increased medical errors.

“We make really big decisions that are going to affect people’s live,” Dr. Grock said. “Doctors who take care of themselves provide safer care. That’s the main reason to take care of yourself – for the good of your patients.”

“I wake up excited to make Veterans’ care better and safer.”

Jessica Feinleib

Dr. Jessica Feinleib

Dr. Feinleib is a simulation expert for VA’s SimLEARN National Simulation Center. She created and served as expert for the development of the award-winning Difficult Airway Algorithm and Rescue Cricothyrotomy simulation program.

The program is a novel composite training system of serious gaming, videos, podcasts, and simulation that is now integral to the American Board of Anesthesiologists maintenance of certification process.

“I wake up every morning excited to make Veterans’ care better and safer,” Feinleib said. “You need to educate both the trainees and the attendings to the same standard. This is part of what makes VHA a High Reliability Organization.”

 Ismelda Petrakis

Dr. Ismelda Petrakis

“We now understand addiction is a problem in the brain versus bad behavior.”

Dr. Petrakis will receive the Career Achievement Award for her 30-year career improving and disseminating educational best practices in addiction psychiatry and its interface with the new field of addiction medicine.

“Addiction education changed pretty dramatically over the past few decades,” Petrakis said. “Decades ago, many didn’t want to learn about addiction. Now we’ve come to understand it’s really a problem in the brain versus bad behavior.”

Dr. Petrakis works closely with trainees, specifically in alcohol, opioid use disorders and posttraumatic stress disorder.

VA trains over 120,000 health professionals in 40 disciplines each year

More than 120,000 trainees in over 40 clinical disciplines complete training in VA facilities each year where they learn from world-class faculty and staff.

VA’s Office of Academic Affiliations oversees the David M. Worthen Awards. OAA is responsible for directing the nation’s largest education and training program for health professionals in the U.S.

OAA works in partnership with 97% of the country’s medical schools and more than 1,800 colleges and universities, including schools in the associated health professions.

Nearly 70% of physicians in the U.S. and thousands of trainees learn their professions as pharmacists, social workers, physician assistants, nurse practitioners at VA each year.

Learn more

  • Visit the Office of Academic Affiliations recently updated website.
  • Find out more about VA’s academic mission by watching this video.
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