Vice Chair of Education

An update from the Office of the Vice Chair of Education

“People learn to lead because they care about something”. This has recently become one of my new favorite quotes. Identifying what we most care about, our “why”, can help us bring our passion, curiosity, and an openness to learn new skills to our roles as educators and educational leaders. As we emerge from the most recent wave of Covid, it is a good time to reflect on what we care most about in our personal and professional lives. On the home front, we have a new teenager in the house which has prompted us to elevate our negotiation skills, patience, olfactory tolerance, and unconditional love.

On the professional front, I continue to care deeply about enhancing the care we deliver to patients by celebrating and transforming medical education. This involves innovation, community, collaboration, supporting our educators, supporting our trainees, and consistently transfusing excellence into our training programs. I could not be more proud to serve the DOM and all of its extraordinary educators and trainees who are contributing to this mission.


Department of Medicine Fellow’s Council

We are excited to announce the formation of the inaugural Department of Medicine Fellows’ Council! The council, which consists of physicians from a variety of DOM fellowship programs, will work closely with the Office of the Vice Chair to support the interests of all subspecialty fellows in the Department of Medicine.

DOM Fellow’s Council Vision Statement
To foster a greater sense of community amongst fellows from all subspecialities in the Department of Medicine. The council will develop and implement programs to promote fellow well-being, networking, learning and career development opportunities, and support interdisciplinary collaborations and social events.

The current members of the council are listed below. If you are interested in serving as a council member, please reach out to Gayathri Krishnan at

  • Gayathri Krishnan, Infectious Disease
  • Alice Zhou, Hematology/Oncology
  • Raya Saba, Hematology/Oncology
  • Lolwa Al-Obaid, Gastroenterology
  • Aisling Doyle, Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine
  • Philip Wiener, Electrophysiology
  • Petra Krutilova, Endocrinology
  • Gaurav Rajashekar, Nephrology

Office of Vice Chair of Education – Administrative Support

Julie Byington
Julie Byington

We are pleased to announce that Julie Byington, C-TAGME, has joined the Office of the Vice Chair of Education as our new administrative lead! Julie is a Senior Residency Coordinator who comes to us with 8 years of experience in Graduate Medical Education at Washington University, first with the Hematology/Oncology fellowship program, and most recently with the Internal Medicine and Preventive Medicine residency programs.

In her new role, Julie will be partnering with the Vice Chair of Education to expand upon programming and support for the DOM Subspecialty fellowship programs. She will work closely with Dr. Spencer, Program Directors, Coordinators and the newly formed DOM Fellow’s Council to develop fellowship-centered wellness and curriculum initiatives, expand upon professional development opportunities for coordinators, and foster a sense of community and connection for trainees throughout the department.

We are looking forward to new and exciting opportunities that will develop out of Julie’s partnership with our office of the Vice Chair of Education. Please join us in welcoming her to this role!

Congratulations on a Successful Recruitment Season

We’d like to extend a heartfelt congratulations to the Department of Medicine Residency and Fellowship Programs on a successful virtual recruitment season.

DOM fellowship recruitment wrapped up in November with the Medical Subspecialties Match Day occurring on December 1st, 2021. Thanks to the tireless efforts of our fellowship Program Directors, Associate Directors, Coordinators, and Fellows, we have managed to recruit a stellar class of incoming trainees to start fellowship next summer!

The Main Residency Match is up next on March 18th. We look forward to learning about the amazing medical students that will be joining Washington University for the next step in their careers. Congratulations to our IM Residency Program Director, Dominique Cosco, MD and Senior Residency Coordinator, Amy Foyil for organizing a seamless interview experience for faculty and applicants alike. Good luck in the Match!

DOM Trainee Spotlight

Gaurav Rajashekar, MBBS
Gaurav Rajashekar, MBBS

Gaurav Rajashekar, MBBS
Second Year & Chief Fellow, Nephrology

Residency: Texas Tech University in Permian Basin
Hometown: Bangalore, India
Clinical/Research Interest: Genetic testing in recurrent glomerulonephitidies in transplant patients

What behavior or personality trait do you most attribute your success to, and why?
Gratitude. Gratitude is the only attitude. No matter how difficult it gets, always remain grateful and cherish the obstacle. No matter if you succeed or if you fail, you always end up learning.

What’s a mistake you made early on in your career, and what did you learn from it?
Fear of asking questions. Always question why. Any protocol, algorithm, question and diagnosis always ask why. As physicians or detectives, we should question everything. Having an unanswered question is far better than settling for an incomplete answer.

What’s one of your favorite memories from the past year?
Sipping coffee in Forest Park with my medical school sweetheart and getting married to her in December 2021 in India.

What’s the best advice you were ever given and who was it from?
“If you aim for the bottom and hit, I’ll be disappointed. If you aim for the top and miss, I’ll be proud.”

  • Dr. Craig William Spellman (Professor of Medicine, Texas Tech University in Health Sciences at Permian Basin)

What is your favorite thing about living in St. Louis?
The innumerable restaurants and wonderful co-fellows!

DOM Program Leadership & Trainee Accomplishments

Knowlton Incentive for Excellence Award Recipients
  • Stephen Chi, MD – Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine
  • Zachary Crees, MD – Hematology/Oncology
  • Ryan Day, MD – Hematology Oncology
  • Martin Gregory, MD – Gastroenterology, Advanced IBD
  • Kai Jones, MD – Internal Medicine
  • Albert Liang, MD – Rheumatology
  • Krasimira Mikhova, MD – Cardiology
  • Devin Odom, MD – Palliative Care
  • Patrick Olson, MD – Infectious Disease
  • Mary Morgan Scott, MD – Internal Medicine
  • Abby Sung, MD – Infectious Disease
Fellow Research Awards

Fellow Research Awards

  • David Russler-Germain, MD, PhD – Hematology/Oncology: Selected for the 2022 Lymphoma Research Fellowship Grant from the Lymphoma Research Foundation
  • Zachary Crees, MD – Hematology/Oncology: Selected for an American Society of Hematology Abstract Achievement Award
  • Raja Zaghlol, MD – Cardiology: Received FIT Best Abstract Award for his oral presentation titled “The impact of BB on HF hospitalizations and ventricular arrhythmias in patients on ambulatory inotropic therapy”
  • Zainab Mahmoud, MD – Cardiology: Selected as a HBNU Fogarty Global Health Training Scholar and for the ACC/ABC Merck Research Fellowship Award


  • Lacey Feigl-Lenzen, Rheumatology Fellowship Program Administrator: Co-Chair for the Rheumatology Fellowship Coordinator’s Conference, April 2022
  • Steven Zhang, MD – Cardiology: Named ACC FIT section editor for Health & Technology on
  • Krissy Mikhova, MD – Cardiology: Named to the American College of Cardiology MCDR EP Registry Research and Publications Subcommittee
  • Andy Kates, MD – Cardiology: Chair-Elect for the American College of Cardiology Lifelong Learning Oversight Committee
  • Abby Spencer, MD, MS- Internal Medicine: Selected to serve a 6-year term on the ACGME Internal Medicine Residency Review Committee (RRC)


Presentations, Abstracts & Workshops
  • Andrew Lai, MD – Cardiology: Presented at the 31st International Symposium on Adult Congenital Heart Disease – “Aortic Outcomes in Elite Athletes Following Ascending Aortic Aneurysm Repair.” Mentor: Alan Braverman
  • Lydia Zhong (WUSM Med Student), Koeun Lee (WUSM Med Student), Maria Baggstrom, MD (Oncology), & Rakhee Bhayani, MD (General Medicine): “Stronger Together: Forming a Women in Medicine program for women trainees.” Accepted for both workshop and poster presentations at the AAIM Annual Spring Conference and the AAMC Central Group on Educational Affairs Conference
  • Amber Deptola, MD & Rakhee Bayhani, MD (General Medicine), Alaka Ray, MD  , Anna Donovan, MD: “Mission Driven & More: Integrating Meaning into Career Planning.” Accepted for workshop presentation at the SGIM Annual Conference
  • Gayathri Krishan, MD – Infectious Disease: “An Innovative Intervention to Improve Fellow Wellness Using Pranayama Breathing Technique.” Accepted for poster presentation at the SGIM Annual Conference.
  • Gayathri Krishnan, MD (Infectious Disease), Marta Perez, MD (Obstetrics & Gynecology), Rakhee Bhayani, MD (General Medicine): “Annual Social Media Summit; An Innovative Workshop to Empower Health Professionals to Use Social Media for Advocacy.” Accepted for poster presentation at the SGIM Annual Conference.
  • Drs. Cosco, Spencer, and Ms. Bethany Millar also have a number of presentations with their teams at the upcoming national SGIM and AAIM/APDIM meetings.
Upcoming Events

News You Can Use

Open & Upcoming Education Opportunities

  • It is not too late to encourage your residents and fellows to submit proposals for the ACGME Back to the Bedside Grant Awards.
  • Keep an eye out for a call for applications for leadership positions within the Gateway curriculum specific to the IM clerkship and Sub-I in their new forms.
  • The Teaching Scholars Program (TSP) is currently accepting applications from Wash U clinical and/or investigator track faculty. TSP is a 12-month certificate program designed to enhance knowledge and skills, and develop future leaders in healthcare education with a focus on core components of educational scholarship and curriculum development.
  • Stay up to date with the Academy of Educators courses, applications, and opportunities to advance your skills as educators
  • Nominations are currently open for the 2022 AAMC Awards. This is an excellent opportunity to recognize our outstanding medical educators!