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September 2023 Exceptional Teachers

We are interested in collecting your stories about faculty members, residents, nurses, or anyone else, who have impacted or influenced you in a significant way. Please tell us about what those teachers did that resulted in an exceptional educational experience and how it changed you.

This Month's Submissions

Below are the exceptional teacher recognitions shared with the Learning Environment Advocacy Committee this rotation. Thank you to these faculty for providing a great experience for our students. 

September 2023 Submissions

Family and Community Medicine

  • Dr Jeremy Llavore - “Dr. Llavore was also changing locations in the near future, and I saw patients every single day that requested to move with him to the new office (>25 min away!) just to stay in his care. It says a lot about a physician to have really strong patient relationships built on empathy, and the number of patients and their families that wanted to move with him were just evidence of that. His interaction with staff and colleagues also showed how me how to build positive working relationships, and work with a clear flow. He took time to introduce me to everyone on the staff, and I felt very welcome and part of the care team as a result. Overall, Dr. Llavore did a really commendable job in demonstrating family medicine and I am very appreciative for being able to learn from him.”
  • Dr Julia Hemphill - “It was a real honor to get to work with Dr. Hemphill and in Shawsville. The thing that was most impactful to me was seeing the relationships she has with her patients and her community, and I felt really lucky to be welcomed into that for a short time. As a clinician, she is thorough and thoughtful about patients and their health, always seeking to find the answer to a puzzle or seek the best solution for a patient and their needs. As an educator, I appreciated her willingness to have me see patients, spend significant amounts of time with them (despite the always busy clinic schedule), and encouragement in thinking about recommendations for a plan or management for these patients, as well as her patience in answering my many, many questions. It was a really rich learning experience in family medicine and in conversations about medicine and life more broadly.”

Internal Medicine

  • Dr Natalie Klawonn - “Dr. Klawonn was an amazing mentor! I learned so much from her service! I really appreciate that she took the time to teach me how to place orders despite this being my first rotation at Carilion. I was assigned several patients and she let me take full responsibility for them including writing their daily note, making recommendations, and placing orders for each patient. Because of this, I was also able to develop a strong rapport with my patients because I was seeing them everyday. I felt like I was making an actual difference with my patients because of how involved I was allowed to be. She was also a great teacher, and helped me differentiate between guidelines vs clinical practice. Dr. Klawonn would be a great mentor for any student doing their IM rotation. They will learn so much from her and her service.”
  • Dr Quentin Palmer -“Quentin was a great intern to work with! He is always kind to his patients and toward the students, and I always felt like I could ask questions whenever I didn't understand something. He let me take the lead on our patients together, which I really appreciated. I felt like I learned a lot working with him for the 4 weeks together!”


  • Dr James Schmidley - “It was a real honor to get to learn from Dr. Schmidley. He was an excellent teacher, explained many of the exam findings, imaging studies, and evidence; and answered any questions that came up. He (as well as the other neurology attendings and residents I worked with) made it clear that I was part of the team, which really invested me in the patient care and also in opportunities to learn about various topics throughout the week.”
  • Dr Varsha Nandwana - “Something I found true of Dr. Nandwana and all of the neurology residents I interacted with was how much they relied on us as medical students as part of the team, holding us accountable for our own patients and their care. It was always clear, though and this was especially true for Dr. Nandwana, that she was available for us to review cases, to examine patients together, to ask clinical questions, and to be our support and guide through this process. She was clear about her expectations or letting me know when I needed to do something differently, always in a professional way and time.”


  • Dr Megan Whitham - “Besides doing a great job teaching me about maternal fetal medicine, Dr. Whitham offered great clerkship and career advice.”
  • Dr Shannon Howard - “Dr. Howard was incredibly insightful, fun to work with, and efficient. When working with Dr. Howard, I was engaged, actively involved in each patient's care, and constantly learning how to be a better future clinician. She clearly cares about each patient and each member of her team”


  • Dr Kathy Amoroso - “Dr. Amoroso is an excellent physician and someone who genuinely cares about the students she works with. She clearly goes the extra mile to explain concepts throughout the day and provides students opportunities to learn.”
  • Dr David O’Neill - “A wealth of knowledge and skill that others are lucky to learn from. Eagerly works with students and residents. Excellent demonstration of integrating complex information, guidelines, and individualized care into practice.”

Psychiatry & Behavioral Medicine

  • Dr Faig Hamirani - “Again very useful discussion. He specifically had great slides. I took screenshots to utilize when performing mental status exams. Very very in depth and very good symptom descriptions on slides.”
  • Dr Karishma Soni - “Dr. Soni was fantastic. She is a great teacher and helped me with any questions that I had. I never felt shy or embarrassed about asking a question b/c she made it a learning environment”.


  • Dr David Johnsen - “Really enjoyed working with Dr Johnsen. He was so patient at explaining everything to me. And he is super encouraging to me and spent extra time to answer all my questions. I felt very supported!”
  • Dr Evelyn Garcia - “She is an absolute pro at doing the biopsies for patients. Especially when they were worried she would always speak to them gently and soothe them. You can really tell she cared, 11/10 for effort, empathy, and knoweldge :) All around a fantastic doctor and I consider myself lucky to have worked with her despite the short time. She was also very enthusiastic to teach me.”


  • Dr Joshua Stodghill - “Dr. Stodghill was one of my favorite attendings to work with. He asked me more anatomy questions than any other attending and I was so excited every time he did. It forced me to come prepared, work hard, and learn as much as I possibly could. I will always remember him asking me about the "white line of toldt." I think he did a great job teaching during rounds, was kind to his OR staff, and found ways to include medical students.”
  • Dr Allyson Huttinger - “Ally was such an awesome intern. She was approachable, loved teaching, and made sure that students had the best learning environment. She was great at teaching suturing skills and allowing students to get their hands dirty. She is going to be a great surgeon in the future and I really enjoyed having her as a teacher.”