Education Physician-Scientist Residency Residency

Residency program team meets COVID challenges head on

Resiodentcoordinators packing gift boxes
Another first for the residency program team: Residency Coordinators Jana Richardson (left) and Maria Harrington load gift boxes with St. Louis items to send to resident applicants prior to their online interviews.

The residency program team is in full action these days, preparing to engage and convince prospective applicants that our residency is the best place to be.  Those preparations include special activities never considered in  prior years, including video productions to share special aspects of the program and preparations to conduct all interviews online via Zoom.

The team includes Residency Program Director Judith Lieu, MD, Associate Director Jason Rich, MD, T32 Director Jay Piccirillo, MD, Senior Residency Coordinator Maria Harrington, and Administrative Coordinator Jana Richardson.

The charge under which this team operates is rather broadly defined  – ensure the adequate preparation of future ENT physician providers. This includes meeting not only the broad objectives laid out by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), but specific goals for each clinical rotation or specialty and research components.

The program has had to meet increased demands recently. Governing agencies like the ACGME have heightened their reporting and monitoring requirements. And the current COVID pandemic has put strains on all types of education, training, and communication components.

“There are lots of reporting requirements to ensure our program achieves and retains a high level of quality and accreditation,” said Harrington. “It’s important to stay on top of it all, so we were very lucky to be able to bring Jana on board to help.”

Judith E.C. Lieu, MD, MSPH
Judith Lieu, MD, MSPH Director, Resident Education
Headshot of Jason Rich, MD
Jason Rich, MD, Associate Director, Resident Education
Jay Piccirillo headshot
Jay Piccirillo, MD, Director, Physician-Scientist Program

The team responded to the recent pandemic in quick fashion. All group meetings and weekly conferences and core curriculum are now offered virtually. Rotation schedules were modified to meet patient and hospital needs during COVID surges. The university travel ban this spring, resulted in the cancellation of all local and national conferences that our residents might attend. All are offered virtually for the time being.

“At times we have had to respond to very rapid changes in protocol and policies,” said Richardson. “Even our on-boarding of this year’s intern cohort was accomplished primarily through virtual meetings and trainings.”

The team is looking forward to upcoming resident applicant interviews in spite of these challenges. Special efforts to connect with applicants have included:

  • An online informational series for interested medical students called A Taste of WashU ENT
  • Resident take-overs of our Instagram account
  • Videos created to offer a more detailed look at special aspects of our program
  • Online introductions to the program in general and to department leadership
  • Virtual Meet & Greet events and campus tours to be offered to resident applicants to

“Maria and Jana have adjusted magnificently to all of the changes that the COVID pandemic has required us to make—working remotely; moving all Grand Rounds, Journal clubs, and conferences to virtual learning; and planning creatively to make the upcoming applicant interviews show the best of our program,” said Dr. Lieu. “And, we could not have done it without the wonderful support of the residency program offered by the department leadership and faculty.”

Residency Coordinators Maria Harrington and Jana Richardson (center) enjoy celebrating graduation, shown here with 2018 chief residents, from left: Collin Chen, MD, Peter Vila, MD, Jennifer Gross, MD, and Neel Bhatt, MD.

Dr. Lieu has responsibility, authority, and accountability for: administration and operations; teaching and scholarly activity; resident recruitment and selection, evaluation, and promotion of residents, and disciplinary action; supervision of residents; and resident education in the context of patient care.

Dr. Rich assists the program director with administering the program and ensuring the well-being of the residents and faculty who teach them.

Dr. Piccirillo oversees all resident research efforts and serves as director of the Physician-Scientist Training Program, an NIH-funded T32 training program which provides mentored research activities.

Harrington has been senior program coordinator since 1996. She is responsible for administrative support for the clinical residency training program, including monitoring and reporting to ACGME, American Board of Otology (ABOto), and GME Track, a resident database and tracking system.

Richardson joined the team in 2017. She provides administrative support for both clinical and research programs, and works closely with Harrington, Dr. Lieu and Dr. Piccirillo.