Category Alumni
Author Karen Blum

Recent MEHP graduate Julie Blaszczak, MD (MEHP ’21), and alumnus Roy Strowd, MD (MEHP ’18), will be presented with MEHP Excellence Awards at this year’s commencement.

Blaszczak, an assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Michigan School of Medicine, completed the MEHP program in just two years with a perfect 4.0 grade point average and has received consistent accolades from her instructors for the quality of her work.

In addition to her demonstrated passion for teaching in medicine, her professional interests include community and social justice, advocacy, and health care for underserved populations. She practices outpatient, inpatient, and prenatal care and has an interest in gender-affirming care in the primary care setting. Blaszczak also serves on the medical school’s admissions executive committee, is the faculty lead for the Family Medicine Department’s Faculty Development Initiative 1.0, and will start as a doctoring faculty in July.

Blaszczak’s capstone research project, on which she collaborated with John Shatzer, PhD, evaluated the effectiveness of an online, self-directed curriculum on providing gender-affirming care in the primary care setting.

“Julie has proven herself to be a dedicated teacher and physician whose leadership and advocacy have been well-recognized,” it said in her nomination form, noting that Blaszczak has been a recipient of the American Academy of Family Physicians Award for Excellence in Graduate Medical Education, the Thomas Schwenk Resident Teacher Award at the University of Michigan, and the Michigan Academy of Family Physicians Family Medicine Educator of the Year. “In particular, she has distinguished herself with her contributions to her residency’s curriculum that now includes an LGBTQIA+ component and for her advocacy for LGBTQIA+ health care through her service on numerous advisory councils addressing the needs of this population. She is deeply embedded in medical education teaching endeavors and will continue to have an ongoing impact.”

“My time in the MEHP program was so enriching and helped me grow tremendously as an educator,” Blaszczak says. “I am so thankful that I was able to participate in the program, as it has opened me up to so many opportunities in my career, and it has allowed me to pursue what brings me joy—helping to contribute to the growth and development of future physicians who can provide inclusive, compassionate care. I am so lucky to be connected to the MEHP community, and I hope to become more involved over time.”

Strowd, assistant dean of undergraduate medical education and director of the Health Professions Education Institute at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, has been an instructor for the MEHP Leadership and Research Capstone, and Educational Scholarship: Design and Implementation courses. He is an accomplished education researcher who has received grant funding for his work from groups such as Alpha Omega Alpha, the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, and the American Academy of Neurology.

Of his over 100 peer-reviewed research articles, more than 30 have been specific to medication education, says Rachel Salas, MD, FAAN (MEHP ’18), professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins and assistant medical director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Sleep and Wellness. Additionally, Strowd was appointed as the inaugural editor of the journal Neurology: Education and has received several teaching awards and recognitions, including the inaugural Association of American Medical Colleges’ M. Brownell Anderson Award in 2020.

“Roy has had a tremendous impact on education in the field of neurology,” Salas says. “He is currently chair of the American Academy of Neurology’s e-learning subcommittee where he helps to direct all e-learning programs for over 30,000 neurologists in the U.S. and internationally.”

Adds MEHP Program Director Toni Ungaretti, PhD, “Roy was outstanding as an MEHP fellow. As an alum, he has remained a steadfast, dedicated supporter of the MEHP program and has encouraged Wake Forest faculty as he advanced his career as well as recommended faculty from his current institution to the program.”

Strowd recently volunteered to work with faculty member Nehal Khamis, PhD, to examine the MEHP program through the lens of the new Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education’s Clinician Educator Milestones to ensure alignment, Ungaretti says. “He is committed to advancing the quality of the MEHP experience.”

In an interview, Strowd described himself as a passionate teacher who gets recharged by working with students, residents, and trainees.

“There were so many valuable aspects of the MEHP program for me,” he says. “I went from being a great teacher to being recognized at my institution as an educational scholar who understands the evidence basis for my teaching and has the skills to not only see how to design a great course but to align my courses within the program to move education at our institution forward.

“The MEHP community has been so valuable to me, my professional well-being, and my career development that I haven’t wanted to give up that great connection,” he adds. “I see tremendous value in continuing to help future fellows benefit from their MEHP in the same way that I have.”

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