To recognize the invaluable contributions of LVHN’s residents and fellows during the COVID-19 pandemic, LVHN awarded six Thank a Resident Awards in 2021. See who was nominated and read stories of the award recipients.

Award Recipients

Read the stories directly from each recipient's nominators.

Puja Patel, DO, PGY-2, General Surgery

In the midst of the COVID pandemic, surgical intensive care unit (SICU) residents were asked to take on medical ICU (MICU) patients. 

Puja Patel was assigned to her intensive care unit (ICU) rotation when our hospital was bursting with COVID patients. Our critical care attendings agreed to care for some MICU patients due to the burden in the ICU overall. Patel helped manage and run a temporary ICU. She cared for these patients with the grace and knowledge of a surgical resident. What she did not know, she learned quickly. She performed above her post-graduate year (PGY) level and above the expectations of a surgical resident. Her integrity and excellence during this trying time were demonstrated week after week as she cared for these patients during the holidays. She called families every day to give them honest updates on their loved ones because no visitors were allowed. Despite this overwhelming amount of work, she demonstrated that each patient was an individual whose life was important in a pandemic.

Dr. Patel performed spectacularly while on service with me in the intensive care unit (ICU) this past December. On top of her typical duties of caring for our critically ill surgical patients, she (as well as our other surgical residents) helped to manage non-COVID medical ICU patients as well. She rose to the challenge admirably.

General Surgery PGY-2 Team: Steven Capece, MD, Heather Geist, MD, Puja Patel, DO, Babak Sadri, MD, Shadi Shojaei, MD, and Samuel Yellin, MD.

For general surgery residents at LVHN, a significant portion of post-graduate year two (PGY-2) is dedicated to independent intensive care experience in the surgical intensive care unit (SICU) during the day and in the trauma-neuro intensive care unit (TNICU) at night. This is a formative period. Particularly during the latter half of the pandemic, the PGY-2s were stretched beyond the usual. Not only were they caring for the usual SICU and TNICU patients, but medical intensive care unit (MICU) overflow patients ensured a steady stream of non-surgical patients, including many COVID-positive patients. In addition to the normal duties of a surgical resident, they covered predominantly medical illnesses, with a census ranging from 10-25 in the SICU alone, with a PGY-1 to help. Despite an inordinately high workload, they continued to admit medical patients to the SICU and care for illnesses that fall well outside the scope of a surgical resident's education and typical practice. Additionally, with the assistance of their chiefs and seniors, they were often called upon to place lines and chest tubes or perform invasive procedures with high risk of aerosolization on COVID-positive patients – not just in the SICU, but in the MICU and in patients with increased difficulty of placement (often due to numerous prior attempts) or ones with  whom no attempt whatsoever was made due to COVID. With no census or admit limits on surgical residents, the PGY2s were relied on to care for patients outside their experience and practice, which they did with their typical work ethic.

Kaitlyn Buzard, DO, PGY-3, Internal Medicine

Kaitlyn has been a rock in the internal medicine program since her intern year and she proved this time and time again during the pandemic. She consistently filled in for those who were sick or high risk during the pandemic. Many times, she was part of the first few weeks of a new schedule with less support than others would later receive, as the increased level of support needed on those rotations was recognized. Despite this, she was there to fill gaps in coverage. Kaitlyn was often recognized as a calming force to many in the intensive care unit (ICU), despite her preference for less hectic rotations. Many were pleased and even at ease knowing she was a co-resident or senior. Her medical knowledge was frequently recognized as superior. Her dedication to patient care often had her at work until midnight, working 18-hour days. Though often fatigued herself, she would refuse to leave work unfinished for the next team, never wanting to increase another person’s burden. While many performed great acts of service and care, Kaitlyn did it time and time again.

Kaitlyn has always gone above and beyond during her time here as a resident over the past three years. However, she has particularly risen to the occasion over the past several months during a challenging time for our hospital. She has taken up a number of shifts for colleagues in the intensive care unit (ICU), night float and other services that required coverage without question. Kaitlyn provides compassionate and well-rounded patient care. She ensures that patients and their families have a full understanding of their medical conditions and will engage in goals of care conversations. I have directly worked with her as a co-resident the past year and now as her fellow, and I can say without a doubt that everyone is eager to work with her because of her hardworking nature, willingness to be a team player and excellent communication skills.

Chun Chu, MD, PhD, PGY-4, Neurology Resident

Dr. Chun Chu is a current post-graduate year four (PGY-4) neurology resident. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Chu was able to use local contacts to secure a large donation of N95 masks and other PPE for front-line workers in our hospital. His contribution was even covered by local media. Furthermore, Dr. Chu is an exemplary resident physician in our health network. He is hard-working, industrious and extremely dedicated to his craft. He is a role model for the rest of us in the neurology program. Teaching junior residents and medical students is one of his passions. Finally, he is also someone who is far too humble to actively seek out this sort of accolade on his own.

Arti Patel, DO, PGY-2, Family Medicine Resident

She has always been one of the first residents to volunteer for family medicine to assist in the hospital for extra shifts, which was helpful as we increased the family medicine service capacity significantly over the holidays. In addition, she has continued to volunteer her time with street medicine clinics and warming shelters after hours while completing all her outpatient and virtual visits without issue.

Charles Browning, MD, PGY-4, General Surgery

Dr. Browning consistently makes himself available to help with any request from any attending in our surgical specialties. He was assigned to a vascular surgery rotation but jumped at the chance to place a central line for a COVID patient. He leads other residents with his demeanor, professionalism and work ethic.

Chuck has been hands down one of the most approachable, available residents throughout the COVID pandemic. In the first wave, he participated in countless COVID lines and bedside tracheostomy placements. This was at a time when the understanding of transmission and concern about outcomes were at an all-time high. He chose to be a front-line caregiver as a resident qualified to perform these procedures. When the uncertainty of the second wave of COVID was starting to impact our residents, Chuck took it upon himself to volunteer to help again. He spent an extra week on nights performing emergent operations and assisting with overflow ICU care from the pulmonary critical care teams. He makes a point to show up where care is needed and provide assistance. All of this is without regard for recognition or reward. It's no surprise he stepped up as this was his approach to residency before COVID hit our area. Chuck remains one of the most reliable residents. He is never afraid to stay late to help in patient care but will never show up to work a minute late to keep a co-resident waiting. It's the kind of respect that strongly signals compassion for his colleagues in addition to his patients. He is the type of resident who sets expectations for improvement of all the individuals on his team. He leads by example and never steps away from difficult situations.

Since the beginning of this pandemic, Dr. Browning has been an exemplarity resident. He is always willing to help without hesitation no matter the situation. I think all the attendings would agree with his dedication and integrity.

Through his four years with LVHN, Chuck has been nothing short of an exemplary resident. This was evident during both surges of COVID when Chuck not only performed his own demanding duties but was always available for his juniors. During the first surge, Chuck performed dozens of invasive aerosol-producing procedures on COVID-positive patients. He placed himself at significant risk during a terrifying and unknown time. When the second surge developed, Chuck was gracious enough to assist the surgical intensive care unit (SICU) resident or independently perform bedside procedures on COVID medical intensive care unit (MICU) patients. I am honored to call Chuck my colleague and senior and I aspire to develop his work ethic.


  • Ahmed Abdelhady, MD, Internal Medicine Residency 
  • Alaynna Kears, DO, Internal Medicine Residency 
  • Alexis Achey Lewis, DO, Obstetrics & Gynecology Residency 
  • Amelia Stutman, DO, Family Medicine Residency
  • Anam Malik, MD, Gastroenterology Fellowship
  • Arjan Ahluwalia, MD, Internal Medicine Residency 
  • Arti Patel, DO, Family Medicine Residency 
  • Breanna Goldner, DO, Internal Medicine Residency 
  • Brian Holahan DO, Internal Medicine Residency 
  • Cardiology Fellows, Cardiovascular Disease Fellowship
  • Charles Browning, MD, General Surgery Residency 
  • Christian Menezes, DO, Internal Medicine Residency 
  • Chun Chu, MD, Neurology Residency
  • Chun Siu, DO, Internal Medicine Residency 
  • Daniel Kuehler, MD, General Surgery Residency 
  • Dermatology Residents, Dermatology Residency 
  • Dylan Soller, DO, Internal Medicine Residency 
  • Eden Hunt, MD, General Surgery Residency 
  • Erafat Rehim, MD, Neurology Residency
  • Family Medicine Residency Team, Family Medicine 
  • Gabrielle Garbade, MD, Obstetrics & Gynecology Residency 
  • General Surgery PGY-2s, General Surgery Residency 
  • IM/TY Residents, Internal Medicine and Transitional Year
  • Jamie Allen, DO, Emergency Medicine Residency 
  • Jason Gu, MD, Psychiatry Residency 
  • Jonathon Dallarossa, MD, Internal Medicine Residency 
  • Kaitlyn Buzard, DO, Internal Medicine Residency 
  • Lisa Kurth, MD, General Surgery Residency 
  • Michael Chen, MD, Psychiatry Residency 
  • Neurology PGY-2 Team, Neurology Residency
  • Neurology Residents, Neurology Residency
  • PGY-1 Team Emergency Medicine, Emergency Medicine Residency 
  • Puja Patel, DO, General Surgery Residency 
  • Qi Yan Wang, MD, General Surgery Residency 
  • Reema Vaze, MD, Internal Medicine Residency 
  • Robert Teixeira, MD, Plastic Surgery Residency 
  • Sagar Vadhar, DO, Cardiovascular Disease Fellowship 
  • Surgical ICU Team, General Surgery Residency 
  • Tarick Sheikh, MD, Cardiovascular Disease Fellowship
  • Tyler Boozel, DO, Internal Medicine Residency