Medical Faculty Council

Medical Faculty Council Officers, 2015 - 2016:

Anne Nofziger, MD, Chair

Scott Seidman, PhD, Associate Chair

Timothy Doerr, MD, Secretary

The Medical Faculty Council (MFC) has long provided a forum for faculty discussion and communication with School leadership. However, the Council had been inactive in recent months, as its role had become increasingly unclear. With an eye toward improving faculty's communication and connectedness to School governance (in part as a response to the AAMC Faculty Forward survey), MFC members drafted a revised charter for the approval of our School faculty, which was approved in July 2013.
Why do we need a Medical Faculty Council (MFC)?
A vital, active MFC is an important mechanism for discussion and expression of faculty views, and for improving communication between our faculty members and School leadership. Items from School leaders for information or discussion can be brought to faculty in our Departments and Centers directly by their MFC representatives, rather than solely through department chairs and center directors. Faculty concerns also can be brought directly to School leaders in the Dean’s Office by the MFC.
Why did we revise the Medical Faculty Council Charter?
Members of the MFC increasingly felt that their role was unclear, in large part because its work felt disconnected from the Dean’s Office and other School leaders. Not surprisingly, the engagement of the MFC representatives had lessened.
So how did the MFC revise the charter?

The revised charter includes the following main changes:

  • Making it clear that the MFC works closely with the Dean’s Office, particularly with the Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, who will coordinate MFC meeting agendas with the MFC officers to ensure that the desired communication and alignment of efforts take place.
  • Allowing more flexibility in how each department selects its representative, while providing for alternate representatives and accountability for engagement so that all faculty members have active representation in the MFC’s work.
  • Changing the MFC officers’ structure to provide more continuity of this leadership group across the years.
  • Making it clearer that, while the MFC retains the right to call special faculty meetings independent of the Dean’s Office, this is to be done only under special circumstances after consultation with the University President.
  • Allowing MFC electronic voting for time-sensitive issues requiring MFC approval.
What are some of the accomplishments of MFC ?


  • Invited speakers to inform MFC members on a variety of topics.
  • Participated in the process related to the Dean's reappointment.
  • Provided a competitive travel award twice per year (2 Clinical, 2 Basic Science per year).
  • Provided input to the revised promotion/tenure criteria adopted in 2014.
  • Composed the required elements of the annual faculty review adopted in 2015.
MFC Charter & By-Laws

The Charter and By-Laws describe the purpose, officers, representatives, and functions of the Medical Faculty Council.

Medical Faculty Council Charter & By Laws

MFC Meeting Dates/Meeting Notes
MFC Membership List

The following is the membership list for the Medical Faculty Council. Also below is the same list with photos of members.

MFC Membership List
MFC Membership List with Photos

The following is an updated listing of all MFC members with a new field showing when each representative's term ends. While our new Charter gives each rep a 3-year term, we decided that for these initial MFC appointments we would arbitrarily assign the rep terms to be either 1, 2, or 3 years. That way, as of 2015 every rep will have a 3-year term but staggered, so only 1/3 of the MFC turns over in any given year. Therefore, one-third of the current reps have terms that end this July. Such reps are certainly welcome to let their Chair know if they want to be considered to re-up for a new 3-year term. (The Charter allows reps to serve up to 2 consecutive terms on the MFC.)
MFC Member List Dept. End of Term

MFC Travel Awards

MFC Student/Trainee Travel Award Winners Spring 2015:

The recipients of the second round (May 2015) of URSMD MFC Student/Trainee Travel Awards 2015 are:

  • Basic Science Research Award:          Grayson O. Sipe, BSc
  • Clinical Science Research Award:       Abigail L.H. Kroening, MD

Grayson O. Sipe, GSc, from Dr. Ania Majewska's lab in the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, won the basic science award. This allowed him to attend the Gordon Research Conference on Glial biology, where he presented his work on the role of purinergic signaling in glial cells in synaptic remodeling.


Abigail L.H. Kroening, MD, working with Dr. Susan Hyman in the Department of Pediatrics, won the clinical science award. She presented her work on the importance of medical inerpreters in pediatric developmental screening at the North American Refugee Health Conference.


Medical Faculty Council University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry Student/Trainee Travel Awards 2015 Request for Applications (RFA)

The Medical Faculty Council wishes to announce a pair of travel awards to support University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry (URSMD) medical student, graduate student, post-doctoral trainee, clinical resident, and clinical fellow presentations at meetings of national organizations.  Two travel reimbursement awards of up to $1000 will be given this funding cycle (one for clinical research and one for basic sciences research).

Eligible applications for the current cycle are for travel between

March 1, 2015 and August 31, 2015. 

Submission Deadline:  May 8, 2015, at 6 pm

The purpose of this award is to assist students and trainees in the URSMD to attend important national meetings at which they will present their research and make professional connections. We hope this will assist mentors with limited funds to promote their trainees’ professional success. Funds may be used for registration and travel costs to national or international meetings. This award may be given in the form of reimbursement for a meeting where an applicant has already presented their research, or for anticipated meeting travel for presentation (reimbursement provided after travel).  Applications will be accepted for:

  1. Submitted abstracts that have not yet been accepted to the specified meeting within the above specified dates
  2. Abstracts that have been accepted to the specified meeting within the above specified dates
  3. Abstracts that have been accepted and already presented at the specified meeting within the above specified dates

Instructions to Applicants:

Submission components: Applications for this travel award should be submitted as a single PDF containing the following components:

Cover sheet (see below)

Conference submission

  • Copy of the abstract (unedited) submitted to the meeting. 
  • If the abstract has already been accepted for presentation at the meeting, please include a copy of its acceptance containing the indication of the type of presentation (e.g., poster or oral).
  • If you are submitting more than one abstract for the same meeting, please limit your application to describe no more than two. Both must be presented by the applicant. The work in both abstracts must be connected to the applicant’s main research area, so that it may be described appropriately within the personal statement.

Personal statement (limit to 1 page)

  • The Personal Statement should briefly describe the science to be presented in straightforward language intended for reviewers who do not have expertise in the field. The applicant should also address the importance of attending the meeting to the applicant’s career, and the steps the trainee will take to help develop her/his career through attendance.

Applicant’s current CV

Recommendation Letter from the Applicant’s Mentor

Submission Details:

  • Applications that are not in the requested PDF format will not be processed. 
  • Please include the attached cover sheet, fully completed, as it contains information that is important for processing your application.
  • Regarding whether the application should be considered for a “clinical science” or “basic science” award:  This should be determined primarily by the type of study and not the type of meeting to be attended.  If an investigator is uncertain if the project should best be judged as a “clinical” or “basic science” application, please forward the abstract to the MFC Vice Chair (Dr. Anne Nofziger), who will make a recommendation.
  • Please combine all application materials into a single PDF with formatted title: “MFCTravelAward-applicant’s last name-Basic/Clinical”.  (If applicant’s name is Jane Doe applying for Basic Science award, the title of the PDF would be: “MFCTravelAward-Doe-Basic”. 
  • Please deliver PDF by email to Laura Francz in the Office of Academic Affairs at: laura_francz@urmc.rochester.eduPlease use the PDF title as the subject line of the email.

Instructions to Mentors:

The applicant’s mentor should provide a letter of support for the application, in which the following are addressed:

  • Promise shown by the applicant for growth and contribution in her/his discipline
  • The significance of the meeting where the work has been submitted
  • The potential for this experience to advance the trainee’s career
  • The quality of the work that will be presented

Selection Process:

Applications will be scored by three independent reviewers and an average will be used. Scoring will consider the specific evidence from materials presented by the applicant and the mentor in the following areas:

  • Promise of trainee in her/his discipline
  • Significance of the meeting
  • Potential for this meeting to advance the trainee’s career
  • Quality of science

Notification of awards will occur approximately 2-3 weeks after application deadline.

Other terms:

This award specifically funds travel to meetings at which the applicant will be presenting his/her work.  Therefore, if the chosen award recipient is an applicant who submitted a “not-yet-accepted abstract” for this award, and the abstract is ultimately not accepted to the meeting, the applicant will forfeit the award.  The travel award will then go to the next highest ranking abstract in its category (clinical or basic research). 

We request that the applicant notify the MFC Chair if other travel funds have been awarded for the same abstract and meeting during the review of this grant, so that their application may be withdrawn. 

For questions please contact:

Anne Nofziger, MD

Medical Faculty Council Vice Chair

Department of Family Medicine

(585) 273-5762


Alan Grossfield, PhD

Medical Faculty Council Travel Award Co-Chair

Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics


Medical Faculty Council Travel Award

Application submission cover page

Applicant name:

Intramural Box #:

(Note:  Notification letters will be mailed via intramural mail)


Mentor name:

Should this work be considered for a clinical or basic science travel award (check one)?

  • Basic Science

  • Clinical Science

Application cycle (check one):

  • Spring, for travel between March 1, 2015 and August 31, 2015 (Deadline May 8, 2015)

Meeting and dates (must fall within the specified travel dates above):

Components in addition to this cover sheet:

  • Abstract as submitted, with acceptance notice (if applicable)

  • Applicant CV

  • Personal statement (one page)

  • Mentor letter of support


Previous MFC Student/Trainee Travel Award Winners 2015:

The recipients of the first round (January 2015) of URSMD MFC Student/Trainee Travel Awards 2015 are:

  • Basic Science Research Award:          Jomy Jo Varghese, M.Sc.
  • Clinical Science Research Award:       Marielena Velez de Brown, M.D.

Jomy Jo Varghese, M.Sc., is in his third year of the MSTP program and first year of a PhD program in Biomedical Engineering under the mentorship of Dr. Danielle Benoit. Jomy will present his work on “Nanoparticle-mediated siRNA delivery to Salivary Glands: Tracking Cell Survival and Function Post Radiotherapy” at the Gordon Research conference in Galveston, TX in February 2015.  Jomy’s project focuses on development of clinically-translatable nanoparticle-mediated drug delivery strategies to salivary glands to prevent xerostomia (dry mouth) secondary to injuries such as radiation (for head and neck cancers) or from autoimmunity (Sjogren’s syndrome). 


Marielena Velez de Brown, M.D., is in her first year of residency in Preventive Medicine and Public Health, and previously completed residency in Family Medicine.  Under the mentorship of Drs. Scott McIntosh and Jacob Adams, she has focused her scholarly work on tobacco use policy in colleges and universities in New York. She will be presenting “The American Cancer Society’s Dean’s List: A Survey of Tobacco Policies and Compliance among Colleges and Universities in New York State” later this month at Preventive Medicine 2015, the annual conference of the American Society of Preventive Medicine. Working with the Eastern Division of the American Cancer Society, she has updated, administered and analyzed a survey of all institutions in New York, which will allow institutional rating for comparison to peers and demonstration of progress over time. Data collected from students and staff will be used to “assist universities and colleges in making evidence-based policies and taking steps to encourage compliance with such policies. This work will further the ACS goal of preventing all forms of cancer by curbing the use of tobacco in young adults, a population which is establishing their life-long health habits.”


Previous MFC Student/Trainee Travel Award Winners 2014:


The recipients of the 2nd round (May 2014) of the URSMD MFC Student/Trainee Travel Awards 2014 are:

  • Basic Science Research Award:          Yelena Lerman
  • Clinical Science Research Award:       Makenzi Hillard, M.D.

Yelena Lerman is in her sixth year of the Pharamacology PhD program under the mentorship of Dr. Minsoo Kim in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology.  Yelena gave an oral and poster presentation of her work on “Exacerbated tissue homing of neutrophils during sepsis and TLR2-induced cytokine production are regulated by integrin a3b1” at the American Association of Immunologists (AAI) meeting in May 2014.  Her work evaluated the surface expression kinetics of b1 and b3 integrin heterodimers on neutrophils during sepsis in both mice and humans.  She showed that only integrin a3b1 is significantly upregulated during sepsis.  Previous studies suggested a role for IL-10 as a regulator of the transition from mild sepsis to irreversible septic shock. Thus, sepsis progression could be modulated by altering IL-10 release and α3β1 upregulation.


Dr. Makenzi Hillard, M.D. is in her final year of medical residency fellowship in Pediatrics under the mentorship of Dr. Peter Szilagyi.  She recently attended the Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting in May 2014.  She gave a platform presentation on her fellowship research project entitled, “What did they learn – A qualitative study of pediatric resident critical incident essays.”  Dr. Hillard conducted a large, qualitative analysis of critical incident essays written by pediatric residents at University of Rochester since 2002.  Her results provided insight into the  emotional triumphs and struggles of pediatric residents and suggest that reflective essays may be effective for evaluating the progress of residents through important areas of training.  Additionally, Dr. Hillard contributed to two workshops with two other oral presentations,  “Reflecting on Reflections – the How and Why of Fostering Reflective Capacity in your Learners” and “Applying Self-Determination Theory to Stimulate the motivation of Teachers and Learners.”


The recipients of the first round (January 2014) of URSMD MFC Student/Trainee Travel Awards 2014 are:

  • Basic Science Research Award:          Bethany Plakke, Ph.D.
  • Clinical Science Research Award:       Shira Black, D.O.

Bethany Plakke, Ph.D. is a post-doc in the laboratory of Dr. Lizabeth Romanski in the Department of Neurobiology & Anatomy.  Dr. Plakke gave a poster and short oral presentation on her research entitled, “The role of ventral prefrontal cortex in auditory, visual, and audiovisual working memory” at the Advances & Perspectives in Auditory Neurophysiology (APAN) meeting associated with the Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting in November 2013.  Her study investigated whether the ventral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC) was essential for an audiovisual non-match-to-sample task designed to test auditory and visual working memory.  In rhesus macaques, Dr. Plakke showed that the VLPFC is necessary for cross-modal attention/switching and auditory working memory but not for visual working memory.  A better understanding of the neural circuit underlying audiovisual and auditory processes will enable further elucidation of effects observed in autism, attention hyperactivity disorder, and schizophrenia. 


Shira Black, D.O. is a fourth year resident in the Department of Anesthesiology under the mentorship of Dr. Jerrold Lerman.  Dr. Black have an oral presentation on her research entitled, “Drug calculation errors in anesthesia residents and faculty” at the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists in October 2013.  Her study investigated the frequency of computational drug error rates in a national sample of anesthesiology residents (N=223) and  faculty (N=163) from seven U.S. academic institutions.  A standard questionnaire designed to determine the frequency of drug calculation errors, identify possible contributing factors to the error rate, and the type of errors made by the respondents.  Dr. Black found that drug error rates by residents and faculty occur at a similar rate (2.5 error per test; 15% wrong answers).  Additionally, CA-1 residents and senior faculty make the largest drug calculation errors and lack of sleep does not result in an increase in error rate.  This study is the first step in developing methods for improvement in drug calculations performed by anesthesiologists.