New Residency Program Directors Join LSUSOM

By Florencia Greer Polite, MD
Director of Faculty & Resident Development
Generalist Division Director
LSU Health Sciences Center, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

This July the LSU Health Sciences Center celebrated the installation of five new Program Directors.  Considered one of the most challenging jobs in the department, Program Directors are tasked with maintaining the residency’s accreditation, setting educational and surgical curriculums, teaching and monitoring clinical skills development, and overseeing supervision at all rotating sites.   Most program directors also maintain busy clinical practices, completing work after hours and on weekends.  So why does one take on this daunting task you may wonder? Because the reward of watching our learners grow from new interns to competent independent graduates is inspiring and transformative.  Here I sought to introduce you to these new Program Directors of OBGYN, Ophthalmology, Pathology, Urology and Orthopedics with a brief biography and some of information about their motivation and goals for their programs.

 

asha heardAsha Jayakrishnan Heard 
OBGYN Residency Program Director
Assistant Professor  Clinical OBGYN
Section of Maternal Fetal Medicine

Dr. Asha Jayakrishnan Heard was born and raised in the New Orleans area. Dr. Heard received her medical degree from Tulane University School of Medicine and a Master’s degree in public health from Tulane University School of Public Health.   Dr. Heard completed her residency training at Brown University – Women and Infants’ Hospital of Rhode Island and her Maternal-Fetal Medicine fellowship at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, MA.

What is your favorite aspect of your program? 

“I think that we have a very close knit group of residents who support one another on a daily basis.  Our faculty is engaged and invested in helping the program succeed.”

What made you want to take on the role of Program Director? 

“I am very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to continue to lead the program in a positive direction.  I enjoy working with and mentoring the residents through this critical time in their medical careers.”

What are 3 things that you hope to accomplish in your tenure as Program Director? 

  • Continue to recruit the best and brightest students to join our program
  • Improve our annual in-service exam scores
  • Initiate opportunities for residents interested in global health

ritu bhalla

Ritu Bhalla, MD 
Pathology Residency Program Director
Assistant Professor – Clinical Pathology 
Section of Genito-urinary Pathology

Dr. Bhalla received her medical education from India, GSVM Medical College, Kanpur. To be abreast with the nuances in Medicine she came to the United States for her residency in Pathology at Summa Health System, Akron, Ohio, followed by fellowships in Cytopathology, Surgical Pathology and Genito-urinary pathology from Emory University, Hartford Hospital and University of Michigan respectively. She did a year of research in Genito-urinary pathology at Michigan Center of Translational Pathology and joined LSU Department of Pathology in June 2012.

What is your favorite aspect of your program? 

“I really appreciate the size of the program and how it facilitates a one-on-one teaching approach by the faculty. I also like the excellent mix of cases, having a good balance of both complex and simple diagnoses.”

What made you want to take the role of Program Director? 

“I love challenges in life, young brains are demanding and daring with a strong capacity to follow directions and understandings, to develop into well rounded individuals and physicians. The success of my residents, as pathologists when they step in the real world, will give me a sense of accomplishment.”

What are 3 things that you hope to accomplish in your tenure as Program Director? 

  • I would like to develop short and long term goals and objectives, including sub-specialization of the department, to achieve a successful outcome for the program, starting first with attaining residents’ satisfaction.
  • I also would like to build the program further to reach state level and national recognition.
  • I hope to promote excellence in medical education and patient care which will provide exceptional pathologists in our city, state, and country.

maria reinoso

Maria Reinoso, MD 
Ophthalmology Program Director 
Associate Professor – Clinical Ophthalmology

Dr. Reinoso completed her medical degree in Bogota, Colombia.  Dr. Reinoso completed a Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami and an additional residency in the LSU/Ochsner Program and a Vitreo Retinal Fellowship at LSU.  Dr. Reinoso joined the LSUHSC faculty in 2011.

What is your favorite aspect of your program? 

“It is a hands-on program, which allows the residents to start performing procedures early, and as faculty we have the opportunity to teach the procedures and see how residents progress and improve with practice through their residency years.”

What made you want to take on the role of Program Director? 

“I am a firm believer in that the best way to reach out and help others is to teach other people how to do it. I also enjoy working with the residents; it is a challenge to work with 21 different personalities and different approaches to learning (I love challenges). I trained with LSU and I am very grateful for the training I received, it makes me want to give back and make the program better if I can.”

What are 3 things that you hope to accomplish in your tenure as Program Director? 

  • I want all the residents rotating through our program to feel that they have a supportive PD who will have their back but also has high expectations of them.
  • I want to make the program better: better lectures, better surgical curriculum, better teaching during clinics, better surgical numbers.
  • I want to achieve 100% board passing rate for our graduates.

scott delacroix1Scott E. Delacroix, Jr., M.D.
Urology Program Director 
Director of Urologic Oncology
Associate Professor – Clinical Urology

What is your favorite aspect of your program?

“Our faculty and the relationships with the residents.  We have a very subspecialized department (Male reconstruction, Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstruction, Pediatric Urology, Stone Disease and BPH, Voiding Dysfunction, and Urologic Oncology) where each faculty brings their own strengths to improve overall clinical care and teaching.  Being able to mentor, train and organize a 5-year curriculum for our residents is very rewarding.  There is an intellectual symbiotic relationship between faculty and residents— both should gain from the relationship. Every resident (and faculty member for that matter) has strengths and weaknesses.  Through mentorship and close interactions between faculty and trainees, these strengths and weaknesses can be identified harnessed and mitigated (respectively) to produce highly capable independent urologic surgeons.  In my opinion, understanding ones weaknesses is the most important developed trait a trainee should have prior to going into independent practice.”

 What made you want to take on the role of Program Director? 

“The challenge of building something new.  The LSU Urology Residency Program would not exist without the strong leadership and vision of our chairman who built this department from almost nothing to a regionally very strong clinical department.  Since I was a resident, I thought LSU should have an independent Urology residency program.  This was planned/discussed as far back as my fellowship and has come to fruition as of January 2017.”

What are 3 things that you hope to accomplish in your tenure as Program Director? 

  •  Increase our academic production at regional and national meetings through coordinated research within our department and the HSC.
  • Hope to engender a loyalty to the LSU department of Urology from current and future trainees to be able to give back and support our resident and academic missions.
  • Get to 1000 twitter followers @UroCancer

michaelheffernan

Michael Heffernan, MD
Assistant Professor of Clinical Orthopedic Surgery/Pediatrics

Dr. Heffernan received his MD at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.  Dr. Heffernan completed his residency training at the University of Massachusetts and a fellowship in pediatric orthopaedic and scoliosis surgery at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

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