Photo courtesy TTUHSC El Paso

TTUHSC El Paso 2020 Community Faculty Physician of the Year Awards presented via surprise virtual ceremonies

Clinical assistant professor Fernando Aviles-Cevasco, M.D., was recently named the 2020 Community Faculty of the Year by Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso.

The award is normally announced during TTUHSC El Paso’s Annual Community Faculty Member Appreciation Dinner, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the in-person event was cancelled.

Instead, Dr. Aviles-Cevasco and three Students’ Choice Award recipients learned of the honor through a surprise video presentation.

“The purpose of the Community Faculty of the Year Award is to recognize community physicians who contribute to the education and training of medical students enrolled in the Foster School of Medicine,” said Richard Lange, M.D., M.B.A., president of TTUHSC El Paso. “Dr. Aviles-Cevasco has demonstrated exceptional service and a devotion to teaching and mentoring our medical students while working as a non-salaried faculty member at TTUHSC El Paso.”

The Community Faculty of the Year recipient is selected by a committee of faculty and staff from the Department of Medical Education, Office of Student Affairs, Student Leadership and Office of Outreach and Community Engagement. Each department at the university is allowed to nominate one faculty member who has not previously received the award.

“Every day, our community faculty exemplify their commitment to educating future physicians through their passion for teaching and being an example of excellence. Together, we’re changing the lives of our students, patients and those in our community,” Dr. Lange said.

Dr. Aviles-Cevasco, a board certified family medicine physician, was nominated by the Department of Family and Community Medicine, where he’s a clinical assistant professor. He graduated from Universidad Nacional Autónoma De Nicaragua Facultad De Ciencias Médicas in 2000 and completed the TTUHSC El Paso Family Medicine Residency Program in 2010. He currently practices at Concentra Medical Center in East El Paso.

Jennifer Molokwu, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor and clerkship director for the Department of Family and Community Medicine, said students admire Dr. Aviles-Cevasco’s dedication to patients and his ability to make them feel like part of medical staff during training. As a result, students have coveted their rotations with him.

“Dr. Aviles-Cevasco has always been willing to take our students, even when sent at the last minute. He’s very prompt with assessments and has remained a consistent preceptor. Our students also give very positive feedback when they work with him,” Dr. Molokwu said. “Dr. Aviles-Cevasco has been commended highly by many students during their clinic rotations at Eastside Rehabilitation Medicine and Pain Clinic, in which he’s been a community preceptor for over four years. He’s dedicated his time to ensure our students have been given the proper training and tools to succeed in their medical careers.”

Like Dr. Aviles-Cevasco, the recipients of the Students’ Choice Awards were surprised with their honor during a video conference. The Students’ Choice Awards are divided into two categories: pre-clerkship and clerkship years.

Benjamin Clapp, M.D., FACS, FASMBS

Benjamin Clapp, M.D., FACS, FASMBS, clinical assistant professor in the Department of Surgery, was voted the clerkship award winner.

Dr. Clapp graduated TTUHSC in Lubbock, Texas, and completed his surgical residency at Maricopa Medical Center in Phoenix. He then completed his fellowship in bariatric and robotic surgery at the University of Texas at Houston Health Sciences Center.

“Dr. Clapp was genuinely interested in my learning, inside the operating room and during patient rounds.  He was also interested in getting to know me when I rotated with him which made things very enjoyable too,” said Jaime Carrillo, a fourth–year FSOM student who nominated Dr. Clapp. “I remember I attended a workshop for patients who were candidates for bariatric surgery that he hosted at a local hospital and I learned some of the concerns and opinions the patients had about these types of surgeries, as well as the commitment they would be making regarding lifestyle changes. That was a unique experience that spoke highly of the genuine interest that he has for the long-term well-being of his patients.”

The pre-clerkship award was shared by Nicolas Rich, M.D., clinical assistant professor, and Ruben Roncallo, M.D., clinical instructor, after the students’ votes ended in a tie.

Both work in the Department of Pediatrics. Dr. Rich graduated from Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez and completed his pediatric residency at the University of Connecticut. Dr. Roncallo graduated from Universidad Metropolitana Ciencias de la Salud in Barranquilla, Colombia, and completed his pediatric residency at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso.