Dr. Brianna Oelschlager ’11 Moyer was recently awarded the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine Resident Teacher Award for exemplary leadership and teaching excellence in the Lancaster General Family Medicine Residency program. This portrait is courtesy of Dr. Joseph Gascho '68, a cardiologist at Penn State College of Medicine.

Lancaster doctor honored for leadership and teaching excellence while co-chief resident

Dr. Brianna Oelschlager ’11 Moyer was recently awarded the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine Resident Teacher Award for exemplary leadership and teaching excellence in the Lancaster General Family Medicine Residency program.

The residency program in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, one of the oldest in the United States, is ranked fourth in the nation by U.S. News and World Report.

Moyer earned a degree in biochemistry from EMU with a minor in socioeconomic development and went on to Penn State College of Medicine. After graduation in 2015, she began her residency. Over the next three years, she completed two areas of concentration, each entailing an extra 200 hours of study/practice, in maternal health and global health. From February 2017 to February 2018, she served as co-chief resident, graduating in June as a board-certified family physician.

Selected among 13 “exceptional physicians and dedicated teachers” in her class, Moyer said she is “very honored, surprised and humbled to receive this award” from her peers.

It made all the difference in her job search after graduation. In late August, Moyer begins as a faculty member in the program she just completed. She’ll have her own practice, and also supervise family medicine residents in their clinics, in the hospital inpatient service, and on the labor and delivery floor. Additionally, she’ll assist the current director of the global health studies curriculum in working with residents seeking a global health concentration.

“This award meant a lot to me,” Moyer said, “as it helped me realize that my colleagues already see me as a teacher, which gave me more confidence as I look forward to starting my new position in August.”

Residents selected the honoree from a list of candidates, who are nominated by faculty based on several criteria, including interest and excellence in teaching pre-professional students about family medicine education; peer and student appreciation for teaching; participation in a patient education or residency education committee; and professional presentations, including grand rounds, conferences and meetings.

International travel, EMU cross-cultural affirm professional interests

Moyer says that her interest in global health has been the driving force behind a series of life choices. A mission trip to Haiti with her home church, Zion Mennonite in Souderton, Pennsylvania, as a high school sophomore sparked her early interest in pursuing a career in medicine. She chose EMU because of opportunities with the cross-cultural program, and eventually traveled to South Africa as a junior. That time abroad was not only “my favorite part of my four years at EMU,” but also “influenced my desire to serve diverse and underserved communities in my future practice,” she said.

In her fourth year at Penn State medical school, she spent a month at Macha Mission Hospital in Zambia with a scholarship from Mennonite Healthcare Fellowship.

When looking for a residency program, Moyer says Lancaster rose to the top, offering not only the medical training she desired but the opportunity “to serve a culturally diverse community and become involved in global health.”

“I believe the reason I sought many of those characteristics comes from my experience and education at EMU,” she said.

Her global health concentration required two months abroad. She spent March 2017 at Malamulo Hospital in Malawi (on this trip, she traveled with Dr. Christy Shank, currently the director of the global health curriculum but prior to that, Malamulo’s medical director for seven years). Her second rotation was in February 2018 at Shirati Hospital in Tanzania.

Among other responsibilities in her new position, Moyer will help develop new global health sites for residents in the family medicine program, in addition to those currently offered in Malawi, Tanzania, Guatemala, and with Indian Health Services in New Mexico. Additionally, she’ll coordinate a lecture series related to global health and advise residents in the concentration.

Co-chief residency builds leadership, mentoring skills

Moyer was selected by a vote from peers to share co-chief responsibilities with former Penn State classmate and good friend Laura Leaman. Their shared responsibilities included creating the resident schedule for the entire year, finding coverage when residents call out sick, acting as a liaison between the residents and the faculty, attending faculty meetings, assisting with planning and development of the curriculum, and running the monthly resident business meeting.

Their close collaboration “helped to generate new ideas,” including the design of a narrative medicine curriculum for the residents that was piloted last year and is built into the curriculum this year. The sessions created space for a small group of residents to talk about difficult patient experiences with each other and a faculty member or upper-level resident facilitator.

One aspect of the position Moyer enjoyed was “getting to know many residents on a deeper level, as residents often come to the chiefs with their struggles and challenges,” she said. “I enjoyed connecting with people in this way and felt honored that my colleagues felt comfortable confiding in me.”

Moyer and Leaman also attended the yearly Family Medicine National Conference in Kansas City, Missouri, to represent the program and assist in recruiting new residents.

Editor’s note: Brianna Moyer’s portrait was taken by Dr. Joseph Gascho ’68, who recently was honored with the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award. Read more here.