The Medical-Dental Staff of Christiana Care Health System honored cardiothoracic surgeon Raymond A. Blackwell, M.D., with its Commendation for Excellence on Oct. 29 at Deerfield Golf & Tennis Club.
The Medical-Dental Staff, comprising more than 1,400 members credentialed by Christiana Care Health System, meets annually in the fall and traditionally awards the Commendation after the meeting. The Commendation for Excellence recognizes a physician for making exceptional contributions to the community through clinical, scholarly, educational or humanitarian activities.
This year, the M-D Staff instituted two new Rising Star awards, which were presented to thoracic surgeon Thomas Bauer, M.D., and Vinay Maheshwari, M.D., medical director of Respiratory Therapy and education coordinator for Pulmonary Critical Care.
Raymond A. Blackwell, M.D.
Dr. Blackwell joined Christiana Care Cardiac Surgery in 1996. Michael K. Banbury, M.D., W. Samuel Carpenter III Distinguished Chair of Cardiovascular Surgery, in presenting the Commendation, described Dr. Blackwell as a skilled, caring, compassionate surgeon, devoted to his patients, family, profession and community, and an indefatigable force, whether staying up all night at the bedside with a patient after surgery, helping his wife, Francis-Blackwell, M.D., with their household, or running a marathon for the satisfaction and thrill of the challenge.
Dr. Blackwell, who serves as co-chair of Christiana Care’s Diversity & Inclusion Council, says his personal experience at the Glastonbury, Conn., high-school based “A Better Chance Program,” influenced his desire to help underprivileged youth and give something back through advocacy, education and service.
In 2006 he received an award for exemplary mentorship from the Network of Undergraduate Collaborative Learning Experiences for Underrepresented Scholars at the University of Delaware. He is active with the Diamond State Sports and Learning Center for Delaware Youths. His lectures have motivated youths, college students and medical students, including the Ascent Foundation for inner-city youths in New York City and the Gregory Center for families with medical illnesses. He serves on the board of the Sanford School and as a regional recruiter for Dartmouth College and Dartmouth Medical School.
Dr. Blackwell attended Dartmouth College and Dartmouth Medical School. He trained in general surgery at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City and trained in cardiothoracic Surgery at Emory University in Atlanta. His areas of interest include acquired cardiac diseases, robotics, blood conservation and arterial revascularization. He has authored several publications and holds a patent for an operating-room lighting system.
He is a Christiana Care Health Services board member, a member of the Delaware Board of Medical Practice and vice chair of the Physician Assistant Advisory Council. He has been a member of the Medico-Legal Affairs Committee of the Medical Society of Delaware, a councilor for the Delaware Chapter of the American College of Surgeons and a member of the Organ and Tissue Donor Awareness Board.
Dr. Blackwell has many other interests and hobbies, but he is most involved with track competition. He holds several American and World records for age group competition.
Thomas Lee Bauer II, M.D.
Thomas Lee Bauer II, M.D., was one of two 2010 Rising Star award winners honored. Dr. Bauer joined Christiana Care as a thoracic surgeon in 2002 and was appointed chief of Thoracic Surgery in 2008.
Introducing Dr. Bauer, Nicholas J. Petrelli, M.D., Bank of America endowed medical director of the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center, praised him as a rising star for his achievements as a surgeon, researcher, educator, leader and humanitarian. As an example of his resourcefulness and caring, Dr. Petrelli related how Dr. Bauer is saving patients from Sussex County from having to travel several hours to and from the Cancer Center by doing initial evaluations, when feasible, using the Web videoconferencing capabilities of Skype.
“This is a great honor, especially for doing something I love,” Dr. Bauer said. “We are all doing our jobs and trying to make a difference every day for our patients, for the community and our individual fields of medicine.”
Dr. Bauer received the Surgical Attending Teacher of the Year award this year and in 2006. He also received the Community Clinical Oncology Program Participating Surgeon Accrual Award in 2007, and he will be recognized as Physician Ambassador to Christiana Care OR nurses in December.
He is currently responsible for developing 10 major programs, including the International Early Lung Cancer Action Program, as institutional principle investigator, a thoracic oncology clerkship, and an undergraduate program he created to educate college students about careers in surgery and train them in the science of clinical outcomes investigation.
In addition, Dr. Bauer is the faculty mentor in the National Institutes of Health sponsored IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence Internship in Thoracic Oncology at Christiana Care, a five-year funded program that provides support for growing research infrastructure at the state level.
He is an avid runner who takes part in triathalons and marathons and finds time to serve as assistant wrestling coach at Wilmington Christiana School. He has a brother and a sister also practicing medicine, and says his mentors include their father, also a surgeon, who taught them to “work as hard as you can, never quit and find for yourself great coaches or mentors in life.”
Vinay Maheshwari, M.D.
Vinay Maheshwari, M.D., also was honored as a 2010 Rising Star Award winners.
Dr. Maheshwari joined the Christiana Care Medical-Dental Staff in 2007. He was appointed medical director of Respiratory Therapy in July 2009.
Virginia U. Collier, M.D., Hugh R. Sharp Jr. Chair of Medicine, introduced Dr. Maheshwari. Dr. Collier said there is no doubt he deserves the recognition. “Although he has only been on staff at Christiana Care for three and a half years, he is already functioning in an excellent fashion as medical director of Respiratory Therapy and the Education Coordinator for Pulmonary Critical Care,” she said. She noted that Dr. Maheshwari’s advice is frequently sought by other hospital physicians and staff, and that his talent as an educator is proven daily.
“He is one of the youngest physicians ever invited to present at the Department of Medicine’s annual Clinical Pearls Grand Rounds, which is an honor usually given to only the most senior clinicians,” said Dr. Collier.
“I am so honored by this award that it is hard to describe how I feel,” said Dr. Maheshwari. “There are so many members of our Medical-Dental Staff who are deserving of this award. To be recognized is humbling, but something I am proud of.”
Dr. Maheshwari said he was thankful for the Department of Medicine’s confidence and faith in his ability and for opportunities to participate in various forums to improve and expand his leadership and management skills. He expressed appreciation for Christiana Care listening to the younger generation of physicians, which fosters their engagement, and thanked Dr. Collier for being his advocate and supporter “from the moment I arrived here at Christiana Care.”
“She has supported me in my pursuits towards management, education and even personal growth,” he said.
He also thanked Albert Rizzo, M.D., and his Pulmonary Associates, PA colleagues for supporting his projects and helping to make them successful.
Dr. Maheshwari, a former medical director of the intensive care unit at Cambridge Hospital in Boston, was named Teacher of the Year at Cambridge Health Alliance/Harvard Medical University in 2006.
He is a graduate of the Medical College of Virginia/Virginia Commonwealth University, where he completed his residency in Internal Medicine. He was a fellow in the Department of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at New England Medical Center/Tufts University Hospital.
Commendation for Excellence past winners
- 2010: Ray Blackwell, M.D.
- 2009: Janet Kramer, M.D. and Richard Lennihan, Jr., M.D,
- 2008: E. Wayne Martz, M.D.
- 2007: Carl Glassman, M.D.
- 2006: Gerald M. Lemole, M.D.
- 2005: David Platt, M.D., and Ethel Platt, M.D.
- 2004: Ben Corballis, M.D.
- 2003: Robert Frelick, M.D.
- 2002: Katherine Esterly, M.D.
- 2001: William Holloway, M.D.
- 2000: Leslie Whitney, M.D.