Physicians contribute to our daily lives in ways we often do not even notice. Though they may not always do it directly with hands inside of bodies or by diagnosing a new disease, their amazing contributions on the whole work to advance medicine. The research of outstanding physicians often brings medical breakthroughs to the next level, facilitating enhanced care to patients throughout the world.
The US is just one nation lucky enough to have thousands of doctors making amazing contributions. Because of this, it was exceptionally hard to single out only eight outstanding physicians, but that is the below list attempts. These doctors truly make a difference in their respective fields. Hopefully, discovering more about them will give you the boost of inspiration you may need to take your education or career forward.
Mona M. Abaza, M.D., M.S.
Dr. Mona M. Abaza is a professor in the Department of Otolaryngology in the School of Medicine at the University of Colorado. Her hospital affiliations include Denver Health, Children’s Hospital Colorado, University of Colorado Hospital, and Denver Veteran’s Administration Medical Center.
Abaza obtained her Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) at The Medical College of Pennsylvania. She then continued with a general surgery internship at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey School of Medicine. Abaza completed her residency at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center, following this tenure with a fellowship in professional voice care and laryngology at the Thomas Jefferson University School of Medicine in Philadelphia. While most of her medical practice and education occurred in the 1990s, she moved into the field of education by 2010. She obtained a master of science degree (M.S.) in higher education from Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Abaza’s clinical interests are on laryngology, which is also her subspecialty training. She studies how swallowing, use of airway, and vocal abilities are affected in various circumstances. Her research focus, however, is on resident education, Parkinson’s voice therapy, and professional voice use. Because of her diverse interests in the clinical and academic fields of medicine, this outstanding physician’s list of publications is broad. She has publications in numerous journals, notably including Journal of Voice and Otolaryngolog – Head & Neck Surgery.
In addition to her list of publications and research, Abaza holds membership with several entities. She is a member of the Society of University Otolaryngologists, a Fellow of American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, and a Fellow of the American Broncho-Esophagological Association. She is a renowned ear, nose, and throat (ENT) expert both nationally and internationally.
Outstanding Physician: Read about Mona M. Abaza.
Colin P. West, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Colin P. West is an internist who specializes in general internal medicine. He is an employee at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. West’s clinical focus is chronic illness health care management. He promotes patient autonomy through assisting patients to understand what they are facing.
He earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Washington. Then, he continued his scholarship and acquired an M.S., M.D., and Ph.D., as well as his post-doctoral fellowship, at the University of Iowa. West served as both a resident and, later, chief medical resident at the Internal Medicine Department of the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine.
He is active in education and research. In addition to mentoring residents and medical students, he takes fellows under his wing to guide them on the path to becoming an outstanding physician. Regarding his research focus, medical education and evidence-based medicine are prominent.
Additionally, West has published in more than 170 publications. He is often a co-author given the large scope of his research area. Furthermore, West contributes to the Mayo Internal Medicine Well-Being Study (Mayo IMWELL Study) and leads, with two partners, the Physician Well-Being Program. He is also the deputy editor at the Journal of General Internal Medicine. His tenure in that position began in 2008.
West is a firm believer that patient care can be improved if physician distress is reduced. As such, he promotes the need for doctors and medical students to take time for their own healthcare management prior to treating patients.
Outstanding Physician: Read about Colin P. West.
Bradley Benson, M.D.
Dr. Bradley Benson is the Chief Academic Officer and a Professor of Medicine at the Division of General Internal Medicine of the University of Minnesota’s Medical School. Benson is certified in both pediatrics and internal medicine. His clinical interests include primary care, hospital medicine, medicine on the internet, and post-cancer for children.
He earned his B.S. in biology at the University of Illinois. Benson then proceeded to the School of Medicine at Vanderbilt University to acquire his M.D. After he earned his degree, his residency began at the University of Minnesota. His time as Chief Resident was completed at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota.
His community engagement deserves commendation, too. Of particular distinction, he was a volunteer physician during the Haiti earthquake crisis in 2010. He participated as a volunteer preceptor in Minneapolis at a student-run clinic prior to the Haiti disaster, too. Benson’s dedication to communities in need highlights his work as an outstanding physician. Benson also is a member of Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Society of General Internal Medicine.
Furthermore, Benson’s list of publications is long and includes both peer-reviewed and unreviewed publications, presentations, and website articles. His writings often focus on areas beyond the clinical setting, including effective communication in hospitals and between health care professionals. Additionally, he participated in updating the medical curriculum for the University of Minnesota, emphasizing quality improvement, limiting burnout, and advancing the field.
Outstanding Physician: Read about Bradley Benson.
Anne Maureen Connolly, M.D.
Dr. Anne Maureen Connolly is a professor of Neurology at the School of Medicine at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. She holds board certifications in pediatric neurology, pediatrics, and electromyography (EMG). While her specialty areas include muscle disorders, nerve disorders, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS/Lou Gehrig’s disease), muscular dystrophy, and neuromuscular diseases, she focuses on the impact of such diseases on children. Her hospital affiliations include St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Barnes-Jewish Hospital.
Connolly started her academic career in Indiana at Saint Mary’s College. There, she obtained a bachelor of science degree. She went on to acquire her M.D. from Indiana University. Having completed two years of residency, one at St. Louis Children’s Hospital in pediatrics and the other at Barnes Hospital with Washington University School of Medicine in neurology, she moved into a fellowship in child neurology again at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
Regarding publications and research, Connolly is a well-established author. Her work includes focuses on infants with muscular diseases, gender-specific correlation with muscular dystrophy, and clinical practice recommendations based on her findings in these areas. As for her clinical interests, the list is long and includes electromyography, myasthenic syndrome, spinal muscular atrophy, childhood neuropathy, brachial plexus injury, and syndromes of congenital muscular dystrophy. Connolly is a neurologist widely recognized on both national and international levels. She is truly an outstanding physician and one of the most renowned specialists in pediatric neurology in the country.
Outstanding Physician: Read about Anne Maureen Connolly.
Corrie T.M. Anderson, M.D.
Dr. Corrie T.M. Anderson has been employed at Seattle Children’s Hospital since 2001. He is certified in both pain medicine and anesthesiology by the American Board of Anesthesiology. As evidenced by his patient testimonials and awards, he is truly an outstanding physician.
Anderson started his medical education at the School of Medicine at Stanford University in California. He moved on to his residency in anesthesiology and pediatrics at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Children’s Hospital Boston, respectively. The latter institution granted him a fellowship in anesthesiology, too.
His list of publications include manuscripts, abstracts, and peer-reviewed articles. He has also delivered presentations rooted in his work in pediatric anesthesiology. Anderson also developed a Complementary Medicine Clinic and Pediatric Outpatient Pain Clinic within his current hospital.
Additionally, Anderson is the recipient of several honors and awards. He is considered a “top doctor” by many entities. From 2004 to 2007, Seattle Metropolitan Magazine ranked him among their Top Doctors list. In both 2007 and 2010, he received the recognition of being one of America’s Top Pediatricians by the Guide to America’s Top Pediatricians. He is also a 2012 U.S. News Top Doctor. Beyond recognition revolving around his clinical practices, he is a recipient of the “Golden Apple Seed” Teaching Award from the University of Washington. He is among those leading the advancement in pain medicine accessibility to the youngest ones.
Outstanding Physician: Read about Corrie T.M. Anderson.
Gail D’Onofrio, M.D., M.S.
Dr. Gail D’Onofrio is a professor of emergency medicine at the Yale School of Medicine. She is also the Inaugural Chair of her department. She is also a principal investigator for the Yale Drug use, Addiction, and HIV Research Scholars (DAHRS) program, which is a sponsored fellowship for post-doctorate researchers. With notable research in her own repertoire, D’Onofrio is also a faculty member in the Office of Cooperative Research.
In addition to her academic tenure, D’Onofrio is a practicing physician and the Physician-in-Chief of Emergency Services at Yale-New Haven Hospital. This post includes oversight of staff and departments that provide treatment to about 180,000 patients annually.
This outstanding physician began her academic career in the School of Medicine at Boston University. There, she obtained both an M.S. and M.D. She then became a fellow at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) and later completed her residency training at Boston City Hospital. Additionally, she is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine.
D’Onofrio’s specialty areas include both addiction and emergency medicine. She is internationally recognized for her contributions to the field of substance use disorders (SUD) with a particular emphasis on alcohol. D’Onofrio’s most notable scientific contribution, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2015, is “A randomized clinical trial on naloxone/buprenorphine treatment for opioid dependence.” This work adjusted clinical practice among the treatment of opioid-dependent patients, viewing this dependency as a chronic disease. The authors of the study were awarded the Clinical Research Forum and Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation Award.
Outstanding Physician: Read about Gail D’Onofrio.
Allan Doctor, M.D.
Dr. Allan Doctor is a professor of critical care medicine and pediatrics at the School of Medicine at Washington University in St. Louis. Doctor joined this staff in 2006 as the head of the Pediatric Critical Care Department. He spent an entire decade as the department head before he decided to step down in order to dedicate more time to his research.
Prior to these career achievements, this outstanding physician had humble beginnings earning a B.A. at the University of Virginia. He went on to obtain his M.D. at the same school. Doctor then proceeded to the University of Pittsburgh to complete his residency training. The next step in his career was moving to the Boston Children’s Hospital, where he completed a residency in pediatrics and was a fellow in critical care and emergency medicine.
Currently, the focus of Doctor’s research is expanding to analyzing the acquired red cell injury physiology, as well as developing artificial bio-synthetic artificial red cells. He is also interested in how an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) setting allows physicians to utilize translational transfusion medicine. His past research and published interests include studying pediatric trauma, brain injuries, case studies on Pediatric Intensive Care Units (PICUs), and end-of-life practices in American PICUs.
Of interest are Doctor’s many honors. Since 1985, he has received numerous recognitions. Most recently, he received the Skandalaris Innovation Center Washington University Faculty Member of the Year Award in 2018. He is also a Faculty Scholar with the Institute for Public Health at the university. Beyond his academic recognitions, he is a named Best Doctor in America and Best Doctor in Saint Louis. He has held these titles since 2013.
Outstanding Physician: Read about Allan Doctor.
Alan Shahtaji, D.O.
Dr. Alan Shahtaji joined the staff of University of California, San Diego Health in 2012. Though his primary specialty is family medicine, he is also a sports medicine specialist and practices osteopathic medicine. Additionally, Shahtaji is an assistant professor of public health and family medicine with the university. He also directs UC San Diego Health’s Sports Concussion Clinic.
This outstanding physician began in medicine with a Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.) from Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine. He was the class valedictorian upon graduation in 2008. Shahtaji proceeded to a residency at UC San Diego, which he followed with a fellowship at the Wake Forest School of Medicine in North Carolina.
His expertise areas are quite impressive, including fracture management, musculoskeletal ultrasound, and orthopedic issues that do not require surgery. He is board certified in his primary specialties, family medicine and sports medicine; however, he is also certified for use of specific technology that enhances his abilities as a D.O. He is a Credentialed ImPACT Consultant (CIC), allowing him to use ImPact Applications to assist in evaluating concussion recovery progress. Additionally, he has a Certificate of Added Qualifications in Sports Medicine (CAQSM), making his resume all the more impressive.
Shahtaji serves as a physician for the U.S. Soccer Federation. Not only is he a consultant to the organization, but he also travels with national teams as needed. In 2016, he was part of the staff at the Olympic Games held in Brazil. He also travels with youth World Cup teams as a staff physician.
Shahtaji has also received numerous recognitions for his achievements in medicine. He was the 2007 recipient of the Presidential Memorial Leadership Award. He also received an Excellence in Teaching prize in 2016.
Outstanding Physician: Read about Alan Shahtaji.