The OAFP Foundation (Foundation) is pleased to announce that Anna L. Nelson, MD, of Walbridge, OH, is the recipient of the 2021 Family Physician Mentorship Award. The Foundation annually presents the Family Physician Mentorship Award to recognize a community-based Ohio family physician who, as a preceptor, has exhibited exemplary qualities and characteristics of mentorship excellence.
Dr. Nelson is currently associate director at McLaren St. Luke’s Family Medicine Residency program in Perrysburg, OH, where she supervises and mentors family medicine residents on a daily basis. She has led numerous workshops and trainings throughout her years at the residency and is continuously involved with quality improvement projects.
Dr. Nelson’s CV is lengthy and her commitment to the specialty is obvious but the best way to share more about her mentoring role is to share a few comments from her nomination and support letters.
According to her nomination letter submitted by Suchitra Nair, MD, a PGY-1 at her residency, “Dr. Nelson exemplifies qualities of mentorship excellence and has an open-door policy where she is easily approachable. She makes it a priority for us to set short and long-term goals as well as life and residency goals. She has frequent advisee meetings where she provides guidance for our career goals, planning, and growth. More than anything Dr. Nelson has a big heart and cares about teaching the future doctors of America.”
Chris Zona, MD, program director at the residency added, “Dr. Nelson exhibits all the characteristics of a mentor/preceptor role model. She has worked with students as well as residents in a variety of scenarios. She is a member of the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine and participates regularly in their virtual coaching program. She also has been a member of the Family Medicine Educators Workgroup for the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians. I have seen her helping medical students who are applying to residency, helping them to put forth their best on their applications. As an adviser to our residents, she puts forth succinct encouragement and constructive feedback for residents longitudinally. As a faculty adviser, she excels in providing close, supportive, and collaborative relationships throughout the three years of residency and beyond.”
Finally, Megan Cranor, DO, a peer at her residency, shared, “I first met Dr. Nelson in 2011. Though I am positive she hardly remembers the existence of a medical student shadow for my week on the inpatient service with her, she directly affected my path toward family medicine. She fully embraced the opportunity to teach me and make sure that I was having a good learning experience. She showed me the good in family medicine, which I took with me and constantly thought back to when I had less than stellar family medicine experiences during my third year rotations. Eventually, her residency turned into our residency, I transitioned to an intern, and she transitioned to faculty at the same program.”
“To this day, I still seek her out for advice on how to further my career. When I am unsure that I handled an interaction correctly or am frustrated by an encounter, I find myself debriefing with Dr. Nelson. She is always willing to listen and give advice on what I can do to improve for the next time or how to further handle the situation. While I cannot tell the future, I think that she will always be someone that I look to for mentorship, whether we continue as co-faculty or eventually part ways,” Dr. Cranor continued.
“In her book Bravery, Olympic runner Alexi Pappas wrote, ‘A good mentor is a living example of the type of person you’d like to be, and you can learn from them simply by being in their vicinity and paying attention.’ When I first read that line, I thought of Dr. Nelson and how this statement embodies her mentorship for me personally, and I know that she has impacted others in this way as well. Dr. Nelson has deeply impacted me and my career path,” concluded Dr. Cranor.
Dr. Nelson also shared a few words of gratitude after being recognized with this award. “I am so incredibly honored to have been nominated, let alone to be chosen as the recipient of this award. I feel truly at a loss for words, which, if you knew me, doesn’t happen often! Guiding future physicians is not a solo act. I would be remiss to not start by thanking all the incredible people I have the absolute pleasure to work with at the McLaren St. Luke’s Family Medicine Residency Program and their roles in shaping our learners.”
“Mentorship is incredibly important. I recognize that without Dr. Jennifer Middleton’s mentorship during my residency, I would likely not be in academic medicine. Being a mentor to me was not a part of her job description. She was not my advisor. She had no official responsibility to mentor me, yet she took time out of a demanding schedule to nurture the qualities she saw in me that suited academics and helped me find the parts of medicine that “feed the soul.” I often cite her to the learners I work with as the reason I am an academic physician today. As a result, I strive to make a personal investment in the students and residents with whom I have the privilege to work,” continued Dr. Nelson.
“To have Dr. Nair recommend me for this award is such a great honor. It serves as confirmation that I, like Dr. Middleton before me, can guide future physicians to find the part of medicine that “feeds their soul” so they may find a career as fulfilling as the one I have today,” concluded Dr. Nelson.
Dr. Nelson earned her medical degree from the University of Toledo College of Medicine and completed her family medicine residency at ProMedica Toledo Hospital Family Medicine Residency. Dr. Nelson was recognized during the virtual Family Medicine Party held on August 13.
Congratulations, Dr. Nelson!