2013 Mentor of the Year Recipient: Patricia Petrozza, M.D.
Dr. Patricia Petrozza has been a guiding influence for many faculty during her 29 ½ years at Wake Forest School of Medicine. Dr. Petrozza was the first female professor in the Department of Neurology and has also served as the former Program Director for the Neurology residency program, former President of the Society for Neurosurgical Anesthesiology, won the WFMS Alumni Distinguished Faculty award 2012, has been a member of the Anesthesiology In-training council for 9 years, former Editor in Chief of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, and was the Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education for 10 years. Most recently, Dr. Petrozza was made the Chair of the Clinical Ethics subcommittee and serves as a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Neurosurgical Anesthesiology. She now focuses primarily on clinical care and teaching with Ethics and Promotion Committee duties and was recently elected to the Academic Freedom Subcommittee of the Faculty Senate.
Dr. Petrozza was a mentor to many women within the Neurology department over the years and has mentored numerous residency and fellowship program directors over her time as Associate Dean. In addition, she has had continuous mentoring relationships with residents and fellows as well as junior faculty for over close to thirty years.
Her formal OWIMS mentorships were with Dr. Jennifer Laudadio (Pathology) and Dr. Cynthia Emory (Surgery-Orthopaedics), and both nominated her for the Mentor of the Year Award. Dr. Laudadio had this to say about Dr. Petrozza: Pat is a wonderful mentor. She made time to get together even though her clinical service load has increased. She encouraged me to apply for the AAMC Early Career Women Faculty Development Program. She offered advice and helped steer me in the correct direction and got me to consider other options when I encountered obstacles to growing a clinical lab. When I considered taking on the responsibility of Program Director, I turned to Pat as an advisor. She knew me, my strengths and goals, as well as the demands of being P.D. and offered sound counsel. It was a benefit to me that Pat is in a different academic department. She's gotten to learn a lot about the life of a pathologist (probably more than she wanted to know). Even though she didn't have initial insight into the challenges particular to our specialty, she was able to draw on her experiences and find ways to relate & empathize. Pat has been a cheerleader for me even when I couldn't find anyone else to fill that role. I knew that I could always share my successes with her and she is genuinely happy for me.
Dr. Emory also had some wonderful things to say about Dr. Petrozza: Dr. Petrozza has been my mentor for the past two years. She has been a sounding board for all aspects of my professional career and personal life. She treats me with respect, is not judgmental, and helps guide me along the correct path, enabling me to figure it out along the way. She brings a nonbiased view to our discussions and provides tremendous support for me. She provides careful advice, especially when she senses that I may be heading in the wrong direction. Dr. Petrozza has helped me negotiate difficult situations with other faculty which resulted in both sides feeling satisfied. Even in the setting of significant change in her career, she has been able to put that aside to help me advance in mine, leading to my selection last fall as Medical Director in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. She helps me maintain perspective, which is critical given the stress of my everyday environment. I am grateful to have an inside view into Dr. Petrozza's experiences in her career, allowing me to shape my future with the medical center.
Congratulations to Dr. Petrozza for winning this well-deserved award!