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Patriot Awards given to USA Department of Pediatrics chief resident physicians

The Patriot Award reflects the efforts made to support citizen warriors through a wide-range of measures including flexible schedules, time off before and after deployment, caring for families, and granting leaves of absence if needed.

Published May 22nd, 2020

By Casandra Andrews
candrews@health.southalabama.edu

Phil Nehls, M.D., and Laurie McCann, M.D., have been honored with Patriot Awards for their advocacy on behalf of Elijah Fox, M.D., a third-year pediatric resident at USA Health who serves in the U.S. Army National Guard.

Nehls and McCann served as chief residents for the University of South Alabama Pediatric Residency Program at USA Health during the 2019-2020 academic year. Fox said he nominated the two for the award because of their help facilitating mandated trainings and for their unwavering encouragement.

"They were great to me and never complained about the sometimes sudden needs of the Army," Fox said. "They always made it so that coverage for my missed shifts was never a worry. They have been the very best at adapting to the needs of the Army."

The National Guard is an element of the U.S. military that serves both community and country. Members respond to domestic emergencies, overseas combat missions, counterdrug efforts, reconstruction missions and more. Any state governor or the President of the United States can call on the Guard in a moment's notice. Guard soldiers hold civilian jobs or attend college while maintaining their military training part time, primarily in their home state.

Fox presented Nehls and McCann with the awards at Children's & Women's Hospital on May 12, 2020. Roger Berkow, M.D., who served as Director of the Pediatric Residency Program during the 2019-20 year, also was nominated and previously presented with a Patriot Award by Fox.

"Being recognized as a patriotic employer by the Office of the Secretary of Defense is an honor for our chief residents, USA Health and the University of South Alabama Department of Pediatrics," said David A. Gremse, M.D., FAAP, Hollis J. Wiseman Distinguished Professor and Chair of the USA Department of Pediatrics. "As the only academic medical center on the upper Gulf Coast, we play a vital role in educating the next generation of physicians, including those who volunteer to serve their country through military service."

The Patriot Award reflects the efforts made to support citizen warriors through a wide-range of measures including flexible schedules, time off before and after deployment, caring for families, and granting leaves of absence if needed. Those serving in the National Guard or Reserve, or the spouse of a member, may nominate individual supervisors and bosses for support provided directly to the nominating service member and his or her family.

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