Dr. Sean Marco ('12) and wife, Dr. Rajni Sandhu Marco ('13), met while enrolled at AUC. While Sean pursues a fellowship in Pulmony Disease and Critical Care Medicine, Rajni will soon assume the role of Pediatric Chief Resident.

AUC alumni Sean Marco, MD, (’12) was recently awarded the 2016 Arnold P. Gold Foundation’s Humanism and Excellence in Teaching Award (HETA) by the East Carolina University (ECU) Brody School of Medicine. The peer-nominated honor recognizes medical residents who have demonstrated a commitment to teaching and compassionate treatment of patients and families, as well as students and colleagues.

The HETA award brings Dr. Marco’s internal medicine residency full circle. During his intern year, he received the Teaching Intern of the Year award from ECU’s Brody School of Medicine and now, three years later, his dedication is still being acknowledged.

“It’s one of my proudest moments,” he shares.

Teachable Moments

On teaching, Dr. Marco believes the most important thing is to watch and listen to medical students, and make sure they are included in patient care as much as possible. He credits a past resident as instilling those values during his own clinical rotations. 

“It helps them gain confidence in presentations, complete meaningful notes, and understand the full scope of patient care,” he says. “I’m much harder on students than the other residents but I know they appreciate it.”

Equally important for Dr. Marco is providing patients with humanistic care. He focuses on learning every patient’s story—home life, family, living situation, etc.—to better treat and understand them. A humanistic approach, he believes, enables a more personal and professional connection with patients that is more stimulating and rewarding, and can help protect against physician burnout.  

“There’s a person behind every patient and our job is to uncover their story and tell it,” he says. “Forming a narrative out of a disease process helps the care team provide better compassionate, holistic care and really enables the patient to better understand his or her own disease process.” 

Future Plans

Looking forward, Dr. Marco is staying in North Carolina to begin a three-year fellowship in Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care Medicine. He grappled with the decision of becoming Chief Resident, but decided to go directly into specialty training where he will continue to be involved in academic medicine. He looks forward to the privilege and challenge of helping patients and their families in one of the most critical phases of their lives. 

Upon receiving the HETA award earlier this month, Dr. Marco was inducted into the National Gold Humanism Honor Society, where he joins hundreds of other distinguished professionals from various specialties and programs across the United States. He is the first Internal Medicine resident at ECU to be inducted. 

Shannon Toher

Posted April 26, 2016 01:17 PM

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