Alumni News and Notes

Keep up with the latest events and milestones of your Wake Forest School of Medicine classmates

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MD Nurse Anesthesia PA Graduate School
House Staff Medical Technology Pastoral Care Nursing

Chamberlain celebrates 30 Years of Alumni Work

This year, Donna Chamberlain celebrated 30 years with the Office of Philanthropy and Alumni Relations, having worked with and supported more than a generation of Wake Forest School of Medicine alumni.

Smiling woman with curly brown hair smiles as she sits at her desk

Over three decades, alumni have come to appreciate Donna’s caring approach to her work and her friendly, positive demeanor. “On behalf of Wake Forest medical alumni, I sincerely thank Donna for everything she has done and continues to do in support of our alumni,” said Stanley N. Tennant, MD ’78, president of the Medical Alumni Association.  “She is extremely helpful in all aspects of the alumni office and makes everything run smoothly.” 

Donna is a Wake Forest University graduate who majored in business administration. Her colleagues have come to depend on her thorough attention to detail and an almost encyclopedic knowledge of alumni and the school’s history. Now serving as alumni program manager, Donna’s career has included positions in gift processing, annual funds and alumni relations.

Share your comments and congratulations with her at


Atkins Leads NEW Wilkes Medical Center Oncology Team


James N. Atkins, MD ’76, House Staff ’79, is leading the new medical oncology team at Wake Forest Baptist Health Wilkes Medical Center. 

An older male doctor wears a mask while talking with a patientAtkins, a native of Amherst, Mass., and a resident of Winston-Salem, is board-certified in oncology and internal medicine. He spent 33 years in private practice in Goldsboro, N.C., and worked in Richmond, Va., before joining Wake Forest Baptist.

For more than 20 years, he has led the Community Clinical Oncology Program, a nationwide effort developed by the National Cancer Institute and the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control to encourage participation in clinical trials.

His honors include the 2006 Harry Hynes Award from the NCI, an award from the Association for Community Cancer Centers for his commitment to clinical trials and the U.S. Public Health Service Medal of Commendation, awarded in 1986.

NCI DesignationWilkes Medical Center’s new medical oncology service is part of Wake Forest Baptist Health’s Comprehensive Cancer Center, which is the only NCI-designated center in western North Carolina and one of only 51 in the country.


Clinch Named Associate Dean for MD Program Academic Affairs


C. Randall (Randy) Clinch, DO, MS ’04, professor of Family and Community Medicine, has been named associate dean for MD Program Academic Affairs.

C. Randall 'Randy' Clinch, DOClinch had served as interim leader in the position since July 1, 2019. He has worked effectively with students, staff and faculty during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that the school continues to provide students with a robust learning environment.

A former Brooks Scholar in Academic Medicine, Clinch will develop, implement and enhance the MD program to prepare students for successful careers as knowledgeable, humanistic physicians and scientists who are leaders in their fields.

His experience includes serving as associate dean for Faculty Development, associate dean for Academic Accreditation and medical director of Employee Health. He is a founding member of the Council of Academic Family Medicine Educational Research Alliance, a national program focused on mentoring residents, fellows and faculty on educational research scholarly projects.

He has developed and implemented student and faculty training for the school’s recent accreditations — regionally through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and programmatically through the Liaison Committee on Medical Education inspections. He also is a board member with the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine. 


Strowd Named Assistant Dean for MD Program Academic Affairs


Roy E. Strowd III, MEd, MD ’09, House Staff ’13, MS ’20, has been named assistant dean for MD Program Academic Affairs.

Roy E. Strowd III, MEd, MDStrowd is associate professor of neurology, hematology and oncology and the Clinical and Translational Science Institute. As assistant dean, he leads efforts related to policies and procedures, collaborates to maintain accreditation standards compliance, participates in the budget process and ensures ongoing communication with medical student leaders and groups to encourage student representation in the MD program.

He is founder and director of the Health Professions Educator Institute, delivering quarterly Grand Rounds, biannual skills workshops and an annual educator conference on pertinent medical education topics. In conjunction with Sonia J. Crandall, PhD, MS ’03, and Chris Gillette, PhD, Strowd oversees the Teaching Scholars Academy, a new mentorship program for faculty interested in medical education scholarship and applying for the Brooks Scholars in Academic Medicine.

He is the faculty adviser to the Navigating Medical School program, which delivers near-peer mentoring to students in the MD program, and directs the Wake Forest Interprofessional Leaders in Healthcare program.

He has received 21 awards related to his teaching, including the 2019 A.B. Baker Teaching Recognition Award in Neurology and the 2019 Innovation in Medical Education Award from the Southern Group on Educational Affairs (SGEA). The SGEA also selected him as the inaugural recipient of the its M. Brownell Anderson Award, recognizing an outstanding early career medical educator, and he will be considered for the national GEA M. Brownell Anderson Award from the Association of American Medical Colleges.

He has published 26 of his 89 peer-reviewed publications in medical education journals and is associate editor for Medical Education Online. As a medical student, Strowd received numerous awards, including the MAA Excellence Award, the Excellence in Neurology Award and the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award. He and his wife, Lindsay Chaney Strowd, MD ’09, HS ’13, and their children, Deacon, Caroline and Savannah, reside in Winston-Salem.  

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Nurse Anesthesia

Rieker Earns Byrum Faculty Mentor Award 

Michael Rieker, CRNA, DNP, FAAN, professor of anesthesiology, chair of the Department of Academic Nursing and director of the Nurse Anesthesia Program, has been recognized for his ongoing investment in students, residents, fellows and faculty with the 2019 James Edwin Byrum Jr., MD, Distinguished Faculty Mentor Award from the School of Medicine.

A man in a bow tie smiles as he receives a plaque from a woman in a white coatRieker received the Byrum Award from by Julie Ann Freischlag, MD, FACS, FRCSEd(Hon), DFSVS, chief executive officer of Wake Forest Baptist Health and dean of the School of Medicine in February 2020.

Rieker is the recipient in the clinician educator category. He has been a CRNA for over 20 years and program director since 2005. During that time, the program has graduated more than 300 CRNAs and created new educational opportunities for our students, trainees and staff, and his leadership has helped elevated the program into the top 10 rankings of U.S. News and World Report. He was also instrumental in creating the Doctor of Nursing Practice program and preparing faculty for the future of learning and practice ahead.

Rieker is a nationally recognized leader in education, having received the highest honor for CRNAs as the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) Program Director of the Year. He also serves as an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve. Junior faculty familiar with Rieker’s mentorship approach say he leads by example, exudes excellence through his intelligence, humility and work ethic, and successfully creates a supportive environment where those under his leadership can thrive.

The Byrum Award memorializes James Edwin “Ed” Byrum Jr., MD ’68, who died in 2011. During his 37-year career with Wake Forest Baptist, he helped train more than 200 emergency medicine physicians and in 1974, he co-created and directed one of the first residency programs in emergency medicine.

Nominations Accepted for Leadership Award

The selection committee of the Nurse Anesthesia Alumni Board is accepting nominations for the Progressive Leadership Award. The award recognizes an alumnus/a with current leadership accomplishments in nurse anesthesia-related activities and the potential for continued growth in leadership roles in the nurse anesthesia profession.

Nominations may be made by any person. As the purpose of this award is to encourage alumni to continue their leadership climb, those who have already achieved very high levels of accomplishment (e.g., AANA president) should be considered to be beyond the purpose of this award. Deserving candidates can be nominated online at

Program Receives SSH Accreditation

The Nurse Anesthesia Program received full accreditation for its simulation center from the Society for Simulation in Healthcare (SSH) with recognition in the areas of teaching and assessment.

The simulation center, located at 525@vine in Innovation Quarter, is the only nurse anesthesia single-entity center in the country to receive this designation. The Nurse Anesthesia Program has used simulation in education for over 20 years.

Established in 2004, the SSH is the largest international simulation accreditation organization and seeks to improve performance and reduce errors in patient care through the use of simulation.

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Bodner Named Vice Chair of PA Studies

Gayle Bodner, MMS, PA-CGayle Bodner, MMS, PA-C, assistant professor in the departments of PA Studies and Anesthesiology, has been named vice chair of PA Studies, reporting to Chair L. Gail Curtis, MPAS, PA-C ’81.

Bodner, a graduate of the University of Colorado, earned her Master of Medical Science/PA from Midwestern University in Glendale, Ariz., and plans to complete the doctoral program at Eastern Virginia Medical School in 2023. Before joining the School of Medicine’s PA faculty in 2015, she practiced preoperative medicine in the Department of Anesthesiology at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix.

In addition to directing clinical education for the PA Program, Bodner has served on the curriculum, policy, and student progress and admissions committees and as chair of the clinical education committee. She also volunteers as a clinician supervisor for the Delivering Equal Access to Care (DEAC) mobile clinic and practices clinically in anesthesiology.

Wake Forest Baptist Named PA Employer of Excellence 

Wake Forest Baptist Health has again received national recognition as an American Association of Physician Assistants Center for Health Care Leadership and Management Employer of Excellence.

Logo for PA employer of excellenceWake Forest Baptist was one of eight health systems to receive the inaugural PA Employer of Excellence award for 2018-19 and is now one of only four health systems to maintain the award status for 2020-21.

“Our APPs are making a tremendous impact to receive this national recognition,” said Alisha T. DeTroye, MMS, PA-C ’04, DFAAPA, director of advanced practice PAs. “This award recognizes the collective work of our entire advanced practice provider (APP) team throughout our health system. Some of the amazing APP-facilitated work our application highlighted includes telehealth, mentoring, wellness, our APP engagement forums, such as the speed mentoring event, monthly APP grand rounds which are designed and led by APPs, and the annual recognition forum which recognizes outstanding APPs and champions. We are extremely proud of our entire team.”

Scholarship Established in Memory of PA Alumna

OrthoCarolina Winston-Salem has established an endowed scholarship fund in memory of one of its former employees, Catherine E. Staplefoote, PA-C ’07.

Catherine Staplefoote, PA-CCreated by her friends and colleagues, the Catherine E. Staplefoote, PA-C Scholarship Fund will provide a scholarship to one student enrolled in or intending to enroll in the PA Program who exhibits Staplefoote’s qualities of compassion and leadership. A preference will be given to students who demonstrate financial need. 

“It was something those of us at OrthoCarolina wanted to do for Catherine, in honor of what a great PA and person she was over the last several years she worked with us,” said Julia Mayo, PA-C ’07, Staplefoote’s classmate and colleague. “She was the epitome of care. She always had such glowing reviews from patients. Everyone loved her. All the doctors and PAs felt compelled to do this in honor of her." 

Staplefoote was a native of Winston-Salem and a graduate of Winston-Salem State University. In addition to working with OrthoCarolina, she also served as a preceptor for the school’s PA Program. She died in July 2020.

Memorial gifts to the scholarship fund may be made online at, by choosing the Wake Forest School of Medicine PA Program and selecting the Catherine E. Staplefoote, PA-C Scholarship Fund.

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Graduate School

A white-haired man sits on wooden steps with a guitar in his handsEric N. Olson, PhD ’81, DSc, Dallas, Texas, a renowned molecular biologist, was named by Wake Forest University as a Distinguished Alumni Award recipient for 2020. The 1977 Wake Forest graduate is founding chair of the University of Texas Southwestern Department of Molecular Biology and leads the Hamon Center for Regenerative Science and Medicine. He has won numerous prestigious science prizes. Olson, also a rock guitarist, holds a professorship in stem cell research established at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas by Willie and Annie Nelson. He received Wake Forest’s Distinguished Alumni Award in Chemistry in 2016. He is married to pediatrician Laurie S. Clark, MD ’81.

Stephanie T. Dance-Barnes, PhD ’07, Park Ridge, Ill., was named dean of DePaul University’s College of Science and Health, effective July 1. She previously served as interim associate provost, dean of DePaul’s College of Lifelong Learning, and associate professor of cell and molecular biology at Winston Salem State University. Dance-Barnes became the first African American woman to receive a doctorate in the area of cancer biology and toxicology from the Wake Forest School of Medicine.  

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A woman in navy scrubs, mask and gloves, puts her head on the shoulder of a masked, gloved man in a white coatDarlene Whitaker Wilkins, RN ’73, Raleigh, N.C., was featured along with her husband, Ezra Brooks Wilkins, MD, in the Raleigh News & Observer in the article, “They’ve Practiced Medicine Together for Decades: Facing COVID-19, They Won’t Back Down,” which chronicles the at-risk doctor-nurse tandem not slowing down amid the pandemic. For decades, the Wilkinses have worked together and treated patients together.

Photo courtesy of Robert Willett/Raleigh News & Observer)

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