Timothy Peters, MD, and Gretchen Brenes, PhD, Receive 2022 Byrum Mentoring Award

February 8, 2023

Timothy Peters, MD, Professor of Pediatrics - Infectious Diseases, and Gretchen Brenes, PhD, Professor of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine, Social Sciences and Health Policy and Public Health Sciences, have been recognized for their ongoing investment in students, residents, fellows and faculty through the James Edwin Byrum Jr, MD, Distinguished Faculty Mentor Award from Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

Caroline Minnick Annie Thurman

Timothy Peters, MD

Peters is the award winner in the clinician educator category. He joined Wake Forest University School of Medicine as faculty in 2007 and is an accomplished researcher, devoted mentor and committed clinician. Peters spent much of his early years mentoring and conducting clinical research in virology and influenza. He has more than 50 publications, and the past 10 are all in medical education influential journals including Teaching and Learning in Medicine, Medical Science Educator and MedEdPORTAL.

One of his former mentees, and now colleague, noted that Peters has been a constant advocate, impassioned sponsor, reliable cheerleader and supportive mentor to him for almost a decade. This former mentee also shared that even to this day, when they are faced with an obstacle, career opportunity, or just a daily challenge, Peters is who they seek out for guidance. This individual noted how rare it is to find a faculty member who is so committed to the professional development of others, like Peters is, and applauds the support that he has provided to countless students, residents, fellows, junior and mid-career faculty.

Another former mentee and current colleague of Peters shared that as her academic career evolved, she often sought Peters’ counsel. Through those discussions, Peters offered her guidance on how to overcome her feelings of inadequacy and she stated how this guidance from Peters was a game-changer for her. She shared, “Once I had overcome it, I was empowered to approach my career with a renewed confidence and enthusiasm. I finally took the reins of my career trajectory and reshaped the direction of my academic pursuits in a way that better matched my interests and unique talents.”

Those who nominated Peters are grateful to have benefited from his mentorship for so many years and honored to have the opportunity to collaborate with him on innovative educational projects and leadership initiatives.

Gretchen Brenes, PhD

Brenes is the award winner in the researcher category. She has mentored countless individuals and is actively involved in Women in Medicine and Science, a career development group. Brenes is an extremely well decorated researcher, clinician and educator/mentor. She gracefully wears many hats and manages to make herself accessible, both in terms of her time with mentees, as well her ability to create space for vulnerable discussions.

One former trainee of Brenes noted how they had undergone a number of significant personal and professional changes, including navigating what it means to be a woman with an advanced degree working in academic medicine and balancing being a single parent. This individual shared, “Gretchen has been supportive of me in a number of ways, both functional and emotional, during my journey of finding a sustainable seat amidst personal and professional identities. Gretchen’s guidance around certain processes have been so helpful that I have since passed on these pearls to other women in this health system.” This individual also shared that Brenes has not mentored her to be a mirror of her, but rather to find her own unique successes. She is grateful to Brenes for being a significant guide in this process of her learning to walk her own balance beam.

Another former mentee applauded Brenes’ calm and supportive demeanor while providing mentorship. This approach helped this individual flourish her own style as she developed her career and faculty role. She credits Brenes as being instrumental in helping to navigate challenging conflicts and approaches to become more skilled as an emerging faculty leader. This former mentee described Brenes as, “An exceptionally loyal, dedicated, compassionate and supportive mentor, who has a subtle style that really helps bring out the best in a mentee and promotes flourishing and independent development of the mentee. I’m so grateful for her ongoing support and mentorship.”

Those who nominated Brenes highlighted her ability to balance multiple roles while also putting relationships first and shared how the people who sit in front of her feel “gotten” and understood.

The Byrum Award memorializes James Edwin “Ed” Byrum Jr., MD, who passed away on August 21, 2011. During his 37-year Medical Center career, Byrum helped train more than 200 emergency medicine physicians. In 1974, he co-created and directed one of the first residency programs in Emergency Medicine.

Previous Byrum Award recipients include:

  • 2021 – Suzanne Danhauer, PhD, and Craig Greven, MD
  • 2020 – L. Andrew Koman, MD, and Stephen Kritchevsky, PhD
  • 2019 – Pamela Duncan, PhD, PT, FAPTA, FAHA, and Michael Rieker, CRNA, DNP, FAAN
  • 2018 – Debra Diz, PhD and Patrick Reynolds, MD
  • 2017 – Gary Poehling, MD and Charles (Cash) McCall, MD
  • 2016 – Glenn Lesser, MD, FACP
  • 2015 – Jeff Williamson, MD
  • 2014 – Sonia Crandall, PhD, and Wayne Meredith, MD
  • 2013 – Sara Jones, PhD, and Frances Walker, MD
  • 2012 – Joseph Jorizzo, MD