Resident Rick Vavolizza, MD Selected for All-University Teaching Award

April 26, 2023 by


Resident Rick Vavolizza, MD

Congratulations to UVA Surgery Resident, Dr. Rick Vavolizza, for receiving an All-University Teaching Award. Colleagues and students alike have praised Dr. Vavolizza for his devotion to teaching, as well as his unique pen-and-paper teaching style.

Prior to medical school, Dr. Vavolizza worked as a full-time 7th-Grade Biology teacher at a middle school in New York. There, he helped design curriculums in accordance with NYS benchmarks that emphasized common pathologies. He focused on evoking an excitement for science in his students.

Today, Dr. Vavolizza channels what he learned as a teacher by conducting short one-on-one didactic sessions with medical students. Using a pen and a blank sheet of printer paper, he works with his students to break down each disease process from breast cancer to gallbladder disease into 5 digestible sections: risk factors, symptoms, diagnostic work-up, treatment, and surveillance. His goal is for each student to have a comprehensive understanding of how to diagnose, manage, and follow patients regardless of their future specialty in medicine. According to Dr. Vavolizza, “seeing [his students] apply their newfound knowledge on the wards, in our clinics, and in the OR is rewarding, and seeing their new sense of confidence is truly inspiring.”

Dr. Vavolizza demonstrates exactly what every physician should strive to do in how he integrates medical students into the team and how effectively he teaches. He deserves every award and recognition he has yet to receive.

— Student Feedback Survey