2019 Northup Educator of the Year - Dr. Stephanie L. Zeszutek, D.O.
If we were to find one word to describe Dr. Stephanie Zeszutek, it would be: Superwoman. That is why we are excited to nominate her for SOMA Foundation's Northup Educator of the Year Award.
As a professor, Dr. Zeszutek works tirelessly to make sure that her Physical Diagnosis course is one of the most organized courses on campus. Her high level of organization means that students know they can depend on her to mean what she says and say what she means. In fact, the physical exam techniques we learn in PD lab have had far-reaching effects, helping students gain a more comprehensive understanding of concepts in other courses like anatomy and OMM and develop practical physical exam skills that become important on rotation. Dr. Zeszutek has also gone above and beyond to ensure that students are ready to serve a diverse population by devoting classroom time to reviewing disparities in health literacy and understanding considerations of race, religion, or sexual orientation to improving the patient-physician relationship.
Despite needing to balance her hours at school with her OB/GYN practice, she somehow always makes herself available to students. She stays late, even after the other faculty have gone home, until everything is ready for the next day. If there is a community event, whether it be a health screening at the local homeless shelter or a presentation to eager high school students, Dr. Zeszutek has been there.
If we are hosting a SOMA event on campus, she always comes by to give us her encouragement and support. Most recently, she came by the SOMA Elections to wish all of the candidates luck and it was a great example to the first year class of how dedicated she is; there is no faculty advisor on campus more connected with their club than Dr. Zeszutek.
Dr. Zeszutek also finds time to serve as both President of our county medical society and faculty advisor to our SOMA chapter. She uses these dual roles to create additional opportunities for SOMA members, by opening up delegation meetings to the students. It has been an amazing opportunity to learn from physicians who are active in organized medicine and envision a future for ourselves in such a role beyond SOMA. We are so grateful because, at this time, Dr. Zeszutek is the only professor at our school encouraging us to engage in policy and this has helped students like us feel validated and inspired.
Above all, Dr. Zeszutek is a role model for aspiring female physicians because of her ability to juggle being a physician, a professor, a faculty advisor, a medical society leader, and a wife and mother with such grace and ease that we never feel her absence. Up until this point, we thought that becoming a physician meant having to sacrifice or compromise our interests to just a few. Dr. Zeszutek shows us that having it all is possible and that nothing should stop us from aspiring to it.