Medical Millennials Recognized in the Medelita “Right Fit H.E.R.O.” Program

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Pediatrician and resident from Thomas Jefferson University Hospital-Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children recognized nationally as leader, advocate.


Kanani Titchen, M.D. - 2014 Honoree

The Medelita honorarium is the first recognition of the intense, unremitting, unforgiving schedule of residents and the amount of work we put in. I'm grateful that someone is recognizing and seeing our potential and rewarding it.

No one knows better than pediatric resident Dr. Kanani Titchen of Thomas Jefferson University Hospital/Nemours-AI DuPont Hospital for Children that there is a medical millennial generation unlike its predecessors that is combining clinical expertise with global community leadership. For her demonstration of such leadership, she was recently awarded a $25,000 honorarium and recognized as the 2014 H.E.R.O. (Honoring Exceptional Resident Observations) honoree in an inaugural class of over 50 U.S. medical residents.

Despite obstacles in the field, Dr. Titchen and resident colleagues across the country are inspiring others to enter and stay in a field plagued with predicted doctor shortages due to abundantly aging baby boomers, healthcare reform and medical school debt.

Dr. Titchen’s story rose to the top of 200 resident doctors nationwide who were surveyed by a company changing the way healthcare professionals think of their professionalism. The "right fit" survey by Medelita, a company that designs performance lab coats and scrubs, intended to gauge why doctors felt they had found the ‘right fit’ in their careers and in their personal causes.

Judges found that Dr. Titchen best exemplified the "right fit" from those surveyed and she receives a $25,000 honorarium to jumpstart a career that matches her passion, personality and professionalism and allows her to continue fighting social justice causes.

“As we engage this generation of modern residents, innovative thinking by medical educators and physicians-in-training is required,” noted Michael A. Gisondi, M.D., associate professor in the department of emergency medicine, Northwestern University-Feinberg School of Medicine. “We were looking for the ‘right fit' for the Medelita H.E.R.O. honorarium’s inaugural honoree. We were extremely impressed with Dr. Titchen’s work to date. We found her and her whole passion quite remarkable,” noted Dr. Gisondi. He joins Damon Kuehl, M.D., vice chair emergency medicine and assistant professor Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute, as a Medelita H.E.R.O. honorarium judge.

“It is really unusual for residents to be recognized nationally and with a significant honorarium to pursue personal causes and to repay medical school debt. The Medelita H.E.R.O. honorarium is the first recognition of the intense, unremitting, unforgiving schedule of residents and the amount of work we put in. I'm grateful that someone is seeing our potential and rewarding it. This motivates me to stay true to my passion for social justice and true to my ‘right fit’ for helping children,” said Dr. Titchen.

Past resident president of the American Women’s Medical Association and a former actress, Dr. Titchen chose medicine as a second career. Her acting career also included teaching children to express themselves. Now that Dr. Titchen cares for children at the bedside she urges ER physicians nationwide to look for signs of child sex trafficking that later can help victims learn to express themselves.

“Recognizing the human side of medicine is critical to motivate the medical millennial generation and to show appreciation for aspiring young physicians,” said Eliza Lo Chin, MD, MPH, executive director of AMWA.

Many of the physicians surveyed stood out because of their leadership as: association presidents, nonprofit founders, authors, professors, entrepreneurs and MBAs, and because of the causes for which they find time - social justice, childhood obesity and youth sports - while also raising families.

“These top residents highlight what inspires the confidence and aptitude of individuals entering all medical specialties,” said Medelita founder, Lara Francisco, PA-C. "Medelita is proud and grateful to support Dr. Titchen’s goals as a physician activist. Having worked 10 years in emergency medicine, I feel that I may have missed opportunities to help many children. I am one of the clinicians that could benefit from her educational endeavors,” concluded Francisco.

Experts predict a shortage of 90,000 U.S. physicians by 20201. The personal stories of millennial physicians like Dr. Titchen help to motivate others to find their "right fit" priority despite many sacrifices made. They practice medicine when the business of medicine seems to have taken over from the clinical motivations that initially drove each into the field.

In addition to Dr. Titchen winning, finalists for the 2014 Medelita H.E.R.O. honorarium include: (

  •     Brandon Faza, MBA, emergency medicine at University of Southern Florida, Tampa
  •     Sonya Kenkare, dermatology at the University of Chicago
  •     Meera Kotagal, surgery at the University of Washington, Seattle
  •     John Purakal, emergency medicine at the University of Illinois, Chicago
  •     Gwendolyn Reyes, pediatrics at Michigan State University
  •     Russell Russo, orthopedic surgery at Louisiana State University
  •     Niket Sonpal, internal medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital
  •     David Stoddard, otolaryngology at the Mayo Clinic
  •     Daniel Thorngren, internal medicine-pediatrics at the University of Miami

A majority of survey participants are repaying huge debts, starting families on a young resident's typical $45,000-a-year government salary and taking new loans for child care. The average young physician resident faces debt estimated to be more than $160,0001. Yet finding the "right fit" for their profession and their personal causes is still what drives these young doctors.

About Medelita
Medelita, founded in 2008, is changing the way that healthcare professionals think about their professionalism and their uniform by upgrading the traditional lab coat and scrub set in every conceivable way. The brand revolves around contemporary designs, the highest quality performance fabrics, finishing details, functionality and fit. Medelita believes there is a strong connection between appearance, confidence, poise and success. The company was founded by a licensed physician assistant who demanded more from the existing selection of frumpy clothes that she was forced to wear. Visit:

Contact: Kellee Johnson, 312-751-3959 or kjohnson(at)ballastgroup(dot)com

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Dan Stepchew
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Joe Francisco
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