We are excited to announce that Catherine M. Bendel, MD, received The Graduate Medical Education Lifetime Achievement Award for her noteworthy and lasting contributions to education in the University of Minnesota Department of Pediatrics Fellowship Program.

At the end of June, Dr. Bendel stepped down from her role as director of the University of Minnesota's Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine Fellowship Program after serving for 25 years. During her time in this position, she recruited over 50 fellows to the university's program. According to Neonatology's Division Director, Dr. Raghavendra Rao, "Cathy ensured that our fellows received a well rounded training, not just in clinical care, but also in academics, advocacy, diversity-equity-and inclusion, and work-life balance. She actively listened to their concerns and advocated for their wellbeing."

The Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Dr. Bendel the night of the neonatology fellows' year-end graduation and welcome event at the Campus Club. Although the celebration is an annual tradition, this year division members surprised Dr. Bendel by inviting her family, closest friends, former co-workers, and all of the fellows she had trained during her tenure. There were lots of hugs, laughs, and happy tears throughout the evening as former trainees recounted kind words and stories related to Cathy's legacy as fellowship director. 

Dr. Bendel earned her MD, served her internship and residency, and completed her Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine Fellowship at the University of Minnesota. Her most recent research focuses on both fellow education and Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion efforts. She has published in Pediatric Research, Pediatrics, Journal of Pediatrics, and made contributions to book chapters. Over the years, she has received numerous awards including the Department of Pediatrics Residency Program's "Golden Apple Award" (2018, 2022) and the Department of Pediatrics Faculty Recognition Award for Excellence in Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (2018). In the final year of her tenure as Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine Fellowship Program director, Dr. Bendel received approval to increase neonatology's fellowship complement from two to three fellows per year, allowing more neonatologists to train at the university.

In addition to attending on the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Dr. Bendel will continue serving the university as an Associate Professor, the Department of Pediatrics' overall fellowship director, and as the Vice Chair for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in the Department of Pediatrics. She will also serve as Associate Fellowship Director under newly appointed Neonatal-Perinatal Fellowship Program director, Dr. Johannah Scheurer.

We are incredibly fortunate to have Dr. Bendel as a clinician, leader and educator within the Department of Pediatrics.