Honoring Excellence: Q and A with Sharon Ezzo

January 26, 2023

This interview is one in a series of interviews with recipients of the 2023 ACGME Awards. The awardees join an outstanding group of previous honorees whose work and contributions to graduate medical education (GME) represent the best in the field. They will be honored at the ACGME Annual Educational Conference, taking place on February 23-25, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee.

2023 Debra L. Dooley GME Program Coordinator Excellence Awardee Sharon Ezzo is an education administrator for epilepsy and clinical neurophysiology programs at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio.


ACGME: How did you become involved in academic medicine?

Ezzo: I’ve always had an interest in academics. Originally, I went to college to be a high school English teacher but at the last minute, decided it wasn’t for me! The Cleveland Clinic is one of the largest employers and top places to work in the greater Cleveland area and has a well-known reputation. I happened to apply for this position not really knowing what it was or would be. Looking back on the past 11 years as a coordinator, I didn’t anticipate this becoming a successful, amazing, and fulfilling career!

ACGME: What does this award mean to you?

Ezzo: Words can’t even describe what winning this award means to me. I am so incredibly proud of myself and how far I’ve come in my career journey. I’m extremely humbled and honored to have been recognized and nominated by my institution. This award validates all of the hard work, time, and effort I have put in and attributes it to my dedication to the programs, program directors, learners, and faculty members. I am so lucky to work with such supportive and encouraging people.

ACGME: What is the most rewarding part of being a coordinator?

Ezzo: There are many rewarding parts and that’s one thing I love about being a coordinator! It’s rewarding to work as a team with program leadership and to be a respected and integral part of the team. I love when my fellows let me know they see how much do for them and the program, especially when they realize that even after graduation, they still need me to complete their training verification forms! It’s rewarding to see learners grow and build relationships that they will continue to have for years to come. It’s gratifying to work on projects or initiatives that make the program better.

ACGME: What is the most challenging part of being a coordinator?

Ezzo: The ever-changing Program Requirements!

ACGME: What advice do you have to brand-new coordinators who are just starting their careers?

Ezzo: Stick with it! This is such a fun, engaging and rewarding career! I personally know myself, it’s really tough to come with no prior experience or knowledge of health care, let alone GME. Not only do you have to learn a TON of acronyms, but you also do not fully understand the tasks that you’re doing, what they mean, or why they are important. I truly believe takes around three years to feel comfortable and confident in your role. In the first year, you are trying to learn and keep up at the same time. This is the toughest! In the second year, you start getting more understanding of the role and can kind of piece things together. By the third year, you finally have more solid footing! I would encourage you to connect with your specialties coordinator group who may have some great resources available or may be able to match you with a mentor.

ACGME: Is there anything else you would like to add I haven’t asked about?

Ezzo: We wear many hats as coordinators and this keeps the work fresh, exciting, engaging, and most definitely interesting! Eleven years later, I still encounter new and unknown situations, and this pushes me to continually learn, improve, and develop.


Learn more about the ACGME’s Debra L. Dooley GME Program Coordinator Excellence Award and nominate a deserving individual for the 2024 Award – nominations are due by March 15, 2023.