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Faculty awards ceremony honors outstanding medical instructors

Despite playing a pivotal role in stretching minds and casting careers, medical school teachers’ labors often go unrecognized, “courses taught” usually rank low on a resume -well after the already-subjugated list of non-peer reviewed publications – if at all.

But, judging by Wednesday’s first School of Medicine Teaching Awards ceremony, the medical school means to change that.

In the ceremony lead by Clive Taylor, senior associate dean for academic affairs, 26 instructors and seven house officers were awarded plaques and golden pins embossed with a USC “Excellence in Teaching” message.

Previously, recognition of teaching was limited to the annual Kaiser Awards, which go to just one clinical and one basic science instructor and include a cash grant.

Still, “there are literally dozens of excellent teachers at our school,” said Peter Katsufrakis, associate dean of student affairs at the medical school, who helped to implement the new awards. We wanted to highlight that and offer our appreciation.”

Teaching is vital to a medical school, Katsufrakis said. “Learning turns from drudgery to a joy in the presence of an effective teacher. In the end, the teachers are what really determine the quality of the physicians we produce.”

During the ceremony, third-year medical student Andrew Kassinove expressed his thanks to the teachers for helping students go from “experts in frog anatomy to experts in human anatomy,” calling them “the best of the best.”

Keynote speaker David Berman, professor emeritus in the Department of Cell and Neurobiology and an award winner, said that he is “truly thrilled out of my mind” to have been able to teach for so much of his life.

Other award winners, including Judy Garner, associate professor in the Department of Cell and Neurobiology, agree: “It’s really rewarding to teach people who want to learn-the med students are so responsive. And they’re not shy about showing their appreciation.”

The awardees were nominated by each class of medical students last spring. Selected faculty then voted on the nominees, for the final group of winners.

Dean Stephen Ryan praised the winners as outstanding instructors and said that “they contribute substantially to the quality of the medical school.” And, the winners are:

Year I Awards

Teaching: Judy Garner, Gene Albrecht, Charles Haun and Joe Miller from the Department of Cell Neurobiology; Robert Stellwagen, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Alexandra Levine, Department of Medicine, Hematology. Course: Year I Neurosciences, coordinated by Judy Garner.

Year II Awards

Teaching: David Berman, Department of Cell and Neurobiology; Roscoe Atkinson, Departments of Pathology and Neurology; Wing Wong, Department of Pediatrics, and David Hinton and Parakrama Chandrasoma of the Department of Pathology. Course: Year II Blood, coordinated by Alexandra Levine.

Year III Awards

Teaching: Demetrios Demetriades, Peter F. Crookes and William Dougherty of the Department of Surgery, and Lawrence Opas and Jeffrey Johnson of the Department of Pediatrics. Required clerkship: Surgery, coordinated by Nicholas Jabbour, Department of Surgery.

Year IV Awards

Teaching: Donna Elliott, Department of Pediatrics; Eila Skinner, Department of Urology, and Ron Ben-Ari, Department of Medicine. Selective/Elective Clerkship: Emergency Medicine, coordinated by Deidre Anglin.

Awards for Outstanding Teaching in Introduction to Clinical Medicine, Years I &II : Mary Hardy, ICM, and Allan Abbott, Deparment of Family Medicine.

Award for Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching: Gary Marks, Department of Preventive Medicine.

Awards for Outstanding Teaching as a House Officer: Osborne Blake, Jessica Chen, Shazia Jamil, Mark Speakman, Roger De Filippo, Michael Lawrence and Edward Lee .

Faculty awards ceremony honors outstanding medical instructors

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