Medical students value amazing teachers. One of the best ways medical students can highlight faculty excellence is by nominating professors for the Trustees’ Teaching Award. One 2019 recipient, James Williams, PhD, professor of anatomy and cell biology, was nominated by Alison Schmidt, an IU School of Medicine medical student.
“Dr. Williams is one of the best professors I’ve ever had. It was obvious that he cared for his students and their understanding of the subject matter. He went above and beyond by hosting office hour sessions every week to help answer questions we had or to just talk through some of the more complicated topics, and his excitement during lecture was contagious.” said Schmidt in her nomination.
Williams’ passion for teaching and training students was a reason medical student Kayla Brown also nominated him for this award: “I really enjoyed having Dr. Williams as a professor last semester. You could tell he was very passionate about what he taught. He truly cared that his students understood the content and succeeded,” said Brown.
There are many faculty across the nine-campus system who share a passion for teaching, such as 2019 recipient Tracy Vargo-Gogola, PhD, associate professor of clinical anatomy, cell biology and physiology at IU School of Medicine-South Bend.
Vargo-Gogola’s contributions to the classroom and her teaching style stood out to medical student Bethany Cooke: “Dr. Vargo-Gogola is an excellent professor of Histology. She made the process of learning fun and exciting, and she was always willing to help students. She has a sense of humor and a never-ending supply of candy. Dr. Vargo is an outstanding teacher who deserves this award,” said Cooke.
Excellent training goes beyond just medical expertise but extends to compassionate support. LeeAnn Cox, MD, assistant professor of clinical medicine, was also nominated by one of her students, Katy Snyder. On a more personal note, Snyder shared how Cox went above and beyond to support her. “Dr. Cox set a superb example of what it means to be a compassionate clinician. When my first patient passed away, she took the time to pull me aside and check in with me to make sure I was doing alright emotionally. This really meant a lot to me, and is something I hope to be able to do for the students I work with in my future career. Dr. Cox has truly inspired me to pursue a career in academic medicine and, one day, become a medical educator myself. She taught my fellow students and I daily both overtly and by her example as a clinician. I know I will be a better physician because of her lessons.”
Nominations aren’t just limited to individual students, the Students of the Medical Board of the IU Student Outreach Clinic nominated Ruben Hernandez, MD, assistant professor of clinical family medicine. They collectively voiced that “Dr. Hernandez stands out as one of the most engaging, effective, and inspiring clinician educators at IU School of Medicine.”
His students also remarked on his involvement with the IU Student Outreach Clinic (SOC) saying, “Dr. Hernandez regularly volunteers as a staff physician at the SOC, working with medical students, residents and other health professional students at all levels of training. He encourages students to think critically and to advocate for their patients. Not only is Dr. Hernandez a role model of excellent clinical medicine, but he also takes an active role in teaching his students the importance of striving for compassion, equity, and cultural competence at every level of patient care.”
IU School of Medicine is currently accepting nominations for the 2020 Trustee’s Teaching Award. Medical students are strongly encouraged to nominate faculty who have demonstrated excellence in teaching and training.
________________________________________ Nominate a faculty member for the 2020 Trustee’s Teaching Award by January 13, 2020. Tenured and tenure-track faculty and librarians engaged in teaching are eligible, as are full-time clinical faculty and full-time lecturers whose primary duties are teaching, including faculty in the IU School of Medicine who may be located at medical centers or be paid by institutions other than Indiana University (e.g., IU Health Physicians, Eskenazi Health, Purdue University, Veteran Affairs, Ball State University, etc.).
The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.
Madison Pershing is a Marketing and Communications Assistant for Indiana University School of Medicine’s Faculty Affairs, Professional Development, and Diversity.