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2012 Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Awards

The 2012 Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teachers. Left to right: AAMC Board of Directors Chair Mark R. Laret; Richard B. Gunderman, MD, PhD; Bruce F. Giffin, PhD, MS; Amy L. Wilson-Delfosse, PhD; Brian D. Hodges, MD, PhD; AΩA Executive Director Richard L. Byyny, MD; AAMC President Darrell G. Kirch, MD.

Each year since 1988, Alpha Omega Alpha, in cooperation with the Association of American Medical Colleges, presents four AΩA Distinguished Teacher Awards to faculty members in American medical schools. Two awards are for accomplishments in teaching the basic sciences and two are for inspired teaching in the clinical sciences. In 1997, AΩA named the award to honor its retiring executive secretary Robert J. Glaser, MD, who died in June. Nominations for the award are submitted to the AAMC each spring by the deans of medical schools.

Nominations were reviewed by a committee chosen by AΩA and the AAMC. This year’s committee members were prior award recipients Gerald D. Abrams, MD; Gary L. Dunnington, MD; Duane E. Haines, PhD; John (Jack) Nolte, PhD; Dennis H. Novack, MD; Mark T. O’Connell, MD; John W. Pelley, PhD; Kelley M. Skeff, MD; James R. Stallworth, MD; LuAnn Wilkerson, EdD.

Winners of the award receive $10,000, their schools receive $2,500, and active AΩA chapters at those schools receive $1,000. Schools nominating candidates for the award receive a plaque with the name of the nominee.

Brief summaries of the accomplishments in medical education of the 2012 award recipients follow.

Richard L. Byyny, MD
Executive Director

Bruce F. Giffin, PhD (Basic)

Field Service Professor, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine

Professor Giffin received his MS in Biology at the University of Dayton in 1981 and his PhD in Anatomy and Cell Biology at the University of Cincinnati in 1985. He joined the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in 1990 as a Biology Fellow and now Field Service Professor there.

Professor Giffin won the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2003, as well as numerous Gold and Silver Apple Awards at the College of Medicine. In 2005, Professor Giffin received recognition as a Representative of Excellence in Teaching from the Greater Cincinnati Consortium of Colleges and Universities.

In his nomination of Professor Giffin, Dean of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine Dr. Thomas F. Boat writes, “Bruce is one of the most compassionate and effective teachers in the history of the College of Medicine. He has, and continues to, teach in and lead a variety of courses reflecting the diversity of his knowledge and experience and his love and passion for medical student education. . . . He is an excellent teacher who challenges his students in a compassionate way. He holds them to high standards and is always there to support them—both in the classroom and outside the school. He is a tireless advocate for continually improving the educational program—ranging from better integration within and across years, to better test development, to more interactive and student centered learning, to the use of technology in the curriculum. There are many, many changes that have occurred at UC because of his leadership by action. He is not afraid to try new things. He is a wonderful role model and mentor for his junior colleagues and his senior colleagues as well as the medical students. If there were ever anyone who is indispensable to the medical education program at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, it is Bruce Giffin.”

More about Professor Giffin on the AAMC web site

Richard B. Gunderman, MD, PhD (Clinical)

(AΩA, University of Chicago, 1992)
Professor of Radiology, Pediatrics, Medical Education, Philosophy, Liberal Arts, Philanthropy, and in the Honor College, Indiana University School of Medicine

Dr. Gunderman received his PhD at the University of Chicago in 1989, his MD with honors at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine in 1992, and his MPH at Indiana University School of Medicine in August 2002. He joined Indiana University School of Medicine in 1997 as a fellow in Pediatric Radiology and is now Vice Chair of the Department of Radiology and a Professor of Radiology and Pediatrics there.

Dr. Gunderman has been the councilor of the AΩA chapter at Indiana University since 2009 and is currently a councilor director on the AΩA board of directors.

Dr. Gunderman has received numerous awards for teaching excellence, including an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Northwestern University’s Garret Theological Seminary in 2012 for his “distinguished career of educational and scholarly excellence,” the 2012 Distinguished Educator of the American Roentgen Ray Society, and the 2008 Radiological Society of North America Outstanding Educator. He has been the Alpha Omega Alpha Visiting Professor at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, the University of Texas Medical School at Houston, and Boston University School of Medicine in 2012. At Indiana University, he has received the Trustees Teaching Award nine times, as well as the Robert Shellhamer Outstanding Educator Award, the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the Lieber All-University Award for Distinguished Teaching.

Concerning Dr. Gunderman’s teaching, one fourth-year student writes, “Dr. Gunderman is the best teacher with whom I have interacted. As many of my classmates have stated, he is the most thought-provoking educator at our school. He exemplifies the Socratic Method by enabling students to find answers with seemingly minor direction on his part. He inspires us to think. Another writes, “One day I mentioned to Dr. Gunderman how dissatisfied a lot of physicians seem. ‘Why do you think that is?’ he asked. That sparked an amazing conversation and research project on professional fulfillment. I left feeling like my brain was on fire. We later published a paper in Academic Medicine. Dr. Gunderman challenges students to look inside themselves, encouraging them to bring up questions and then working fervently alongside them until they find answers. He is passionate, dedicated, kind, and brilliant. He is the most dynamic and engaging teacher I have ever known.”

More about Dr. Gunderman on the AAMC web site

Brian Hodges, MD, PhD, FRCPC (Clinical)

Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine

Dr. Hodges received his MD from Queen’s University at Kingston, Ontario, in 1989; his MEd in Higher Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto in 1995; his Diplôme Interuniversitaire de Sciences Economiques et Sociales de la Santé at the Université de Paris VII in 2003; and his PhD in Higher Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto in 2007.

Dr. Hodges has received many teaching awards in his career, most recently the Ian Hart Award for Distinguished Contribution to Medical Education of the Canadian Association for Medical Education and the National Board of Medical Examiners John P. Hubbard Award for outstanding contribution to the pursuit of excellence in the field of evaluation of medicine.

Dr. Catharine Whiteside, dean of the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine writes about Dr. Hodges: “Brian Hodges is first and foremost an educator. His research, scholarship, and leadership roles are all undertaken in service to advancing medical education and holding it accountable to the highest possible standards for the benefit of learners, patients, and communities. . . . He is a local champion and capacity-builder and role model, a Canadian leader and trend-setter, and a respected international expert in medical and health professions education research and scholarship.” Others have said of Dr. Hodges that he has “a magical way of recruiting colleagues to the cause of education and . . . a remarkable ability to engage everyone in the importance of teaching” and that his “scholarly work is exemplary, his professional activities have been highly innovative and, most importantly, he is generous in offering his knowledge, advice, encouragement and oversight to individuals.”

More about Dr. Hodges on the AAMC web site

Amy Leigh Wilson-Delfosse, PhD (Basic)

Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacology, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

Professor Wilson-Delfosse received her PhD in Pharmacology from Vanderbilt University in 1991. She became an assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in 1998 and is currently the assistant dean for Basic Science Education and associate professor in the Department of Pharmacology there.

In recognition for her contributions to teaching and education, Professor Wilson-Delfosse received the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine Department of Pharmacology Excellence in Teaching Award in 2000. She was a Harvard Macy Scholar in 2005. She received the Outstanding Presentation Award of the International Association of Medical Science Educators in 2006. In 2010, she received the Scholarship in Teaching Award from the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, and this year was elected president of the International Association of Medical Science Educators.

In the words of Case Western Reserve’s Dean Pamela B. Davis, Professor Wilson-Delfosse has “a passion for curriculum development, refinement, and faculty coaching. Seeing students respond to new curriculum approaches inspires her. . . . She recognizes that the most important thing faculty can do in this era of evolving information is to promote lifelong learning and train students to ask questions. . . . She also keenly recognizes that, as a basic science instructor, she has an opportunity, in her eyes even an obligation, to impart teamwork skills while teaching basic science content. She sees classroom students as the clinical team members they soon will be, and prepares them with opportunities to absorb knowledge through applicable team approaches.”

More about Professor Wilson-Delfosse on the AAMC web site

Updated on November 12, 2012.