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Faculty Teaching Awards Announced at MD Class of 2023 Commencement Ceremony

June 13, 2023

The annual faculty teaching awards were announced at the Yale School of Medicine MD Class of 2023 commencement ceremony on May 22.

Teaching Awards

Charles W. Bohmfalk Prizes for Teaching. One prize is given to a faculty member teaching in the basic sciences, and one to a faculty member teaching in the clinical sciences.

Basic Sciences: Sabrina Nuñez, PhD, associate professor of genetics

One student noted, “Dr. Nunez is described as one of the most inspirational, generous and kind professors, quite possibly the best professor I have ever had.”

Clinical sciences: Shefali Pathy, MD, MPH, assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology & reproductive sciences

One nominator noted, “Dr. Pathy leads by example in her clinical work and is praised by all learners as a caring and dedicated physician, educator and mentor. Despite the busy nature of the Women’s Center, she always takes the time to teach and give feedback in the moment to all learners.

The Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award presented by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation recognizes and honors a faculty member who has demonstrated particular compassion and sensitivity in the delivery of care to patients.

Sharon Chekijian, MD, MPH, associate professor of emergency medicine

One nominator noted, “Dr. Chekijian has an unrelenting commitment to humanism in a chaotic emergency department. Her commitment to patient-centered care has made her engagement in the work unwavering and a true north star for the department of EM.”

The Leah Lowenstein Award is presented annually at graduation to the Yale School of Medicine faculty member who is the model of a medical educator whose humane teaching reaches and influences all students regardless of gender, race, or socioeconomic background. These are the traits espoused by the late Leah Lowenstein, a medical educator and first female dean of a co-educational medical school (Jefferson Medical College during the 1980s).

Silvia Vilarinho, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine (digestive diseases) and of pathology

One student noted, “Dr. Vilarinho’s commitment to her students and a mentor is unmatched. She is active in all levels of student education and training and still makes time for teaching rounds. She will always make time to review presentations and data, and uphold students to the highest standard for rigor and reproducibility.”

The Alvan R. Feinstein Award is awarded annually to a Yale School of Medicine faculty member chosen by the chairs and faculty of the clinical departments and members of the graduating class as the outstanding teacher of clinical skills.

Jean Bolognia, MD
, professor of dermatology

One student noted, “I believe that every dermatologist who has trained in the past two decades owes Dr. Bolognia a debt of gratitude for taking an exceedingly complicated subject and presenting it in an engaging and digestible manner. I am so lucky to have trained under her and I can think of no one more deserving of this award.”

The Francis Gilman Blake Award is presented annually to a member of the faculty of the School of Medicine designated by the graduating class as the most outstanding teacher of the medical sciences.

Michael Cappello, MD, professor of pediatrics (infectious diseases) and of microbial pathogenesis, and chair and professor of epidemiology (microbial diseases)

In presenting this award, Ryan Fan, MD, one of the Class of 2023 class presidents, stated, “This year’s award goes to a faculty member who has been an exceptional mentor in both the professional and personal spheres. He goes above and beyond to help students achieve their own goals, and puts incredible time and energy into each one of his mentees.”

The Betsy Winters House Staff Award is presented annually to two members of the Yale-New Haven Medical Center house staff who, as excellent educators and role models, have made the most significant contribution to medical student education.

Justin Nguyen, MD, a chief resident, Department of Urology

Zeyu (Jack) Tang, MD, the second class president, stated that Nguyen “has been involved with medical students at every stage of training—from being part of pre-clinical interest group sessions to leading a bootcamp for graduating students.”

Stephen Wang, MD, MPH, a PGY-3 resident, Department of Internal Medicine

Fan said Wang “is highlighted for the careful ways he uplifts medical students on his wards, through education, support, and enthusiasm.”

Submitted by Abigail Roth on June 13, 2023