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Recognizing Outstanding Teaching at Yale School of Medicine

May 20, 2024

Teaching awards were a central part of the Yale School of Medicine MD Class of 2024 Commencement ceremony on May 20. “Teaching, and those who excel at it, are highly valued at Yale and are the cornerstones of the foundation on which this school is built,” stated Nancy J. Brown, MD, Jean and David W. Wallace Dean and C.N.H. Long Professor of Internal Medicine, before she and the class presidents, John Lyon Havlik, MD, MBA, and Ragini Luthra Vaidya, MD, MBA, announced the recipients.

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: Dhasakumar Navaratnam, MD, PhD, professor of neurology

One nominator noted, “Under his leadership, the unit has received some of the strongest student reviews of any of the integrated courses. He has successfully led the implementation of many workshops, lectures, and team-based learning activities, and he is a consistent presence, ensuring a steady high quality of instruction.”

Clinical Sciences: Katherine McKenzie, MD, associate professor of medicine (general medicine)

One student noted, “Her passion for the rights of asylum seekers shines through, and in participating in medical evaluations with her, I've developed great skills in trauma-oriented patient contact and dealing with survivors of violence who experience PTSD.”

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.

Ebony Dix, MD, assistant professor of psychiatry

One student noted, “I have never seen a physician more dedicated to the care of their patients than Dr. Ebony Dix. As an attending on the Geriatric Psychiatry Inpatient Unit, Dr. Dix not only provided excellent clinical care to her patients, spending long hours in discussion with each…she truly cared for each individual as a whole patient, bringing in clothes, crosswords, and books that she purchased for them.”

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.

Scott Casper, MD, associate clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences

One student noted, “Dr. Casper is an excellent facilitator! I appreciated how he approached the nuanced topic of family planning with grace, offering insights to us as we navigated such serious, rich cases. He encouraged us to give in-depth feedback to each other, of each other, and to think about each of the scenarios from various angles as a way to investigate our own inner biases and thought processes.”

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).

Kelly Olino, MD, assistant professor of surgery (oncology)

One student noted, “As a female medical student entering surgery, Dr. Olino is the ideal role model. She is accessible, wise, and incredibly thoughtful with her trainees. She has personally provided me with unparalleled opportunities to succeed both in and outside of the operating room and I firmly believe she stands as a paragon of mentorship at Yale School of Medicine.”

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.

Elliott Miller, MD, MHS, assistant professor of medicine (cardiovascular medicine)

In presenting this award, the 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, and manages all of this while running the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit.

The Betsy Winters House Staff Award honors the house staff member who has made the most significant contributions to the education of medical students. The recipient of this award is chosen by the graduating class.

Johnathan Yao, MD, MPH, a PGY-3 resident in the Department of Internal Medicine

In presenting this award, the class presidents stated that the winner has been “involved with medical students at every stage of training, and has balanced the three competing demands of mentorship, education, and patient care in an exceptional manner that should serve an exemplar to his peers, with his trademark style of instant comradery and humility. We are proud on this day to honor one of Yale’s finest resident trainees and a role model to so many of us. We fervently hope he continues to make helping learners in medicine a large part of his career.

Submitted by Abigail Roth on May 17, 2024