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Geisel School of Medicine Event Honors Students and Master Educators

Thursday evening, May 28, during the annual State of the Medical School address, several faculty and students were cited for their contributions to medical education and community service. Interim Dean Duane Compton welcomed nine faculty members to the Geisel Academy of Master Educators (GAME) and recognized three faculty members who received the new GAME Lifetime Educators Award.

A distinguished group of faculty nominated by their fellow Geisel colleagues, the awardees possess a demonstrated commitment to excellence in teaching and medical education. GAME members are leaders in medical education and innovation at Geisel and raise the overall quality of education by furthering the passion for excellence in teaching and learning and in mentoring faculty and residents on their journey to becoming great teachers.

“I’m extremely proud of this group of outstanding medical educators,” Compton said.  “They have earned the respect of their students and fellow faculty members to be nominated and elected into our Academy of Master Educators.  It is an exceptional honor.”

Students, medical residents, and fellow faculty shared personal stories about the influence and mentorship of each Master Educator they introduced.

The 2015 Academy of Master Educators inductees are:

  • Cantwell Clark, MD, Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology
  • John Dick, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine
  • Harley P. Friedman, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine
  • E. Ann Gormley, MD, Professor of Surgery
  • Hugh F. Huizenga, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Medicine
  • Sarah G. Johansen, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine
  • Kelly A. Kieffer, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine
  • Alan T. Kono, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine
  • Sharona Sachs, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine

“Post-graduate medical education thirty years ago was a series of variable and uneven conferences and lectures balanced against hands-on teaching in the course of clinical care—those of us teaching were relying on our own instincts, and more often than not teaching was far from the highest priority,” Clark said. “The fact that we even have a GAME today is a testament to our progress in education and our understanding of the complexity and rigor required for effective teaching. It is exciting to be at Geisel where we do focus on efficacy and excellence in education and where we can break down our accustomed silos to learn from one another.”

Sachs said, “It is a great honor to be elected to the Academy and to join colleagues that I deeply respect in a mission that I so strongly believe in—supporting and celebrating innovation in the process and practice of medical and interprofessional education at the undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate levels.”

For Johansen, the award represents medical education at its best, “Teaching motivated, eager, and capable adults on topics about which I am passionate—what’s not to like? That my colleagues value and recognize my work is truly an honor. But it says more about the Geisel community, characterized by an engaged and committed faculty and student body, than it does about any individual accomplishment.”

Newly established by GAME, the Lifetime Educators Award recognizes Geisel master educators whose instructional methods were impactful and memorable across many years. The inaugural Lifetime Educators Award honorees are:

  • Peter A. Mason, MD, Assistant Professor of Community and Family Medicine
  • Harold M. Swartz, MD, MSPH, PhD, Professor of Radiology
  • Oglesby H. Young, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology

“I am deeply honored and delighted to receive this award. I accept it as a representative of the many talented and dedicated community physicians, laboring in the vineyards of primary care, who for many years have provided our wonderful students with mentorship and experiential learning out there where most of health care really takes place,” Mason said. “They may not have lists of publications or distinguished academic titles, but they are dedicated teachers of the first rank who learn as much from the interactions as the students learn from them.”

Geisel Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry, Joseph O’Donnell, MD, who leads the NH-VT Albert Schweitzer Fellowship Program, recognized two second-year medical students for outstanding achievement—Schweitzer Fellows Kimberly Betts '17 and Nicole Moraco '17.

Recipients of the 2015 Excellence in Public Health Award, Betts and Moraco were honored for their work encouraging healthy lifestyles in the Upper Valley elder population. In addition to engaging elders in exercise, they teach monthly cooking classes structured around common dietary challenges and host the Upper Valley Memory Café, a social group for people with dementia and their families.

Presented by Joseph T. Frost, MPH, RD, CD, a Commander in the US Public Health Service, the national award acknowledges medical students dedicated to public health who have made exceptional contributions to the their communities and who have worked hard to increase awareness about the importance of healthy living.

Geisel PHS Awardees
Joseph T. Frost (center) presented the 2015 Excellence in Public Health Award to Geisel students Nicole Moraco '17 (left) and Kimberly Betts '17 (right).

“We were honored to receive the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship so that we could continue to serve our guests at the Memory Café and Active for Life, both of which were existing projects,” Betts said. “Getting this award was a bit of a surprise, but icing on the cake of a fantastic year working with wonderful community members—perhaps the recognition from this award will help sustain the programs in the years that follow.”

Moraco added, “I am truly humbled to have been nominated and grateful to receive this award along with my classmate, and friend, Kim. Working at the Aging Resource Center we have been afforded the opportunity to create meaningful connections with our clients and extend our roots deep into the Upper Valley. Watching their overall health improve has been an amazing reminder of why I wanted to join the health profession in the first place.

“We hope that through these programs, additional medical students will learn ways to better serve the geriatric population. To receive this award from the US Public Health Service Physician Professional Advisory Committee is an incredible honor, especially in light of the outstanding work our peers do everyday. I promise to continue to uphold its values and strive to always perform in a manner worthy of the merits of the award.”