Outstanding Teachers Recognized with 2013 Paff Awards
Passion, dedication, patience and a sense of humor were recurring themes for recipients of the 2013 George Paff Teaching Awards. At a luncheon on April 30, Miller School students passed out 15 of the annual awards to faculty they laud as the best in their field — teachers with the same memorable traits that distinguished the late Dr. Paff.
Students in each class selected three winners, many of whom displayed examples of the enthusiasm and wit that endears them to their students. Paff, a founding professor of anatomy, was known as “a performer, a showman,” said Alex J. Mechaber, M.D., Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Medical Education, “and someone who taught with great passion and enthusiasm.”
Among those who made a return trip to the podium this year were Maureen Lowery, M.D., professor of medicine, who received an award from the M.D./M.P.H. Class of 2016, repeating her win from 2012; Amar Deshpande, M.D., assistant professor of medicine, and Christian Diez, M.D., assistant professor of anesthesiology, who were again both voted tops by the senior class; and Warren Kupin, M.D., professor of medicine, who was called up twice on this day, by the M.D./M.P.H. and M.D. Classes of 2015.
In addition to Deshpande and Diez, the senior class also selected Joseph Esterson, M.D., professor of medicine and previous award winner, who was singled out for “his dedication to students and the art of medicine.”
The luncheon honoring the physician teachers was held in the Diagnostic Treatment Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital, where Miller School Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., welcomed the crowd. He said the Paff Awards are “especially meaningful because the winners are chosen by our students.”
He applauded the entire Miller School faculty, saying, “Without your passionate and inspired teaching, we would not have physicians who exhibit compassion and inspire their patients.”
The Class of 2014’s Paff Awards went to Akram Tamer, M.D., professor of pediatrics, Marie-Denise Gervais, M.D., assistant professor of family medicine and community health, and Joseph Henry, M.D., assistant professor of psychiatry, who has won once before. In accepting his award, Henry said teaching is “the highlight of my life. … It’s why we are here, what makes each day enjoyable.”
Tamer displayed some of the wit he uses in class, telling the story of a boy who claimed he was trying to teach a dog to whistle. When friends gathered, expecting to hear the feat, he replied, “I only said I was trying to teach the dog,” which drew a round of laughter.
Besides Kupin, the Class of 2015 also selected Matthias Salathe, M.D., professor of medicine, and Paola Lichtenberger, M.D., assistant professor of medicine, who brought stuffed props she had used to teach students about infectious diseases.
Thomas Champney, Ph.D., associate professor of cell biology and anatomy, Robert Levy, Ph.D., professor of microbiology and immunology, and Richard Isaacson, M.D., associate professor of neurology and medicine, were selected by the Class of 2016. Champney won a Paff Award in 2011 and last year from the Class of 2015.
The Intern Paff Awards went to Kenneth Fischler, M.D., and Laura Hudson, M.D. The Resident Paff Award was given to Nicolette Schreiber, Chief Resident in obstetrics/gynecology, who said she planned to remain teaching in academic medicine.
Two outstanding senior medical students also were recognized: Andrezza Souza, who won the Janet Canterbury Award, and Devon Carr, who won the Thomas Crowder Award, both of which are named for former faculty members and medical education deans.
This year’s Paff Teaching Awards ceremony was organized by Samara Rutenberg and Angelica Ortiz, both from the Class of 2015.
To view more photos of this year’s Paff Awards, click here.