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School of Medicine Teaching Awards
May 11, 2010, Volume 56, No. 33

The Leonard Berwick Memorial Teaching Award


This award was established in 1980-81 as a memorial to Leonard Berwick by his family and the department of pathology to recognize “a member of the medical faculty who in his or her teaching effectively fuses basic science and clinical medicine.” It is intended that this award recognize persons who are outstanding teachers, particularly among the younger medical faculty.

Dr. Peter Crino is an associate professor of neurology in the School of Medicine and serves as division chief of the Penn Epilepsy Center and as co-director of the Penn Tuberous Sclerosis Clinic. Dr. Crino has been active in medical and graduate student, housestaff, and post-doctoral fellow education since he joined the faculty in 1997. A member of the Neuroscience Graduate Group, he has also been a member of the undergraduate Biological Basis of Behavior Program faculty since 2000. Dr. Crino maintains an NIH- funded research initiative on brain malformations associated with epilepsy and autism and is a leading authority on tuberous sclerosis complex.

Dr. Bruce Sachais is an assistant professor of pathology and laboratory medicine in the School of Medicine and currently serves as the director of transfusion services at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Sachais joined the faculty in 2001. His basic research focuses on the pathobiology of platelet factor 4. Dr. Sachais also directs clinical research in transfusion medicine and hemostasis. Dr. Sachais is involved in the teaching of medical students, residents and fellows, as well as graduate students in the masters of translational research program.

The Robert Dunning Dripps Memorial Award for Excellence in Graduate Medical Education


This award was established by the department of anesthesia in 1983-84. As a pioneer in the specialty of anesthesia and chair of the department from 1943 to 1972, Dr. Dripps was instrumental in the training of more than 300 residents and fellows, many of whom went on to chair other departments. This award is to recognize excellence as an educator of residents and fellows in clinical care, research, teaching, or administration.

Dr. Emma Meagher is an associate professor of medicine and pharmacology in the School of Medicine, and currently serves as director of translational research education programs for the School of Medicine. Dr. Meagher came to Penn in 1994 and since that time has devoted a considerable portion of her efforts to educating both medical students and pre- and postgraduate students in both pharmacology and research methodology. The Dunning Dripps Award recognizes her substantial efforts in establishing and successfully implementing a masters of science degree program in translational research. This program was amongst the very first in the nation and has set a paradigm for the emerging discipline of translational medicine and therapeutics. Dr. Meagher is described as possessing an all encompassing commitment to her educational programs. Notably, her students remark on her accessibility, commitment, enthusiasm, boundless energy, engaging teaching style, humor and devotion to their welfare.

Blockley-Osler Award


Created in 1987 by the Blockley Section of the Philadelphia College of Physicians, this award is given annually to a member of the faculty at an affiliated hospital for excellence in teaching modern clinical medicine at the bedside in the tradition of Dr. William Osler and others who taught at Philadelphia General Hospital.

Dr. Kim Smith-Whitley, an associate professor of pediatrics in the School of Medicine, currently serves as both the director of the sickle cell center and as clinical director of the division of hematology at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Dr. Smith-Whitley came to CHOP in 1992 and after completing her hematology-oncology fellowship, she worked to start two innovative programs: a short-stay Hematology Acute Care Unit and the Blue Tie Tag Blood Donor Program that benefits children with sickle cell disease (SCD) requiring blood transfusions. Dr. Smith-Whitley’s clinical research focuses on pulmonary, infectious disease and transfusion-related complications in children with SCD. Dr. Smith-Whitley enjoys teaching and she has served on the pediatric residency and hematology-oncology fellow selection committees. Residents at CHOP have recognized her on multiple occasions for her outstanding teaching in hematology.

Dean's Award for Excellence in Basic Science Teaching


The Dean’s Award for Excellence in Basic Science Teaching was established in 1987 to recognize teaching excellence and commitment to medical education in the basic sciences. One or more Dean’s Awards are made annually, the recipients being selected on the advice of a committee composed of faculty and students.

Dr. Mary Putt is an associate professor of biostatistics in the department of biostatistics and epidemiology. Within the department, she is involved in multiple aspects of the graduate program, excelling in classroom teaching and mentoring students in the graduate programs of both the divisions of biostatistics and epidemiology. Within the School of Medicine, Dr. Putt is an enthusiastic and approachable teacher, who tries to demystify the statistical process as she works with biomedical graduate students in the analysis of their data.


Dean’s Award for Excellence in Clinical Teaching (at an Affiliated Hospital*)

Kostinsky Ravishankar

The Dean’s Award for Excellence in Clinical Teaching was established in 1987 to recognize clinical teaching excellence and commitment to medical education by outstanding faculty members from affiliated hospitals. One or more Dean’s Awards are made annually, the recipients being selected on the advice of a committee composed of faculty and students.

*Affiliated Hospitals are all hospitals except HUP.

Dr. Spencer Kostinsky is a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry in the School of Medicine. Dr. Kostinsky has taught medical students since he was a resident at HUP (Class of 2004). As a psychiatrist at Hall Mercer for the last five years, he supervises residents during their outpatient clinical education. For the last two years, he has been an attending psychiatrist on the inpatient psychiatric unit at Pennsylvania Hospital, where he has “enjoyed the daily teaching of medical students and residents.” 

Dr. Chitra Ravishankar is an assistant professor of pediatrics on the CE track in the division of pediatric cardiology at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She is currently the medical director of the Cardiac Care Unit/CCU at CHOP. Dr. Ravishankar has seven years of experience in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit and the CCU at CHOP. “As medical director of the CCU Dr. Ravishankar has revamped and redesigned the patient care and learning experiences of residents, fellows, nurses, patients and their families.” “Dr. Ravishankar is unique among her peers in being approachable, while expecting high standards of her trainees.” “She has demonstrated extraordinary commitment to teaching and considers it a major part of her role at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.”

Dean’s Award for Excellence in Medical Student Teaching by an Allied Health Professional


This award was established in 1996-1997 to recognize outstanding teaching by allied health professionals (e.g. nurses, physicians assistants, emergency medical technicians). One award will be made annually. The recipient will be selected on the advice of a committee composed of faculty and students.

Mr. Joseph DiRienzi is the 2010 recipient of the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Medical Student Teaching by an Allied Health Professional. Mr. DiRienzi has been a pathologists’ assistant and supervisor of the medical pathology section in the department of pathology and laboratory medicine since April 1985. He is active in the American Association of Pathologists’ Assistants, and has been a dedicated mentor for many considering a career as a pathologists’ assistant. While this teaching award recognizes exemplary contributions to medical school teaching, Mr. DiRienzi has volunteered in his local school district and taught students about the dangers of smoking and alcohol abuse. Mr. DiRienzi has been devoted to the department’s educational mission.

The Scott Mackler Award for Excellence in Substance Abuse Teaching


This award was established in 2000 by the Penn/VA Center for Studies of Addiction and the department of psychiatry. Dr. Mackler is known for his excellence in teaching medical students, residents, post-doctoral fellows, nurses and other Penn faculty in many different departments in the area of substance abuse.

Dr. James W. Cornish is an associate professor of psychiatry in the School of Medicine who came to Penn in 1988. In that same year he joined the Philadelphia VA Medical Center where he is currently the interim medical director for the Opioid Treatment Program. He has been active in the research and treatment of substance use disorders. He has been the principal investigator for numerous clinical trials at both Penn and the VA involving pharmacologic treatments for alcohol, cocaine and opioid dependence. For the past 10 years he has focused research on the treatment of opioid addicted persons in the criminal justice system. Dr. Cornish taught addiction treatment and psychopharmacotherapy to medical students, nurses, residents, fellows, social workers and criminal justice professionals. He has trained several addiction fellows who have developed outstanding academic careers. He also taught health care students as a visiting professor at the Université de Bordeaux (France).

The Special Dean's Awards


The Special Dean’s Awards, established during the 1989-90 academic year, honor special achievements by Penn faculty members, particularly in the development of new and innovative educational programs. The Vice Dean for Education, in consultation with the Teaching Awards Selection Committee, identifies faculty members who have made unique contributions to medical education at Penn during the previous year.

Drs. Peter F. Davies, James Gee and Andrew D. Maidment are recognized for their leadership of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)—National Institute for Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) Interface Scholars PhD training program that vertically integrates medical school coursework with advanced graduate courses and labs in imaging science. The program was established following receipt of the HHMI Interfaces award in 2006. Trainees are currently associated with the BGS-affiliated Bioengineering graduate group. Drs. Davies and Gee are also directors of interdisciplinary NIH T32 training grants from NHLBI and NIBIB. The recipients wish to recognize Dr. Ann Tiao, staff associate director of the program, who has also been instrumental in its success.

Dr. Davies, Robinette Foundation Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine and professor of pathology and lab medicine, is a leading cardiovascular and cell biomechanics investigator who has been instrumental in establishing innovative cross-School research and educational initiatives through the Institute for Medicine and Engineering as its founding director (1996-2010).

Dr. Gee, associate professor of radiologic science and computer and information science, is internationally recognized for his work in biomedical image analysis and computing with emphasis in the neurosciences, areas in which he leads several university-wide research programs and resources as well as international collaborative initiatives.

Dr. Maidment, associate professor of radiology, is an expert in x-ray imaging physics. As chief of the physics section, he leads research in the early detection and diagnosis of breast cancer, including development of novel radiographic imaging devices and imaging agents, breast imaging modeling and breast cancer image analysis. Dr. Maidment is extensively involved in resident and graduate education.

Jane M. Glick Graduate Student Teaching Award


The Jane M. Glick Graduate Student Teaching Award was established in 2010 by the Glick family in remembrance of Dr. Jane Glick, and her dedication to graduate student education. This year the award is presented to Dr. James Kevin Foskett, professor of physiology.

Dr. Foskett received his BS at Duke University in 1974 and his PhD at the University of California at Berkeley in 1981. Dr. Foskett’s lab looks at mechanisms of ion permeation across cell membranes and intracellular signaling, particularly in epithelial cells, and the roles of these processes in diseases, including cystic fibrosis.

He is the program chair of the Cell Biology and Physiology Program in the Cell and Molecular Biology Graduate Group and a member of the Neuroscience Graduate Group. Dr. Foskett is the founder of the Biomedical Graduate Studies core course, “Cell Biology and Biochemistry,”in which he still teaches and serves as a theme director. Dr. Foskett is an outstanding mentor and teacher and a leader in course development and administration.

Medical Student Government Awards

Medical Student Government Basic Science Teaching Award


Dr. James White is an adjunct associate professor of cell and developmental biology in the School of Medicine where he teaches a number of introductory courses, including gross anatomy. Dr. White also teaches neuroscience and histology. He is universally praised as an extremely passionate and dynamic teacher whose extensive knowledge of the subject matter combined with his friendly and approachable demeanor make him a student favorite.

One student describes Dr. White’s lectures as the highlight of the Penn Med experience. “He made the overwhelmingly complex and confusing human anatomy understandable, interesting, and engaging.” Another refers to him as “a creative and inspiring teacher” and a third as “quite simply the most dynamic, most personable, and kindest professors I had during my first year of medical school.” Another stated that, “Dr. White has a true gift for teaching.” 

Medical Student Government Clinical Teaching Award


Dr. Eric Goren is assistant professor of clinical medicine in the section of hospital medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. He has been described as a “renaissance humanitarian” who has actively involved himself as the faculty advisor of the United Community Clinic and as a volunteer for the University City Hospitality Coalition. He is known for his dedication, compassion and unparalleled love for teaching medical students, giving lectures to them even on his days off as a hospitalist.

One student calls Dr. Goren “selflessly devoted to patients, colleagues and students… whose boundless kindness and compassion for others make him a truly unique attending at Penn.”  Another student remarked, “I can honestly say that Dr. Goren contributed more to the breadth and depth of my clinical learning than any other educator at Penn.”


The Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award Presented by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation


Dr. Peter Cronholm, assistant professor in the department of family medicine and community health, is the recipient of the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award presented by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation. He is the associate program director of the Family Medicine Residency Program; faculty and clinical academic program coordinator for Penn’s “Bridging the Gaps,” and a volunteer supervising faculty member of United Community Clinics.

Dr. Cronholm is described as “indefatigable in seeking and accepting opportunities to reach students in classes, in groups, and in one-on-one mentorships.” His teaching focuses on issues with high psychosocial domains centered on humanistic principles in the practice of medicine. As one student said, “Dr. Cronholm is the type of doctor that I hope to one day be. His sincerity and enthusiasm for teaching students like myself and improving the community are apparent within the first few minutes of meeting him.”




Almanac - May 11, 2010, Volume 56, No. 33