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Educational Recognition Awards highlight excellence among UMMS faculty

Julie Jonassen stresses importance of basic science in medical education in ‘Last Lecture’

By Megan Bard

UMass Medical School Communications

abril 27, 2016
  • GSN Dean Joan Vitello, PhD, and Dean’s Award recipient Nancy Morris, PhD, ANP-BC
  • Dr. Vitello and Distinguished Faculty Award recipient Elizabeth Keating, MS, APRN, NP-C
  • Dr. Vitello and Distinguished Faculty Award recipient Carol Bova, PhD, RN, ANP
  • GSBS Dean Anthony Carruthers, PhD, (front row, from left) and Dean’s Award recipients Michael P. Czech, PhD; Reid Gilmore, PhD ; Michael R. Green, MD, PhD;  and Allan S. Jacobson, PhD. (Back row, from left,) Job Dekker, PhD; Thomas Fazzio, PhD; Paul Kaufman, PhD; David Lambright, PhD; Dannel McCollum, PhD; Mary Munson, PhD; and Peter M. Pryciak, PhD
  • Dr. Carruthers and Faculty Award recipients Jaeda Coutinho-Budd, PhD; Megan Corty, PhD; and Timothy P. Hogan, PhD
  • Dr. Carruthers and Faculty Award recipient Shruti Sharma, PhD
  • Dr. Carruthers and Faculty Award recipient Brendan Hilbert, PhD
  • Vijay K. Vanguri, MD, and School of Medicine Educational Achievement (Star) Award, recipient Anne M. Gilroy, MA
  • Dr. Vanguri  and Educational Achievement (Star) Award recipients Colleen Burnham, MBA; Rachel M. Gerstein, PhD; Carolina Ionete, MD, PhD; and Melissa A. Fischer, MD, MEd
  • Dr. Vanguri and Retired Faculty Teaching Award recipient Joshua J. Singer, PhD
  • School of Medicine Dean Terence Flotte and Dean’s Award, Lamar Soutter Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Medical Education recipient Mary Hawthorne, MD
  • Chancellor Michael Collins and Celia A. Schiffer, PhD, recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring
  • Julie Jonassen, PhD, presents the Last Lecture.
 

Jonassen awarded inaugural Manning Prize for Excellence in Teaching

Distinguished faculty member Julie A. Jonassen, PhD, is the first UMass Medical School recipient of the newly established Manning Prize for Excellence in Teaching, thanks to the generosity of UMass Trustee Robert Manning and his wife, Donna.

The award honors one outstanding faculty member with exceptional skills at each of the five University of Massachusetts campuses. At UMMS, the Manning Prize will be awarded concurrently to the recipients of the Chancellor’s Medal for Distinguished Teaching.

Dr. Jonassen, professor of microbiology & physiological systems and the incumbent medalist for distinguished teaching, was presented with the honor on April 26 at the annual Educational Recognition Awards. The 2016 Manning Prize will be presented to the Chancellor’s medalist at Convocation in September.

This competitive prize is presented to faculty members who demonstrate excellence in teaching along with exemplary dedication to students and the campus community. The prize carries a $10,000 stipend. The Manning Prize will be presented annually for three years. If successful, the prize will be endowed and become a permanent award for the University of Massachusetts.

Twenty-nine individuals who have made significant contributions to UMass Medical School were honored on April 26 during the 18th annual Educational Recognition Awards ceremony.

The deans and students of the Graduate School of Nursing, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and School of Medicine singled out exceptional faculty for their excellence in teaching, research and service. (See the full list of awardees below.)

Chancellor Michael F. Collins added to the praise by recognizing the recipients’ selfless dedication to their students and the university during the ceremony held in the Albert Sherman Center auditorium.

Additionally, Chancellor Collins introduced the new Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring, an award to be given annually to a faculty member holding the rank of associate or full professor who exemplifies the role of and demonstrates the qualities associated with an outstanding mentor. Celia A. Schiffer, PhD, professor of biochemistry & molecular pharmacology, was named the inaugural recipient. Collins said Dr. Schiffer’s commitment to mentoring has no boundary and that her gift has always been the empowerment of her mentees so that they can realize their potential. Through her work as a highly renowned researcher, respected colleague, highly regarded collaborator and sought-after mentor, Schiffer has contributed to the dynamism and vibrancy of the institution, Collins said.

As is tradition, Julie A. Jonassen, PhD, the recipient of the Chancellor’s Medal for Distinguished Teaching, awarded at Convocation 2015, was invited to share words of wisdom with her peers and students in a Last Lecture. During an engaging talk that included personal reflections on her career, education and recent experience being a patient, Dr. Jonassen, professor of microbiology & physiological systems, encouraged people to embrace serendipitous experiences. She shared her own stories of how happy coincidences led to her successful career as a medical educator.

She also spoke of her “staunch belief that basic science is essential to the education and practice of medicine.”

“It always made sense to me that doctors need to understand the basis of human health and development,” said Jonassen. She likened becoming fluent in basic sciences to mastering the language of medicine and said separating the sciences from each other or from a clinical context does a disservice to learners and, ultimately, to patients. 

“The discipline of the scientific method helps physicians to reason through difficult cases,” she said. As an example, Jonassen drew from personal experience as a patient with a condition that required her physicians to apply their knowledge of basic science to successfully determine the best course of treatment.

She acknowledged the perception by some students and medical education faculty that “basic sciences are a hurdle, and not a foundation, has produced a certain animus toward this portion of medical training.” For this reason, basic science lessons must incorporate clinical stories so they are more likely to resonate with medial students, she said. Offering greater, more diverse opportunities for active learning in a lab and small-group sessions, and fewer preclinical lectures might improve the experience and discourage the perception.

To underscore her belief, Jonassen retold the fable of three princes from Serendip that illustrates how the three, with different backgrounds and educational experiences, were prepared to work together as a team to solve unforeseen problems.

From the story, Jonassen asked that people remember these simple and important lessons: “Never stop learning, observe carefully, work as a team and be open to serendipity.”

2016 Educational Recognition Awards

Graduate School of Nursing

      • Dean’s Award: Nancy Morris, PhD, ANP-BC
      • Distinguished Faculty Award:
        Master’s—Elizabeth Keating, MS, APRN, NP-C
        Doctoral—Carol Bova, PhD, RN, ANP

Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

        • Dean’s Award:
          Core Course Founders
          —Michael P. Czech, PhD; Michael R. Green, MD, PhD; Reid Gilmore, PhD; and Allan S. Jacobson, PhD
          Current Core Course Facilitators—Job Dekker, PhD; Thomas Fazzio, PhD; Reid Gilmore, PhD; Paul Kaufman, PhD; David Lambright, PhD; Dannel McCollum, PhD; Mary Munson, PhD; and Peter M. Pryciak, PhD
        • Faculty Award:
          Contribution to curricular development—Megan Corty, PhD; Jaeda Coutinho-Budd, PhD; and Timothy P. Hogan, PhD
          Mentoring and student professional advancement—Shruti Sharma, PhD
          Trainee mentoring—Brendan Hilbert, PhD. Outstanding contributions to lecture—Robert J. Goldberg, PhD

School of Medicine

          • Dean’s Award, Lamar Soutter Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Medical Education: Mary Hawthorne, MD
          • Educational Achievement (Star) Award:
            Outstanding achievements in medical student education—Anne M. Gilroy, MA
            Capstone Course Leaders—Colleen Burnham, MBA; Melissa A. Fischer, MD, MEd; Rachel M. Gerstein, PhD; Steven C. Hatch, MD; and Carolina Ionete, MD, PhD
          • Retired Faculty Teaching Award: Joshua J. Singer, PhD

Related links on UMassMedNow:
UMMS postdocs launch ‘Communicating Neuroscience’ course
Chancellor Collins: ‘We are the commonwealth’s medical school’