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Dr. Sheldon Benjamin receives teaching medal

BenjaminThe Department of Psychiatry’s Dr. Sheldon Benjamin, an internationally recognized leader in psychiatric education, has received the prestigious Chancellor’s Medal for Distinguished Teaching at the UMass Chan Medical School (UMMS).

Benjamin, professor of psychiatry and neurology and director of neuropsychiatry at UMMS, was chosen after a full, highly competitive nomination and selection process, according to UMass Chan Medical School Chancellor Michael F. Collins.

Collins presented the award to Benjamin during the school’s Sept. 13 convocation – before hundreds gathered under a white tent on the campus green – in recognition of Benjamin’s “outstanding commitment to the education of so many who have been your students.”

“You are an internationally recognized leader in psychiatric education,” said Collins. “Viewed by all as an outstanding residency program director; an excellent clinician and role model; a mentor for junior faculty, faculty leaders who are residency directors and all trainees; many have been impacted by your gifts as an educator.

“Your teaching and your example are memorable. Your curiosity and commitment have earned our respect.”

“I was overwhelmed to be singled out by Chancellor Collins for doing what I most love to do –- teach,” said Benjamin. “In my 26 years at UMass, my interactions with the students, interns, residents, fellows, and others whom I’ve taught and from whom I have, in turn, learned, have been the absolute highpoint of my career.

“And, of course, I would not have been able to do the teaching that I so love to do without the support of my department chairs and medical school colleagues.”

As director of the Neuropsychiatry Outpatient Referral Center, Benjamin is interested in the differential diagnosis of neuropsychiatric symptoms and the interaction of depression with neurological disease. He evaluates common problems including movement disorders, seizure disorders, dementia, neurodevelopmental disability, stroke, traumatic brain injury, and inherited neuropsychiatric disorders.

He is particularly interested in dysfunctional frontal-subcortical circuits as causes of neuropsychiatric symptoms, and deep brain stimulation as a treatment targeted at specific dysfunctional frontal-subcortical circuits.