- Introduction to Clinical Research Training
- Medical Education
- United Kingdom Clinical Scholars Research Training
- Vanderbilt Hall
- Financial Aid
- Office of the Registrar
- Campus Planning and Facilities
- Ombuds Office
- Committee on Microbiological Safety
- Human Resources
- HMS Foundation Funds
- The Academy
- Office for Academic and Clinical Affairs
- Joint Committee on the Status of Women
- Global Health Research Core
- Global Clinical Scholars Research Training Program
- HMA Standing Committee on Animals
- Office of Research Compliance
- Harvard Medical School Event Calendar
- Contact @HMS
- Office of Diversity RIA Program
- The Dean's Perspective
- Department of Pathology
- Harvard Mahoney Neuroscience Institute
- OHRA Home
- Office of Research Subject Protection
- Tools and Technology
- Alumni Association
- Cancer Biology & Therapeutics Program
- Celiac Program
- Department of Medicine
- HMS Community Values Initiative
- HMS Information Technology
- HMS TransMed Program
- Introduction to the Practice of American Medicine
- Office of Communications & External Relations
- Big Data In Healthcare
- Institutional Planning and Policy
- Master of Medical Sciences In Clinical Investigation
- Office of Global Education
- Portugal Clinical Scholars Research Training Program
- Safety Quality Informatics and Leadership
- Shenzhen-HMS Initiative in International Education
- South American Clinical Research Training
- test page
- Human Resources
- Jobs @ HMS
- Dental Medicine
- Harvard University
- Contact us
What does the music of ABBA have to do with the study of nephrology?
Although many people would be hard-pressed to make the connection, Harvard Medical School students may likely respond with a quick smile and a visual image of a teacher dressed in full ABBA regalia belting out “Kidney Queen” to the tune of “Dancing Queen.”
The teacher is Melanie Hoenig, HMS assistant professor of medicine at Joslin Diabetes Center and the recipient of the HMS 2013 Donald O’Hara Faculty Prize for her leadership and teaching in the second-year course Human Systems: Renal.
Hoenig was not the only educator recognized for excellence recently at the 2013 Daniel D. Federman teaching awards celebration. Her colleague Wolfram Goessling was also honored with the O’Hara prize, and Alexander Carbo, professor of medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Marie-Louise Jean-Baptiste, assistant professor of medicine at Cambridge Health Alliance, were recognized with the Charles McCabe Faculty Prize for Excellence in Teaching. H. Frank Bunn research director of the Hematology Division at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Robert Novelline, HMS professor of radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital, and Jeremy Schmahmann, HMS professor of neurology at Mass General, were honored with the Harvard Medical School Special Faculty Prize for Sustained Excellence in Teaching. Learn more about the awards and recipients here.
Hoenig acknowledges that her approach may seem a bit unorthodox, but said she likes to begin her courses in a stimulating, unique way to get off on the right foot with her classes.
“I like to start the course with an inspirational charge,” said Hoenig. “I have done several different things over the years, but about six years ago, I started singing. By doing this, I think I show that I am vulnerable but zany and ready to take a chance. Some students like it, some think I may be a little unprofessional, but I do look forward to the course all year long, so it is really hard to contain myself when it finally starts.”
Hoenig’s passion for nephrology is both difficult to contain and contagious.
“I am passionate about nephrology. I was always drawn to this material, albeit a little intimidated. When I discover an aspect that I understand well, I just want to find a way to share it. Plus, I love a good story and there are so many exciting ones in this field,” said Hoenig.
These qualities have clearly resonated with Hoenig’s students.
“She is an entertaining and lucid lecturer who got us rollicking with her original ‘Nephron Song’ and delivered on the song’s promise to get us to ‘learn about the nephron’ with great teaching sessions,” said student Debbie Teodorescu.
“She is not only exceptionally brilliant at communicating some of the most difficult content in the preclinical curriculum, but also fiercely devoted to the education of her students,” said student Simin Gharib Lee in a letter supporting Hoenig’s nomination.
Hoenig finds continual sources of inspiration and motivation for her teaching in each new class of HMS students.
“Teaching can be humbling, and yet a difficult question can bring us all toward new heights. Each year, I find that I learn something substantively new that I never previously truly understood. Students push us to find our vulnerabilities and then we can regroup and make ourselves whole again,” she said.