Leading by Example
Annual award ceremony honors exceptional mentors
Annual award ceremony honors exceptional mentors
Inspirational, genuine, supportive, encouraging, dedicated, selfless—those are a few of the words used by nominators to describe the recipients of Harvard Medical School’s 2018 Excellence in Mentoring Awards.
“It is through these awards that we honor those who have made significant contributions to the professional, and sometimes personal, development of many of our faculty, trainees and students,” said Joan Reede, HMS dean for diversity inclusion and community partnership, in her opening remarks.
Reede thanked the mentors for giving of themselves unselfishly and “believing that mentoring is an important and meaningful part of professional and personal lives.”
This year’s recipients accepted accolades in the Carl W. Walter Amphitheater of the Tosteson Medical Education Center on June 14. Close to 100 guests filled the amphitheater, including award recipients, some with their family members, and those who nominated them for recognition.
“This year, we received 338 nominations for 146 faculty mentors,” Reede noted before presenting the awards.
Initially established in 1995, the Excellence in Mentoring Award was later renamed in 1997 to honor the memory of A. Clifford Barger, the Robert Henry Pfeiffer Professor of Physiology, Emeritus and head of the Department of Physiology at HMS, and his devotion to bringing out the best in those who studied, trained and worked at HMS.
The William Silen Lifetime Achievement in Mentoring Award was established in 1997 and renamed in 2001. This distinction was made to honor Silen’s memory and acknowledges his lifetime commitment to mentoring. William Silen is the HMS Johnson and Johnson Professor of Surgery, Emeritus and was the first dean for faculty development and diversity at HMS.
The Young Mentor Award, created in 2005, recognizes faculty members who have 10 years or less of service, but who have devoted a significant portion of their time to mentoring others.
The recipients are chosen by an advisory committee comprised of representatives from across the Harvard community.
“[Robert Yeh] leads both by example and by practice. He has mentored several others ... but somehow managed to make us feel like we are the only person he mentors,” said Reede, quoting from one of Yeh’s nominators. Yeh, HMS associate professor of medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, was a recipient of the Young Mentor award.
Nneka Ufere, HMS research fellow in medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, described Sherri-Ann Burnett-Bowie, a recipient of the A. Clifford Barger Excellence in Mentoring Award, as a relentless champion, protector, supporter and friend.
Another nominee called Burnett-Bowie a “natural”— commending her as a person who truly cares for trainees and who is invested in helping them develop not just academically, but in their personal and civic lives as well.
“They [mentees] have given me more than I can give them,” said Burnett-Bowie, HMS assistant professor of medicine at Mass General and faculty assistant dean for student affairs at HMS, after receiving the award, noting that reading her nomination letters was one of the most emotional experiences she could ever have.
Isaac Kohane, the Marion V. Nelson Professor of Biomedical Informatics and chair of the Department of Biomedical Informatics at HMS, who received a William Silen Lifetime Achievement in Mentoring Award
was described as having a talent for fostering a collaborative and welcoming environment. His nominator commended him as “deeply respectful of personal and family time,” saying he was the type of person who goes out of his way to help mentees with scientific or non-scientific guidance.
In her closing remarks, Reede highlighted the importance of good mentoring, the extraordinary commitment and dedication of HMS faculty, and the difference that faculty members have made in people’s lives.
“I am proud to be a part of an institution that recognizes the importance of quality mentoring and honors those that do so,” she said.
“A colleague of mine… recently pointed out that when successful people are asked about the key influences in their careers—the exposures and activities that they believe most contributed to their success—almost never do they talk about a school they attended or a course they took or even an individual research project they conducted. Instead, they talk about a person, sometimes a few people, who, in some unanticipated way, changed their thinking and approach or saw something in them that they had not seen themselves,” said Reede during her closing remarks.
This year’s award ceremony also celebrated the inaugural Excellence in Student Mentoring Award. Established by the HMS Scholars in Medicine Office, the award recognizes the value of quality mentoring relationships and the impact faculty members have on student research and professional development.
The inaugural recipients of these awards are Gail Kurr Adler, HMS associate professor of medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital; Jennifer Kasper, assistant professor of global health and social medicine at HMS and HMS assistant professor of pediatrics at Mass General; and Louise Catherine Ivers, HMS associate professor of medicine at Mass General and associate professor of global health and social medicine at HMS.
Alyna Chien, HMS assistant professor of pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital
Supattriya Chutinan, instructor in restorative dentistry and biomaterials sciences at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine
Kathleen Conroy, HMS instructor in pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital
Aram Kim, instructor in restorative dentistry and biomaterials sciences at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine
Brian Nahed, HMS associate professor of neurosurgery at Massachusetts General Hospital
Yin-Shan Eric Ng, HMS assistant professor of ophthalmology at Schepens Eye Research Institute
Robert Yeh, HMS associate professor of medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Joanne Borg-Stein, HMS associate professor of physical medicine rehabilitation at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital
Sherri-Ann M. Burnett-Bowie, HMS assistant professor of medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and faculty assistant dean for student affairs at HMS
Dean Cestari, HMS assistant professor of ophthalmology at Massachusetts Eye and Ear
Chandlee Dickey, HMS associate professor of psychiatry at VA Boston Healthcare System
David Hirsh, HMS associate professor of medicine at Cambridge Health Alliance
Lotfi Merabet, HMS associate professor of ophthalmology at Massachusetts Eye and Ear
Leon Sanchez, HMS associate professor of emergency medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Gloria Yeh, HMS associate professor of medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Gary Fleisher, the HMS Egan Family Foundation Professor of Pediatrics and head of the Department of Pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital
Elizabeth Ginsburg, HMS professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive biology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Isaac Kohane, HMS Marion V. Nelson Professor of Biomedical Informatic and chair of the Department of Biomedical Informatics at HMS
Jane Newburger, the HMS Commonwealth Professor of Pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital
Jeremy Ruskin, HMS professor of medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital