Teaching Excellence Honored at HMS

HMS faculty, staff recognized at Federman awards ceremony

Screen shot of teaching awards zoom meeting

Participants in this year's virtual HMS Federman Teaching Awards ceremony

Thirteen Harvard Medical School faculty and three staff members were honored for excellence in teaching and support for medical education at the 2020 Daniel D. Federman Teaching Awards ceremony on Nov. 9.

The honorees gathered virtually with family and friends for the annual event, which celebrates the School’s most outstanding teachers. Each year, students nominate candidates they believe embody the many exemplary contributions of Daniel D. Federman, an alumnus of both Harvard University and HMS. Award recipients are selected from among those nominated.

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HMS Dean George Q. Daley lauded the 2020 recipients, recognizing their efforts in a year in which the coronavirus pandemic created unprecedented challenges for medical educators. 

Our school is entrusted with the responsibility of providing the very best education to our students, because when they leave HMS they will be entrusted with ensuring the health of our global community as physicians and leaders in medicine. And this pandemic has shown us all, with even greater clarity, what a critical responsibility that is,” Daley said in opening remarks. 

Federman served as dean for students and alumni from 1977–89, dean for medical education from 1989–2000, the HMS Carl W. Walter Professor of Medicine and Medical Education at Brigham and Women’s Hospital from 1992–2000, and senior dean for alumni relations and clinical teaching from 2000–2007.  

This year, the Donald O’Hara Faculty Prize for Excellence in Teaching was awarded to Barbara Cockrill, the Harold Amos Academy Associate Professor and director of faculty development at HMS.

Dean Edward Hundert said Cockrill had received more than two dozen nominations for the award, “by far the most nominations for any one faculty member for as long as we can find records.” 

He said Cockrill was teaching and directing Homeostasis I in March when the entire School had to shift to remote learning on 12 hours’ notice because of the coronavirus pandemic.  

“What she did was truly the stuff of legend,” Hundert said, citing Cockrill’s “creative, positive energy and tireless dedication to excellence.”

Hundert quoted excerpts from several of the student nominations for Cockrill, with one student writing, “Dr. Cockrill, within 20 hours, led the entire homeostasis faculty in creating an interactive experience of the course via Zoom after COVID-19 hit our country, communities and classrooms.”

“Even after our course ended she continued to send messages of support,” the student wrote. “She is a wonderful leader, human and educator who has inspired our class during what has been the most daunting moment of our nascent careers as health care professionals; we are so thankful to her.”   

Another student wrote of Cockrill’s “unflinching dedication to the students of HMS,” citing her “charm, warmth and commitment to quality education even during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Faculty at HMS’s teaching affiliates, including Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Children’s Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Cambridge Health Alliance, Massachusetts General Hospital and Mount Auburn Hospital, were recognized with a number of awards for teaching excellence, innovation, clerkship teaching, humanistic teaching and more.

HMS staff members were also honored for their work and dedication. Alex Yactayo, medical education coordinator at Beth Israel Deaconess, received the L. James Wiczai Award for Leadership, Excellence and Innovation in Medical Education, which honors a staff member from an affiliated hospital who fosters innovation and excellence in medical education and promotes collaboration between HMS and Harvard-affiliated hospitals.

 Michele Cohn, HMS director of curriculum services, and Melissa Friedman, HMS director of admissions, both in the Program in Medical Education, were honored with the Richard A. Gillis Award for Excellence in Medical Education, which is given to a member or members of the HMS staff for outstanding contributions to the educational mission of the School.

The following are all the HMS faculty and staff members honored at the 2020 Daniel D. Federman Teaching Awards ceremony:

Donald O’Hara Faculty Prize for Excellence in Teaching

  • Barbara Cockrill, the Harold Amos Academy Associate Professor and director of faculty development at HMS

Charles McCabe Faculty Prizes for Excellence in Teaching

  • Pieter Cohen, HMS associate professor of medicine at Cambridge Health Alliance
  • Aaron Hoffman, HMS instructor in medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital

Fariborz Maseeh Award for Innovative Medical Education

  • Michael Dougan, HMS assistant professor of medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital

Leo A. Blacklow Award

Bulfinch Medical Student Teaching Award

  • Katherine Johnston, HMS assistant professor of medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Roy Phitayakorn, HMS associate professor of surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital

The CHA’s Sandra & Arnold Gold Award for Humanistic Teaching

  • Gerard Coste, HMS assistant professor of medicine at Cambridge Health Alliance

The Bernard Lown Award for Excellence in Teaching

  • Nora Yusuf Osman, HMS assistant professor of medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital
  • Kathleen Wittels, HMS assistant professor of emergency medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Robert P. Masland, Jr., Award for Excellence in Teaching

  • Amanda Growdon, HMS assistant professor of pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital

S. Robert Stone Award for Excellence in Teaching

  • Jeremy Richards, HMS assistant professor of medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Senior S. Robert Stone Award for Excellence in Teaching

  • Mary Jane Houlihan, HMS assistant professor of surgery at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

L. James Wiczai, Jr. Award

  • Alex Yactayo, medical education coordinator in the Department of Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Richard A. Gillis Award for Excellence in Medical Education

  • Michele Cohn, director of curriculum services at HMS
  • Melissa Friedman, director of admissions at HMS