Congratulations to the 2013-2014 award recipients! 

The Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences

Excellence in Teaching Awards

The Psychiatry Teaching Awards are presented annually before the Department of Psychiatry’s Grand Rounds.  Their purpose is to honor excellence in teaching, supervision, mentoring or related instructional activities in a number of categories.  Nominees for each award are selected for their ingenuity, clinical skill, innovation, availability, supportiveness, inspiration, dedication, humanism, patience, respect for diversity, and improvement in the teaching process. 

Outstanding Undergraduate Student Teaching                      

Eligible candidates are full-time faculty in the department, who are teaching or supervising in courses listed in the departmental catalogue which is not for medical students or housestaff.

George M. Slavich, Ph.D.

George SlavichDr. George Slavich is a research scientist at the Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology, where he directs the UCLA Laboratory for Stress Assessment and Research.“I would not be where I am today without the guidance of Dr. George Slavich,” writes an undergraduate student. Dr. Slavich is receiving this year’s Outstanding Undergraduate Student Teaching Award. He is said to be a “very sincere and active mentor who deeply values all of his undergraduate students, and who is there to help out with all things, big and small.” “Dr. Slavich,” described by a former student, “Is known to exhibit a deep passion, excitement, and dedication to Undergraduate research…He is one of a kind and an amazing mentor.” Another student writes, “Despite the amount of work he is able to accomplish, he has always been extremely accessible—returning emails within a day, providing thorough reviews of all research and academic materials, and has never once seemed like he has put other work above helping those he’s mentoring. George has always been enthusiastic regarding research, and his excitement is contagious.” As a token of our appreciation for the time, energy, and devotion that was given to the undergraduate students, Dr. George Slavich truly deserves the 2014 Outstanding Undergraduate Student Teaching Award.

 

Outstanding Medical Student Teaching                         

Eligible candidates are full-time faculty in the department who lecture, supervise or tutor in any of the courses for first or second year medical students or in any of the psychiatry clerkship or medical student electives (including those offered at our V.A. or affiliated medical programs)

Iljie K. Fitzgerald, M.D., M.S.

Iljie K. FitzgeraldDr. Iljie Fitzgerald is receiving this year’s Outstanding Medical Student Teaching Award. She is described by a 4thyear, “as nothing short of outstanding”. Many students have described her as enthusiastic, compassionate, dedicated, and always teaching with a positive attitude. Many students also express the profound impact that Dr. Fitzgerald has had on their studies, career choices, and appreciation of psychiatric medicine. One 3rdyear student writes, “I have always heard people say that a great instructor can really open your mind to new possibilities in your career and life goals, and Dr. Fitzgerald has definitely done that for me”. The student continues, “She goes to great lengths to find the most effective strategies for her students to learn comfortably and for her patients to heal. I left block 8 PBL with a plan on how to grow as a second year medical student, and how to approach challenges as they present themselves”. Dr. Fitzgerald was not only a teacher and mentor, but one you felt comfortable to confide in. A 4thyear writes, “Her acknowledgement of my feelings provided a huge sense of relief. She comforted us when 3rd year was at its worst”. Another writes, “She provided much needed advice that eased the stress I was going through, but was ready to point out resources that I could turn to for more help.” For her dedication, compassion, and zest for teaching medical students, Dr. Iljie Fitzgerald is truly deserving of the 2014 Outstanding Medical Student Teaching Award.           

 

Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching                      

Eligible candidates are full-time faculty in the department, who are teaching or supervising in courses listed in the departmental catalogue which is not for medical students or housestaff.

Tara S. Peris, Ph.D

Tara S. PerisWith much enthusiasm, writes one Postdoc Fellow, “When Tara calls me her colleague, I feel honored. However, I consider her more than a colleague; she is a mentor, teacher, supervisor, and role model.”  Dr. Tara Peris is receiving this year’s 2014 Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award. Dr. Peris’s approach to teaching, training, and supervision is said to be the best! According to her colleague, “her teaching is characterized by an impressive breadth of knowledge, careful preparation, and excellent organization.  Her enthusiasm for the subjects she teaches and for her students is infectious.  Dr. Peris supplements her didactics with videotape, clinical material, and interactive exercises in a highly effective manner.  She is quite skilled at engaging her audience, regardless of their level of training.” A psychology Intern describes, Dr. Peris as an “extremely knowledgeable and supportive instructor as well as a thoughtful and talented supervisor who is deeply committed to patient care and the training of the next generation of psychologists.” It is evident that she is consistently prepared, hardworking, and passionate about teaching and mentoring. She highly deserves the 2014 Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award.  

 

Outstanding Housestaff Teaching                                   

Eligible candidates are full-time psychiatry or psychology faculty in the department who are teaching or supervising psychiatric residents or fellows and/or psychology interns assigned to our clinical services (includes psychiatric services at our V.A. or affiliated hospitals).    

Anoshiravan Taheri-Tafreshi, M.D.

Anoshiravan Taheri-TafreshiDr. Anoshiravan Taheri-Tafreshi is receiving this year’s Outstanding Housetaff Teaching Award.Dr. Taheri-Tafreshi is “the attending for interns and PGY2s at the VA Psychiatry. He leads the PGY1 lecture series” and case conferences. He is described by many as the best teacher and the most helpful and influential full-time faculty member for residents. A colleague writes, “His teaching skills are superb in terms of content, delivery, appropriateness to the trainees, engaging his audience, as well as answering many questions.” Another colleague expresses, “I still remember his lectures and handouts 4 years later.” Not only is Dr. Taheri-Tafreshi an amazing teacher and mentor, but he also cares about residents’ well-being and frequently asks “how their interaction was while on-call and if there were any clinical or safety issues that arose.” Dr. Taheri-Tafreshi is supportive, informative, open-minded, accepting, and is always there when you need him. Many feel fortunate to work with him and express what a great role model he continues to be. Dr. Anoshiravan Taheri-Tafreshi, it’s an honor to award the  2014 Outstanding Housestaff Teaching award to you.                                  

 

 Outstanding Research Mentor                                       

Eligible candidates are faculty in the department who are directly supervising research projects of housestaff, graduate, or post-doctoral trainees and/or who are providing mentoring to such trainees or to junior faculty (below the rank of associate professor) on research, promotion, or career advancement.

Stephen Marder, M.D.

Stepehn MarderWe are pleased and honored to give Dr. Stephen Marder an Outstanding Research Mentor Award this year. Dr. Marder is the Director of the VISN 22 Mental Illness Research, Education Clinical Center (MIRECC) for the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Director of the Section on Psychosis at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute. His contribution, patience, wisdom, generosity, and commitment is impressive and he is described by many as engaging and one who goes above and beyond to ensure that residents receive the best education possible.  A colleague writes, “Dr. Marder’s commitment to resident education is underscored by his regular presence on the inpatient wards as the teams frequently request his consultation with challenging cases.  He consistently offers a thorough review of the cases and discusses his recommendations with the residents.  As a lecturer for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th year curriculum his presentations are amongst the most engaging and well attended.” A Postdoc scholar writes, “Dr. Marder has been an exemplary mentor over several years, with unflagging support for resident education, both clinical and research.  His lectures were cogent and useful, and moreover inspiring.” Another writes, “One of the reasons I chose the UCLA psychiatry residency were the world class faculty and mentors with whom we would work and learn from.  Dr. Stephen Marder represents that excellence in the best traditions of UCLA.” With his superb track record and reputation, it is our pleasure to award Dr. Stephen Marder the 2014 Outstanding Research Mentor Award. 

Outstanding Research Mentor                                       

Eligible candidates are faculty in the department who are directly supervising research projects of housestaff, graduate, or post-doctoral trainees and/or who are providing mentoring to such trainees or to junior faculty (below the rank of associate professor) on research, promotion, or career advancement.

Michael R. Irwin, M.D.

Michael IrwinDr. Michael Irwin holds the Norman Cousins Chair for Psychoneuroimmunology at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, and is Director of the Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior among his other distinguished positions. He is an exemplary mentor and role model.  His leadership skills and ability to manage multiple ongoing projects are impressive. He is described as trustworthy and open and looks to advance and help grow junior researchers. He encourages independence and creativity but at the same time he is closely involved with every step of the process. He is also described as very humanistic and is considered to be a real friend.  He shows compassion and has an immense ability to relate to people. It is, therefore, no question that Dr. Michael Irwin deserves this year’s 2014 Outstanding Research Mentor Award. 

 

Outstanding Volunteer Clinical Faculty Teaching                         

Eligible candidates are volunteer faculty in the clinical instructor or clinical professor series whose primary work or responsibilities are outside the university, who have not received this award in the past three years, and teach in courses offered to medical students, undergraduate or graduate students, or housestaff; provide individual supervision to psychology interns or psychiatry residents or fellows; or participate in other clinical teaching activities in the Semel Institute or Resnick Hospital.

Jeffrey Schaeffer, Ph.D.

Jeffrey SchaefferDr. Jeffrey Schaeffer has been a Voluntary Clinical Faculty for many years. He has dedicated countless hours of supervising, mentoring, and encouraging trainees in clinical neuropsychology.  “His clinical wisdom is unmatched,” describes a colleague, “and his ever-positive spirit and contagious enthusiasm inspire students to achieve the highest possible intellectual and ethical standards.” Another colleague writes, “Dr. Schaeffer also stays on the forefront of issues that impact our practice of neuropsychology and offers to organize and provide training to address those issues….” It is clear that Dr. Schaeffer’s clinical expertise is outstanding and is therefore highly deserving of the 2014 Outstanding Volunteer Clinical Faculty Teaching Award.                   

 

Outstanding Teaching Resident

Eligible candidates are residents of general psychiatric training or child, forensic, geriatric, or other fellows who have primary teaching or supervisory responsibilities on their service or clinic for medical students, beginning residents, psychology interns, or other junior house staff or trainees.

Christopher F. Pirok, M.D.

Christopher PirokDr. Christopher Pirok’s background is unique and his “breadth and depth of experience gives him a maturity, autonomy and clinical judgment that have rarely been seen in the Psychiatry residents.” “As IPT Chief Resident, Chris has been an extraordinarily effective leader and influence on the morale of both the residents and attending’s in the clinic.  He was the fulcrum of the clinic organization:  he recruited patients and interviewed each one individually and matched each one of the residents with an appropriate patient with great success….Chris also observed psychotherapy sessions and offered individual feedback to the residents.  He was encouraging, supportive, and his comments on the therapeutic process were insightful and delivered with empathy….”A resident describes, “Looking back on my three years at UCLA as a resident, no other resident has had more of an impact on my educational experience than Chris. I believe that a large part of this is because of his enthusiasm for his subject matter. It is clear that he loves teaching and guiding residents through their development as a therapist.  His supervision sessions are always well organized, but also flow naturally, feel collaborative and are incredibly helpful. Every week, I am excited about using his recommendations during the next week’s therapy sessions as they often lead to a major breakthrough with the patient.”He is said to be a great role model and an “…honest, trustworthy, and a fine clinician…” He is well received and supported by many and therefore deserves the 2014 Outstanding Teaching Resident Award.

 

Outstanding Teaching Fellow

Eligible candidates are residents of general psychiatric training or child, forensic, geriatric, or other fellows who have primary teaching or supervisory responsibilities on their service or clinic for medical students, beginning residents, psychology interns, or other junior house staff or trainees.

Smitta Patel, M.D., M.P.H

Smitta PatelAccording to a colleague, “Dr. Smitta Patel completely embodies the characteristics of a teacher …she exudes curiosity and joy when explaining psychiatric findings and ideas and I believe that is because she keeps that same flame of curiosity alive herself.” Dr. Smitta Patel is described as patient and no matter how busy she gets, always makes the time to carefully explain a case. Another colleague writes, “Dr. Patel was always eager to teach and spent many hours during the day doing so. In fact, she taught more than any other fellow I worked with in the department. Explanations were always thorough and several times I was provided links to videos and literature for additional information. The concepts she taught me have been very useful in interactions with psychiatric patients on my other rotations as well as valuable in everyday life.” For her time, care, knowledge, and patience, Dr. Smitta Patel is therefore receiving this year’s 2014 Outstanding Teaching Fellow Award.