2010-2011 Teaching Awards

The Psychiatry Teaching awards are presented annually during Psychiatry 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, dedication, humanism, respect for diversity, improvement in the teaching process, and introduction of new important subjects.

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 (include those offered at our V.A. or affiliated medical programs)

Robert N. Pechnick, Ph.D.

Robert Pechnick, Ph.D. Dr. Robert Pechnick has been an integral part of the Medical Neuroscience course for the medical students since 2004. What is particularly amazing about his lectures is that he is one of the few lecturers in the school who does not use Powerpoint. Students consistently note the effectiveness of his approach, and he is praised for his clarity of explanations, concern with students’ understanding, usefulness of handouts, and ability to move seamlessly from basic pharmacology to clinical applications. One medical student noted that Dr. Pechnick’s enthusiasm for teaching became apparent right away, explaining that he appreciates inquisitiveness and always makes himself available to review course material. She added that many people can make great professors, but only a truly great professor can help make great students. For his commitment to teaching students, Dr. Robert Pechnick is truly deserving of the 2011 Outstanding Medical Student Teaching Award.

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 house staff.

Joseph B. Watson, Ph.D.

Joseph B. Watson, Ph.D. Dr. Joseph Watson has been co-teaching an undergraduate GE course entitled “The Brain Made Simple” Neuroscience in the 21st Century” since 2005. Dr. Watson has been described as an extremely organized, patient and gentle teacher who is able to translate his excitement about the material that he is teaching to students. The goal of his course is to communicate the excitement of brain science in a fashion that can motivate and educate first or second year students with little or no science background, and Dr. Watson stimulates them to critically think by asking thought-provoking questions in class. For these reasons, Dr. Joseph Watson is most deserving of the 2011 Outstanding Undergraduate 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 house staff.

Brenda Bursch, Ph.D.

Brenda Bursch, Ph.D. Dr. Brenda Bursch leads pediatric psychiatry consultation/liaison teaching seminars that are attended by trainees with varying backgrounds, from psychology interns to psychiatry fellows and medical students. She is consistently able to tailor the content and style of her teaching so that it is engaging an accessible to everyone in attendance. One student states that Dr. Bursch’s trainees are her top priority, as she is truly interested in their thoughts and ideas as well as their personal well-being. Another student expressed that they feel lucky to have had the opportunity to work closely with Dr. Bursch, and their experience as a trainee has been greatly enhanced by her support, guidance, and vast knowledge base. Dr. Bursch is passionate about teaching and the hospital is her classroom. She allows those she teaches to learn through doing and conveys the utmost confidence in her students and trainees. For her genuine interest and dedication to teaching, Dr. Brenda Bursch is an ideal choice for the 2011 Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award.

Outstanding Housestaff Teaching

Karen Miller, Ph.D.

Karen Miller, Ph.D. Dr. Karen Miller has excelled in developing a training program for psychology graduate students, in being a teacher and mentor of dozens of trainees, and in expanding the training of Geriatric Psychiatry Fellows. She goes above and beyond the call of duty and puts her whole heart and mind into her work. One trainee expressed that working with Dr. Miller has changed her life and that it is clear her priority is giving students the best training experience possible and making them the best clinician and researcher they can be. Her charm, enthusiasm, and drive are contagious. Patients want to be around her and students want to emulate her. She has devoted her career to helping graduate students find their own calling and is a source of support and encouragement every step along their journey. Dr. Miller is able to instill a passion for neuropsychology into students who may not have been initially interested in neuropsychology, and helps them see that they should naturally devote their lives to the field of neuropsychology. She is committed to helping students clarify their ultimate career goal and helping them move towards it successfully. For these reasons, Dr. Karen Miller is deserving of this year’s Outstanding Housestaff Teaching Award.

Outstanding Research Mentor

Eligible candidates are faculty in the department who are directly supervising research projects of house staff, 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.

Lori Altshuler, M.D.

Lori Altshuler, M.D. Dr. Lori Altshuler is described as a teacher extraordinaire. In large public settings, she is extremely comfortable and able to condense difficult, dense material into user-friendly concepts. She is able to sense the knowledge level of the audience and target her material to be easily digestible by the audience to whom she is speaking. Dr. Altshuler not only conducts first-rate research to push the field of mood disorders research further, she exemplifies what it means to be a researcher, a teacher and a physician. She constantly engages her students in discussions, respecting and encouraging them to develop their own ideas while at the same time providing clear guidance and demanding the highest quality of work. She encourages her mentees to be proactive in their learning and to go beyond the requirements of their particular program. One past trainee of Dr. Altshuler added that her enthusiasm for her field and for teaching, her clear way of thinking, her generosity and broad perspective, and her nurturing style are an inspiration for her mentees. It is therefore my pleasure to award Dr. Lori Altshuler the 2011 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 house staff; 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.

Wendy Rosenstein, M.D.

Wendy Rosenstein, M.D. Dr. Wendy Rosenstein has been a dedicated and conscientious volunteer in the Friday General Outpatient Clinic for nearly a decade. She is a superb clinician and teacher who is very generous with her time. One trainee expressed that she is an excellent teacher, instructing on things relevant to each patient’s medical and psychiatric condition that is new to the residents. In addition to her clinical teaching skills, she shows empathy for patients, and acts as an amazing role model. Knowing that she’s a volunteer faculty member, regularly dedicating her time to teach us and help us better our relationship to and treatments for our patients inspires me to be a better physician myself. Dr. Wendy Rosenstein is therefore truly deserving of the 2011 Outstanding Clinical Faculty Teaching Award.

Outstanding Teaching Resident or Fellow                  

Eligible candidates are resident of general psychiatric training or child, forensic, geriatric, or other fellows in their final year of clinical training 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.

Ryan Davis, M.D.

Ryan Davis, M.D. Dr. Ryan Davis is a trainee who is dedicated to the teaching mission of UCLA. As a skilled clinician, he shares that knowledge and skill with the medical students who rotate with him. He discusses the assessment process with each student, how he is conceptualizing the case, and he models outstanding rapport and interviewing technique for the students whom he supervises. Ryan stands out as a physician who effortlessly and genuinely connects with his patients. A student working with him expressed that he went out of his way to give them helpful suggestions and continues to provide unwavering guidance and support. A fellow trainee added that he is a passionate teacher who is always excited to share his knowledge with others. Ryan has a sincere desire to promote the professional development of students and residents, and takes the time to clarify important teaching points. A medical student that was on a rotation with Dr. Davis commented that he led by example, and inspired them to follow in his footsteps and one day become a child psychiatrist as knowledgeable, caring and compassionate as him. That is why it is my great pleasure to present Ryan Davis with the 2011 Outstanding Teaching Fellow Award.