2011-2012 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).

Benjamin Woo, M.D. BenjaminWoo, M.D.

Dr. Benjamin Woo is the site director for the third year Psychiatry clerkship at the Olive View Medical Center and works with the medical students that rotate through the inpatient psychiatry unit. One student that had begun their rotation with no particular interest in the field acknowledged that he had an epiphany about psychiatry while under the guidance of Dr. Woo, stating “I suppose that is what the truly great teachers do. They take something that may initially seem so foreign and unattractive and change it into the most interesting and fascinating thing in the world. This is indeed what Dr. Woo did for me in psychiatry. He undoubtedly planted an infectious desire to learn more about psychiatry and a new found drive to be instrumental in the treatment of the mentally ill. Subsequently, I have now decided to pursue a career in psychiatry.” A former student believes that the traits that Dr. Woo modeled early on have been indispensable in their development as a clinician and educator, adding that “Dr. Woo has been an invaluable part of my career, and I look forward to him inspiring future generations to come”. For his dedication to teaching students, Dr. Benjamin Woo is truly deserving of the 2012 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.

Erika Nurmi, M.D., Ph.D. Erika Nurmi, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Erika Nurmi supervises undergraduate students in the Nurmi/McCracken laboratory as they study genetic factors underlying brain functioning, psychiatric disorders, and effects of psychotropic medications. One student writes that “Dr. Nurmi’s passion for teaching has encouraged and inspired me. I am a better scientist and will be a better doctor because of her impact on my life.” Another student expressed that “Dr. Nurmi is compassionate, enthusiastic and dedicated to student learning. She is always helpful, warm and welcoming. Most importantly, she creates an environment where students are not afraid to make mistakes, which encourages all of us to experiment, ask questions and grow into true scientists.” Past and present students that Dr. Nurmi has worked with have expressed that she repeatedly goes above and beyond her role as teacher and mentor to actively invest in the academic and career development of each of them. For these reasons, Dr. Erika Nurmi is an ideal choice for the 2012 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.

George M. Slavich, Ph.D. George M. Slavich, Ph.D.

Dr. George Slavich is a research scientist at the Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology, where he directs the UCLA Laboratory for Stress Assessment and Research. One graduate student notes that Dr. Slavich is “enormously invested in promoting students’ professional development and is enthusiastic about collaborating with students in a mentorship role”. Another student adds that Dr. Slavich has a “contagious enthusiasm for his work – I always leave meetings with him with considerably more excitement about my work and the field as a whole than I had entering into the meeting”. In addition to working with graduate students in a laboratory setting, Dr. Slavich chaired two symposia to give trainees the opportunity to present at professional conferences and meet with other researchers in their areas of interest. For his genuine interest and dedication to teaching, Dr. George Slavich is most deserving of the 2012 Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award. 

Outstanding Housestaff Teaching

Eligible candidates are full-time psychiatry or psychology faculty in the department who have not received this award in the past three years and 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). 

Joseph M. Pierre, M.D. Joseph M. Pierre, M.D.

Through his roles as the Associate Director of Residency Education, site director for the UCLA medical student psychiatry core clerkship and Co-Chief of the Schizophrenia Treatment Unit at the West Los Angeles V.A., Dr. Joseph Pierre is involved in the education of trainees on a regular basis. Dr. Pierre has developed a lecture and seminar series on his rotation that provides the embedded instruction not always available to residents. One resident writes that “yes, the lectures are excellent, up to date, interesting and relevant. But the meaning of his efforts extends far beyond acquisition of knowledge. This is a supervising physician who is truly dedicated to staying on the cutting edge, making consistent effort to spend time with trainees, and sharing what he knows. This is a role model. In residency, it is a constant struggle to strike a balance between service and education, and Dr. Pierre ensures that education remains a priority.” Another trainee notes that Dr. Pierre “sets the bar high for those working with him, and models not only how to be an excellent psychiatrist, but how to be an excellent clinician”. For these reasons, Dr. Joseph Pierre 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.

Carrie Bearden, Ph.D. Carrie Bearden, Ph.D.

Dr. Carrie Bearden mentors students and trainees in her role as Assessment Director for the Center for the Assessment and Prevention of Prodromal States (CAPPS) where her research aims to understand genetic, cognitive and neurobiological risk factors for the development of child- and adolescent-onset neuropsychiatric disorders. One trainee expressed that “Dr. Bearden’s advice has been invaluable on practical and theoretical levels. She remains steadfastly invested in my professional development and incredibly supportive of my program research. She stands out in the competitive world of academic research not only for her extraordinary success, but also for being such a genuinely warm and decent person.” One student states that Dr. Bearden “clearly enjoys her subject area and is able to convey her enthusiasm by making the material accessible to her students.” Another student adding that “working with Dr. Bearden has been paramount in my intellectual, professional and even personal development. Dr. Bearden is one of those rare figures in a person’s life who reshapes the way you approach the world. Her passion for research, the populations she serves, as well as for her students’ welfare makes her the quintessential academic, teacher, and mentor”. It is therefore my pleasure to award Dr. Carrie Bearden the 2012 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.

Stanley Leiken, M.D. Stanley Leiken, M.D.

Dr. Stanley Leiken “has taught child psychiatry fellows for over three decades and is a beloved and highly sought out clinical supervisor”. One trainee that had first met with Dr. Leiken while in residency reflects that she “quickly realized that he offered an unusual combination of top notch clinical skills, outstanding teaching ability, and an approachability and warmth that trainees come to appreciate during residency. He expertly guided me through the beginnings of working with children psychotherapeutically, and supported me as I fumbled at times. It was a truly wonderful experience that cemented my decision to pursue Child Psychiatry after residency”. In addition to his role as a clinical supervisor, one colleague notes that “for the past four years Dr. Leiken has spearheaded a summer clinical immersion program for medical students interested in exploring child and adolescent psychiatry. Dr. Leiken proposed this program to the Reiger Foundation and obtained funding for two students to spend 4 weeks each summer on the wards. The students all get a chance to meet with him, and visit his office, in addition to spend time in the outpatient, inpatient, and partial hospitalization programs at UCLA. So far all of the people involved in this program have gone on to choose residencies in either psychiatry or pediatrics.” Dr. Stanley Leiken is therefore truly deserving of the 2012 Outstanding Volunteer Clinical Faculty Teaching Award. 

Outstanding Teaching Resident or 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.

Ashley O'Neil Coats, M.D.

Ashley O'Neil Coats, M.D. “Although the Outstanding Teaching Resident is often awarded to a senior resident, Dr. Ashley Coats has distinguished herself by garnering nominations from several medical students despite the fact that she is a second-year resident”. One supervising attending notes that “this in itself speaks volumes of her enthusiasm and dedication to teaching and supporting medical students, something residents often have difficulty finding time for within their myriad clinical responsibilities”. A fellow resident shared that Dr. Coats possesses an “ability and willingness to see situations from the students’ perspective that allows her to provide a more relevant educational experience to her students.” One student expressed that Dr. Coats “validated the work I did as a medical student and she empowered me to take on more responsibilities and truly get the most out of my rotation. She made me a better medical student, and as a result I had a very fulfilling psychiatry rotation. She constantly serves as a role model for me as how to be a great resident in the future.” That is why it is my great pleasure to present Dr. Ashley Coats with the 2012 Outstanding Teaching Resident Award.