2012-2013 Teaching Awards

2012-2013 Teaching Award Recipients

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).

Davin Agustines, D.O. Davin Agustines, D.O.

Dr. Davin Agustines “has worked as an Attending Psychiatrist at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center since 2007. During that time, he has been responsible for the clinical care of patients in the Inpatient Psychiatry Unit as well as for providing teaching and supervision to UCLA medical students on their required inpatient rotation.” One 3rdyear student writes that prior to her Psychiatry rotation with Dr. Agustines, she “hadn’t given psychiatry a single thought as far as a possible career path. But because of his concern for and interactions with his patients, and the importance of what he taught” her, she is now considering Psychiatry as her life’s path and aspires “to be the type of physician Dr. Agustines is” when she is practicing medicine. Another 3rdyear student expressed that he feels that “Dr. Agustines is within the top 1% of all the teachers that’s he’s encountered at UCLA”. He similarly had little interest in psychiatry before starting his rotation, but it is now ranked among the specialties he may decide to pursue.  

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.

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

 Dr. Benjamin Woo is a returning Teaching Award recipient, having received the award for Medical Student teaching just last year. However, this year it was the Undergraduate Students that wrote in to express the impact that he has made when teaching them. “Dr. Woo has served as the faculty adviser for the UCLA Asian Pacific Health Corps since 2011. Each year he has led the undergraduates to organize four health fairs to screen for physical and mental health problems among the disadvantaged Asian and Pacific Islander communities.” In addition to his role as advisor for the group, one student writes that “Dr. Woo has successfully created a new course for the Health Corps students where the curriculum focuses on having students learn and become more aware about Asian Americans mental health.” Another student writes that “Dr. Woo has been an amazing teacher because he cares about his students and truly desires to teach us how to translate what we learn in the classroom to real, practical situations.” Another of his students adds that “his enthusiasm for learning is infectious! After working with Dr. Woo, his excitement for scientific knowledge was so apparent that it spilled over and sparked an interest in neuroscience, a field she had found boring prior to collaborating with Dr. Woo. His passion for teaching and intentionality in mentorship has made a lasting impact on my life.” 

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.

Christopher Cowell, Ph.D. Christopher S. Colwell, Ph.D.

 “Dr. Christopher Colwell is a dedicated educator and mentor in the laboratory and classroom, guiding students through the challenges of graduate school and seeding the necessary skills for a successful career in research.” One student writes that while taking Dr. Colwell’s class on Biological Clocks last fall, “he invoked my interest in a subject matter that I had minimal interest to begin with. To this day I still contemplate the ideas and theories detailed in his lectures, and the role it can potentially play in my own research”. Another student adds that “his course has been one of my favorite classes as a Master’s student at UCLA. A great teacher is one who pushes students to pursue knowledge and developments and Dr. Colwell does just that”. One of his colleagues writes that “Dr. Colwell often organizes research seminars where he encourages his students to present their research to their peers for feedback and advice. Needless to say, he is always an active participant and his advice and teachings have sparked many important research projects and collaborations at UCLA”. A Graduate Student Researcher in Dr. Colwell’s lab expresses that “the longer I’ve worked with Dr. Colwell, the more I appreciate his dedication to his students and teaching us the ropes of the academic science, and especially his ability to adapt his mentoring style to his student’s needs.” 

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). 

Bhavik Shah, M.D., Ami Shah Bhavik Shah, M.D.

(pictured is Mrs. Ami Shah, wife of Dr. Bhavik Shah, who attended the Teaching Award ceremony on his behalf)

 Dr. Bhavik Shah works with the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellows as an Attending for the ABC Partial Hospitalization Program. One fellow writes that “I found out quickly that Dr. Shah exemplifies all of the qualities of a great teacher. It was clear that he has a passion for teaching, not only for teaching the fellows, medical students and staff, but also for teaching the patients and parents. In a world where attendings are often rushed, Dr. Shah took his time to carefully explain his reasoning, his thoughts on a patient, and to talk out the details of a case. He gave examples and teaching pearls that are not found in a book, and are only found after years of experience. Dr. Shah is a great clinician, role model, and valuable teacher who truly cares about patients, families, team members and fellows. He dedicates himself fully to the patients and to the education of future child psychiatrists.” Another fellow expresses that “while Dr. Shah has a tremendous amount of knowledge in his area and is truly an expert in his own right, it is his ability to make a learner feel comfortable and at ease that facilitates a greater educational experience. By truly embodying patience and understanding, Dr. Shah’s presence encourages an active learning environment. He is so effective in connecting with young patients, staff, and parents alike, that simply watching him model professionalism and compassion is a lesson in and of itself. In some way Dr. Shah appears to be something of a saint among men, and while there cannot be many like him, I will consider it a great success if one day I can embody some of his unique qualities. 

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.

James McCracken, M.D. James T. McCracken, M.D.

 “Dr. McCracken sets an outstanding example of an academic clinical researcher who wears several ‘hats’. He is the Director of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, he is an established clinical researcher specializing in autism spectrum disorders and childhood anxiety disorders, he mentors trainees in clinical settings”, and according to one trainee “he has also been able to organize the most comprehensive and well funded training program for research-orientated psychiatrists and psychologists (the T32 training grant) at UCLA”. A current Child and Adolescent Psychiatry fellow writes that “he effectively mentors each of us and can provide novel and interesting insight into our diverse areas of interest. Superb quality clinical and basic science mental health research is one of the points of pride for UCLA, and Dr. McCracken has done (and continues to do) an extraordinary amount to encourage and foster academic research careers in us trainees.” One Postdoctoral Fellow shares that “over the past decade, Dr. McCracken has significantly shaped and supported my research interests. His interactional style provides the optimal balance of scaffolding and autonomy granting. In addition to providing conceptual support, he goes above and beyond to make sure trainees have materials needed to expand and develop their own research projects. He also facilitates meaningful interactions among trainees of various disciplines, which has been crucial to departmental synergy between psychology and psychiatry, and to the diversity of our learning experiences.” A current faculty member for the division that was a mentored by Dr. McCracken as a fellow writes that Dr. McCracken “is a role model to me in so many ways. His Division is dear to him, and he keeps us close and collaborative. He manages countless projects and initiatives, but is still always thinking about how we can make things better. He nurtures the careers of others, from the undergraduates in our lab, to the medical students in our clinic, to the trainees in the fellowship and internship, tour departmental faculty. I have so much in me to give, because I have been given so much.” 

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.

Alexis Adams Link, M.D. Alexis Adams Link, M.D.

 Dr. Alexis Link is a recent graduate of the Psychiatry Residency and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship training programs at UCLA. In this first year of teaching a group of 2ndyear medical students as a Problem Based Learning tutor during their Medical Neurosciences course, her students emphatically nominated her for this Teaching Award. One student writes “the class turned out to be perhaps my best small group experience yet in medical school, and it really changed my opinion of psychiatry. That is almost entirely thanks to the incredible teaching of Dr. Link”. Another student writes that “Dr. Link was an invaluable resource and demonstrated true interest in her students’ success. On numerous occasions she stayed after class to makes sure that her students fully comprehended the week’s material. While continuously pushing her students’ intellectual capacity in a positive way, she also took it upon herself to clearly outline and explain concepts that were challenging to comprehend. Teachers like Dr. Link are what make UCLA so special.” Another student states that “aside from her teaching abilities, she was a warm and caring person who held our education as her highest priority. Dr. Link’s future students will be privileged to have her mentorship.” Another group member adds that “it is clear that Dr. Link wanted all of her students to share in her passion” for psychiatry “and I believe I can speak for all of them in saying that she was very successful. One thing I learned about psychiatry, and about medicine in general, over the last few years, is that it is a constant balancing act between intellect and compassion – a balance that I feel is greatly exemplified by Dr. Link.” 

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.

Jennifer Kruse, M.D. Jennifer L. Kruse, M.D.

 Dr. Jennifer Kruse is a 4th year Psychiatry Resident who served as the Consultation Liaison Psychiatry Chief Resident this year, as well as teaching a group of 1styear medical students as a tutor in their Doctoring course. Her fellow residents write that in her role as Chief Resident on the Consultation Liaison service, “she significantly enhanced the quality of the rotation. The Consultation Liaison Chief Resident is typically expected to participate in teaching rounds, but Dr. Kruse actually took the initiative to lead rounds several times per week, with the attending psychiatrist serving a back-up role. She also created an outstanding Consultation Liaison manual, which includes sentinel papers on the most common and most challenging topics that residents may encounter on the rotation. This manual has been so successful that many residents in the senior years requested copies. Beyond the quality of didactics that she has provided, Dr. Kruse has inspired and encouraged residents to teach each other. She instituted a monthly clinical case conference, in which residents rotating on the service present an interesting case. In inspiring others to teach, she enhanced the quality of their own learning, and that of everyone attending these meetings.” Her co-tutor in the medical students’ Doctoring course writes that Dr. Kruse “has been an empathic, informative and inspiring leader; in addition to being a supportive colleague. She was able to enhance the dynamics of our student cohort by consistently encouraging and facilitating open communication.” Another resident adds that Dr. Kruse “has contributed greatly to the education of medical students and residents both over the past year and in the future, as many of her contributions to the C-L service will persist beyond her tenure as resident.