2014-2015 Teaching Awards

Congratulations to the 2014-2015 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 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)

Katrina DeBonis, M.D.

DeBonisDr. Katrina DeBonis is receiving this year’s Outstanding Medical Student Teaching Award. One medical student states that Dr. DeBonis “stood out as an attending that truly cared about my experience on the rotation, and made every effort to ensure I felt like an integral member of the team – a feat that is often difficult to accomplish for a third year medical student. Another student writes that “she listens deeply and has provided me excellent mentorship during the difficult time of choosing a specialty. Dr. DeBonis represents the type of physician I hope to model myself after, one who values compassion and making everyone –patients and team members, feel heard.”

Several students praised her ability “to lead a team effectively and be an advocate for the students.” They state that she is “able to joke and laugh with us on rounds, yet she never missed a beat with regards to treatment plans.” Dr. DeBonis holds medical students to high standards of patient care and “breaks the mold of the usual attending…not only takes time to teach her residents and students, but takes time to demonstrate the ideal of a compassionate physician.”

Dr. DeBonis is constantly enriching medical students’ education; another student writes, “Beyond her role as a provider, Dr. DeBonis is an educator, always offering the latest in psychiatry treatments or breakthroughs in medical discovery. In rounds, she brings in copies of interesting journal articles and drug tables for the team.”

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.

Tara S. Peris, Ph.D.

PerisDr. Peris “stands out as one of the very finest teachers we have at UCLA” states a colleague of hers. This is one of the many reasons Dr. Peris is receiving the Outstanding Undergraduate Student Teaching Award. He adds,

“Dr. Peris has brought to the Achievement, Behavior, Cognition (ABC) Partial Hospital and Intensive Outpatient Programs an undergraduate student, who is working with us as a research assistant. Though she came to ABC with much less experience than our advanced trainees, I find myself now observing her in conversation with ABC staff or child psychiatry fellows and feeling as if I’m observing two colleagues.”

A former mentee, states “During my fellowship I have also observed Tara’s commitment to undergraduate and post-baccalaureate clinical and research training. She has created a cohesive forum for our research assistants to receive education regarding the significance and implications of the research they are involved in, and guidance on a number of issues relevant to their personal success, including selecting courses and majors, attending graduate school, and choosing a career trajectory.”

A current research assistant mentions, “The responsibilities with which she has entrusted me have instilled in me a greater confidence in my abilities and intelligence.” “She is a brilliant and accomplished therapist and researcher, but she also is an extremely gifted teacher who treats her students with humility, kindness, respect, and patience.” Another undergraduate research assistant adds that “Her love for instructing while simultaneously running research projects is impressive and her ability to selflessly spend time to talk with me and encourage me has been a blessing.”

Outstanding Early-Career Faculty 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).     

Andrew H. Kim, M.D., J.D.

KimDr. Andrew Kim is receiving this year’s Outstanding Early-Career Faculty Housestaff Teaching Award. A colleague writes, “I am confident that he is among the top clinical teachers at the West L.A. VA. And the quality of his work is very well-respected in the community… He is also well-known nationwide for his forensic expertise and contributions to the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law. Additionally, he has single-handedly created and pioneered a program in forensic psychiatry training where he takes residents and medical students to court so that they can see firsthand the interface between psychiatry and the law.”

A second year resident states that Dr. Kim “stands out amongst the UCLA attendings. Not only is he able to connect with all manner of patient, but he also is able to connect with each resident and medical student on the level that we need to best learn and mature as informed, caring providers.” “Dr. Kim teaches formally, informally, and by example, making the days on the ward with him chock-full of academic and clinical pearls that I continue to use throughout my training. Dr. Kim treats all members of the inpatient team with the utmost respect… he has been one of the highlights of my UCLA residency experience thus far.”

“Dr. Kim’s didactic lectures on Introduction to Forensic Psychiatry provide a fresh, motivated perspective for younger clinicians dealing with difficult clinical situations” and are described as “well crafted, detailed, and provide a solid foundation for resident education.”

Dr. Kim is described as a “wealth of knowledge” and a role model who takes time out of his busy day to answer career advice questions and provide mentorship. 

Outstanding Senior-Faculty 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).    

Michael Strober, Ph.D.

StroberDr. Michael Strober is the recipient of this year’s Outstanding Senior-Faculty Housestaff Teaching. Child psychiatry fellows and child psychology interns came together to write about Dr. Strober’s excellent teaching. They describe his instructional lectures as “seasoned with selected clinical anecdotes that enrich the educational experience and personalize the patients’ challenges.”

 “He truly has a clinical gift that can only be learned by watching him, and it far exceeds anything one could learn in a textbook.” A former mentee mentions, “The depth and breadth of Dr. Strober’s knowledge of psychology in general and eating disorders specifically is unmatched. He is wonderful teacher, mentor, person, and friend. I feel so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with him and learn from him over the early course of my career.”

A child fellow mentions “Dr. Strober works hard to transmit his incredible breadth of knowledge of psychopathology through regular lectures, case conferences, and patient interviews.”

A colleague states, “I have known Dr. Strober since I was an intern in 1982, and was very impressed with his teaching ability from the beginning. Dr. Strober has a strong record of mentoring interns, psychiatry fellows, and assistant professors.  Each year, we have new trainees from all over the country seeking to work with him.” Another colleague mentions “I have observed Dr. Strober’s teaching for thirty years, both as a housestaff and as a peer.” Dr. Strober “has amongst the most developed teaching skills of the faculty here at the Semel Institute. He is an institutional treasure and should be honored frequently.”

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 F. Green, Ph.D.

GreenDr. Michael Green is the recipient of this year’s Outstanding Research Mentor award. “He currently mentors eight post-doctoral fellows, including six Ph.D. and two M.D. /Ph.D. scholars, and runs a large and prolific research program. Despite his many obligations and responsibilities, Dr. Green consistently demonstrates tireless commitment to our success and development as young researchers” states a post-doctoral fellow. Another post-doc states, “I believe that I am where I am as a scientist today in no small part due to the guidance of Dr. Green.”

“Michael has mentored postdoctoral fellows and junior investigators for over 25years at UCLA and the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. Many of his past trainees have received competitive extramural funds and now hold faculty positions. ”Michael’s mentoring style is truly supportive and all-inclusive. He also encourages mentees to find a work-life balance.”

Dr Green is described as “a truly gifted mentor who possesses a unique combination of talents: an extremely comprehensive knowledge of schizophrenia and neuroscience, an ability to communicate in a clear and highly engaging manner, and an interpersonal style that enables others to feel comfortable asking questions and developing ideas…his manner in dealing with trainees is not at all intimidating –he is brilliant, but also warm and fun to interact with.” A former fellow mentions that “when confronted by a difficult clinical situation or scientific problem, I so often ask myself, “What would Michael do in this situation?” and “he is the main reason I have never left UCLA -I cannot imagine being in a more exciting and intellectually stimulating environment than the lab he has created.”

Outstanding Teaching Resident: UCLA Semel Institute & West Los Angeles VA

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.

Jared Matt Greenberg, M.D.

GreenbergDr. Jared Matt Greenberg is the recipient of the Outstanding Teaching Resident Award for the UCLA Semel Institute & WLA VA site. A second year resident states, “I was impressed with Jared’s passion for teaching.  Jared would provide opportunities for open and frank discussion, lectures and time for rounding… Jared’s lectures were thorough, comprehensive and extensively researched and referenced. Among all the chief residents I have worked with during my PGY-2 year, Jared was by far the most dedicated and enthusiastic about education.”

A medical student writes, “He was the most approachable, compassionate individual to whom I felt comfortable asking questions of not only academic and patient care issues, but also of my future. As a 4thyear student, I was anxious to prepare applications and deciding which programs to apply to. Jared was an incredible support and resource for me during this time.” A supervising faculty adds “His teaching efforts on the unit have been essential to our educational mission and have been well appreciated by trainees.”

Medical students appreciate “his robust knowledge of psychiatry and psychopharmacology” and felt that set him apart from his colleagues, as well as his “willingness and eagerness to teach…he taught with a calm demeanor and with patience.” “His kindness, compassion and sensitivity also translated into patient care; he had a unique ability to connect with his patients on a meaningful level.” Another 2nd year resident adds, “He also regularly led team rounds, meticulously overseeing the clinical treatment for all the patients on 2SAB. Dr. Greenberg consistently demonstrated kindness toward team members, empathy toward patients, and curiosity toward the field of psychiatry.”

Outstanding Teaching Resident: UCLA San Fernando Valley

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.

Yamanda Mack Edwards, M.D.

MackEdwardsDr. Yamanda Mack Edwards is the recipient of the Outstanding Teaching Resident Award for the UCLA San Fernando Valley site. Dr. Mack Edwards is described as a professional role model for students, “When students are on-call for Psychiatry at Olive View, no matter how busy Dr. Edwards was, she would often ensure student safety and furthermore, that they were learning from the busy PER.”, states a supervising attending.

Another supervising attending states that “She shows initiative in taking advantage of teachable moments despite an often very busy emergency room. She educates by example via her excellent bedside manner which is at a level beyond her years of training.

A fourth year medical student recalls, “I worked alongside Dr. Edwards as a third-year medical student during my psychiatry rotation at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center. It was my very first clinical rotation of medical school and I was petrified to be interacting with real patients, despite being a new intern herself, Dr. Edwards quickly put me at ease through her calm yet confident demeanor. She encouraged me to think critically about each patient’s condition, and consistently made my learning a top priority.” Dr. Mack Edwards is described as “selfless in her actions” sacrificing her own time to make sure students were ready “to present on attending rounds.”

Another medical student states that “she is almost uniformly mentioned among our favorite people to work with at Olive View. She is a true professional, and as an alumnus brings honor to the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and to the profession of medicine itself.”

Outstanding Teaching Resident: Harbor-UCLA

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 M. Struble, M.D.

StrubleDr. Christopher Struble is the recipient of the Outstanding Teaching Resident Award for the Harbor-UCLA site. A co-resident explains how he “has improved the educational process by creating a file-sharing system for our program and regularly infusing it with a wide gamut of psychiatric topics ranging from standard practice parameters to more arcane and esoteric literature.” A supervising attending adds, “Dr. Struble has served as an excellent role model for medical students and residents alike. Junior residents in our program often look to him for advice and guidance regarding their more challenging cases. His clinical acumen is indeed beyond his level of training.” “Dr. Struble takes pride in educating students who rotate through the psychiatric emergency department, the consult liaison service and the inpatient units…he is truly an asset to our program.”

A student writes, “Dr. Struble has been the single physician—residents and attendings included—who made the greatest impact on my education during my third year, and who has made the greatest contribution to the direction of my career. Harbor was an extremely stressful atmosphere, and Dr. Struble kept me from literally losing my mind as the stress built up week after week.  He also went well out of his way to explain the Medicine, and not just the Psychiatry, of all of the patients we would round on together.  More valuable than either of these, he treated me, as he does everyone, as a genuine peer, without the arrogance, impatience, or air of hierarchical formality that can creep into the medical education process.”

A third year adds, “I had grave second thoughts about even wanting to pursue a career in Medicine.  But I came to medical school having been passionate about Psychiatry, and Dr. Struble, in his interactions with both me and our patients, reminded me why. He is truly an inspiration.”

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.

Marie M. Cohen, Ph.D.

Dr. Marie Cohen is receiving this year’s Outstanding Volunteer Clinical Faculty Teaching Award. Dr. Cohen has taught in the Doctoring/System-based Healthcare course required for all third year medical students every year since 1986. A colleague who has worked with her at UCLA for 41 years writes, “Dr. Cohen is consistently praised for creating a valuable and open learning environment in which students feel safe to explore sensitive topics, to challenge themselves and each other, to speak up about controversial issues, to develop leadership skills, and to grow intellectually and emotionally as physicians-in-training.” Another colleague writes, “Marie enables these young professionals in training to see the bigger picture and place their clinical experiences into a broader context. She does this with humor, kindness, empathy and compassion. We all are better doctors and people because of her insight and caring.”

Dr. Cohen has made an impact of various medical students, a student writes, “the SBH course is one in which medical students share some of their most personal experiences and explore their most fundamental beliefs. Through her warm and non-judgmental approach, coupled with her extraordinary generosity of spirit, she empowered students to take the lead both in classroom discussions and in their own lives.” Another MS3 writes, “Dr. Cohen has helped our group become a relaxed place where we can 'be real' and really say what’s on our mind. Dr. Cohen always helps draw us back to remembering the humanistic side of medicine. She’s an inspiration, and I feel lucky to have her as a teacher.”

In her years of teaching, Dr. Cohen has inspired both students and faculty. “The students love her. She inspires them to confront tough issues in medical care, and supports them as they struggle to take on the identity and responsibility of being a healthcare professional. She models honesty and integrity for them in tough area such as death or error or bias.”

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.

Edythe D. London, Ph.D.

Dr. London is this year’s recipient of the Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award.  Dr. London directs an institutional training program for pre-and postdoctoral fellows. A student writes, “Dr. London worked tirelessly to ensure that all of her lectures presented accurate and up to date material, that they were clearly organized, and that included exciting and cutting-edge research”. A former mentee, now Assistant Professor, states that Dr. London “has played a critical role in my professional development, and truly embodies all of the qualities of a true mentor.  She is passionate about her work, invested in developing junior faculty, and a brilliant scientist.”

“Several graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty who have gone on to successful research careers have been trained and mentored by Dr. London… Dr. London has been instrumental of helping me to think ahead about the next steps of my career, and has taught me to be a better scientist.”

Another former mentee writes, “Writing grants with Dr. London has been an incredibly valuable learning experience, making me realize how much I hadn’t been doing right on my own. I have also learned from her strategic decisions in manuscript preparation and submission. I have witnessed her mentoring of multiple graduate students as they have risen successfully through the ranks. She is an especially important role model for young women in science.”

Dr. London is a role model that is passionate about teaching and mentoring. A doctoral student writes, “She always makes the time to meet with me on a moment’s notice, and during this time, she devotes all her attention to my needs including running data analyses, discussing the implications of results, or chatting about potential post-doctoral opportunities.”