2017-2018 Teaching Awards

Congratulations to the 2017 - 2018 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

Jessica Jeffrey, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A.

Dr. Jessica Jeffrey is receiving this year’s Outstanding Medical Student Teaching Award. A medical student writes, “Through her wisdom, empathy, and dedication, she guided me and my peers through a tumultuous year of sensitive discussions with skill and grace. She artfully created a safe space in which our diverse group of students transitioned quickly from strangers to friends, sharing with each other the most intimate parts of our graduate school experiences” A colleague writes, “Dr. Jeffrey is fiercely dedicated and fully committed to teaching, and she is highly exemplary to other colleagues including myself. I have to confess that, as I was co-leading the SBH class together with Dr. Jeffrey, I also learned so much from her. She is an unparalleled and well-deserved individual for this teaching award, and endowing this award to her is one of the best ways to recognize her unselfish dedication to teaching students.”

For her compassion, dedication, and initiative in mentoring and providing one-on-one supervision to various students, Dr. Jessica Jeffrey is awarded the 2017-2018 Outstanding Medical Student Teaching Award.
Davin Agustines, D.O.

Dr. Davin Agustines is also receiving this year’s Outstanding Medical Student Teaching Award.  A resident notes “I was ecstatic to learn that Dr. Davin Agustines had been nominated for an Outstanding Teaching Award, as I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this award. I have had many teachers over the course of my academic years, and Dr. Agustines ranks as the best of the best.”

Dr. Agustines comes highly recommended for his dedication and encouragement. This resident writes “Dr. Agustines provided me with the all the guidance and support I needed to deliver the presentation with confidence, and I am extremely grateful for the experience. Dr. Agustines has challenged me to think critically, to have confidence in my decision making as a provider, and to engage in self-reflection.” Another states, “He taught me not only how to be a “good” physician, but how to be the best kind of physician who truly cares for his patients. His instruction and mentorship helped me make my decision to pursue psychiatry.”

His high recommendation and his effective ways of teaching also deserves him the 2017-2018 Outstanding Medical Student Teach Award.

Outstanding Undergraduate Student Teaching

George M. Slavich, Ph.D.

With passion and confidence Dr. Slavich is able to convince his students to continue learning about psychiatry. “Dr. Slavich is passionate about the information he teaches. His lectures and discussions are engaging and he inspires his listeners to uniquely and thoroughly discover the topic. He excels at capturing his audience’s attention and is well informed about the subject matter. In particular, his discussion about the relationship between depression and inflammation opened my eyes to a new and important aspect of depression I had not yet considered or explored”.  

Another student beautifully writes, “Working in this lab has inspired me to keep working towards my dream of becoming a doctor, to keep working with kids and to help others better understand mental health. While many other professors care more about their own research or their own success, I know that Professor Slavich really wants everyone in his lab to get the best possible experience out of the lab and genuinely wants to help everyone succeed.

For his ability to teach and mentor students of all levels and taking a personal interest in undergraduate’s career trajectory and growth, Dr. George Slavich is being awarded the 2017-2018 Outstanding Undergraduate Student Teaching Award.

Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching

Rhonda Sena, Ph.D.

Dr. Rhonda Sena is this year’s recipient of the Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award. A colleague expresses, “I have observed Dr. Sena's teaching of trainees for over twenty years. It has always been excellent. And I have only heard praises for her thoughtful and detailed teaching style. She has improved the quality of her supportive yet rigorous style.”

Another writes, “The first time I met her, she walked into the room and carried with her such a warm, positive, welcoming presence. We immediately felt her genuine interest in getting to know us as people in addition to trainees, which enabled one of the most prolific discussions I had about child psychiatry during my adult training. While Dr. Sena is unaware of this detail, this interaction solidified my decision to pursue child psychiatry. I thought to myself, if I can be anything like Dr. Sena in caring for my patients, it will have all been worth it.”
Dr. Sena’s quality of teaching and lasting efforts deserves the this year’s outstanding Graduate Student teaching award

Outstanding Faculty Housestaff Teaching

Catherine Mogil, Psy.D.

Dr. Catherine Mogil is receiving this year’s Outstanding Faculty Housestaff Teaching Award. An intern writes, “Congruent with her value of collaboration, Dr. Mogil has been highly generous with her mentorship of my research interests and on several occasions, offered to mentor me though collaborative opportunities to pursue my research ideas through grant applications. For instance, after only a few months of internship, Dr. Mogil supported my application to the University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship by discussing my research ideas, reading my grant application, and providing me invaluable feedback to aid in my professional development as a researcher and scientist.”

A former trainee and now colleague writes, “As a result of Dr. Mogil’s support and guidance, I was not only able to participate in a preconference of meeting of psychologists much more senior than myself, but was also perhaps the only trainee to deliver a conference symposium presentation.”

Ralph Koek, M.D.

Dr. Ralph Koek is another recipient of the Faculty Housestaff Teaching award.

A resident beautifully writes, “Out of all of the great teachers I have had during residency, Dr. Koek stands out of all time and especially as he continues to dedicate towards resident education. We have all benefitted from his enjoyment of learning, teaching and kind generosity.” Dr. Koeks great teachig evident as one writes, “He is also regularly the “go to” faculty member for others to turn to in time of need, academic concerns, difficult cases and research questions.” Another explains, “There are few who cover psychopharmacology as comprehensively and with as much rigor with regards to evidence based medicine. Many of us, including myself, continue to save his teaching materials, on psychopharmacology, and neuropsych as references long after we leave the program.”

With enthusiasm and confidence it is easy to say that Dr. Koek, is deserving of the Outstanding Faculty Housestaff Teaching award.     

Enrico G. Castillo, M.D., M.S.H.P.M.

The last recipient of the Faculty Housestaff Teaching award is Dr. Enrico Castillo. A colleague writes, “In regards to his teaching, he is, without exaggeration, the most gifted and committed junior faculty member I have worked with.” Followed with “He brings creativity and enthusiasm to his role as an educator, and as a result our program has a much stronger presence in the field of Community Psychiatry and Global Mental Health.”

One writes, “It has been my pleasure to see a core faculty group under Dr. Castillo’s leadership commit to mentoring, attending biweekly meetings with resident leads, to develop curriculum, special presentations such as a visit to downtown jail, and introduction to key community leaders. He has co-led the meetings, and clearly has helped energize and inspire the current residents in this area, taking responsibility particularly for mentoring activities and brokering assignments.”


Outstanding Research Mentor

Mirella Dapretto, Ph.D.

Dr. Mirella Dapretto is the recipient of this year’s Outstanding Research Mentor award. A mentored student states “Dr. Dapretto is incredibly encouraging, which is refreshing in a field where critical feedback is the norm. For instance, the manuscripts we have prepared have been sent to very high impact journals (e.g., Nature, Science). Although we recognize this as a reach, it also sends the message that she values my work and holds it in high regard. Whenever I place doubts on myself or my work, Dr. Dapretto shifts my focus to objectively view my research progress and highlight my areas of strength.”

Another writes, “Mirella is a consummate mentor, leading by example and providing a positive role model for women in science. She is an active advocate for her trainees across all levels, from undergraduate volunteers and research assistants to graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. On a personal level, I feel incredibly lucky to have found in Mirella not only the ideal advisor for my graduate career, but also a lifelong mentor.”

It is due to Dr. Mirella Depretto’s expertise, mentorship, and amazing dedication to fostering the careers of the researchers she takes under her wing, that she deserves the 2017-2018 Outstanding Research Mentor Award.

Outstanding Volunteer Clinical Faculty Teaching

Sarosh Motivala, Ph.D.

Dr. Sarosh Motivala is receiving this year’s Outstanding Volunteer Clinical Faculty Teaching Award. Dr. Motivala is most deserving of this award by the way this person writes “words will not do justice in describing the type of supervisor and teacher Sarosh becomes to most students who have the privilege of working with him. In sum, Sarosh cares deeply about each of his students and sincerely helps them to feel personally seen. By being seen, we are able to grow and become solid, strong clinicians. He is one of the most down to earth, connected, caring, smart, hard-working, and creative people I have and probably ever will have the opportunity to work with.”

A current resident writes, “Training under Dr. Motivala has been a thoroughly enriching and invaluable experience, providing me with knowledge and tools that are instrumental not only to the treatment of anxiety-related disorders, but tools that are critical to any psychotherapy setting as well.”

It is evident that Dr. Sarosh Motivala is most deserving of the 2017-2018 Volunteer Clinical Faculty training award.

Outstanding Teaching Residents

Nicolás E. Barceló, M.D.

Dr. Nicolás Barceló is a receiving the Outstanding Teaching Resident Award. A mentor writes, “Since joining the Psychiatry Residency Program at UCLA, Dr. Barcelo has embraced teaching and mentoring DGSOM medical students, and this commitment has been recognized at UCLA: He is one of 12 house officers (out of over 1200) to receive the DGSOM Resident Award for Excellence in Teaching with Humanism in 2017.”

Students have commented such as, “Throughout my three years of medical school, I have interacted with many interns and residents but few with the passion to teach as Dr. Barceló and nearly none with his level of dedication to serve our underrepresented minorities.,” another writes, “Nicolás showed me how to be proud of my ethnicity and excel, in spaces that were not made for minorities, regardless of what challenges may come. I cannot fully describe how helpful his lessons and guidance have been for me in my first year, and I hope that I can continue to rely on his wisdom as continue on in my medical career.”

For his commitment to teaching and guidance, Dr. Nicolás Barceló is truly deserving of the 2017-2018 Outstanding Teaching Resident Award.

Kyle Smith, M.D.

Dr. Kyle Smith is also receiving the award for Outstanding Teaching Resident. A medical student states, “The degree of preparation and sophistication by which Dr. Smith navigates discussions of personality disorders, and the extent to which his teaching can be directly applied to patient care, is simply astonishing. Through his commitment to teaching, he has almost single-handedly lifted the learning environment at Wadsworth to the same caliber as Semel didactics”

A colleague writes, “Dr. Smith has done a remarkable job teaching junior residents and medical student’s core concepts in psychiatry, with a unique emphasis on psychotherapy, an area we are not typically exposed to in much detail until later years of residency. Dr. Smith's time and dedication to teaching has not gone unnoticed, and many medical students and junior residents have commented on how helpful and enriching his didactics have been.”