2020-2021 Teaching Awards

2020-2021– Psychiatry 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, availability, supportiveness, inspiration, dedication, humanism, patience, respect for diversity, and improvement in the teaching process.

Outstanding Faculty Housestaff Teaching Adult/Geri Division

Eligible candidates are full-time faculty in the department who lecture, supervise, or tutor psychiatry residents, psychiatry fellows, or psychology trainees in the Adult or Geriatric Psychiatry Divisions at any of the DGSOM sites, and who have not received the award in the past three years. 

Caryn Bernstein, M.D.

The first faculty housestaff teaching award goes to Dr. Caryn Bernstein. Dr. Bernstein Women’s Mental Health Deputy Section Chief at the Greater Los Angeles VA Healthcare System, an attending psychiatrist at both the VA Women’s Health Clinic VA Mental Health Intensive Case Management Program (MHICM).  “As a program director, I am grateful that our trainees have the opportunity to work with and learn from Dr. Bernstein - she demonstrates the qualities of humanism and patient-centered care that we want our trainees to incorporate into their professional identities.”

A trainee writes, “I have often thought to myself in moments of frustration with the limitations of the healthcare system or with my own limitations, “What would Dr. Bernstein do in this situation?” And doing so has always enabled me to re-approach the dilemma with new eyes. Dr. Bernstein provided me with a foundation to understand the unique challenges and strengths of my patients.”

A colleague wrote “I am inspired working alongside Dr. Bernstein each week. I have never met someone so invested in each patient’s care—truly joining with the patient to ensure that they get the highest quality and patient centered care—while addressing the many structural determinants of health needs of women in our clinic.” In sum, Dr. Bernstein is a wonderful and passionate educator, an expert in women’s mental health, reproductive psychiatry, and severe mental illness, and an inspiring colleague.


Mirella Díaz-Santos, Ph.D.

The second faculty housestaff teaching award goes to Dr. Mirella Diaz-Santos. Dr. Diaz-Santos the Director of Research of the Hispanic Neuropsychiatric Center of Excellence, research psychologist at the Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research, and affiliate of the UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Initiative.

From a colleague, “Dr. Diaz-Santos has an uncanny talent to make people see the best in themselves and thrive and I have seen her do exactly that with many of her trainees. To this end, Dr. Diaz-Santos has single-handedly made it her mission that the students in our program have at least one presentation at the national level under their belt by the time they finish their practicum, internship, or fellowship.”

Another colleague reflects that “Dr. Diaz-Santos has assembled a racially, ethnically, culturally, geographically, and disciplinarily diverse set of instructors to execute her curriculum. In addition to educators from within our own department, she has recruited attorneys, social workers, medical directors, sociologists, and transportation planners as instructors for her curriculum. A student writes I view Dr. Díaz-Santos as a model I wish to emulate in serving my future patients, as a researcher, as an advocate, and as an educator. She is well-rounded with outstanding teaching abilities as well as compassion and concern for her students.


Outstanding Faculty Housestaff Teaching Child & Adolescent/Population Behavioral Health

Eligible candidates are full-time faculty in the department who lecture, supervise, or tutor psychiatry residents, psychiatry fellows, or psychology trainees in the Child and Adolescent or DPBH Psychiatry Divisions at any of the DGSOM sites, and who have not received the award in the past three years. 

Blanca Orellana, Ph.D.

Dr. Blanca Orellana is the recipient of this year’s housestaff teaching award for the division of child & adolescent and population behavioral health. In her role as the Associate Clinical Director for STAR, she develops protocols to meet the needs of patients, supervisors and trainees, and she manages these sometimes competing needs with innovation, grace and humility.

 A colleague writes, “As I have become a supervisor myself, Dr. Orellana has continued to guide me as I continually seek to improve the quality of my teaching and supervision. Whenever I encounter a challenging situation with a supervisee, Dr. Orellana is the first person I think of to seek out for consultation; she is always available and extremely helpful.”

Another mentions “Dr. Orellana is an outstanding teacher and supervisor. I recall being particularly nervous for my first client at the STAR clinic since I would be observed. In processing the session after it took place, Dr. Orellana first highlighted my strengths, not only providing support and motivation through the use of positive praise, but also modeling the strength-based approach that was encouraged to be used with clients.”


Outstanding Medical Student Teaching

Eligible candidates are full-time faculty or staff in the department who lecture, supervise, or tutor medical students in courses, selectives, the required clerkship, or elective at any of the DGSOM sites, and who have not received the award in the past three years.

John W. Tsuang, M.D., M.S..

The recipient of this year’s Medical Student Teaching award is Dr. John Tsuang. A colleague writes “Dr. Tsuang is very knowledgeable about the field of addiction psychiatry and in areas of cross-cultural psychiatry, particularly relating to the Asian-American community.  He integrates these two areas in much of his teaching.  The teaching is both didactic and hands-on, with students getting to see him work directly with patients and with him observing their interviews.  He adds humor into the educational approach, enabling students to be placed at ease.”

A fellow notes, “Dr. Tsuang has an incredible knack for connecting with and engaging his students, and goes out of his way to make his lessons stick. Knowing that I was going into Urology, he created a clinical case simulation relevant to my field, and had me walk him through how I would both manage the patient’s primary urologic concern, as well as their pain.

Another writes, “Dr. Tsuang made the learning environment comfortable, safe, and welcoming to medical students and residents. In addition, I had the opportunity to witness Dr. Tsuang facilitate a collaborative team environment that I hope to emulate in my future practice. Dr. Tsuang took the time to meet with me, identify my unique interests, and tailor the learning material to my interests.” 


Outstanding Research Mentor

Eligible candidates are full-time faculty or staff in the department who are directly supervising research projects of residents and fellows and of psychology 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 who have not received this award in the past three years.

Jonathan Chia-Ho Lee, M.D., M.Sc.

The recipient of the Outstanding Research Mentor Award is Dr. Jonathan Lee. A former resident states, “As a fourth year resident in the UCLA Psychiatry Residency Program, I had the genuine privilege of being taught, supervised, and mentored by Dr. Jonathan Lee through the UCLA Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Clinical and Research Service. He works closely with trainees of various levels—residents, medical students, and undergraduates—in research endeavors and excels at helping trainees design important and interesting—but manageable and achievable—research projects. I want to add that Dr. Lee is also an outstanding research mentor to his junior colleagues.

Another mentee writes, “Dr. Lee has been such an incredible mentor and support, that I could not forgive myself had I not advocated for him in consideration of this award. Having spent several years working in healthcare in various settings, I can say without hesitation that Dr. Lee is the most thoughtful, compassionate person I have ever had the pleasure of working with.”

A current resident wrote, “I very much look forward to conducting research in my PGY-3 year with Dr Lee on a new TMS for anorexia nervosa protocol. Dr Lee stands out as a paragon of thoughtfulness, patience, creativity, kindness, and hard work.”


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 (such as private practice, other clinics or hospitals, or public agencies), who have not received this award in the past three years, and provide clinical supervision or teach in courses offered to medical students, undergraduate or graduate students, residents and fellows, or psychology trainees or participate in other clinical teaching activities in the Semel Institute or Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital (or its affiliated hospitals and clinics).

Susan L. Donner, M.D.

The first recipient of this year’s Volunteer Clinical Faculty teaching award goes to Dr. Susan Donner. Perhaps a true demonstration of her creativity and innovation, Dr. Donner is the Director of our new Psychoanalytic Area of Distinction in the Child Fellowship. In its inaugural year Dr. Donner has created didactics series, recommended reading, partnered with the New Center for Psychoanalysis and guided one of our fellows through all of this.

A former trainee reflects, “Throughout all of these interactions, I have found Dr. Donner to be a superb teacher and mentor, one of the best of my professional career. With me she has been thoughtful, patient, dedicated and encouraging. Similarly, colleagues whom I respect praise her intellect, her ability to grasp and explain complex concepts and her enthusiasm for teaching.” Dr. Donner is an absolute gem of a person, an outstanding mentor and clinician educator to our trainees, and a national leader in child psychoanalyses.


Joshua Pretsky, M.D.

The second recipient of this year’s Volunteer Clinical Faculty teaching award goes to Dr. Joshua Pretsky A current resident writes, “I can say very clearly that no one at UCLA (within the whole Department of Psychiatry) has had a greater impact on my education as a resident than he has. As I reflect on what information to provide in this letter, I am moved to consider all the ways that my residency journey and future career has been shaped by his teaching and mentorship.

A former resident reflects, “.  It was so refreshing to be reminded of the type of learning that can occur when a teacher is genuinely interested in seeing their students succeed. I think in academia due to research and other political agendas the quality of teaching loses priority and to have a mentor like Josh is invaluable.”

A colleague writes, “He has an extended track record of interest in psychotherapy research and teaching. You do not need me to repeat all his accomplishments in that area, but I will mention the programs he developed for the UCLA Clinical Faculty association on evidence-based practice for training psychiatric residents and one on supervision using Deliberate Practice.” He founded (and co-leads) the APA Psychotherapy Caucus Training Advancement Initiative. I could develop these themes of Josh Pretsky’s creative dedication to teaching our UCLA residents, but will let these accomplishments speak for themselves.


Outstanding Resident / Fellow Teaching

Eligible candidates are psychiatry residents, or child, forensic, geriatric, or other fellows, or psychology trainees who have primary teaching or supervisory responsibilities on their service or clinic for medical students, beginning residents, psychology trainees, or other trainees. 

Sophie C. Feller, M.D.

Dr. Sophie Feller, a fourth year psychiatry resident, is this year’s recipient of the award for outstanding resident/fellow teaching. A co-resident states, “Sophie has been a constant source of leadership and guidance to all psychiatry residents. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a difficult and draining year for all psychiatrists, especially those in training. In response, Sophie organized the Let’s Talk About It Series, a series of lunch talks devoted to normalizing conversations about difficult issues. Dr. Feller has also organized an educational gun violence prevention panel for the entire School of Medicine, co-developed U-ACT: An Advocacy Collaborative across all residency programs, and partnered with School of Public Health faculty to develop an advocacy curriculum for residents piloted this year.

Dr. Feller is the true definition of a clinician-educator. First of all, she is a compassionate clinician, who goes above and beyond to care for her patients…In addition to her clear talents as a clinician, Dr. Feller is a natural and passionate educator. She is creative, responsive to structural and systemic issues, and thinks big.

Sophie values the well-being of residents, demonstrates compassion and dedication, and is an inspiring role model for us residents.

A faculty member writes, “I truly believe that teaching is more than just imparting information –it also involves making an impact on the lives of those around you. In this regard, Dr. Feller is peerless. I believe that this award is an excellent way of recognizing her efforts on behalf of the department.”


Outstanding Community Educator

Full-time or part-time faculty or teaching staff who teach, train, provide professional development, coaching, or mentorship in the community. 

Ann Crawford-Roberts, M.D., M.P.H.

Dr. Ann Crawford-Roberts is receiving an award for Outstanding Community Educator. On the national level, she serves as a member on the American Psychiatric Association Council on Communications and also serves as an Advisor on the Social Determinants of Mental Health Advisors to the incoming APA President Dr. Vivian Pender. At UCLA in the Department of Psychiatry, she is our only resident member of the Departmental Committee on Achieving Race and Health Equity (CARHE), a committee whose charge is to expand access to mental health care to underserved and under-insured populations.

A faculty member writes “Throughout all of my work with her, her passion for public service, anti-racism, and health equity has been evident. I want to underscore that Dr. Crawford-Roberts has already built a national reputation in medical education, with noteworthy innovations in the American Psychiatric Association and other psychiatry departments in addition to ones within our own residency program and department.

A faculty member writes “Beyond demonstrating expansive knowledge about antiracism, Dr. Crawford-Roberts exhibited outstanding leadership. She collaborated with and supported a talented group of residents and students across multiple institutions. Over the past year, through my speaking and teaching engagements, I have encountered dozens of rising educators in the field of antiracism in healthcare. Dr. Crawford-Roberts is one of the most exceptional, and there is no doubt in my mind that she will innovate and advance this emerging field.