Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society

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12635 E. Montview Blvd., Suite 270
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P: (720) 859-4149
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National and Chapter News

2017 Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Awards

Each year since 1988, Alpha Omega Alpha, in cooperation with the Association of American Medical Colleges, presents four AΩA Distinguished Teacher Awards to faculty members in American medical schools. Two awards are for accomplishments in teaching the basic sciences and two are for inspired teaching in the clinical sci- ences. In 1997, AΩA named the award to honor its retiring executive secretary Robert J. Glaser, MD. Nominations for the award are submitted to the AAMC each spring by the deans of medical schools. This year’s nominations were reviewed by a committee chosen by AΩA and the AAMC. This year’s committee members were Peter Anderson, DVM, PhD; Charles L. Bardes, MD; J. John Cohen, MD, PhD; James M. Crawford, MD, PhD; Ruth-Marie Fincher, MD; Bernard Karnath, MD; Randall King, MD, PhD; Kelley Skeff, MD, PhD; Emma Meagher, MBBCh, BAO; LuAnn Wilkerson, EdD.

Winners of the award receive $10,000, their schools receive $2,500, and active AΩA chapters at those schools receive $1,000. Schools nominating candidates for the award receive a plaque with the name of the nominee.

—Richard L. Byyny, MD
Executive Director

Lynn M. Cleary, MD, FACP

Professor of Medicine, State University of New York Upstate Medical University

SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor

Vice President for Academic Affairs State University of New York (SUNY) Upstate Medical University
(AΩA, Ohio State University, 1978)

Lynn M. Cleary, MD, demonstrated her aptitude as a medical educator before she completed her residency. As a trainee, she worked with fellow residents to develop a didactic curriculum for the medicine clerkship, and students recognized her teaching by honoring her with the Tufts Medical School Resident Teaching Award. The didactic curriculum became the first of many contributions to curriculum development that have defined Dr. Cleary’s distinguished career and exemplified her passion for medical education.

Dr. Cleary joined the faculty at SUNY Upstate Medical University in 1985 and became a core faculty member for the medical student and residency programs. Students recognize Dr. Cleary’s teaching excellence in their course evaluations; her courses consistently rank in the top 10% of Upstate educators.

“Dr. Cleary’s teaching style is characterized by high expectations and supportive mentoring. She has a particular skill in assessing a learner’s strengths and areas less developed, understands the process of skill acquisition at the stages of development, and helps them move forward along the continuum,” says Mantosh Dewan, MD, a distinguished service professor at Upstate.

Her teaching talents have led to leadership appointments at Upstate, including associate dean for curriculum, senior associate dean for education, and, currently, vice president for academic affairs. As vice president, Dr. Cleary oversees Upstate’s academic programs, student affairs, interprofessional education, and program assessments.

Dr. Cleary continues to teach and mentor medical students as course director for electives in quality, patient safety, and leadership; as a lecturer in pharmacology and attending physician on the internal medicine inpatient services; and as councilor of the Alpha Omega Alpha Upstate Gamma Chapter, for which she encourages members to serve as teachers and mentors.

Dr. Cleary is also an influential educator on the national stage as a member of several boards, committees, and working groups. She has served on the boards of directors of Alpha Omega Alpha and the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME), from which she also earned an honorary lifetime membership. Dr. Cleary has served as an advisor to the AAMC, particularly as a key contributor to the Core Entrustable Professional Activities for Residency and Recommendations for Clinical Skills Curricula for Undergraduate Medical Education.

She has been honored many times as a physician-educator. She is a recipient of the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award and the Exceptional Mentor Award from the National American Medical Women’s Association. In 2004, she was promoted to distinguished teaching professor, SUNY’s highest distinction for educators.

Dr. Cleary received her bachelor’s degree from the College of William and Mary and her medical degree from The Ohio State University College of Medicine. She completed her residency in internal medicine at Tufts-New England Medical Center.

John H. Coverdale, MBChB, MD, Med, FRANZCP

Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and Medical Ethics Baylor College of Medicine

(AΩA, Baylor College of Medicine, 2010, Faculty)

John H. Coverdale, MBChB, MD, is one of the most decorated teachers and a prolific scholar at the Baylor College of Medicine.

As professor of psychiatry, behavioral sciences, and medical ethics, Dr. Coverdale’s primary teaching occurs at the bedside in Houston’s public hospital, where he routinely hosts residents and medical students. Learners witness firsthand how he models patience, humility, and respect for severely ill psychiatric patients. In addition to delivering clinical instruction, he has codirected the evidence-based medicine course for second-year medical students since 2001.

He mentors many students, residents, and junior faculty and serves as a mentor to trainees and faculty through the Texas Regional Psychiatry Minority Mentor Network. As an adjunct professor at Rice University, he assists in evaluating the university’s medical professionalism curriculum.

Dr. Coverdale is among Baylor College’s most active scholars, authoring more than 200 peer-reviewed articles, of which more than half address medical and psychiatric education. Other main topics include ethics in obstetrics-gynecology, professionalism, and media depictions of mental illness.

Dr. Coverdale coauthors many of these articles with medical students or residents. In addition, Dr. Coverdale has served as deputy editor of Academic Psychiatry for the past 15 years.

For his efforts and talents, Dr. Coverdale has won more than 25 educational awards at the college. Medical student– bestowed honors include six Outstanding Faculty Awards, three John P. McGovern Outstanding Teacher Awards, and selection as Investing Marshall for graduation three times. Honors bestowed by his peers include three Fulbright & Jaworski LLP Faculty Excellence Awards and the Master Clinician Award. In 2014, Dr. Coverdale was inducted into Baylor’s Outstanding Faculty Hall of Fame, and in 2016, he received the college’s most prestigious education award: the Barbara and Corbin J. Robertson Jr. Presidential Award for Excellence in Education.

His contributions to medical education and its related scholarship have earned Dr. Coverdale national recognition. In 2016, the National Institute of Mental Health and the American Psychiatric Association honored him with its Vestermark Psychiatry Educator Award, which recognizes excellence, leadership, and creativity in the development of future psychiatrists.

Dr. Coverdale earned his bachelor of science degree and MBChB from the University of Otago in his native New Zealand. He completed a residency and fellowships at Baylor College of Medicine. After academic appointments in New Zealand, he returned to Baylor in 2000. In 2004, he earned an MD from the University of Otago for independently conducted research and a master’s degree in education from the University of Houston.

Joseph P. Grande, MD, PhD

Professor, Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Mayo Clinic School of Medicine

Joseph P. Grande, MD, PhD, has been a pioneer in advancing the integration of basic and clinical science in medical education since joining the faculty of the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine in 1991.

From 1991 to 1997, Dr. Grande was core faculty for The Cell, one of the nation’s first integrated clinical and basic science courses. Since that time, he has continued to advance course integration, implementing differential diagnosis assignments to promote students’ clinical reasoning skills. Dr. Grande also developed and implemented a teaching assistant (TA) program for third-year medical students in the pathology course. In addition to providing students with clinical perspectives and mentorship, he encourages TAs to innovate, and they have with the creation of journal clubs, the development of longitudinal cases, and the implementation of a web-based course platform. Dr. Grande then works with the TAs to share their work in peer-reviewed journals, stimulating interest in medical education scholarship.

Students have recognized Dr. Grande many times for his unwavering support and commitment to creating a positive learning environment, naming him teacher of the year more than a dozen times. He is a highly sought-after mentor and has earned acclaim for supporting the research training of more than 70 learners, including high school students, medical and graduate students, medical residents, visiting clinicians, and research fellows.

His peers have also recognized Dr. Grande as an exceptional educator, honoring him with the Dean’s Recognition Award, Distinguished Educator Award, and Medical School Career Award, among others. From 2006 to 2013, Dr. Grande served as associate dean for academic affairs at the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine, where he assisted in implementing a new curriculum that maximized student engagement and individualized learning opportunities.

Dr. Grande has influenced medical education nationally through his significant contributions as a prolific medical education scholar, reviewer for dozens of journals, a member of the editorial board of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education, and, perhaps most notably, 24 years of service and counting on various committees of the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME). He has advised the NBME on Step 1 Committee and Pathology Test materialdevelopment and recently completed two terms as a member of the NBME Executive Board.

Dr. Grande received his bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering from the University of Notre Dame and his MD and PhD in pathology from the University of Chicago. He completed his residency at the Mayo Clinic and a postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of Michigan. He has been a federally funded investigator since 1993 and continues efforts to understand and develop treatments for chronic renal disease, with a current focus on hypertension and diabetes.

Richard C. Vari, PhD

Professor and Senior Dean for Academic Affairs Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine
(AΩA, University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, 1999, Faculty))

Over a 30-year career, Richard C. Vari, PhD, has developed a reputation as an outstanding teacher, medical educator, and leader of curricular innovation.

Dr. Vari has been instrumental in directing major curriculum developments at two medical schools. First at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences (UNDSOMHS), Dr. Vari was a leader in the transformation of the lecture-based medical education curriculum to a case-focused, problem-based, patient-centered learning curriculum. In 1998, the curriculum was redesigned to reinforce the values of professionalism, humanism, and relationship-centered medicine and later earned recognition as an exemplary medical education program in the Carnegie Foundation’s report Educating Physicians: A Call for Reform of Medical School and Residency. Dr. Vari introduced the school’s first interprofessionalism course as part of the redesign.

Second, in 2008, Dr. Vari was recruited by Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine (VTCSOM) to lead development of the new school’s curriculum. In keeping with the school’s founding as a partnership between a research-intensive university and a private clinical system, Dr. Vari initiated a novel medical education program that deploys a hybrid problem-based learning (PBL) approach and delivers both an intensive research experience and a longitudinal interprofessionalism component.

Dr. Vari’s success in implementing curricular reform is, in part, a result of his passion for education and talent as a teacher. Students at VTCSOM, UNDSOMHS, and Tulane University—where he held his first faculty appointment— have bestowed on him more than a dozen awards and accolades for his teaching and mentorship. In addition to his work as senior dean for academic affairs, he continues to teach students as a PBL facilitator, course lecturer, and facilitator of the Ethical and Legal Practice in Healthcare course.

“Dr. Vari is one of a kind. He teaches his students from his heart, his passion for his work is infectious, he leads his faculty by example, and he is revered by the students,” says Cynda A. Johnson, MD, dean of VTCSOM.

Dr. Vari is also involved in enhancing medical education across the United States and the world. He has served on the board of the International Association of Medical Science Educators, on the physiology committee of the National Board of Medical Examiners, and on the American Physiological Society education committee. Dr. Vari is a founding member of the Society for Interprofessional Healthcare Education and a reviewer for the American Journal of Physiology and Medical Science Educator.

Dr. Vari received a BS, MS, and PhD from the University of Kentucky and completed his postdoctoral research in physiology at the University of Missouri–Columbia.

Updated on November 6, 2017.


© 2017 Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society