Teaching Awards

Picture of Dr. Gary Setnik and children at HMS Teaching Award Photo by Rose Lincoln


Harvard Medical School annually bestows teaching awards on its most outstanding teachers, who, through their excellence in teaching, will impact and influence the professional lives of students long after graduation. The awards presented at the Daniel D. Federman Teaching Award Celebration are HMS's most visible recognition of the teaching accomplishments of a highly select group of the School's leading medical educators, and reflect, in a small but tangible way, how much teachers are valued by their students and by HMS. The 2020 Daniel D. Federman Teaching Award Celebration  is scheduled to be held on November 9th from 4:30 to 5:30 PM.  

This event celebrates our best teachers in the presence of students, faculty, former award recipients, and staff. The HMS community and their families are invited to attend this special event each year. For more information about the event, email pme@hms.harvard.edu.

2019 Recipients

Donald O'Hara Faculty Prizes for Excellence in Teaching

Donald O’Hara, Ph.D. Faculty Prizes for Excellence in Teaching

The Faculty Prizes for Excellence in Preclerkship Teaching are named in memory of Donald O’Hara, Ph.D., who was a beloved teacher of Harvard medical students. Dr. O’Hara also served as one of the leaders of the New Pathway Chemistry and Biology of the Cell course and as co-director of the HST course, Human Biochemistry and Metabolic Diseases. Dr. O’Hara was also a recipient of the Faculty Prize for Excellence in Teaching for his teaching of first-year medical students.

John Flanagan, PhD
Professor of Cell Biology
Harvard Medical School
Dr. Flanagan is a neurobiology researcher who trained at the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge and teaches in the preclerkship Pathways course, Foundations. In nominating him for the O’Hara Award, one student called him “the finest educator I have had the pleasure of working with” who “devotes an incredible amount of attention and emotional and intellectual energy to his students.” Students shared that “he was gifted with a style of leadership that is rare and difficult to master: delicate, caring, and tactful. I think many of us in the society behave the way we do because we hope to model Dr. Flanagan’s example." Students felt that what really exemplifies Dr. Flanagan is “his genuine care and sacrificial love for each and every one of his students. He truly left no one behind, paid special attention to those who are struggling during our transition to med student and exemplified what a true mentor should be.”
Robert Padera, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Pathology
Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Dr. Padera is a pathologist who trained at HMS and BWH and teaches in the HST Human Pathology course. Student nominators lauded him as “an absolute joy to learn from” and shared that he is “funny, warm, kind, and the best lecturer I've ever had.” Students shared that “Dr. Padera’s dedication to the art of teaching and his commitment to caring about each of his students as individuals created a wonderful learning environment where we were able to grow as future physicians and scientists.” His “phenomenal lectures, case discussions, and review sessions were instrumental in helping us learn everything from the basics of anatomic pathology to the intricacies of the morbidity and mortality of cancer.” All in all, “he is a great role model and mentor.”

Charles McCabe Faculty Prizes for Excellence in Teaching

Charles McCabe, M.D. Faculty Prizes for Excellence in Teaching

The Faculty Prizes for Excellence in Clerkship Teaching are named in memory of Charles McCabe, M.D., who was a beloved teacher of Harvard medical students and who also served as the director of the Core Clerkship in Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital for more than two decades. Dr. McCabe was also a recipient of the Faculty Prize for Excellence in Teaching on multiple occasions for his teaching of third-year medical students.


Collin May, MD
Instructor in Orthopedic Surgery
Boston Children’s Hospital

Dr. May is a pediatric orthopedic surgeon, and the Director of the Pediatric Orthopedics Sub-Internship at Boston Children’s Hospital. Student nominations celebrated him as a model for “exemplary commitment and passion for medical education and the wellbeing of both patients and students.” Dr. May “truly went the extra mile to enrich our experience with teaching geared toward our level, both in terms of medical-student oriented lectures and intra-operative and clinic teaching.” It was noted that “his commitment to nurturing the professional development of students was unparalleled” and that “ When I think of what attributes make a good educator and mentor I would include ability to listen, to guide, to educate, to provide insight, to be accessible, to criticize constructively, to be supportive, and to care. Dr. May displays all of these attributes and more.” Dr. May is “in every way the epitome of a physician educator and professional mentor.”


Anita Vanka, MD

Assistant Professor in Medicine
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Dr. Vanka practices Internal Medicine at Beth Israel Medical Center and is a Practice of Medicine Course Co-Director. Her students noted she serves “as a mentor to me and to many of the students at BIDMC” and that she “leads by example in showing students how to best learn from the difficult experiences of medicine.” As a course director “she is constantly in touch with the needs of our class and ready to make the changes necessary to ensure that every student is learning in a safe environment and to the best of their abilities.” Dr. Vanka “brings her passion for students, patients, and the betterment of medicine to every interaction.” What stood out was that “The care and wisdom that she brings to every situation creates an environment where every interaction is a time for growth."

Special Faculty Prize for Sustained Excellence in Teaching

Special Faculty Prizes for Sustained Excellence in Teaching
The Special Faculty Prize for Sustained Excellence in Teaching was established in 2006 by the HMS Teaching Awards Selection Committee to be conferred upon a member of the HMS faculty who, through a lifetime of excellence in teaching, has impacted and influenced the professional lives of students long after graduation.
Cecil (Pete) Coggins, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine
Massachusetts General Hospital
Dr. Coggins has made many important contributions to the education of Harvard medical students during the more than 50 years he taught renal physiology and pathophysiology at HMS, including leadership roles in planning of the New Pathway curriculum, the New Pathway Human Systems course and the HST Renal Pathophysiology course, and the MGH Renal elective and the Inter-hospital Clinical Elective and Advanced Seminar in Renal Pathophysiology; and service as a visiting physician on the private and ward services at MGH and as a preceptor in Primary Care for HMS students. His important service on key committees at HMS, including the Admissions Committee; Board of Advisors; Subcommittee on Courses and Credits; HST Curriculum Committee and HMS MD Curriculum Committee; the Faculty Governance Committee for LCME Accreditation in 1987-88; and the Promotion and Review Board (PRB) has contributed immeasurably to the betterment of the MD program and the education of hundreds of Harvard medical students. His contributions have been acknowledged by HMS students through the numerous teaching awards he has received throughout his tenure. HMS is fortunate that his gift for teaching has impacted so positively the medical students he has taught at HMS. The perspective Dr. Coggins’ longitudinal teaching and leadership provides has benefitted our students enormously, and his outstanding contributions to teaching at HMS have launched generations of medical students as confident and well educated physicians.
Gary Setnik, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Mount Auburn Hospital
Dr. Setnik has made many important contributions to the education of Harvard medical students during the more than 40 years he taught emergency medicine at HMS. For over 22 years, beginning in 1989, his leadership of the school-wide emergency medicine elective, SU705, enabled more than 1,000 students to hone the critical skills needed to begin their internships. SU405 was one of the most highly enrolled electives in recent HMS history. In addition to serving as Course Director for SU705, Dr. Setnik’s highly valued hands-on procedures sessions in the capstone elective, Into the Wild Blue Yonder: Preparing for Internship, and his Emergency and Bedside Procedures sessions in the required Clinical Capstone course, continue to provide invaluable preparation for internship for Harvard medical students. In addition to his teaching roles, Dr. Setnik’s service on MD program committees has contributed broadly to the excellence of the MD program and the education of MD students, including the Subcommittee on Electives that reviews and updates clinical and non-clinical electives and its precursor, which he co-chaired; the Medical Education Reform Initiative Committee on Advanced Experiences; and his continued service as a member of the MD Program Promotion and Review Board (PRB) since 2014. According to the Registrar’s database, Dr. Setnik has reviewed more than 50 new advanced electives! His contributions have been acknowledged by HMS students through the numerous teaching awards he has received throughout his tenure. Dr. Setnik personifies the very best of the consummate clinician-educator.

CHA Sandra & Arnold Gold Award for Humanistic Teaching

The Cambridge Health Alliance Sandra & Arnold Gold Award for Humanistic Teaching
The Sandra and Arnold Gold Award for Humanistic Teaching at Cambridge Health Alliance is named in honor of Drs. Sandra and Arnold Gold and their remarkable decades-long contributions to humanistic medical education nationally and locally. The award will be presented annually to an inspirational HMS faculty educator at Cambridge Health Alliance who models compassion, integrity, respect and service in teaching Harvard Medical School students, residents, fellows or peers.
Jill Kasper, MD
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Dr. Jill Kasper has been a pediatrician at the Cambridge Health Alliance since 2004, teaching Harvard medical students, MGHfC Pediatrics residents, Tufts Family Medicine residents, and CHA Transitional Year residents. She is a former Pediatric Liaison for the Cambridge Integrated Clerkship and is the Clinical Experience Associate Site Director for the Practice of Medicine in Pediatrics at Cambridge Hospital. In 2013 she received both an MGH Primary Clinical Experience Teaching Award and the Partners Health Care Primary Care Award for Teaching and Mentoring.

Leo A. Blacklow Teaching Award

Leo A. Blacklow Teaching Award
Mount Auburn Hospital

The Leo A. Blacklow Award is presented annually to an outstanding teacher who holds joint appointments at Harvard Medical School and Mount Auburn Hospital. The award honors Dr. Leo A. Blacklow, HMS 1930, who practiced Family Medicine in Belmont and at Mount Auburn Hospital. For over 60 years, he helped train residents and medical students while caring for five generations of families in Belmont and surrounding communities. Dr. Blacklow was a passionate advocate for education and an enduring role model for comprehensive and compassionate care for all.

Todd W. Thomsen, MD
Instructor in Emergency Medicine
Dr. Thomsen is an attending physician in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Mount Auburn Hospital. Dr. Thomsen has been recognized by students, trainees and peers as an exceptionally dedicated and gifted teacher since joining the Mount Auburn staff in 2003. He has created novel educational tools, including a series of instructional videos demonstrating bedside procedures for the New England Journal of Medicine, which have benefitted learners worldwide. Locally, he has actively participated in the education of trainees and students throughout the institution and at HMS, resulting in multiple teaching awards from the training program. Trainees and students describe him as “a master clinician and phenomenal teacher” who “models continuous curiosity” and serves as a mentor and role model. One peer noted him to be “among the best bedside clinicians I have ever had the opportunity to work with, and even as an attending, I continue to learn from him on a daily basis“. Simply stated, Dr. Thomsen is “an inspirational teacher and a role model for students and residents alike”; we are very grateful for the opportunity to recognize his efforts with this award.

Bulfinch Medical Student Teaching Award

Bulfinch Award for Undergraduate Medical Education
Massachusetts General Hospital

The Bulfinch Award for Undergraduate Medical Education at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) was established in 2012 and is awarded to a Harvard faculty member at MGH for overall excellence in teaching of Harvard medical students. This award is voted by the students who complete the Principal Clinical Experience (PCE) at MGH.

Daniel Restrepo, MD
Instructor in Medicine
Dr. Restrepo received his medical degree from University of South Florida Health Morsani College of Medicine and completed his residency and Chief residency in Internal Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). In 2017, he joined the Hospital Medicine Unit in the Division of General Internal Medicine at MGH, and later joined the Inpatient Core Educator Faculty in the Department of Medicine in 2019. During residency, he served on the Leadership Board for the Residents Interested in Medical Education group, as well as a resident member for the Boston Association of Academic Hospital Medicine. As a clinician educator, Dr. Restrepo’s interests include medical education, clinical reasoning and physical diagnosis. He is currently involved in developing curricular programs for the Medicine Program at MGH on bedside teaching and point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) education, and in recognition for his involvement in clinical education, he has received teaching awards from HMS as both a resident and faculty member. Outside of the hospital, he can be found spending time with his wife and two dogs, playing music or scuba diving whenever possible.

Bernard Lown Award for Excellence in Teaching

Bernard Lown Award for Excellence in Teaching
Brigham and Women’s Hospital

The Bernard Lown Award for Excellence in Teaching at Brigham and Women's Hospital was established in 2010 to celebrate physicians who are outstanding clinical teachers and to recognize the very significant role that education plays in carrying out the BWH mission and the institution’s deep commitment to the next generation of clinicians. The award honors Dr. Bernard Lown, senior physician at BWH, Professor of Cardiology Emeritus at the Harvard School of Public Health, and founder of the Lown Cardiovascular Center and Lown Cardiovascular Research Foundation. A gifted clinician, renowned bedside teacher, and research pioneer, Dr. Lown was named Master Teacher of the American College of Cardiology on five occasions. He co-founded International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) with Dr. Evgeni Chazov, of the former Soviet Union; in 1985, they were co-recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of IPPNW.

Sara Durfee, MD
Assistant Professor of Radiology
Dr. Durfee is a gifted educator who has led many innovative educational initiatives and has assumed educational leadership roles since joining BWH as a Radiology Fellow in 1995. Throughout her early years as a faculty member, she won six teaching awards for the Radiology Clerkship. In 2014, she designed and implemented an advanced elective in ultrasound. Nationally, she is active at the American Institute for Ultrasound in Medicine and Alliance of Medical Student Educators in Radiology (AMSER), and she has contributed curricular material for the AMSER Building Blocks. In recognition of her dedication and accomplishments, she was recently appointed both the HMS Radiology Clerkship Director and Theme Director of Anatomic Imaging. Sara’s dedication to medical student education shows in the innovative and creative workspace she has created, by lobbying for dedicated medical student teaching time for all divisions of Radiology and by assisting in developing the BWH Emergency Radiology triage program for students interested in this field. Sara’s medical students commented that she “really did care for us, our happiness, our learning, our future.” Her trainees also highlighted her passion for teaching, noting that “She is a fantastic educator. Not only is she very knowledgeable, but she is easy to approach, patient, and great at explaining difficult concepts. She makes learning fun and is encouraging and motivating.” Sara “has worked very hard to improve medical student education for the HMS students, and is extremely deserving of this award.”
Michael Muto, MD
Associate Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology
Dr. Muto has shown himself to be a superlative educator and role model for the gynecologic oncology fellows, residents, and the HMS medical students rotating in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Hel brings his fund of knowledge and analytic skills to each case and makes complex decisions seem straightforward. He provides a highly rated surgical training experience, one that promotes participation and intellectual growth. He guides the development of trainees as individuals and shows them how to provide individualized patient management. His devotion to medical student, resident and fellow education is exemplified by his various educational leadership positions and activities over the years. He is considered by all trainees to be one of their most important surgical instructors because he continually teaches during every OR case, individualizing goals for each procedure that are aimed at fostering independence and confidence. Over the last year Dr. Muto developed special intraoperative techniques to allow residents with visual defects to safely define tissue planes. Trainee comments that support his superb teaching include “I cannot say enough about my wonderful experience with Dr. Muto. As a teacher in the operating room and the office, he is patient, direct, instructive and extremely effective in directing learners.” and “Dr. Muto is one of the BEST faculty we have the opportunity to work with - he is a supportive mentor, amazing surgical teacher, and all around one of the best advocates we have. His advice is sage, practical, and he focuses not only on the career ahead but also on the person you want to be in the future, and the things that matter to you.”

Robert P. Masland, Jr. Teaching Award

Robert P. Masland, Jr. Teaching Award
Boston Children’s Hospital

Dr. Robert P. Masland, Jr. was the Chief of Adolescent/Young Adult Medicine at Children’s from 1967-1993 and was a leader in establishing the field of Adolescent Medicine, as well as teaching communication and professionalism. In addition, he trained generations of medical students, residents, and faculty members at Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH). He was a supporter of flexible careers and work-life balance long before these issues were openly discussed. As a medical educator, Dr. Masland served as Co-Director of the Combined Harvard Medicine/Pediatrics Training program and as Associate Master for the Cannon Society at HMS. One of his favorite activities was mentoring HMS students and trying to convince them to pursue a career in pediatrics. As the Chair of the Intern Selection Committee at Boston Children’s Hospital from 1983-2002, he sought to rank as many HMS students as possible. Dr. Masland died in 2010, and this award was established in his honor to recognize a Children’s Hospital faculty member who shares Dr. Masland’s passion for teaching medical students.

Terry Buchmiller, MD
Associate Professor of Surgery
Dr. Buchmiller, Associate in Surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital, has broad clinical interests in pediatric surgery; she serves as the Co-Director of the Colorectal Program and has played a leading role in our Advanced Fetal Care Center. Dr. Buchmiller regularly teaches students in Introduction to Clinical Anatomy and Surgery and Advanced Clinical Application of Anatomy, as well as during their clerkships in Surgery and Pediatrics. She has mentored a long list of students in various projects. Dr. Buchmiller has been a frequent recipient of the Department of General Surgery Student and Resident Teaching Awards. One of her HMS students said it best: “She goes out of her way to share her passion and enthusiasm for her work and to have students as involved as possible, from the OR, to clinic, to sitting in on research meetings, to demonstrating the behind the scenes coordination of teams during clinical scenarios.”

S. Robert Stone Award for Excellence in Teaching

S. Robert Stone Award for Excellence in Teaching
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

The S. Robert Stone Award for Excellence in Teaching has been awarded annually since 1981 to a member of the Harvard Medical School Faculty at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center for outstanding achievement in the teaching of medical students and house staff. The award is given in honor of the late Honorary Trustee and past Board Chairman of the former Beth Israel Hospital by his children.

Stewart Lecker, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Dr. Stewart Lecker is Director of the Nephrology Fellowship program at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and a core faculty member in the Pathways Homeostasis 2 course. Students who nominated Dr. Lecker for this award wrote that he “is the best professor and attending I have worked with in my four years at HMS. He managed not only to simplify complex concepts for us, but to inspire interest in material that most students consider among the most difficult and humbling – renal physiology.” He “would always explain the physiological principles to help me understand for a lifetime rather than simply memorize an answer. This speaks volumes to his priorities in teaching and to his passion for what he does.”

L. James Wiczai, Jr. Award

L. James Wiczai Award for Leadership, Excellence, and Innovation in Medical Education
The Wiczai Award was established in 2000 by Karen C. Kirby in memory of her husband, L. James Wiczai, to honor a staff member from an affiliated hospital who fosters innovation and excellence in medical education and promotes collaboration between Harvard Medical School and the Harvard-affiliated hospitals.
Joy Moses
Surgery Clerkship Coordinator, Department of Surgery
Massachusetts General Hospital
Joy Moses serves as the Surgery Clerkship Coordinator in the Department of Surgery at MGH and in that role, working with Dr. Noelle Saillant, Surgery Clerkship Director, coordinators all aspects of the 12-week core Surgery Clerkship at MGH, which is held quarterly and enrolls Harvard medical students per quarter who are completing their Principal Clinical Experience year at MGH. Dr. Saillant, who nominated Joy for the Wiczai Award, lauded her “complementary support for each and every student's experience; … [her] naturally disarming temperament that allows the students to give her open and honest feedback about the organization or rotation experiences that, at times, they are not comfortable reporting to the clerkship director; [her] intellectual curiosity and drive [which] dovetail with … growth in the program; and [her] active participation in the creation, restructuring and implementation of new programs” in surgical education at MGH.

Richard A. Gillis Award for Excellence in Medical Education

Richard A. Gillis Award for Excellence in Medical Education

The Richard A. Gillis Award for Excellence in Medical Education was established in 2012 in memory of Rick Gillis (1953-2011), Executive Director of Curriculum Programs, whose 27 years of contributions to the MD program at Harvard Medical School exemplify the standards of excellence and the work ethic he inspired in those who were privileged to know him and to work with him. The award is given to a member or members of the HMS staff for their outstanding contributions to the educational mission of the School. This award serves as a reminder of Rick’s legacy and the critical role of staff in facilitating, in the words of his hero, President John F. Kennedy, the infinite potential of the human mind that can be realized through education … [and that] can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our Nation.”

Lillian Johnson
Financial Aid Coordinator
Office of Financial Aid
Lillian Johnson has been a member of the HMS staff since 1998, and she has been a member of the Office of Financial Aid (OFA) and Program in Medical Education (PME) staff since 1999. As Financial Aid Coordinator, Lillian “has been an essential member of not only the financial aid office but all of HMS/PME. She serves as the face of OFA and is the first point of contact. She supports not only the financial aid office but also often lend a hand to Admissions and Registrar’s offices. …Students and alumni appreciate her warm inviting nature. Her down to earth demeanor makes many students far from home find comfort in our office. She is personable with students and many times she gives them the smile, sense of concern and guidance they need. She has balanced life's challenges and come out on top. She sparks each person she meets to do the same and overcome their obstacles while continuing to recognize the needs of others. Lillian contributes to the goals of [HMS’] mission, To nurture a diverse, inclusive community dedicated to alleviating suffering and improving health and well-being for all through excellence in teaching and learning, discovery and scholarship, and service and leadership, by fostering a welcoming environment for her colleagues, students and the HMS community as a whole. She works to make every student feel comfortable, efficiently addresses student needs and motivates us all to continuously work to provide better service to our students.”
Thomas Fleenor
Data Analyst
Office of Educational Quality Improvement (OEQI)
Tom Fleenor joined the PME staff in 2011 as a research coordinator in the Center for Evaluation and was promoted to Data Analyst in the OEQI in 2018. Over the past two years, Tom has made enormous contributions to the development of the PME’s Education Data Warehouse and subsequent analysis of the data therein, which not only contributed enormously to our successful LCME site visit, but continue to facilitate the review of the elements of the MD program and their continuous improvement. In his nomination for the Gillis Award, Tom was also cited for being “instrumental in improving the PME’s relationship and workflow with hospital coordinators around the evaluation process. … Tom really drove the effort to connect with these important stakeholders in order to train them on our evaluation system (OASIS). Having a critical mass of evaluations – both from students about the program and faculty, as well as from faculty about student performance – was critical to the LCME site visit. … Tom is an unsung hero in the PME – [he] embodies all the qualities and characteristics of what makes it great to work at HMS. He has an unmatched work ethic and brings a positive can-do attitude to every project and person with which he interacts. He is constantly looking for ways to improve – both with respect to his own performance and ways in which he can help the school achieve its mission. Tom consistently goes above and beyond his role in ways that inspire everyone who works with him.”