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.   

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.

2020 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.

Barbara Cockrill, MD
Harold Amos Academy Associate Professor of Medicine and Medical Education
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Dr. Barbara Cockrill is a Pulmonary and Critical Care physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. At HMS, she serves as Director of Faculty Development in the PME’s Office of Educational Quality Improvement, and as Director of the Pathways preclerkship course, Homeostasis I. In nominating her for the O’Hara Award, one student stated “She is wonderful leader, human and educator, who has inspired our class during what has been the most daunting moment of our nascent careers as health professional.” A nominator shared “Dr. Cockrill identified herself immediately as a champion of our education and… emphasized her role as partner in our education - to teach us, push us into the scary unknown waters, and help us resurface, more confident, knowledgeable, and thoughtful students, on the other side.” Another student noted, “Dr. Cockrill is one of the best educators I have ever been taught by… pedagogically, she explained difficult concepts in a clear manner, and when students were at all confused, she made sure to take time out of class to put together a diagram or supplemental notes in order to clarify any points of confusion from the lesson that day.” She was celebrated for “her style and poise which encompass what a true leader and master professor of medical education looks like.” Many nominations spoke of her “display of the utmost level of dedication when she had to transition our course to an online format in a matter of days.” “Dr. Cockrill embodies adaptability and humility, and she is a role model for us, students, as we continue on our professional journeys.” Overall, students felt, “Her leadership and care for students should earn her the teaching award every year, but even more so in this year of COVID-19.”

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.


Pieter Cohen, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine
Cambridge Health Alliance
Dr. Cohen is a general internist at Cambridge Health Alliance and teaches in the Cambridge Integrated Clerkship. In his nomination he was celebrated for his “rigorous teaching method, high expectations coupled with…incredible compassion for his patients.” It was noted that “from coaching me to be meticulous and thoughtful in exploring all facets of my patients’ conditions, to granting trust and autonomy in me to create treatment and management plans, he has done so much to shape me as a future physician.” “He inspires me to combine diligence with compassion.” He was praised for his response to the Coronavirus pandemic: “he has risen to the challenge to fight on the front lines. He transitioned from Somerville Primary Care to the full-time COVID-19 ambulatory clinic at CHA, where he has made key insights on the natural history of the viral disease in patients. He has not only published these findings in Mayo Clinic Proceedings but was also asked to write the article on COVID-19: outpatient management in adults in UpToDate, thereby providing an incredible guide and resource to clinicians around the world. Through these trying and unprecedented times, Dr. Cohen has emerged as a true leader and hero.” Finally, Dr. Cohen “stands out as one of the finest mentors and teachers I have ever had.”
Aaron Hoffman, DO
Instructor in Medicine
Massachusetts General Hospital
Dr. Hoffman a primary care physician in the Ambulatory Practice of the Future, where he has practiced since 2015. One student’s nomination stated “I find it challenging to fully articulate the magnitude of Dr. Hoffman's dedication to his patients, to teaching, and to the personal and academic growth of each of his medical students.” Dr. Hoffman's teaching style is “unparalleled. He has the ability to be an excellent clinical teacher and mentor while creating a comfortable (and more importantly, fun) learning environment… Dr. Hoffman models the tenets of medical education I would like to uphold during my career: support of peers, enabling growth, and focusing on collaboration rather than competition.” Notably, his nomination highlighted “Dr. Hoffman's dedication to teaching culturally-competent care. Even prior to the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and the recent re-invigoration of the Black Lives Matter movement across the country, Dr. Hoffman frequently acknowledged the ubiquitous and consequential healthcare disparities affecting patients of color, and the interplay of these disparities with the patients we see in clinic. He speaks candidly with his students about unique challenges influencing LGBTQ+ patients. Most importantly, Dr. Hoffman is the kind of physician I hope to become.”

Fariborz Maseeh Award for Innovative Medical Education

Fariborz Maseeh Award for Innovative Medical Education
The Fariborz Maseeh Award for Innovative Medical Education was established in 2020 with a generous gift from the Massiah Foundation to recognize and support an HMS faculty member who develops and leads innovative courses in the HMS MD curriculum. The award is designed to support the faculty member’s research program and their development and teaching of courses in the MD curriculum, and to encourage dissemination of educational innovations to the broader community.
Michael Dougan, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Massachusetts General Hospital


Dr. Michael Dougan is Director of the Immunotherapy Mucosal Toxicities Program at Massachusetts General Hospital. He leads the immunology component in the Pathways preclerkship Foundations course, is co-director of the Immunology AISC (Advanced Integrated Science Course) with his colleague and wife, Dr. Stephanie Dougan, and teaches medical students and residents on the Pathways Consult Service at MGH. His students hold him in high esteem: “Dr. Dougan was both an excellent lecturer and an incredibly kind professor. He was always willing to spend time discussing not just the immunology of certain concepts, but also social determinants of health and issues of health equity in immunology. He is very clearly invested in the well-being of students outside of the classroom and frequently took time to discuss many issues and obstacles to student life in a genuinely caring way.” They noted “he is incredibly intelligent and did the best job of distilling very complex information in a very understandable way. Furthermore, he was able to effectively synthesize and summarize student questions and answers and explain the relevant parts at the appropriate level.” Several proclaimed they “can’t say enough good things about Dr. Dougan” and that “it was a real privilege to learn from him.”

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.
Gerard Coste, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Dr. Gerard Coste has been with CHA since his residency almost 4 decades ago. He has served as a teacher and mentor to countless Internal Medicine residents and HMS Cambridge Integrated Clerkship students. As a teacher, he is described as modeling “a unique balance between providing excellent care, being an outspoken advocate for his patients, and maintaining a humility and approachability that allows patients and students alike to feel completely at ease in his presence.” A former student shares, “I am an HIV doctor, largely because of my time with Gerard. HIV is a disease that's social as much as it is clinical, cleaving along the lines of disadvantage in society. I've always tried to channel Gerard in the moments when I'm delivering a new HIV diagnosis or treating a scared sick young person.” Dr. Coste is described as approaching learners the way he cares for his patients and the world - with authentic curiosity, a warm approachability, and immense humanity.

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.

Michael J. Shortsleeve, MD
Assistant Professor of Radiology
Soon after receiving his MD from Johns Hopkins Medical School, Michael J. Shortsleeve joined the Mount Auburn Hospital family as an intern. Under the mentorship of Dr. Richard Schatzki, Dr. Shortsleeve began a lifelong interest in Gastrointestinal Radiology. After residency at Massachusetts General Hospital, he returned to Mount Auburn as faculty in the Department of Radiology, where he distinguished himself as an exceptional educator and clinician. He served as the Radiology Residency Program Director for 18 years and Chair of the Department of Radiology for 22 years. At the national level, he was chosen as the 12th President of the Association of Program Directors in Radiology (APDR) and in 2013 was awarded that organization’s highest honor, the APDR Achievement Award. Dr. Shortsleeve currently serves as Chair of the APDR Archives Committee and works closely with the American Board of Radiology in developing certifying examinations for graduating residents. He has been active in teaching both medical students and residents at Mount Auburn, HMS, and throughout New England and the nation. Countless learners continue to be inspired by his enthusiastic teaching style and his passion for providing the highest quality patient care.

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.

Roy Phitayakorn, MD
Associate Professor of Surgery
Dr. Phitayakorn practices general and endocrine surgery at MGH, where he also serves as Director of Medical Student Education and Surgical Education Research and the co-Director of the Surgery Education Research and Simulation Fellowship program in the Department of Surgery. Dr. Phitayakorn is also the Director of the HMS Surgery Clerkship and chair of the HMS Surgery Clerkship Committee. After finishing medical school, Dr. Phitayakorn completed a master’s degree in medical education from the University of Illinois at Chicago (MHPE), where he received awards for the best thesis award in 2007 and best presentation at the 2008 MHPE medical education conference. He completed residency training in general surgery at Case Western Reserve University in 2009 and an endocrine surgery fellowship at the MGH in 2011. He was the first Surgical Simulation Fellow at the MGH Learning Laboratory and was awarded a certificate in simulation-based teaching from MGH Institute of Health Professions (IHP) in 2011, after which he joined the teaching faculty at MGH. Dr. Phitayakorn is an external examination consultant for the American Board of Surgery and develops medical education content for the American College of Surgeons (ACS). He is also a faculty member for several national medical education courses and institutions, including the Harvard Macy Institute, the ACS Surgeons as Educators course, the Institute of Medical Simulation, the ACS Surgical Education Principles and Practice course, and the ACS Certificate in Applied Surgical Education Leadership.
Katherine Johnston, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Dr. Johnston is a Primary Care General Internist in Woman’s Health Associates in the Department of Medicine at MGH. She holds a BS in Biology, an MA in Philosophy, and a MD from Loyola University Chicago. She trained in internal medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), and completed a General Internal Medicine fellowship focused on teaching and research at Boston University School of Medicine and a concurrent MSc focused on Health Services Research at the BU School of Public Health. After fellowship, she joined the HMS faculty as a primary care internist at BIDMC, where she completed the Rabkin Fellowship in Medical Education in 2010. In 2013, Dr. Johnston joined the MGH faculty, where she continued her work on both UME and GME. She was appointed Associate Director of the Internal Medicine Clerkship in 2014 and serves as on the MGH Ambulatory Core Educator Faculty, overseeing the continuity clinic of 16 internal medicine residents at the Women’s Health Associates clinical practice. In 2018, Dr. Johnston was appointed HMS co-Director of the Pathways Practice of Medicine (POM) course. As course co-director, Dr. Johnston oversees all aspects of curricular design, assessment, faculty development, and programmatic evaluation for 174 medical and dental students and over 700 faculty.

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.

Nora Yusuf Osman, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Dr. Osman, an internist and primary care physician, serves as director of undergraduate medical education for the Department of Medicine and site director of the HMS internal medicine clerkship at BWH. Dr. Osman is a dedicated teacher and educational innovator, with demonstrated excellence as judged by the wide range of accolades she has received for her contributions to student, resident and post-graduate teaching. Representative student comments note, “It is so very clear from working with Dr. Osman that she enjoys teaching us in every way - I have always felt very comfortable asking questions and pushing myself outside my boundaries. Dr. Osman has always maintained high standards and expectations for me, while also being patient and giving me constructive feedback…” Another trainee commented “Nora expanded my educational focus beyond the basics of diagnosis and treatments. She is truly a gifted physician, but one of her greatest strengths is her bedside manner and relationships she builds with her patients. I vividly remember multiple discussions emphasizing the art of the social history.” Nora is highly collaborative, effective and inspiring and so deserving of this important recognition.
Kathleen Wittels, MD
Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine
Dr Wittels is a full-time emergency medicine physician who has been dedicated to medical student education since she joined the BWH and HMS faculty in 2007. From 2007-2012, she was Associate Director for Medical Student Programs in the Department of Emergency Medicine. In 2012, she was promoted to Director of Student Programs overseeing all UME activity in the Department. Dr. Wittels was an HMS Academy in Medical Education Fellow in 2011-2012, and in 2014, HMS named her the Director of the newly established Transition to the Principal Clinical Experience (PCE) course. Over nearly 15 years, she has been integral to medical student education at BWH and HMS. Students repeatedly note her natural ability and calm as a preceptor. One student commented “she was the most engaged, organized, and yet accessible faculty director that I have ever had across my advanced clinical electives at HMS. She was quick to respond to any queries we had as students, responsive to feedback to further optimize our learning experience, and thoughtfully ensured that our clinical skills were advancing throughout. Dr. Wittels takes time with us, is caring, yet expects great steps forward in our learning.”  Dr. Wittels is incredibly deserving of this award having established herself as a leading educator at BWH!

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.

Amanda S. Growdon, MD
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Dr. Amanda Growdon is a hospitalist and the Clinical Chief of the Children’s Hospital Inpatient Services. She has served as the Associate Core Pediatrics Site Director at BCH and in that role has implemented a number of education initiatives, including longitudinal small group sessions with senior faculty, an interprofessional curriculum and a series of education videos for clerkship students. In her student nomination, Cara Lachtrupp described Dr. Growdon as a “fantastic mentor and advisor” who “reaches out to everyone interested in pediatrics to discuss their interest, next steps, and offer guidance.” Dr. Growdon is also a leader in our pediatric residency program and has been consistently recognized on its Honor Roll of Teachers. Dr Vincent Chiang, her former program director, captures the essence of her teaching best: “Simply stated, Dr. Growdon teaches with a grace that very few individuals can match. It comes through an effectiveness, an empathy and a compassion that reflects her total respect for the student as both a learner and an individual.” The Masland Award was established to recognize a Children’s Hospital faculty member who shares Dr. Masland’s passion for teaching medical students, and Dr. Growdon is a most fitting recipient.

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.

S. Robert Stone Award for Excellence in Teaching
Jeremy B. Richards, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Dr. Richards, a graduate of the Washington University, St. Louis, School of Medicine, completed residency training and served as Chief Resident in Medicine at Boston University Medical Center, followed by a fellowship in the Harvard Combined Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine program that he completed in 2010. He subsequently completed the Rabkin Fellowship and the Medical Education Research Fellowship at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Dr. Richards has held leadership positions in undergraduate and graduate medical education for first-year students in respiratory pathology and pathophysiology; in specialty programs for students in clinical settings; and as assistant director of the Pulmonary Medicine fellowship at BIDMC. Dr. Richards’ career has always focused on bringing scientific inquiry to bear in teaching future physicians at all levels.
Senior S. Robert Stone Award for Excellence in Teaching
Mary Jane Houlihan, MD
Assistant Professor of Surgery
Mary Jane Houlihan, MD, is a specialist in breast surgery at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. A graduate of the University of Illinois College of Medicine, she completed her residency training in general surgery at (then) Beth Israel Hospital in 1983. Since that time, Dr. Houlihan has received accolades for teaching – particularly medical student teaching. She is a recipient of the BIDMC Department of Surgery’s George W.B. Starkey MD Award, given to a faculty member with the highest-rated teaching evaluations from Harvard students in the core surgical clerkship; and the HMS Faculty Prize for Excellence in Teaching of third and fourth-year medical students. She is also the recipient of the Schwartz Center Compassionate Caregiver Award. The Senior Stone Award recognizes her lifelong commitment to “enriching the learning environment of students, fellows, and junior faculty” through her teaching and mentorship.

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.
Alex Yactayo
Medical Education Coordinator, Department of Medicine
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Alex Yactayo was nominated for his role as the Medical Education Coordinator for the Practice of Medicine course at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Mount Auburn Hospital. Dr. Kelly Ford, who nominated Alex for the Wiczai Award, lauded his “amazingly dedicated, organized, and proactive management of the Practice of Medicine course. He has a nice rapport with the students and is highly committed to their education. He also understand the demands and commitments of the faculty that teach the course and is able to effectively communicate with scores of faculty spread across many sites;… he anticipates problems, organizes well in advance of needs;… Alex is able to troubleshoot issues with good  humor and creative solutions.  Without Alex we would be unable to run this course effectively.” Dr. Shiv Sehra added in his nomination “Exemplary work, highly motivated, very involved, the ‘go to’ for any and all questions…could not ask for more.”

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.”

Michele Cohn
Director of Curriculum Services, Program in Medical Education
Michele Cohn has been a member of the HMS staff since 2001. As the Director of Curriculum Services for nearly a decade, Michele “embodies excellence…has an expert knowledge of the Pathways curriculum and serves faculty, students and colleagues with intelligence, thoughtfulness and an unparalleled work ethic.” “Under Michele’s direction, our team is inspired to provide our community of educators and students with the best possible caliber of support.” Her nominations spoke of her “uncanny knack for balancing the needs of students, faculty and staff when making decisions” and her “tireless dedication to supporting not only the Office of Curriculum Services, but the entirety of the PME and all of its goals and projects.” She is “a true role model for professionalism, work ethic and loyalty” who embodies “grace under pressure.” She “has been a steadfast leader and mentor throughout this unprecedented time, resiliently steering us through abrupt changes in the nature of our work and our professional roles. By making sure that that her staff feel truly supported both personally and professionally, Michele empowers us to carry out the school’s mission even in this time of crisis.In particular one staff member noted, “Rick Gillis, for whom this award is named, would have been proud to see how she carried out many of his ideals and thirst for education.”
Melissa Friedman
Director of Admissions, Program in Medical Education
Melissa L. Friedman was appointed as Director of the Office of Admissions for the MD Program at Harvard Medical School in 2015. Her nominators noted that “since that time, she has restructured the staffing in the office, organized several successful Revisit programs for accepted students, including the 2020 effort, which was totally virtual; played an instrumental part in a highly successful reaccreditation application and site visit effort; and - most recently - developed a virtual plan for the 2020-2021 recruitment season.”  She is a “skilled, mature, leader and a highly intelligent and committed individual who adds luster to the educational mission of HMS and has earned the admiration of those who work for her and with her. She is a gem!” Her nominators also celebrated her “amazing grace under pressure” noting that “while everyone has been impacted by COVID, the onus on Admissions has been particularly challenging, yet she continues to identify creative ways to engage applicants and showcase the best of HMS.” Everyone in the PME shares in “thanking Melissa for ensuring that each year we have a new crop of stellar students to support!"