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Medical students honor Internal Medicine faculty, fellows with teaching awards

internal medicine faculty awards
Some of the Internal Medicine faculty and fellows who were honored with teaching awards from students posed for a recent photo. From left: Emily Nations Bufkin, M.D., Mohammad “Faizan” Zahid, M.D., Srijna Nandivada, M.D., Fiona Strasserking, M.D., and Stephen Harder, M.D. Not pictured are Blake Barker, M.D., Jared Nathanson, M.D., and Gene Hu, M.D.

As they wrapped up an academic year filled with challenges and triumphs, UT Southwestern Medical School students reflected on the impact that faculty and fellows in the Department of Internal Medicine had on their education. Based on student nominations, the 2022-23 Outstanding Internal Medicine Undergraduate Medical Education (UME) Teaching Awards recently honored six UTSW faculty and two fellows.

“We are very proud of the teaching our faculty provide in the Department of Internal Medicine and grateful for our departmental leadership that continually values education,” said Reeni A. Abraham, M.D., Associate Professor of Internal Medicine, a Distinguished Teaching Professor, and Associate Vice Chair of Undergraduate Medical Education.

“We have over 240 clerkship students in our IM Core Clerkship coming from or going to our Ambulatory Clerkship. In addition, we have 110 enrollments by our MS4 students in our various medicine acting sub-internship courses.”

In the past, award nominations came solely from the Internal Medicine (IM) clerkship annual course review evaluations. This year nominations were gathered from two required clerkship courses and three selectives, representing a significant portion of the MS3/MS4 curriculum.

“This year the Internal Medicine UME Program changed our process to make our teaching awards more inclusive for our undergraduate IM clinical courses and Department. By including four more core IM and acting internship courses in our annual course review evaluations, we were able to identify exceptional faculty and – for the first time – fellows for our end-of-year teaching awards,” Dr. Abraham said.

Read what students had to say about these exceptional educators below.

2022-23 Outstanding IM UME Faculty Teaching Awards

Blake Barker, M.D.
Associate Professor of Internal Medicine and Associate Dean of Student Affairs

Nominator comment: “Dr. Barker was a phenomenal attending. He was consistently kind and professional to everyone at all times. His bedside manners are unmatched. He provided helpful teaching and feedback regularly and was invested in student learning and optimal patient care.”

Emily Nations Bufkin, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics

Nominator comment: “Dr. Bufkin is an outstanding educator who clearly cares deeply about her students and her patients. She is invested in your learning as a student and provides insightful feedback and strong encouragement. She encourages you to think about the whole patient and their environment when providing treatment options. She gives each patient a level of care and assurance that is unmatched and follows up with them consistently.”

Stephen Harder, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine

Nominator comment: “Dr. Harder outlined expectations clearly on the first day. He included medical students as part of the team and considered our assessments/plans. He gave frequent feedback. I learned how to have difficult conversations with patients from him. Patients really like him. He was a great role model. … He also taught us more about how the hospital system works as a business, which helped explain why we do some of the things we do.”

Srijna Nandivada, M.D.
Clinical Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine

Nominator comment: “She puts so much emphasis on holistic, patient-centered care; each visit, she would work with me on understanding each of the medications that a patient was on, how we could improve the regimen and remove any unnecessary drugs, ensuring that the highest quality care was provided. More than that, she made sure that she took the time to understand what her patients wanted from the health care system and tailored the care toward that individual patient so that each visit was extremely personalized. If I could be like any physician in the future, I hope to be like her.”

Jared Nathanson, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine

Nominator comments: “Dr. Nathanson was a great teacher who encouraged autonomy but was also very willing to take time to answer questions and teach whenever we needed it. … He was very into teaching, giving me autonomy, and creating a comfortable environment.”

Fiona Strasserking, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine

Nominator comments: “She was an incredible teacher and encouraged equity in cardiology in a way I had not thought of before. … She made an effort to teach us even on this busy service. She was approachable and encouraging.”

2022-23 Outstanding IM UME Fellow Teaching Awards

Gene Hu, M.D.
Cardiology Fellow

Nominator comments: “A phenomenal teacher and role model, he facilitated a safe learning environment and placed student/resident learning as a top priority. … He was an excellent fellow who took a lot of time to teach everyone on our team about cardiology. … He was always super kind and helpful and always willing to listen to students’ suggestions.”

Mohammad “Faizan” Zahid, M.D.
Hematology-Oncology Fellow

Nominator comment: “Dr. Zahid went above and beyond when it came to teaching about the various different malignancies seen in clinic. He was extremely helpful and patient, and he always took the time to outline the important ‘whys’ when teaching – for example, why a certain malignancy presented the way it did, as well as why certain treatments were used. I greatly appreciate his teaching efforts, which greatly clarified the complex and – at times – confusing world of outpatient oncology.”

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