2016 VUMC Academic Enterprise honors faculty members for Excellence in Teaching and Outstanding Contributions to Research

May 5, 2016

Please read detailed article in VUMC Reporter for list of Faculty honored here




Pugh_Meredith_faculty_photo slide.jpg Meredith E. Pugh, M.D., M.S.C.I.

Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine

Dr. Pugh received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology in 2000 from the University of Richmond and her M.D. in 2004 from Virginia Commonwealth University. She completed residency training in Internal Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, serving as Chief Medical Resident in 2007. In 2008, she came to Vanderbilt as a postdoctoral fellow in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, earning a Master of Science degree in Clinical Investigation (M.S.C.I.) in 2012.

Dr. Pugh is an extremely gifted and effective teacher who consistently receives accolades from her students, fellows, and colleagues alike. She was co-director of the Function component of the Structure, Function and Development course for first-year students from 2011 to 2013. The Pulmonary Unit of the Homeostasis Course, which she developed for Curriculum 2.0 and continues to direct, receives consistently high rankings. She is a small group facilitator for the Foundations of Medical Knowledge curriculum for first-year medical students, leading case-based learning for the Homeostasis, EDR and Brain Behavior & Movement courses. Dr. Pugh is co-director of the Critical Illness Integrated Science Course for third- and fourth-year medical students in the Immersion Phase, and is actively engaged in facilitating case-based learning and lecture teaching in this course. She directs the Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) Simulation Program, and the Intern Code Training Simulation Course for Internal Medicine residents.

Dr. Pugh has a knack for adjusting her teaching style to “fit” first-year medical students, providing appropriate explanations for those who struggle while offering more challenging questions and concepts to others who are highly knowledgeable. Inspiring her students to want to learn from and emulate her, her interactive lectures are always well attended; students draw confidence from her, and feel they are better prepared to care for patients with pulmonary conditions. She has a reputation as an outstanding clinical teacher as well. She has received the Hugh Jackson Morgan Teaching Award in the Department of Medicine twice, in 2009 as a Fellow recipient and in 2013 as a Faculty recipient, and the Roger Des Prez Award for Best Fellow Teacher in the Division of Allergy, Pulmonary and Critical Care, in 2010.

Dr. Pugh attends in the Medical Intensive Care Unit, the pulmonary consult service, and the outpatient pulmonary clinic. Her clinical and research focus is in pulmonary hypertension. She is the Associate Program Director for the Pulmonary and Critical Care Fellowship Program. At the national level, she is a member of the American College of Chest Physicians, the Pulmonary Hypertension Association and the Society of Critical Care Medicine.


alvin powers_0_0.png  Alvin C. Powers, M.D.

Joe C. Davis Chair in Biomedical Science
Professor, Departments of Medicine and of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

Dr. Powers earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1976 from the University of Virginia and his medical degree in 1979 from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis. After completing his residency in Internal Medicine at Duke University Medical Center in 1982, he went to Boston for clinical and research fellowships in endocrinology, at the Joslin Diabetes Center, the Massachusetts General Hospital, and Harvard Medical School. He joined the Vanderbilt faculty in 1988 as assistant professor of Medicine.

Dr. Powers directs the Vanderbilt Diabetes Center and is chief of the Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism in the Department of Medicine. Known internationally for his research and leadership contributions to understanding and advancing the treatment and prevention of diabetes, and is principal investigator of grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and the Veterans Administration. He currently serves on the board of directors of the American Diabetes Association, the nation’s largest health association focused on preventing and curing diabetes, and will serve as the association’s President in 2017.

Described by his colleagues as an energetic, creative teacher, Dr. Powers has directed the Vanderbilt Student Research Training Program (SRTP) for the past 20 years. The program, established in 1975 by Drs. Oscar Crofford and Phil Felts, was expanded under his leadership in 1996. Since then, more than 500 medical students from more than 90 U.S. medical schools have conducted intensive, mentored research at Vanderbilt, usually in the summer between their first and second years of medical school where they learn how to develop a hypothesis and how to design and interpret experiments as they hone their presentation and critical thinking skills. Students also participate in a curriculum and small group sessions led by Dr. Powers emphasizing the connections between research and improved patient care and the importance of physicians being involved in research. Numerous alumni of this program have gone onto positions in academic medicine. Dr. Powers serves as the principal investigator of the NIH T35 training grant supporting this program.

Dr. Powers also developed and now directs a national medical student research program sponsored by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) of the National Institutes of Health. Since its founding in 2009, more than 550 students from more than 100 U.S. medical schools have conducted research at NIDDK-supported Diabetes Research Centers in this program. At the end of their summer research experience, students in the Vanderbilt SRTP and the NIDDK-sponsored program attend a research symposium at Vanderbilt organized by Dr. Powers and his colleagues to present their research and discuss career pathways.

Because of his outstanding contributions to the education of hundreds of medical students, at both the local and national level, Dr. Powers has been selected to receive the 2016 Elaine Sanders-Bush Award for Excellence in Teaching in the Research Setting.


Heimburger_0.png  Douglas Heimburger, M.D., M.S.

Professor, Department of Medicine

Dr. Heimburger earned his Bachelor of Science degree in 1973 from Harding College and his M.D. in 1978 from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. After finishing his residency in Medicine at St. Louis University School of Medicine in 1981, he completed a one-year fellowship in the NIH Clinical Nutrition Research Unit at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). He earned a master’s degree in Nutrition Sciences from UAB in 1987. Beginning as an instructor in the Division of Clinical Nutrition at UAB, he became a professor in the Departments of Medicine and Nutrition Sciences and associate director of the UAB Sparkman Center for Global Health, before joining Vanderbilt in 2009 as professor in the Department of Medicine and associate director for Education and Training at the Vanderbilt Institute of Global Health (VIGH). He is currently the principal or co-principal investigator of several NIH-funded grants including the UNZA-Vanderbilt Partnership for HIV-Nutrition Research Training, the Vanderbilt-Emory-Cornell- Duke Consortium for Global Health Fellows, and the Vanderbilt-Zambia Network for Innovation in Global Health Technologies.

Dr. Heimburger is the founding director of the Global Health Track in the Vanderbilt MPH program, which enrolled its first class in the fall of 2012. For the past four years, he and Dr. Moon have co-directed the Foundations in Global Health course, a requirement for all global health track students. They have consistently received high marks from students for the effectiveness of course direction, classroom teaching and individual advising.

troy moon_0_0_0_0.jpgtroy moon_0_0_0.jpg  D. Troy Moon, M.D., M.P.H.

Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics

Dr. Moon earned his Bachelor of Science degree in 1992 from Florida State University, his Master’s degree in Public Health in 1996 from UAB, and his M.D. in 2001 from the University of Florida. After completing his residency in Pediatrics at Tulane University/Ochsner Clinic Foundation, he took further training as a fellow in Pediatric Infectious Diseases in a joint program operated by Louisiana State University and Tulane University. Working first as an HIV/AIDS case manager in Tallahassee and a research assistant at the UAB School of Public Health, he joined the Vanderbilt faculty as an assistant professor in the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases in 2007. From 2007 to 2012, he was clinical director of Friends in Global Health, a VIGH subsidiary working with local health authorities to extend HIV/AIDS treatment and services in Mozambique.

In recognition of their commitment to the next generation of global health clinicians and investigators as outstanding teachers, mentors and role models, Drs. Heimburger and Moon are the recipients of the 2016 Jacek Hawiger Award for Excellence in Teaching.


banerjee_0.jpg  Arna Banerjee, M.B.B.S.

Associate Professor, Departments of Anesthesiology, Surgery and Medical Education
Director, Center for Experiential Learning and Assessment (CELA)

Assistant Dean for Simulation in Medical Education

Dr. Banerjee earned her medical degree in 1994 from the University of Calcutta in India. After completing a residency in Anesthesiology and a fellowship in Critical Care Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, she joined the faculty at Vanderbilt as an assistant professor of Anesthesiology in 2003.

A leader in the use of simulation in medical education, Dr. Banerjee is director of the Center for Experiential Learning and Assessment (CELA) and Assistant Dean for Simulation in Medical Education in the School of Medicine. Along with Kyla Terhune, M.D., she launched the Intern Boot Camp in 2008, an orientation simulation experience to prepare incoming Vanderbilt interns. She served as course director from 2006-2011 for the Critical Care Skills Week, five days of simulation-oriented clinical experiences to introduce third-year students in their Surgery Core Clerkship to the fundamentals of clinical care medicine and anesthesiology. Since 2011, Dr. Banerjee has served as co-director of the Critical Care Medicine Immersion Course.

Dr. Banerjee provides perioperative care of critical care and high-risk adult patients in the Vanderbilt operating rooms and intensive care units. She directs the American Society of Anesthesiology MOCA (Maintenance of Certification in Anesthesiology) course for the Department of Anesthesiology, and at the national level, she is chair of the Committee for Undergraduate Medical Education, Society of Critical Care Medicine.

She is perhaps best known at Vanderbilt as a dedicated, effective and enthusiastic clinician whose innovative curricula and whose talent for educational innovation has earned her accolades from students and colleagues alike. Called a “master teacher and educator” by some, she has earned three Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Teaching from Anesthesiology residents in 2006, 2007 and 2012, a highly unusual accomplishment.

It is for these reasons that Dr. Banerjee is being honored with the 2016 R. Michael Rodriguez Award for Excellence in Teaching.

DENIS M. O'DAY AWARD (Foundation of Medical Knowledge Leadership Team members all recipients)

atkinson revised_1.jpg  James Atkinson, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology

Dr. Atkinson earned his Ph.D. in Pathology and M.D. degree in 1981 from Vanderbilt University. After completing his residency training in Pathology at Vanderbilt, he joined the Vanderbilt faculty in 1985. Dr. Atkinson currently is vice chair for Undergraduate Medical Education in the Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology. He is a Master Science Teacher, a member of the Academy for Excellence in Teaching and has won numerous teaching awards including the 2012 Shovel Award, presented by the fourth-year medical school class.

 OsheroffN_1.jpeg  Neil Osheroff, Ph.D.

John Coniglio Chair in Biochemistry, and Professor, Departments of Biochemistry and Medicine

Dr. Osheroff received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 1979 from Northwestern University. He was a postdoctoral fellow in Biochemistry at Stanford University before joining the Vanderbilt faculty in 1983. An expert on enzymes that modulate the topological structure of DNA, he is also a Master Science Teacher and founding member of the medical school’s Academy for Excellence in Teaching, and has won several teaching awards.

pettepher revised.jpg  Cathy Pettepher, Ph.D.

Professor, Departments of Cancer Biology and Medical Education and Administration, and Assistant Dean for Medical Student Affairs

Dr. Pettepher earned her Ph.D. in Structural and Cellular Biology in 1990 from the University of South Alabama. She joined the Vanderbilt faculty in 1990, has directed the medical school’s Student Assistance Program since 2013, and was appointed Assistant Dean of Medical Student Assessment in 2014. She has directed or co-directed several medical school courses, is a Master Science Teacher, a member of the Academy for Excellence in Teaching and has won several teaching awards, including the 2016 Shovel Award, presented by the fourth-year medical school class.

Reimschisel_0-80x112.jpg  Tyler Reimschisel, M.D.

Assistant Professor, Departments of Pediatrics and Neurology

Dr. Reimschisel earned his M.D. degree in 1997 from Rush Medical College in Chicago. He received postgraduate training at Johns Hopkins University, and was on the faculty at Washington University School of Medicine before coming to Vanderbilt in 2008. A member of the Academy for Excellence in Teaching, he is currently the director of the Division of Developmental Medicine, vice chair for Education, and associate director of the Pediatric Residency Program in the Department of Pediatrics. He serves as director of the Vanderbilt LEND Program.

Since 2010, Drs. Atkinson, Osheroff, Pettepher and Reimschisel have worked together in the design, planning, implementation and improvement of Foundations of Medical Knowledge, the year-long pre-clerkship phase of Curriculum 2.0. Their individual contributions and teamwork have achieved full integration of several interdisciplinary science blocks, led by a dedicated cohort of diverse faculty who serve as Block Directors and Small Group Facilitators. As a result, students are exploring foundational scientific concepts at a much deeper level than in the past, and have improved their scores on national performance markers as a result.

The Foundations of Medical Knowledge Leadership Team is therefore a fitting recipient for the inaugural Denis M. O’Day Award for Excellence in Team-implemented Curriculum Reform.