Outstanding NHS teachers were recognised at the School of Medicine's annual awards, followed by Professor Timothy Orchard's inaugural lecture.
Ten prizes are awarded each year by the School of Medicine to NHS clinicians at any grade and in any profession to recognise their valued contribution in delivering the undergraduate medicine course.
First held in 2003, this year saw eleven commendations (thanks to a joint prize) presented to NHS staff for excellence in clinical teaching by Dr Joanne Harris, deputy head of the undergraduate school.
The evening also included categories for supporting the student experience, personal tutor awards, a special ‘distinguished teacher’ prize, and the student recipients of the 2015 University of London gold medal and Betuel prize.
“What made this ceremony rather special was that each award was presented by students, who spoke about why they had nominated a particular teacher,” said Mr Martin Lupton, head of the undergraduate school.
“I was moved by the power of the bond that can develop between a good teacher and their student, and I wished that all our NHS staff could have heard what a profound effect good teaching can have on young minds and their experience.
“We also celebrated the fact that over the last five years Imperial College students have won the London medical schools’ gold medal four times.”
The presentation of awards was followed by the inaugural lecture of gastroenterologist Professor Timothy Orchard, titled ‘Speaking from the gut’.
Professor Orchard and his colleagues are part of an international effort to make better use of metabolic analysis and genetics in the treatment of inflammatory gut conditions like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
Drawing on his experience as both an educator and clinician, Professor Orchard’s lecture explored his career and research interests through a roll of role models, starting with his father—also a gastroenterologist—to present colleagues.
As well as his teaching and research roles, Professor Orchard is a consultant physician, gastroenterologist and director of the Division of Medicine at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. Outside medicine he has a longstanding interest in choral music and is president of the School of Medicine music society.
“I still remember the first slide of the first talk I ever heard from Professor Orchard,” Mr Lupton commented on introducing him. “Professor Orchard is a hugely popular teacher, with our students saying ‘I want more of him’.”
Winners of the 2015 ‘Teaching Excellence’ Awards
Mr Salah Atrah, consultant orthopaedic surgeon for Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, was nominated by student Hannah for his “energy and dedication” as well as his “debrief of football highlights”.
Nominating student Nicholas said that Dr Masum Khwaja, consultant psychiatrist for Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, “inspired me to follow his footsteps into psychiatry”.
Dr Michael Malley, a third-year paediatric specialty trainee, was cited in absentia for his “inspiration and dedication”, while Dr Peter Wills, consultant respiratory physician for Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, was nominated by Helen for making his students feel “involved and valued”.
Dr Laurence John, consultant in acute medicine and infectious diseases at London North West Healthcare NHS Trust, was also awarded, having won several previous teaching excellence commendations.
GP Dr Caroline Oliver of Chartfield Surgery was awarded for her popularity with patients and students alike. Nominating student Soheil explained that her appointments are booked “literally instantaneously”.
GP Dr Rosalyn Lucy of Bassett Road Surgery was awarded for her “immersion and authenticity” while students said that Dr Omid Halse, consultant stroke physician for Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, was “interactive and interesting”.
Dr Esther Harazi, teaching fellow at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, provided a student’s “best rotation by far” while Dr Rula Najim and Dr Nina Dutta, undergraduate education fellows at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, were jointly awarded the tenth teaching excellence prize.
Special commendations were also given to Dr Evangelos Vasileiadis, care of the elderly consultant at Hillington Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; Dr Anshul Deshraj, teaching fellow, Dr Ihab Ramzy, speciality doctor in cardiology, and Dr Johnny Swart, care of the elderly consultant, all at London North West Healthcare NHS Trust.
Winner of the 2015 ‘Distinguished Teacher’ Award
The distinguished teacher category is only open to those who have already received a teaching excellence award and was created to recognise truly outstanding teachers who go above and beyond all expectations.
It was awarded to Dr Zulfiquar Mirza, consultant in emergency medicine at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, who Dr Harris described as “something of a legend” in the medical school.
Winner of the 2015 ‘Supporting the Student Experience’ Award
Along with the teaching excellence awards, a ‘supporting the student experience award’ was presented to Karen Picken, teaching coordinator at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, for her outstanding support of Imperial students.
Winners of the Personal Tutors Awards
Students were given the opportunity to nominate personal tutors based on their practical advice and support over the academic year. Two awards were presented to Dr Sohag Saleh, senior teaching fellow, and Dr Amir H. Sam, head of curriculum and assessment development at Imperial and consultant endocrinologist at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.
University of London Gold Medal and Betuel Prize
In addition to the teaching awards, two outstanding students were also recognised during the evening. All London medical schools—George’s, King’s, Queen Mary, UCL and Imperial—are invited to nominate a small number of newly-graduated students to compete annually for the University of London Gold Medal. The nominated candidates are selected by each school from those who obtained the highest number of merits and distinctions and have passed every examination at the first attempt—so the academic quality of those competing for the honour is extremely high.
The gold medal was awarded to Dr Rahul Ravindran with the Betuel prize going to Dr Ashik Amlani. Warm congratulations to them both.
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