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May 2007 Issue

Richard Stevenson, MD (right) talks to fourth-year medical student John Guluzian about his future career in radiology.
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Teachers Honored by Fourth-Year Medical Students

By Amanda Harper
Published May 2007

The verdict is in, and UC College of Medicine’s 2007 graduating class has identified three faculty members they say rise above the rest when it comes to outstanding teaching and mentorship.

Fourth-year medical students voted David Fischer, MD, recipient of the Gold Apple Award. Fischer currently serves as interim director of UC’s gastrointestinal surgery division. Richard Stevenson, MD, pediatric surgery, and Thomas deHoop, MD, obstetrics and gynecology, will each receive a Silver Apple Award.

For nearly four decades, medical students have upheld the tradition of giving “apples” to their favorite teachers at their commencement ceremony.

The Gold and Silver Apple Awards program was established in 1968 by the Pi Kappa Epsilon fraternity. The idea was to give the students the chance to recognize professors who had the most impact on their medical career—and life path—by serving as excellent instructors and mentors.

Medical students will present the 39th annual Gold and Silver Apple awards to Fischer, Stevenson and deHoop at the College of Medicine’s Honors Day celebration on Sunday, May 20. The event will be held at 1 p.m. at the Aronoff Center for the Arts.

When Stevenson accepts his Silver Apple Award later this month, it will be the seventh time his efforts have been recognized by the students during his teaching career at UC.

Michael Nussbaum, MD, says he’s not surprised—Stevenson’s father, Jean Stevenson, MD, was the first faculty member to be recognized with the Gold Apple in 1968.

“He’s continuing a tradition of teaching excellence at UC College of Medicine that his father helped foster many years ago,” says Nussbaum.

Stevenson is well known by the student body as a “true student advocate,” according to fourth-year medical student Scott Holekamp, who has chosen a career in surgery.

“He has made the commitment to instructing, advising and occasionally consoling future doctors from the first time they enter the wards to the time they graduate and move on to their life’s work,” Holekamp explains. “He was instrumental in helping me discover what areas of medicine fit my strengths and what I enjoy—and I know the same goes for many other medical students at UC.”

John Guluzian, who chose to go into radiology, echoes that praise and says Stevenson devotes so much time to education that “he is a true gift to all medical students who come in contact with him.”

“More than 50 people in our class asked Dr. Stevenson to write recommendation letters for their residency search. Not only did he write each one a very personal, quality letter,” says Guluzian, “he took the time to meet with every person and really learn who they are and what special qualities they can offer each residency program.”

As director of surgical student education, Stevenson worked to increase the depth of students’ surgical knowledge by developing a strong curriculum that exposed students to an intense first week of training. Students participate in didactic and interactive teaching sessions as well as hands-on skill labs, where they learn to insert chest tubes and venous catheters, manage ventilators and acquire other important skills.

As a result, students are better prepared for their patient management and operating room learning experiences during clinical rotations in the second week. These efforts have successfully increased the number of graduating students who have chosen a career in surgery from five in 2000 to 15 in 2006.

“I could write a book about all the things that make Dr. Stevenson a great mentor and teacher, but it all comes back to the fact that I feel like I’m a better person and future physician from knowing him” says Kristie Dyson, a fourth-year medical student pursuing obstetrics and gynecology.

“He wants you to learn to be the best doctor you can be at all costs,” she adds. “He teaches from his experience, books and theories, then applies real-life scenarios to medicine to help us develop our clinical reasoning skills. It’s obvious he loves what he does, and it shows through every interaction you have with him.”

First- and second-year medical students will select their Gold and Silver Apple Award recipients in late May and early June.

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