Awards Recognize Teachers, Students Who Give of Themselves

March 15, 2017 at 2:35 pm


This year marks the University of Manitoba’s 140th birthday. As we celebrate, we’re highlighting the theme of identity.

Senator Murray Sinclair, former chief commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, has encouraged us all to reflect on four questions:

Where do I come from? Where am I going? Why am I here? Who am I?

This kind of self-reflection helps us to clarify our values, our reasons for choosing a particular educational path, and our sense of purpose. At the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, our dedicated teachers are helping students to form identities as caring health professionals with a strong sense of social responsibility.

Last week, medical students had a chance to acknowledge their outstanding teachers when the Max Rady College of Medicine partnered with the Manitoba Medical Students’ Association (MMSA) to host the seventh annual Teacher Recognition and MMSA Awards Dinner. I was pleased to join 180 teachers and students at the gathering in the Brodie Centre Atrium.

The nominations for teaching awards were submitted by our current Med II, Med III and Med IV students in recognition of their teachers during the 2015-2016 academic year. The awards honoured teaching excellence in categories such as innovation, inspiration, mentorship, small-group instruction and patient advocacy.

I was struck by the words of Anna Schwartz, a second-year medical student who not only spoke as an awards presenter, but performed as a classical pianist at the dinner. “It is with deep gratitude that I think of the many inspirational teachers who have given of their time, expertise, and yes, sometimes their soul, to lift us up,” she said.

“The mentors we’re honouring tonight … know that to shape dedicated professionals, you do not just teach the facts. You don’t just tell the students to memorize tables and flowcharts. To produce a great doctor, you need to teach by example. You need to model empathy for the human experience.”

As Anna said, there is much more to being a health-care educator than transmitting clinical knowledge. These student-voted awards show that learners place a high value on teachers’ role-modeling of qualities such as compassion and integrity.

Students admire teachers who are generous with their time, and with sharing their life experiences. They seek to emulate teachers who are inclusive, ethical, supportive, responsive and kind.

Dr. Danielle Martin, an advocate for Canadian health-care reform who was the event’s guest speaker, expressed her view that compassionate, inclusive health care reflects our identity as a nation. “Our system of health care is not just about money and medicine,” she said. “It is about the values that define us as a society.”

Four awards were presented to medical students for citizenship, contribution to global health, community service and leadership. These future physicians are already demonstrating that giving of themselves is a key part of their identity.

Bravo to all the nominees and winners for the heart and soul they invest in humanistic health care.

Click to view images from the event and a complete list of nominees and award recipients.

Has a great teacher in your life helped to shape your identity?