The UCLA Medical Student Council recently created an “Excellence in Teaching with Humanism Residents and Fellows Award” to recognize residents and fellows who model exemplary behavior toward medical students and other members of the healthcare team.
Abusive teaching practices, including public humiliation by faculty and residents, contribute to poor communication, hostile work environments and high rates of burn-out. “In the past, we have concentrated on correcting poor behaviors,” says Joyce Fried, assistant dean in the David Geffen School of Medicine (DGSOM) at UCLA. “The goal of this award is to improve the medical school culture by recognizing and rewarding outstanding role models.”
Medical students nominate DGSOM residents and fellows based on specific criteria established by the Medical Student Council and submit a 150-word vignette describing the qualities and attributes that exemplify their behavior.
“We want to recognize residents and fellows who are good mentors, concerned about medical student well-being, invested in medical student learning and committed to fostering a safe and respectful learning environment that empowers student doctors on the wards,” explains Christine Thang, a fourth-year medical student who helped spearhead the award. Although Thang says she has never personally experienced mistreatment as a medical student, she recognizes that it is a serious problem. “As a medical student, you just want to learn as much as you can and feel safe asking questions and developing the skills needed to become a good doctor,” she says.
The Medical Student Council selected 11 finalists from among 167 nominations across multiple disciplines and training sites at UCLA and affiliated institutions. The recipients were recognized during the fourth-year senior banquet, where the vignettes were read and each awardee received an award certificate, $75 gift card and lapel pin.
“We are thrilled to have a mechanism to recognize the many unsung heroes in our midst,” says Fried. “By identifying and celebrating residents and fellows who are outstanding in the teaching role, we hope to create a ripple effect that will shape the culture of medicine in a positive way.”