LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The University of Louisville Department of Pediatrics has been selected to receive the university's 2013 Paul Weber Award for Departmental Excellence in Teaching.
This teaching award was established in 2005 in memory of Paul Weber, a distinguished UofL teacher, scholar and mentor, and recognizes departments that demonstrate excellence in teaching.
"We are honored to be the first UofL department to receive this important teaching award," said Gerard Rabalais, M.D., MHA, chairman, Department of Pediatrics. "As pediatricians, we are trained to observe subtle growth and change in our patients. As educators, we remain attuned to this same process in our community of learners."
"We strive to prepare the complete pediatrician of tomorrow and enrich the practicing pediatrician of today by engaging them as learners, listening to their needs and integrating new knowledge with real-time experiences," Kimberly Boland, M.D., vice chair for pediatric medical education, added.
Pediatrics has incorporated numerous innovative programs into its curriculum. Each year, 20-26 rising second-year medical students take a break from the classroom to participate in a four-week summer externship program. This clinical experience provides a preview of pediatric medicine in private and academic offices and hospital settings.
A new procedure rotation enables pediatric residents to hone their skills on 26 pediatric procedures, ranging from stitching up a wound to performing a spinal tap. This rotation corrects a training shortcoming posed by duty hour limitations and the use of specialized hospital teams.
Trainees get to walk in their patients' shoes through the Poverty and Social Justice in Child Health rotation. They must learn to negotiate a clinic trip on public transportation and to shop healthfully using food stamps. Time spent working with refugees and in community health centers broadens their understanding of the unique challenges of impoverished children and families.
Residents practice communications skills with patient actors. They also learn to advocate for children at the community and state level through the resident organization PUSH (Pediatricians Urging Safety and Health).
Faculty development is a priority. The department has developed a curriculum of more than 50 topics focused on improving teaching skills, mentoring, career development and research.
The department will receive a monetary award of $30,000 to support efforts to enhance critical thinking and plans to use the money to integrate innovative technology into its core curriculum.