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Department of Public Health Sciences Honors Outstanding Educators with Inaugural Teaching Awards

The Department of Public Health Sciences (DPHS) celebrated its highly anticipated first annual Teaching Awards on May 10, 2023, showcasing the department's unwavering commitment to recognizing and celebrating excellence in teaching and learning. This distinguished event showcased four exceptional faculty members who were honored with the esteemed DPHS Teaching Excellence Award and the prestigious DPHS Innovation in Teaching Award.

"We recognized a compelling need to establish these distinguished teaching awards to provide our esteemed faculty with a well-deserved platform for acknowledging their remarkable excellence within the classroom," expressed David Lee, Ph.D., chair of the department and professor in the Division of Epidemiology Population Health Sciences at DPHS. 

Dr. Lee
Dr. David Lee.

Sharing the spotlight for the DPHS Teaching Excellence Award were two exemplary educators – Alberto Caban-Martinez, D.O. Ph.D., M.P.H., deputy director of Sylvester’s Firefighter Cancer Initiative and associate professor of Public Health Sciences, and Sara St. George, Ph.D., assistant professor of Public Health Sciences.

Both recipients demonstrated an exceptional and well-articulated teaching philosophy that has been developed through careful examination and continuous improvement of their instructional practices. Their outstanding performance in the classroom, combined with exceptional course evaluation outcomes, showcased their commitment to fostering a rich and engaging learning experience for their students. 

Dr. St. George, Dr. Caban-Martinez, and Dr. Horigian
(From left) Dr. St. George, Dr. Horigian, and Dr. Caban-Martinez.

They have exhibited a sustained and documented impact on student learning, both within and beyond the traditional classroom setting, supported by objective and constructive feedback to students. Dr. Caban-Martinez and Dr. St. George have also demonstrated exceptional skills in building connections among students and fostering a vibrant and collaborative learning community.

Equally deserving of accolades, the DPHS Innovation in Teaching Award was shared by two visionary educators – Raymond Balise, Ph.D., assistant professor of Biostatistics, and Mariano Kanamori, Ph.D., assistant professor of Public Health Sciences.

These esteemed faculty members have exhibited remarkable creativity in developing innovative teaching practices and strategies that have significantly enhanced student learning experiences in online, hybrid, and face-to-face environments. Their inventive use of technology and pedagogical approaches has set a new standard for instructional excellence and has contributed to the advancement of educational methodologies within the field.

Dr. Balise and Dr. Kanamori's dedication to leveraging cutting-edge tools and techniques have enriched the learning journey of their students, making a lasting impact on their educational outcomes. 

Dr. Raymond Balise
Dr. Balise and Dr. Horigian.

“I am extremely grateful for the dedication and commitment exhibited by our teaching faculty, whose invaluable contributions to the classroom deserve both recognition and celebration,” said Viviana Horigian, M.D., M.H.A., director of Public Health Education and professor in the Division of Health Services Research Policy at DPHS.

The nomination process for these distinguished awards was open to faculty, students, and staff, with nominations accepted until the specified deadline. In recognition of their exceptional contributions, the recipients of the Teaching Awards will be honored with a prize of $700, a commemorative plaque, and a celebratory luncheon held during the upcoming DPHS teaching retreat in the Fall. 

The establishment of the DPHS Teaching Awards represents a significant milestone in acknowledging the paramount importance of effective teaching and learning within the department. By honoring exceptional educators like Dr. Alberto Caban-Martinez, Dr. Sara St. George, Dr. Ray Balise, and Dr. Mariano Kanamori, DPHS aspires to foster a culture of continuous innovation and excellence in teaching and learning that will shape the future of public health education.

Written by Deycha Torres Hernández
Published on May 30, 2023