Executive Dean presents Faculty Awards

November 03, 2011


2011 Faculty Awards

Back row (l-r) Cary Savage, PhD, Achievement in Mentoring Post-Doctoral Fellows Award; Jared Grantham, MD, Lifetime Achievement in Mentoring Award; Wolfram R. Zückert, PhD, Ruth Bohan Teaching Professorship; Kirk Benson, MD, The Glendon G. Cox Leadership Award. Front Row (l-r) Mojataba Olyaee, MD, Excellence in Mentoring Award; Amy O'Brien-Ladner, MD, Ruth Bohan Teaching Professorship; Ivan Damjanov, MD, PhD, Ruth Bohan Teaching Professorship; Barbara Lukert, MD, Lifetime Achievement in Mentoring Award; Susan Carlson, PhD, Honorary Mentoring Award.

Calling the faculty "our most valuable resource," Executive Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean Barbara Atkinson, MD, presented awards for mentoring and teaching at the annual faculty retreat on October 24, 2011.

Achievement in Mentoring Post-Doctoral Fellows

Cary Savage, PhD
John H. Wineinger Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Director of the Center for Health Behavior Neuroscience

This award is designed to give post-doctoral fellows and post-doctoral alumni a way to honor faculty who work to ensure that our post-docs achieve their full academic or research potential.

The nomination letters described Cary Savage, PhD, who has been on the KUMC faculty for seven years, as supportive, enthusiastic and down-to-earth. "Considering his remarkable accomplishments and recognized expertise, most impressive is his humility," one mentee said.Savage believes that new investigators need help in setting realistic goals. Although peer-reviewed papers are a foundation for scientific communication, Savage said in his mentoring statement that many careers are advanced - or impeded - by public speaking ability. Thus, he devotes a lot of time towards helping his mentees prepare for talks.

"Anyone who works with him in any capacity knows that working smart and hard, meeting success, and finding the humor and genuine real life in each day do not have to be mutually exclusive endeavors," one mentee said.

Exellence in Mentoring Award

Mojataba Olyaee, MD
Professor of Medicine & Surgery and Director of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology

This award recognizes mid- to senior-level faculty members who exemplify a deep commitment to fostering the professional growth of junior faculty.

Traveling his own career path, Mojataba Olyaee, MD, experienced the value of having mentors who helped him put his priorities in order and plan for a successful academic career. Upon becoming a senior member of his division and, later, the division director, he believed his "next logical step was to condition the environment in a way that ensures the career development of our young and talented faculty," according to his mentoring statement.

Olyaee's nomination letters described his calm nature, his approachability, his loyalty and his ability to lead by example. One mentee noted that Dr. Olyaee talks about the importance of career and family life, and "how one's overall happiness is often learning how to balance the two." The aims of his mentorship, as stated by his mentees, include professionalism, personal responsibility and stewardship. One mentee eloquently complimented Dr. Olyaee's skill by saying, "A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself."

Honorary Mentoring Award

Susan Carlson, PhD
A.J. Rice Professor of Dietetics and Nutrition School of Health Professions

School of Medicine leaders consider themselves lucky to have professionals outside of the school who lend their time and skills to help foster the career growth and professional development of its junior faculty members.

Susan Carlson, PhD, who has had a long career in maternal-fetal medicine, is committed to training the new generation of scientists. Carlson did not have the benefit of a formal mentor when she started her career. But, as she said in mentoring statement, "looking back, it is clear that I was mentored by many persons (interestingly, all males) in the sense that they did not put up any barriers to me following the path that I set for myself." Carlson has tried to emphasize the importance of managing the stress that comes with trying to balance family and career. She says takes pleasure from mentoring individuals of diverse strengths and limitations.

Mentees said Carlson helped them gain confidence. She was described as an extremely effective listener who "holds mentees accountable for developing scholarly articles as the product of their new ideas." Dr. Carlson is "an even stronger mentor in terms of 'bigger picture' issues such as how to manage a lab, work/home balance, leadership skills, and one who treats her mentees as equals."

Lifetime Award for Mentoring, "The Jayhawk"

Barbara Lukert, MD
Emeritus Professor of Medicine

Barbara Lukert, MD, has been a member of the faculty for 40 years. On July 1, 2011, she moved to Emeritus status.

"I believe we are all mentors, sometimes unintentionally," she said in her mentoring statement. "Those chronologically behind us in our profession are always observing what we do, what choices we make, how we treat other people, and sometimes they mimic our behavior. That is one of the ways they learn how to live in their chosen profession. Some of us are also intentional mentors."

Lukert's intentional mentoring was invested in the careers of clinical scientists and scholars. One mentee praised Lukert for being a "wonderful role model of grace and professionalism." One of her medical school classmates who later became a colleague in practice expressed his admiration and respect for her ability to solve problems, even in the most trying situations, as she worked with junior faculty. Mentees were touched by her interest in mentees' families - it was common for her to know the names of their children.

Jared Grantham, MD, FACP
University Distinguished Professor of Medicine

Jared Grantham, MD, has been a member of the faculty for 42 years. In his mentoring statement, he spoke highly of KU faculty members' influence over his own career. He said they taught him to take risks on students who are curious and have strong drives for self-improvement, to appreciate and foster the power of interdisciplinary training, and, perhaps most important, to set an example as a scholar.

Grantham has mentored several scientists and physicians who went on to earn national and international recognition. Mentees said they were grateful to Grantham for his guidance in the design and conduct of their research, for his willingness to connect young mentees with established investigators, and for his encouragement to improve their writing skills.

Grantham remains approachable and humble after 42 years of success. The Lifetime Achievement "Jayhawk" Award honors Grantham for the young careers he has launched and refined at the School of Medicine.

Ruth Bohan Teaching Professorship

The Ruth Bohan Teaching Professorship is the most prestigious award for teaching in the School of Medicine. The award recognizes excellence in teaching and seeks to continue the tradition of outstanding education.

Amy O'Brien-Ladner, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine, Director of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, and Vice Chair of Clinical Affairs

Ivan Damjanov, MD, PhD
Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Wolfram R. Zückert, PhD
Associate Professor of Microbiology, Molecular Genetics & Immunology

Glendon G. Cox Leadership Award

The faculty-initiated Glendon G. Cox Leadership Award honors colleagues who have shown sustained leadership and excellence in service to the academic medical community.

Kirk T. Benson, MD
Professor of Anesthesiology

Last modified: Nov 18, 2011