AAMC Recognizes Medical Educators, Researchers, and Patient Care Providers

Nine individuals, one medical school receive awards at association’s annual meeting

The AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) honored nine individuals and one medical school for their outstanding contributions to academic medicine at an awards presentation on Sunday, Nov. 5, during Learn Serve Lead 2017: The AAMC Annual Meeting in Boston, Mass.

For more information about the 2017 honorees, visit www.aamc.org/initiatives/awards/2017-aamc-awards-recipients/.

For more information and to submit a nomination for the 2018 awards, visit https://www.aamc.org/initiatives/awards/.

The 2017 awardees are:

George Thibault, MD
Abraham Flexner Award for Distinguished Service to Medical Education
In his career spanning four decades, George Thibault, MD, has been a driving force for the now widespread adoption of interprofessional team-based education and care. As president of the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, Dr. Thibault has been at the helm of transformative conferences and reports for innovation in health professions education. He also established the Macy Faculty Scholars Program to promote the careers of future health professions education leaders and innovators. Dr. Thibault is a nationally sought-after advisor and highly lauded teacher who has earned a reputation as one of the true giants of contemporary medical education.

Laurie H. Glimcher, MD
Award for Distinguished Research in the Biomedical Sciences
Laurie H. Glimcher, MD, developed a passion for discovery in childhood and has noted that her career as a physician-scientist “chose me.” Dr. Glimcher has made numerous discoveries that have advanced treatments for many diseases and chronic conditions, including cancer, asthma, and osteoporosis. She is widely considered to be the international authority on the development and activation of lymphocytes in the immune system. In addition to her pioneering research, Dr. Glimcher is a distinguished leader in academic medicine, previously serving as dean of Weill Cornell Medical College and currently as president and CEO of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Peter Pronovost, MD, PhD
David E. Rogers Award
Peter Pronovost, MD, PhD, is perhaps most known for developing a multifaceted checklist intervention that eliminated central-line bloodstream infections, which has been called a watershed moment for U.S. health care. Dr. Pronovost is also known for his work to combat preventable deaths and as a pioneer in patient safety. He helped establish the scholarly field of improvement science, which he continues to advance as founding director of the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality. In 2008, Dr. Pronovost was named one of the world’s 100 most influential people by Time magazine.

George C. Hill, PhD
Herbert W. Nickens Award
George C. Hill, PhD, has devoted his career to encouraging diversity, inclusion, and equity in the biomedical workforce and beyond. At Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, he was instrumental in transforming admissions and faculty recruitment to enhance diversity and inclusion. Later, he led similar efforts across all of Vanderbilt University, serving as the university’s first vice chancellor for equity, diversity, and inclusion. Dr. Hill is also an accomplished biochemical microbiologist, and has mentored dozens of aspiring scientists and physicians.

Laurie Woodard, MD
Arnold P. Gold Foundation Humanism in Medicine Award
Laurie Woodard, MD, has taught the art of caring for vulnerable populations to thousands of students at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine. She has inspired and nurtured many student-led initiatives supporting underserved communities, including the BRIDGE Clinic, Tampa Bay Street Medicine, and USF Health Nicaragua. As a passionate advocate for people with disabilities and their health, Dr. Woodard has developed specialized instruction in disability for medical students at all levels, participates in national efforts to incorporate disability in core health care curricula, and models a hands-on commitment through her community volunteer activities.

University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine
Spencer Foreman Award for Outstanding Community Service
A community-based medical school, the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine has dedicated itself to advancing the state’s highest health priority: ensuring South Dakotans have access to high-quality, culturally appropriate care. The school achieves this aim through a comprehensive strategy that relies on strong, long-standing partnerships with towns, tribes, and clinical providers across the state. In addition to considering all of South Dakota as their community, faculty and students at the Sanford School of Medicine embrace an engaged scholarship mindset, sharing their work with the broader medical community through publications that are designed to enhance the nation’s rural workforce. 

Lynn M. Cleary, MD
Alpha Omega Alpha Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Award
Lynn M. Cleary, MD, joined the faculty at SUNY Upstate Medical University in 1985 and became a core faculty member for the internal medicine education programs. Students and residents recognize her teaching excellence, and their evaluations rank her among the top educators in the College of Medicine. While she now serves as vice president for academic affairs at Upstate, Dr. Cleary continues to teach and mentor medical students and is an influential educator on the national stage as a member of several boards, committees, and working groups.

John H. Coverdale, MBChB, MD
Alpha Omega Alpha Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Award
Learners at Baylor College of Medicine know John H. Coverdale, MBChB, MD, for the patience, humility, and respect he models at the bedside and in the classroom. Coupled with his teaching talents, Dr. Coverdale has earned the praise of his students and faculty colleagues who have bestowed on him more than 25 educational awards. Dr. Coverdale is also one of Baylor College of Medicine’s most active scholars, authoring more than 200 peer-reviewed articles, including many that he has co-authored with students and residents.

Joseph P. Grande, MD, PhD
Alpha Omega Alpha Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Award
Joseph P. Grande, MD, PhD, is a steadfast supporter of students and is deeply committed to creating a positive learning environment at Mayo Clinic School of Medicine. He was fundamental in revising the school’s curriculum to maximize student engagement, and he created teaching assistantships to encourage third-year medical students to explore their interests in education scholarship. Since joining the faculty of Mayo Clinic School of Medicine in 1991, Dr. Grande has earned the trust and praise of his students, and has received the honor of “Teacher of the Year” more than a dozen times. 

Richard C. Vari, PhD
Alpha Omega Alpha Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Award
After leading a major curriculum transformation at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Richard C. Vari, PhD, developed the curriculum at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine from the ground up when he arrived. Through these efforts, he has championed problem-based, patient-centered learning, and underscored the importance of professionalism and humanism in medicine. Dr. Vari’s passion and skill for medical education has earned him many accolades from students and colleagues alike.


The Association of American Medical Colleges is a not-for-profit association dedicated to transforming health care through innovative medical education, cutting-edge patient care, and groundbreaking medical research. Its members are all 154 accredited U.S. and 17 accredited Canadian medical schools; nearly 400 major teaching hospitals and health systems, including 51 Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers; and more than 80 academic societies. Through these institutions and organizations, the AAMC serves the leaders of America’s medical schools and teaching hospitals and their more than 173,000 full-time faculty members, 89,000 medical students, 129,000 resident physicians, and more than 60,000 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in the biomedical sciences.