David R. Hall, MD, assistant professor in the Department of Surgery, is the 2019 recipient of the Benjy F. Brooks, MD, Outstanding Clinical Faculty Award.

“I am so grateful for the opportunity to be part of medical student education here at McGovern Medical School,” Hall said. “It is an absolute joy to do what I do clinically, and having students be a part of our work is the icing on the cake. My hope is they would all see how honored we are to be physicians, to have people trust us to help them if we can. Dr. Brooks cared deeply for the welfare of others and was instrumental in shaping generations of physicians. I am honored to be affiliated with her name in this way.”

Established in 1991 by the Alumni Association, the Benjy Brooks award is presented by the McGovern’s Student Surgical Association to recognize individuals “who complement and enhance the education program by serving as role models for students.” It is named in honor of Dr. Benjy Brooks, the first board-certified woman pediatric surgeon in the United States, who joined McGovern Medical School’s faculty in 1973 and remained active in the life of the Medical School until her death in 1998.

Medical students may nominate faculty or residents for the award.

For Hall, a famous quote from Maya Angelou, who said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel,” has had an important impact in his teaching philosophy. His intent in teaching is to encourage students to pursue fully what they are passionate about in medicine and to show them that a career in medicine is worth their efforts.

“The students we have here are so bright, talented, and impressive,” Hall said. “They should see someone who is happy for the chance to do this ‘work’ and feel confident in their ability to accomplish everything they hope for, and more, in their future.”

Hall said that he had the same encouragement throughout his life. From his parents, to grade school teachers like Mrs. Louisa Betts, and mentors like Dr. James Eason, he has been blessed to have amazing people in his life that made him believe he could do more and go farther by just being around them.

“I would like to thank my wife, Lauren,” Hall said. “Her patience and support have given me freedom to do a job like this. A career in medicine is not without sacrifice, and hers is greatly appreciated.

“I would also like to thank Dr. Steve Bynon, who gave me the chance to come here and work with him, and Dr. Wasim Dar.  They are great partners, surgeons, and friends, and help make this job so much fun for me.”

Hall received his medical degree from the Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City where he was able to shadow liver transplant surgeons in early medical school, an experience that had a lasting impact. Following a residency in Tennessee, Hall planned on returning to Oklahoma to be a general surgeon, but could not find his way away from transplant surgery and completed a fellowship at the renowned Methodist University Transplant Institute in Memphis, Tenn., instead.

Former recipients of the Benjy F. Brooks Teaching Award include Walter M. Kirkendall, MD, 1991; William S. Fields, MD, 1992; James T. Willerson, MD, 1994; Harold T. Pruessner, MD, 1995; Herbert L. DuPont, MD, 1997; Larry D. Scott, MD, 1999; Herbert L. Fred, MD, 1999; Becky L. McGraw-Wall, MD, 2000; Terry K. Satterwhite, MD, 2001; Cheves M. Smythe, MD, 2002; Ian Butler, MD, 2003; Francisco Fuentes, MD, 2004; Pedro Mancias, MD, 2009; Lisa Armitige, MD, PhD, 2010; Octavio Pinell, MD, 2011; Kyle Woerner, MD, 2013; Daniel Freet, MD, 2016; and Tom C. Nguyen, MD, 2017; and Sasha D. Adams, MD, 2018.