Dr. Joanne Oakes
Dr. Joanne Oakes

Dr. Joanne Oakes, associate professor of emergency medicine, has been named the 2012 John Freeman Faculty Teaching Award winner.

The award is chosen by the senior class each year to recognize the Medical School’s outstanding basic science faculty member. The recipient of this award, which is made possible by university funds named in honor of John Freeman, must exemplify enthusiasm and drive toward effective teaching, have a personal interest in students’ problems and their educational goals, and set an example that serves as a high standard for students.

Oakes said she was humbled and surprised by the award.

“I feel honored that the students chose me, particularly since I am a clinician teaching in the basic science years of our curriculum,” she said. “I am very happy that our students received my message: our basic science curriculum is integral to their pursuit of excellent clinical practice. It all matters.”

Oakes teaches the MS1 Introduction to Clinical Medicine and, along with basic science colleagues, also teaches the MS1 Clinical Applications course. She wrote the “Boards and Wards” clinical pearls for the Biochemistry syllabi. For the second-year students, she teaches in the Physical Diagnosis and Pharmacology courses.

Oakes joined the Medical School in 2002, graduating from The University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in 1996 and completing the American College of Emergency Physicians’ Teaching Fellowship in 2006. She is the 2008 recipient of the National Faculty Teaching Award from the American College of Physicians (ACEP).

“I would describe my teaching style as ‘integrative,’” Oakes said. “Each learner wants to know why material is relevant. Students want to know how new information builds on what they’ve known before and how they will use new information. I try to make those connections for them.”

Oakes added that teaching is not about a lone person standing before an auditorium.

“Teaching is a team sport, and I thank Dr. Allison Ownby, Dr. Patricia Butler, Dr. Brent King, and Dr. Philip Orlander for their ongoing support and guidance. Our basic science course directors work extremely well together and have focused on continual curriculum improvements, which is reflected in our students’ overall excellent performance.

“I am grateful to Drs. Bill Seifert, Norm Weisbrodt, Roger Bick, Len Cleary, Jeff Actor, Chris MacKenzie, Dan Felleman, Phil Carpenter, Rebecca Cox, Nachum Dafny, and Mike Hines, who have made up our Clinical Applications team through the years,” she said. “Most of all, I thank our students for this consideration and am thrilled for their success.”

Previous winners include Margaret Uthman, M.D., 2011, 2009, 2005, 2001, 1999, 1997; Elizabeth Hartwell, M.D., 2007; Han Zhang, M.D., 2010, 2008, 2006; Kent Heck, M.D., 2004, 2002; Norman Weisbrodt, Ph.D., 2003; Barry Van Winkle, Ph.D., 2000, 1998; Marsha L. Eigenbrodt, M.D., M.P.H., 1996; Ron C. Philo, Ph.D., 1995; Harley D. Sybers, M.D., Ph.D., 1994, 1992, 1990; Frank W. Booth, M.D., 1993; and Karmen L. Schmidt, Ph.D., 1991.

— Darla Brown, Office of Communications, Medical School