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2021 SOM Convocation Awards

The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Class of 2021 Convocation took place on Wednesday, May 26. Many of the awards for faculty were given to members of the Department of Medicine.


This award, established in 1992 by the Johns Hopkins University Alumni Association, recognizes the critical importance of teaching at Johns Hopkins.

Awarded to Dr. Amit Pahwa, associate professor in the Division of Hospital Medicine and director of the Internal Medicine Sub-internship at The Johns Hopkins Hospital




The Professors’ Award for Excellence in Teaching was established in 1981 by the Advisory Board of the Medical Faculty and is intended to honor each year members of the faculty whose teaching is judged to have had a profound effect on students in the School of Medicine.

Awarded to Dr. Colleen Christmas, associate professor Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology, for teaching in the clinical sciences and Dr. Carol M. Ziminski (not pictured), Division of Rheumatology, for teaching by a part time faculty member

Dr. Christmas was also selected by the graduating class of medical students to lead them through the Hippocratic Oath.


The Leadership and Mentoring Award is intended to recognize outstanding achievement in mentoring. The recipient is selected based on the training experiences and success of the nominee’s mentees. Mentoring is defined as the process of guiding, supporting, and promoting the training and career development of others. Mentors may contribute in many areas, including, but not limited to intellectual growth and development, career development, professional guidance and advocacy.

Awarded to Dr. Eric Bass, professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine and vice chair for faculty development and promotions


The Lisa J. Heiser Award for Junior Faculty Contribution in Education is named in honor of Lisa J. Heiser, M.A., Assistant Dean for Faculty Development and Equity, Johns Hopkins Medicine, 2006-2011. Lisa was the embodiment of what makes Johns Hopkins Medicine special; smart and multitalented, combining fierce tenacity and commitment with tremendous personal warmth, friendliness and collegiality. The Heiser award is given to a junior faculty member, in her/his career 5 years or less on faculty, who has made an outstanding contribution in medical/biomedical education, and shows great promise for future meaningful contributions to medical and biomedical education.

Awarded to Dr. Paul O’Rourke, Jr., assistant professor in the Division of Bayview Internal Medicine and associate program director of the Johns Hopkins Bayview Internal Medicine Residency Program


The Educational Innovation Award recognizes an individual or, in rare cases, a two-person team, for having developed a resource that directly improves medical or biomedical education. This award is meant to encourage faculty members to creatively apply their talents to improve the academic needs of learners on a national scale.

Awarded to Dr. Paul Auwaerter, professor and clinical director of the Division of Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Christopher Hoffmann (not pictured), associate professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases

Department of Medicine Student Awards

Dr. Priyal Gandhi is the recipient of the Sol Goldman Award, given annually to a Johns Hopkins Medical Student who is recognized by the faculty of the Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology for excellence in geriatrics and for exceptional sensitivity to older patients. This award is made possible by an endowment given by the family of Sol Goldman to perpetuate an interest in and commitment to geriatric medicine and gerontology among medical students. Priyal was selected for the Medical Student Training in Aging Research program and completed a research project with Dr. Yuri Agrawal, studying the role of the vestibular system in aging, falls and cognition. Priyal has also made important contributions to examining portrayal of race and culture in both the Hopkins’ curriculum and national online training modules.   She hopes to do clinical and research work examining the intersection between aging, addiction medicine, incarceration health and palliative medicine. She will be joining the Urban Health Residency Program at Johns Hopkins in July.

Dr. Monica Meeks is the recipient of the Warfield T. Longcope Prize in Clinical Medicine. The award, established in honor of Dr. Longcope, director of the Department of Medicine from 1922 to 1946, recognizes a graduating student entering the field of medicine whose performance in clinical medicine exemplifies in outstanding fashion the academic excellence and the human qualities that mark the true physician. Monica was selected for this award in recognition of her tremendous talent for patient care and compassion evidenced by her phenomenal clinical performance during Department of Medicine rotations. Monica also serves as the president of the Medical Student Senate and provided countless volunteer hours as part of the Johns Hopkins Ambulatory Go Team in the early weeks of the pandemic. Monica will be joining the Osler Medical Residency in July.


View the full School of Medicine Convocation program here.

Find videos of the speakers here.



Kelsey Bennett