Talented Medical Teachers Honored With Siegel Awards

Published April 29, 2021

Fourteen Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences teachers, five residents, four medical students and three staff members received 2021 Louis A. and Ruth Siegel Awards or honorable mentions for excellence in teaching.

“He sets a high standard of what it means to be a good doctor. ”
Student comment about award winner Charles T. Camp, MD
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The annual awards are the foremost means for Jacobs School medical students to honor their professors, instructors and teaching assistants.

This year’s awardees are from 11 departments: emergency medicine, family medicinemedicine, neurology, neurosurgerypathology and anatomical sciencespediatrics, physiology and biophysicspsychiatry, surgery and urology.

This year’s awards were announced virtually.

Award Winners

Teaching in the Preclinical Program

Sergio Hernandez, MD

Hernandez’s passion for psychiatry and teaching is palpable for many of his students.

“Dr. Hernandez created an environment of openness, inclusivity, non-judgment, learning and positivity that I have not experienced in any other class,” one student said.

Students appreciated his approach to both patients and providers through the implementation of active learning, self-awareness and patient experiences.

“If a love of learning and desire to improve is the outcome of pedagogical excellence, then Sergio Hernandez is the embodiment of this truth,” another student said.

Teaching in the Clinical Program

Samantha Bordonaro, MD

Bordonaro has been a critical mentor for students, going above and beyond during the pandemic to ensure that students have the opportunity to experience emergency medicine.

“During the COVID lockdowns she worked tirelessly to develop a ‘virtual’ emergency medicine course, and then later lobbied for us to get back in the hospitals safely for our clinical clerkships,” one student said of Bordonaro.

Another student mentioned that she is “not only a great teacher, but she is an excellent role model of the kind of physician I want to be.”

Charles T. Camp, MD

Charles T. Camp, MD, clinical assistant professor of psychiatry

Passionate, extremely kind and dedicated are just a few of the words students used to describe Camp.

One student said that “watching Dr. Camp is like watching a master at work.”

“He is one of the best teaching attendings I have had and UB is lucky to have him as a clinical instructor,” another student said of Camp.

“He sets a high standard of what it means to be a good doctor,” another student said.

Volunteer Teaching

  • Michael R. DiGiacamo, MD, clinical assistant professor of psychiatry

His students appreciate DiGiacamo and his approach to teaching and life. Among the comments they made about him were:

“He is deeply caring, creative, uncannily energetic, funny and frank.”

“Dr. DiGiacamo not only valued our medical education, but wove life advice into every day we spent with him.” 

“He made sure everyone’s thoughts and emotions were heard.” 

“His positive approach and clear love for his work made rotating on the adolescent psychiatry unit at Erie County Medical Center a richly rewarding experience.” 

Resident Teaching

Gina Sparacino, MD

The chief resident was described by one of her students as “compassionate, kind and empathetic to her patients, students and the entire medical staff.”

There were several comments about her exemplary leadership, particularly in instances where she was able to identify weaknesses of her students and worked with them to improve.

“She reignited my desire to be in medical school — something I frequently had to be reminded of in the midst of a million flashcards and practice problems,” one nominator said. 

“She taught her students in a meaningful and engaging manner, which included organizing patient experiences in ways that were relevant to what was being taught in class,” another student said.

Sparacino is described by another student as someone who loves her work so much that “every day always felt like an adventure with much to discover.”

Special Recognition

Staff

Caroline Gillings

Nominators had kind words to say about Gillings.

“Her ability to listen, engage sympathetically, offer constructive and helpful feedback, and act as a support system has been crucial to keeping me sane through the preclinical years,” one nominator said of Gillings.

“Carrie has always made time to listen, and I never feel rushed or a burden for speaking to her about my academic concerns,” another said.

“She is an exceptional example of administrative support at the school. Thank you Carrie, for all you do for us,” another said.

Students

Kelsey Gibson

Gibson and Schuler were recognized for the engrossing patient presentation on their experience with Type 1 diabetes.

They had a two-hour time slot and ended up going over their time. Despite this, almost all of the class remained the entire time, and more than 80 people stayed on to ask questions after the official end of the talk.

James C. Schuler

Using their insight as medical students, they paired compelling patient testimony with practical educational tools, which effectively turned a typical case student into an exercise in empathy.

Gibson also graciously explained the discrimination she and her family has faced, and shared stories of other Black women managing this illness.

“She did not stand on a typical soapbox and just share stats, she riveted the class with compassion, knowledge and power. Few people are able to do this,” wrote one student.

“They were able to infuse substantial cultural competency, empathy, education and even levity — all in one presentation,” another student wrote. “For this, they deserve recognition.”

Honorable Mention

Teaching in the Preclinical Program

Teaching in the Clinical Program

Volunteer Teaching

Resident Teaching

Special Recognition

Staff

Students

  • Nina Alcasid, third-year medical student
  • David Kerling, fourth-year medical student

About the Siegel Awards

Louis A. Siegel received his medical degree from UB in 1923 and served as an assistant professor of obstetrics-gynecology for 21 years. He was a dedicated clinical teacher who inspired both medical students and house officers with enthusiasm and the spirit of inquiry.

Considerations for the Siegel Awards include nominees’ instructional skill, ability to stimulate thinking and develop understanding in students, demonstration of sensitivity toward the human condition and ability to serve as a role model for students.

A student committee comprised of representatives from each medical class reviews nominations from students and selects awardees.