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Distinguished Teaching Society

Teaching Pic

The IEE is always seeking to further the teaching mission of the School of Medicine and partner with organizations which seek to do the same. The Distinguished Teaching Society of The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine is just that kind of organization. This new program  recognizes residents and faculty who demonstrate the highest standards of excellence in clinical teaching.

Many medical students have had amazing experiences on the wards. Many have had experiences that could be improved. The Society hopes that by emphasizing a culture of mutual respect and esteem for teaching that the amazing wards experiences will multiply.

For more information about the Distinguished Teaching Society and/or to make a nomination, please visit their website.


The Distinguished Teaching Society of JHUSOM exists to recognize, encourage and support the educational activities, research and career objectives of master clinical educators who teach medical students.


  • Create a program to recognize multiple outstanding and passionate clinical faculty and residents for service to the medical students given directly by medical students
  • Unify a program across departments and resident/faculty levels to create a recognizable symbol of devotion to teaching
  • Ensure program longevity and prestige to promote a medical culture of faculty/resident pride, medical student gratitude, and general high esteem for teaching excellence
  • Utilize longitudinal research to continually assess impact on inductee individual success, hospital environment/culture, and overall satisfaction of faculty and housestaff


The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (JHUSOM) is famous for innovation in medical education and teaching excellence. Alumni from JHUSOM can all remember interactions with resident and attending teachers that made a lifelong impression. Recognition awards exist to honor excellent teaching, yet these faculty and resident distinctions tend to be presented to a select few; often the same individuals repeated each year. In addition, teaching awards are scattered around different departments, each with its own criteria and process of choosing recipients, often with no recognition of semi-finalists. Furthermore, the awards are usually presented by course directors or administrators with minimal direct involvement of medical students in an award ceremony.

Perhaps as a result of these challenges, many educators feel under-appreciated by students. Educational distinctions for faculty promotion, resident fellowship and career advancement are limited compared to accolades in research grants and scientific publications. The student body, as well, feels disengaged from current efforts to recognize excellence in resident and faculty medical student education; they desire a prioritized effort to make the hospital environment more warm and appreciative of our brilliant teachers.

The Medical Student Senate (MSS), the student government association of JHUSOM, recognized the opportunity to create a new model of teaching recognition. A task force of nine MSS members met regularly in fall, 2015 to plan every aspect of the society, from the initial mission, nominating process, and ultimately selection and induction plans. The team also worked with the office of the Vice-Dean of Education and the Institute of Excellence in Education (IEE) to workshop the proposal, as well as the Graduate Medical Education Committee (GMEC), the Faculty Senate, the House-Staff Council (HSC) and the Office of Assessment and Evaluation (OAE).

The unique rubric used for final selection was developed with help from faculty, MSS students and Welch Library. Seventy published research papers concerning traits/characteristics of master clinical educators were summarized into five main categories. A parallel “Q-sort” analysis of traits/characteristics submitted and ranked by JHUSOM students composed another guiding force for the final rubric.

The faculty and house-staff support for the council was outstandingly positive and the MSS and partners moved forward to establish the society and induct its first members in 04/2016! The operation of all DTS activity and research is conducted by the Medical Student Senate.

Future Plans
The honor society continues to work with students and educators to broaden the nomination pipeline and refine selection techniques. A new survey-based IRB-approved research study is planned to launch in concert with the OAE to assess JHUSOM educators’ satisfaction with day-to-day teaching responsibilities, esteem from supervisors/peers/students, and the degree to which educational activities advance career goals.