Beck wins Theilen Award

Gwen Z. Beck, MD, has been awarded one of the highest distinctions the Carver College of Medicine grants, the Dr. Ernest O. Theilen Clinical Teaching and Service Award. This award, sponsored by the Office of Faculty Affairs and Development, recognizes a faculty member each year who embodies the ideals Theilen exemplified in his compassion and dedication to students and patients on an individual basis, as well as his commitment to the college and hospital.

Beck is a clinical professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine and has been recognized in many ways for her outstanding clinical care, including the peer-nominated 2016 UI Physicians’ Patient Satisfaction and Service Excellence Award.

Beck has also previously been recognized for her work in the other half of this year’s Theilen award, her education and mentorship of medical students, residents, and fellows. After nearly 20 years as an associate program director (APD) for the Internal Medicine Residency Program, Beck decided to step back from the role. That same year, the residents themselves chose her to receive the Outstanding Faculty Teacher of the Year Award, which recognizes the attending who had the greatest impact on their education.

In her nominating letter for this year’s Theilen Award, colleague and APD Katherine Harris, MD, detailed Beck’s impact on resident education and clinical care. “I primarily work as a Hospitalist,” Harris wrote, “and have taken care of her patients when they have been admitted to the hospital.” She continues:

[Beck] is the only Primary Care Provider who I have seen regularly come to the hospital on nights and weekends to meet with her patients. She actively assists in the very challenging goals of care discussions which often ensue during hospitalization. She takes time to sit with her patients and their families to provide support and reassurance. Her patients trust her implicitly. . . . She does all this with kindness and humility.

Harris also details Beck’s impact on the residency program, noting that many of the innovations Beck pioneered, such as the three-year rolling curriculum and the “academic half-day,” which creates space for other, new curriculum implementation, such as the ultrasound pathway and the clinician-educator pathway, are not only still in place, but “flourishing due to all of her efforts.”

Perhaps longer-lasting than Beck’s impact on the curriculum and structure of the program is her impact on the individual learner. “She has been a role model for a generation of residents in their continuity of care experience,” wrote Katherine White, MD, MME, FACP, in her letter of support for Beck’s nomination. She shows trainees, White continued, “what a professional, thorough, caring internist looks like outside of the hospital.”

Harris also noted how that personalized mentorship (“the ‘go to’ person for any resident considering a career in Primary Care”) affected her as well as countless residents and faculty. “She provides thoughtful advice and counsel on issues both within the medical field and outside of it. . . . She is always professional in every sense of the word–trustworthy, deliberate, honest, supportive, and kind.”

Please join the department in congratulating one of our best on the receipt of this award and in extending our gratitude for her years of talented service. Thank you, Dr. Beck!

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