Past APS President Recognized by AAMC for Teaching Excellence
Dennis H. Novack, M.D., has been awarded the 2011 Alpha Omega Alpha Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Award from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). Dr. Novack is professor of medicine and associate dean for medical education at Drexel University College of Medicine. A general internist, “Dr. Novack’s work in physician-patient communications has done more to change the way academic medicine teaches and assesses these skills than any single individual in recent history,” says Richard V. Homan, M.D., former president and Annenberg Dean, Drexel University College of Medicine.
Dr. Novack completed a two-year fellowship in biopsychosocial medicine with George Engel’s group at the University of Rochester in 1978. He taught at the University of Virginia and Brown University before joining Drexel University College of Medicine in 1993 as the director of clinical skills education and assessment. He has been in the leadership of the American Academy on Communication in Healthcare (AACH) since its founding in 1979, serving as treasurer, member of the steering committee, co-director the first three annual faculty development courses and as editor of Medical Encounter, the academy’s scholarly newsletter. He has also been active in the American Psychosomatic Society for over thirty years, serving as president from 2003-2004.
Dr. Novack has made “seminal contributions to the development of a Web-based clinical skills curriculum, recently complemented with Web-based assessment,” says Dr. Homan. Working with the AACH and Drexel, Dr. Novack led the creation of doc.com, which uses text and annotated videos to demonstrate a wide range of communication skills. Tailored to learners’ developmental levels, doc.com presents more than 40 modules in basic and advanced interviewing skills, which were recommended by the Institute of Medicine in its 2004 report, Improving Medical Education: Enhancing the Behavioral and Social Science Content of Medical School Curricula. Doc.com also provides educators with an effective way to teach a complex set of skills to trainees and has been embraced as a standard, used at more than 30 medical schools nationwide.
The power of doc.com is leveraged by WebOSCE, another program Dr. Novack helped develop. Through WebOSCE, students interview standardized patient-actors through a Web-based videoconference and receive feedback from the patient-actor, who uses checklists and materials from doc.com to offer constructive criticism. A follow-up email provides links to a video of the interaction and links to doc.com and other sites that help learners enhance their skills. The creation of these Web-based tools, says Dr. Homan, is a testament to Dr. Novack’s dedication to “a sustained level of excellence in medical education.”
At Drexel, Dr. Novack created and directs the Physician and Patient course, which aims to provide a foundation for first-year medical students to care for patients within a biopsychosocial model; acquire communication skills; enhance understanding of how students’ attitudes, feelings, biases, and personal histories affect communication with patients and colleagues; and deepen students’ sense of professionalism. He also directs and teaches in the doctoring curriculum for Drexel internal medicine residents.
When he is not making the rounds with students, Dr. Novack is making music with them. For the last 18 years, his rock and roll band has performed at, and he has served as faculty advisor for, the Pediatric AIDS Benefit Concert that brings together the talents of Drexel students and faculty each year to raise money for the St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children.
Dr. Novack received a B.A. degree from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.D. degree from Hahnemann Medical College.
Reprinted from the AAMC announcement (click here)