Education Our Faculty Our Trainees Recognition

Surgery Recognized at 2024 Distinguished Service Teaching Awards

Each year, medical students at Washington University present Distinguished Service Teaching Awards (DSTAs) to faculty and house staff in appreciation of exemplary service in medical student education. The Department of Surgery was recognized with five DSTAs in the 2023-2024 academic year. 

  • Clerkship of the Year: Surgery
  • Clinical Educator of the Year (resident): Christopher Noda, MD
  • DSTA for Inclusion (faculty): Brad Warner, MD
  • DSTA for Inclusion (resident): Paul Kepper, MD, MS
  • DSTA for Clinical Care (resident): Katharine Caldwell, MD, MSCI

The Department of Surgery was selected as the clerkship of the year by phase two medical students at the School of Medicine. Bethany Sacks, MD, surgery clerkship and curriculum director, accepted the award on behalf of the department. She noted that surgery is often considered a challenging clinical rotation at medical schools across the country, but that the curriculum and camaraderie in the Department of Surgery have made surgery clerkship a favorite for medical students in recent years.

Brad Warner, MD was recognized with the DSTA for Inclusion, as a faculty member. He is the Jessie L. Ternberg, MD, PhD Distinguished Professor of Pediatric Surgery and past chief surgeon for St. Louis Children’s Hospital. As an instructor, Warner strives to inspire his trainees and students. “I try to show great enthusiasm for what we do as I teach,” says Warner. “I’m profoundly honored to receive this award. Sometimes it feels like the students teach me as much as I’m teaching them.”

Noda is a second year resident in general surgery and alumnus of Washington University School of Medicine. He lauds the department’s culture of fostering education. “I want to thank Dr. Wise and Dr. Sacks for their mentorship pursuing surgery. Thanks to Dr. Olson for nurturing a culture that values education, second only to providing excellent patient care,” says Noda in his acceptance.

“Six years after receiving my first white coat, I find joy in medicine, residency and teaching by reframing every task I do—even administrative ones—as small sacrifices meant to make a difference in the life of another,” says Noda.

Kepper was recognized for inclusion as a resident instructor. In his acceptance, he expressed his full-circle experience, having begun his clerkships in surgery first. He thanks his instructors at the time for getting him involved in full service patient care. “I felt like I was adding to the team and I’ve always wanted to pass that forward,” says Kepper. “This is incredibly humbling and meaningful for me to receive this recognition from the students.”

Caldwell is recognized for her work as a resident instructor in clinical care. She thanks those who educated her and the students who she instructs, crediting them for her award. “Surgery is one of the most humbling professions I can think to pursue,” says Caldwell. “Thank you to all the students whose excitement, joy and wonder, because it gives so much meaning to what I do.

Washington University medical students vote and present The Distinguished Service Teaching Awards each year. These awards allow students to express their gratitude and appreciation for all the effort their educators dedicate to edifying their students.

The Department of Surgery congratulates Distinguished Service Teaching Award recipients. The department thanks each student for participating in selecting our excellent faculty for these honors.