Excellence in Medical Student Education Award

Providing national recognition for an outstanding medical student educator.

The Excellence in Medical Student Education Award will provide national recognition for an outstanding medical student educator on an annual basis. It is established through funding from the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology (AUPO) and the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). The award will be presented annually at the AUPO Annual Meeting and includes a cash prize.

The nomination period for 2018 is closed.

2017 Excellence in Medical Student Education Award Recipient

Evan 'Jake' Waxman, MD, PhD
Evan 'Jake' Waxman, MD, PhD
University of Pittsburgh
UPMC Eye Center

Dr. Evan “Jake” Waxman is the Vice Chair for Education at the UPMC Eye Center at the University of Pittsburgh.He has served as the director of medical student activities in his department since he started at Pitt in 1999 and as residency program director since 2004. He is proud to be a graduate of the MD, PhD program at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and to have had Steven Podos as a mentor. He is equally proud to be a graduate of the residency program at UC Davis and to have had the opportunity to have trained under AUPO members Drs. John Keltner, Mark Mannis and Jeff Caspar.  He is the recipient of numerous medical student teaching awards including the William I. Cohen Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Kenneth Schuitt Award recognizing the Dean’s Master Educators. He has received numerous resident teaching awards over his tenure in the department. He served as the AAO’s liaison to the AAMC Council of Faculty and Academic Societies. He leads the AAO resident self-assessment taskforce.  He served two terms on the AAO Committee for Resident Education and currently is a member of the AUPO Program Director’s Council and is a consultant to the AUPO Medical Student Education Council. Dr. Waxman is the founder and director of Pitt Med’s Guerilla Eye Service (GES), an outreach effort that brings eye care to neighborhoods and people that would not otherwise have access. GES makes use of portable equipment and the energies of medical students, residents and faculty to provide complete eye exams at primary care clinics for indigent patients. Dr. Waxman has been recognized with the Pitt Chancellor’s Award for Service, the Jefferson Award, the Gold Humanism Society’s Leonard Tow Award and Carnegie Science Catalyst for Professional and Community Education Award for these efforts.

Past Recipients


Rukhsana Mirza, MD
Rukhsana Mirza, MD
Northwestern University
Feinberg School of Medicine


Susan Forster, MD  Yale University School of Medicine
Susan Forster, MD
Yale University School of Medicine


Linda Lippa, MD University of California, Irvine Gavin Herbert Eye Institute
Linda Lippa, MD
University of California, Irvine
Gavin Herbert Eye Institute

Award information


Nominees for the Excellence in Medical Student Education Award must fulfill the following criteria:

  • Be an Associate Member of AUPO and a Member or Fellow of the AAO
  • Have served as a Medical Student Educator at an ACGME, LCME, or RCPSC-accredited AUPO member program for a minimum of two years
  • Currently serve as the Medical Student Educator
  • Embody the qualities of:
    • commitment to medical student education
    • dedication to the medical student education training process
    • active engagement in medical student education program leadership
    • innovation in and/or advancement of medical student education in Ophthalmology at the Regional, National or AUPO level
    • a consummate teacher/mentor/advisor

Special consideration in the selection process will be given to:

  • current activities, not simply to length of service or to contributions made many years previously
  • nominees who have published in peer-reviewed literature on subjects related to medical student education
  • innovative work
  • those who have achieved a leadership role in medical education
  • achievement in mentoring other educators/future educators


Candidates must be nominated by their Department Chair

The Application Packet must include the following items (10 pt. font or greater)

  • A letter (not to exceed three pages) from the Chair summarizing the Nominee’s special qualifications for the Award and verifying that, if awarded
    • the Awardee will attend the AUPO Annual Meeting to receive the award
    • the cash prize will be awarded directly to the Awardee and not counted against normal compensation or deposited in department accounts
  • Two supporting letters (each not to exceed two pages) from faculty, current medical students, or past medical students who trained under the Nominee
  • A copy of the Nominee’s current Curriculum Vitae
  • A signed letter from the Nominee (not to exceed two pages) summarizing the Nominee’s accomplishments as Medical Student Educator and plans for future activities. The Nominee must also agree in the letter to provide a presentation at the Annual Meetings of AUPO on a topic related to medical student education training if chosen as the Awardee.
  • The application packet must be compiled by the Department Chair and submitted electronically by April 15.

Selection Process

All completed applications will be reviewed by a Selection Committee and a recommendation forwarded to the AUPO Board of Trustees and the AAO Board of Trustee for approval.

The Awardee will be notified in July.