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 2023 is closed until January 2024

2022 Excellence in Medical Student Education Award Recipient

Prithvi Sankar, MD
Prithvi Sankar, MD
University of Pennsylvania
Scheie Eye Institute

Prithvi S. Sankar, MD is a glaucoma specialist and a Professor of Clinical Ophthalmology, Director of Medical Student Education in the Department of Ophthalmology, an Advisory Dean and the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and Residency Planning at the Perelman School of Medicine. Dr. Sankar is a graduate of the University of Virginia, earning a Bachelor of Arts and subsequently his MD degree. He trained at the University of Pittsburgh for ophthalmology residency, and the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary for glaucoma fellowship. Following his training, he joined the faculty of the Scheie Eye Institute/ University of Pennsylvania in 2001. 

Dr. Sankar has numerous national roles including being the Past President of the Directors of Medical Student Education Council, an active member of the Minorities in Ophthalmology Mentoring Program, and a member of the SFMatch Oversight committee. He continually advocates for the career advancements of the DMSEs and junior faculty. Because of his role as the DMSE, he teaches medical students in every year of their education, which he loves and is one of the highlights of his career. As an Advisory Dean, he helps students realize their excellence in any field; and as the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs and Residency Planning, he advises them to achieve their best in preparing for residency.

Dr. Sankar is the recipient of several prestigious awards including induction into the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Society, the Penn Pearls Teaching Award, the Leonard Tow Gold Humanism Award, the Dean's Award for Excellence in Clinical Teaching, the Medical Student Government Clinical Teaching Award, the AAO Senior Achievement Award, and the AAO Secretariat Award.

Past Recipients


Janice Law, MD
Janice Law, MD
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
Vanderbilt Eye Institute



Jamie Rosenberg, MD
Jamie Rosenberg, MD
Montefiore Medical Center
Albert Einstein College of Medicine



JoAnn Giaconi, MD
JoAnn Giaconi, MD
University of California, Los Angeles
Stein Eye Institute


Daniel Knoch, MD
Daniel Knoch, MD
University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine


Evan Waxman, MD, PhD
Evan "Jake" Waxman, MD, PhD
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine


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
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 a 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 by July.