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 2019 is now closed.

2018 Excellence in Medical Student Education Award Recipient

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

Daniel Knoch, MD is an Associate Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health (UWSMPH). He received his medical degree from UWSMPH and completed his ophthalmology residency at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Hospitals and Clinics where he was named Chief Resident. He has served as the Director of Ophthalmology Medical Student Education since joining the department in 2007 as a Comprehensive Ophthalmologist. He has been involved in all aspects of student education including developing and directing the ophthalmology clerkship, recruiting/mentoring future ophthalmologists, and serving on the Resident Selection Committee. His work as medical student educator recently involved a complete redesign of all ophthalmology teaching due to the new ForWard curriculum being taught at UWSMPH. His educational emphasis focuses on ensuring that all our future primary care doctors, emergency room physicians, etc are competent in treating primary care eye disease. He is also heavily involved in resident education and serves as the Director of the Lecture Series for the Midwest Regional Phaco Course and recently resigned as the Associate Residency Program Director to become Co-Director of Surgical and Procedural Care (a Phase 2 UWSMPH block encompassing surgery, the surgical subspecialties, and anesthesia). His commitment to medical student education at the ground level has made the ophthalmology clerkship one of the highest rated clerkships in the medical school.

He has received numerous medical student and resident teaching awards including: the Medical Alumni Association’s Clinical Science Teaching Award (one recipient chosen by the third year class), the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences Resident Clinical Teaching Award (2009, 2012, 2017), the Clinical Teaching Award from the UWSMPH class of 2011 (one recipient chosen by the class of 2011), and the Dean’s Teaching Award. He has served on the AUPO Medical Student Educators (MSE) Curriculum Committee and the AUPO MSE Program Committee. He currently serves on the AUPO MSE Council and chairs the Medical Student Educators AAO Website Committee. He is a strong advocate for development of a core curriculum in ophthalmology that all medical students should master prior to graduation.

Past Recipients


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 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.