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November 8, 2004

Steven L. Galetta, MD, Receives Distinguished
Teacher Award From the Association of
American Medical Colleges

Award Established by Honor Society Presented at
AAMC Annual Meeting

(Philadelphia, PA) – Steven L. Galetta, MD, Director of the Division of Neuro-ophthalmology, Director of Neurological Training, and the Van Meter Professor of Neurology and Ophthalmology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, has been recognized by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) for his efforts to provide the nation’s next generation of doctors with an outstanding educational experience. Established by and presented in collaboration with the Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) medical honor society, the Robert J. Glaser AOA Distinguished Teacher Awards are based on a national competition conducted annually through the offices of the deans of U.S. and Canadian medical schools and are designed to recognize distinction in medical student teaching. The awards were presented on November 6th at a special ceremony during the Annual Meeting of the AAMC.

“He’s a dynamic teacher…unbelievably amazing…simply awesome,” enthuses Beau Ances, MD, PhD, Senior Resident in Neurology. “I met him my first day of medical school, and he’s one of the reasons I’ve stayed at Penn and went into neurology. In my residency program, everyone loves him.” In fact, after Galetta became director of the residency program in 1997, the number of UPenn medical students who chose to pursue neurology residencies increased by 47 percent, and many of those students chose to stay on at UPenn in order to continue their training under his direction. His students and trainees have served as the primary authors on more than half of his published research papers.

Galetta graduated from University of Pennsylvania in 1979 and received his medical degree from Cornell University Medical College in 1983. He completed his residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and followed it with a one-year fellowship in neuro-ophthalmology at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute of the University of Miami. He then returned to the UPenn School of Medicine as a faculty member and currently serves as director of the division of neuro-ophthalmology.

“Having great students is really key,” says Galetta, whose clinical specialties are multiple sclerosis (MS) and optic neuritis. “I love the teamwork of teaching: it’s not done in a vacuum, so I really feel I share these awards with all the students, fellows, and attendings I have crossed paths with at Penn. I’ve also had the good fortune of being around a number of terrific teachers and I have tried to extract the best from each of them. So this award also honors them as well.”

Alpha Omega Alpha is the only national honor medical society in the world and was founded in 1902 to recognize and perpetuate excellence in the medical profession. The society sponsors several different programs, such as the Alpha Omega Alpha Visiting Professorships, the Leaders in American Medicine videotape series, and the society's quarterly journal, The Pharos. In addition, the society sponsors annual competitions for medical students and also endeavors to support the work of local chapters through the Chapter of the Year Award.

The Association of American Medical Colleges is a nonprofit association representing all 125 accredited U.S. and 17 accredited Canadian medical schools; nearly 400 major teaching hospitals and health systems, including 68 Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers; and 94 academic and scientific societies. Through these institutions and organizations, the AAMC represents 109,000 faculty members, 67,000 medical students, and 104,000 resident physicians.

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PENN Medicine is a $2.7 billion enterprise dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and high-quality patient care. PENN Medicine consists of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (founded in 1765 as the nation’s first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System (created in 1993 as the nation’s first integrated academic health system).

Penn’s School of Medicine is ranked #3 in the nation for receipt of NIH research funds; and ranked #4 in the nation in U.S. News & World Report’s most recent ranking of top research-oriented medical schools. Supporting 1,400 fulltime faculty and 700 students, the School of Medicine is recognized worldwide for its superior education and training of the next generation of physician-scientists and leaders of academic medicine.

Penn Health System is comprised of: its flagship hospital, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, consistently rated one of the nation’s “Honor Roll” hospitals by U.S. News & World Report; Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation's first hospital; Presbyterian Medical Center; a faculty practice plan; a primary-care provider network; two multispecialty satellite facilities; and home health care and hospice.

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