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July 7, 2011 - Dr. Penaskovic Receives Devneil Vaidya Junior Faculty Teaching Award
Dr. Kenan Penaskovic, attending psychiatrist and director of medical student clerkship at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, recently received the Devneil Vaidya Junior Faculty Teaching Award.

The Devneil Vaidya award, which recognizes a junior faculty member who demonstrates excellence in teaching, mentoring and curricular innovations related to medical student education, is given by the Association of Directors of Medical Student Education in Psychiatry. Dr. Penaskovic was nominated for the award by Dr. Sandra Parker, vice-chair of psychiatry at USA.

As the psychiatry clerkship director for third year medical students, Dr. Penaskovic works in both inpatient and outpatient settings, supervising students and residents as they care for the community.

"This award is less about what I have accomplished personally and more about what the students and faculty at USA have achieved," Dr. Penaskovic said. "The experience at USA has afforded me a great degree of autonomy and innovation in teaching that has helped us rejuvenate the clerkship."

According to Dr. Ronald Franks, professor of psychiatry and vice president for health sciences at USA, the medical student education program has advanced sharply over the past several years under the direction of Dr. Penaskovic. The integrated educational program between the USA College of Medicine and AltaPointe Health Systems has allowed students and residents to benefit from the high quality treatment programs at AltaPointe.

“With the support of AltaPointe, Dr. Penaskovic completely revised the educational experience for junior medical students such that they were involved in the assessment and treatment of psychiatric disorders throughout the lifespan,” he said. “Specifically, they were able to witness the impact of psychiatric problems in children, adolescents, adults, and geriatric patients.”

Dr. Franks said this comprehensive experience was not possible prior to the integration of the psychiatry department with AltaPointe. “In exchange, AltaPointe has used its relationship with the College of Medicine to help in the recruitment of an excellent faculty of psychiatrists and psychologists who are involved with the teaching of students and residents in the treatment of patients through AltaPointe.”

Dr. Penaskovic said he was both humbled and honored to receive the award. “My experience with the unique collaboration between USA and AltaPointe has afforded my tremendous professional and personal growth,” he said. “I would have never been in the position at such a young age without Drs. Parker and Franks' encouragement and trust. Their support has been instrumental in helping me grow as an educator.”

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