Luckman Distinguished Teaching Awards
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Phyllis Guze, Medical School
8:30 a.m. at the Veterans Administration Medical Center near UCLA,
and Dr. Phyllis Guze, bagel in hand, is questioning residents about
vaginal discharge. Specifically, she's asked about how her students
discuss the subject with their patients. Admittedly, it's an odd
subject to cover during breakfast, but Guze -- chief of the Department
of Medicine at the VA since 1988 -- handles it with good-humored
asked her how many partners she had," reports the resident handling
the case. "What do you mean -- on her date last night?" responds
Guze, setting off laughter from the lab-coated doctors.
not a joke, though: Guze's job at the daily case study session is
to challenge these young doctors to ask the right questions, prescribe
the proper tests and make the correct diagnoses. "We have a long
tradition in medicine of mentors and role models," she explains.
"We teach by example."
example is clear: "I have a passion for medicine. And I delight
in being able to stimulate bright people to develop in their areas
of interest. The hallmark of a good teacher is when your students
do better than you."
53, took a winding road to her medical degree. Raised in Bayside,
New York, she grew up at a time when women weren't easily accepted
into med schools -- so she became a P.E. teacher before finally
going to USC to study internal medicine. Her own list of inspirational
mentors is headed by her late husband, Lucien Guze, with whom she
worked at Harbor General Hospital.
came to the VA in 1981, finding there "an exciting sort of intellectual
atmosphere that you try to bring back to the patient." Her specialization
is in sexually transmitted diseases and infective endocarditis --
heart disease. Along the path to her present position she also served
as dean of education for the UCLA School of Medicine from 1991 to
not surprising that one of her proudest achievements in that position
was a course on "Doctoring," which covers the humanistic, ethical
and community-oriented aspects of medicine. In other words, it teaches
M.D.s to be more like Dr. Phyllis Guze.