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2012 Alpha Omega Alpha Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Award

Bruce F. Giffin, Ph.D., M.S., University of Cincinnati College of Medicine


From his passion for teaching to his service as an advocate for medical education, Bruce F. Giffin, Ph.D., M.S., personifies dedication. His leadership and devotion at the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine earn high marks from students and faculty alike.

Dr. Giffin, field service professor and vice chair of the UC department of medical education, has a long history of teaching, beginning with a career as a secondary school teacher. After serving as a graduate teaching assistant at the UC College of Medicine from 1981 to 1985, he returned in 1990 to begin a distinguished career in medical education. Dr. Giffin also directs the UC Body Donation Program.

Dr. Giffin developed and directs the Brain and Behavior course, the medical school curriculum’s first integrated, multidisciplinary class. He worked with basic scientists and clinicians across multiple disciplines to design and implement a successful learning experience for students. He then expanded the course into a longitudinal neuroscience curriculum and shared the information with colleagues and fellow educators in presentations at national meetings.

When UC embarked upon a major curriculum revision, the work Dr. Giffin had done with the Brain and Behavior course was used as a model of integration in the new curriculum. “Dr. Giffin was a key leader and critical member of the task force charged with developing and implementing the new curriculum,” says Thomas F. Boat, M.D., dean of the UC College of Medicine. “He was able to clearly articulate the vision of integration both within a specific block and throughout the entire curriculum.”

Acclaimed for his teaching and leadership in the neurosciences, Dr. Giffin also has been a highly effective teacher and administrator in gross anatomy and microscopic anatomy. “As an educator, Dr. Giffin is clearly recognized and appreciated by students and colleagues as ‘the best,’” says Peter Stambrook, Ph.D., chair of the UC department of cell biology, neurobiology, and anatomy. Dr. Giffin has earned many awards for excellence in teaching at UC.

With his guidance, some of medicine’s most difficult subjects have turned into student favorites. Year after year, Dr. Giffin’s course evaluations include rave reviews. In the words of Dean Boat, “He has taught, and continues to teach and lead, a variety of courses reflecting the diversity of his knowledge and experience and his love and passion for medical student education.”

Dr. Giffin’s commitment to his students extends beyond the classroom. He routinely hosts dinners for students, and he opens his home every Thanksgiving to those who cannot be with their families. He weaves his knowledge of music into his UC activities by lecturing on the neuroscience of music and directing the men’s and women’s choruses in the college of medicine. The choruses perform annually for a scholarship fundraising event.

Dr. Giffin received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Dayton and his Ph.D. in anatomy and cell biology from UC.

Alpha Omega Alpha Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Award

This award provides national recognition to faculty members who have distinguished themselves in medical student education.