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2012 Alpha Omega Alpha Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Award

Amy L. Wilson-Delfosse, Ph.D., Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

Wilson Delfosse

At Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) School of Medicine, Amy L. Wilson-Delfosse, Ph.D., is known for being a natural collaborator and teacher, whether in the classroom or in the lab.

As associate professor in the department of pharmacology and assistant dean for basic science education, Dr. Wilson-Delfosse is an acclaimed educator at CWRU, receiving numerous teaching awards from both faculty and students. “She is devoted to the students of the school of medicine,” says Pamela B. Davis, M.D., dean of CWRU School of Medicine. This is evinced by the many undergraduate, graduate, and professional students she mentors and advises each year.

In 2004, Dr. Wilson-Delfosse discovered a passion for curriculum development, refinement, and faculty coaching. She serves on several committees dedicated to basic science education, curriculum reform and evaluation, and student assessment, among other topics. Dr. Wilson-Delfosse helped design and was essential to the rollout of the school’s 2006 Western Reserve2 (WR2) curriculum transformation. WR2 revitalized the philosophies of the Western Reserve curriculum from the 1950s, which was the first time a school of medicine used an organ system-based approach to teaching basic science.

Dr. Wilson-Delfosse’s work on the new WR2 curriculum has changed the culture of education at CWRU. “With a focus on small, self-directed group learning, she watched a transformation among faculty and students alike,” says Dean Davis. Students now arrive for class ready with thoughtful questions, while faculty members view students as junior colleagues in learning. Dr. Wilson-Delfosse has aided this transition by running workshops to help CWRU educators become better discussion facilitators and give meaningful feedback to students. 

Dr. Wilson-Delfosse also works to advance the WR2 curriculum as the director of the Case Inquiry Program, where she helps manage student clinical case discussions with the unique perspective of a basic scientist. “She recognizes that the most important thing faculty can do in this era of evolving information is to promote lifelong learning and train students to ask questions,” says Dean Davis. “She has an opportunity, in her eyes even an obligation, to impart teamwork skills while teaching basic science content.”

When she is not refining the Case Inquiry Program curriculum or faculty development workshops, Dr. Wilson-Delfosse is advancing basic science education at the international level. As the current president of the International Association of Medical Science Educators, Dr. Wilson-Delfosse works with medical schools around the globe to form a strong base for interprofessional collaboration among physicians, nurses, and allied health professionals. She assists schools seeking to integrate more of the clinical aspects of medical education into the first two years, and basic science into the last two years, of medical school. 

In the lab, Dr. Wilson-Delfosse’s research interests include cancer and Parkinson’s disease. Her research is widely published and consistently funded by such organizations as the National Institutes of Health, the Michael J. Fox Foundation, and the National Parkinson’s Foundation. Ever the team player, Dr. Wilson-Delfosse makes sure that the pharmacology department “engenders a collaborative, team science research approach in the lab,” says Dean Davis.

Dr. Wilson-Delfosse received her B.A. degree from the College of Wooster and her Ph.D. in pharmacology from Vanderbilt University.

Alpha Omega Alpha Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Award

The Alpha Omega Alpha Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Awards were initiated by AΩA in 1988 to provide national recognition to faculty members who have distinguished themselves in medical student education.