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2013 Alpha Omega Alpha Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Award

Mikel Henry Snow, Ph.D., Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California

Mike Snow

“As an educator, administrator, and mentor, Dr. Mikel Snow is nothing short of exemplary,” attest Carmen A. Puliafito, M.D., M.B.A., dean of Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC). “Dr. Snow is a pillar of the medical school and integral to students’ success.”

In addition to being professor of cell and neurobiology and chair and director of medical education at USC, Dr. Snow also is the director of anatomy, the role in which his students know him best. An innovative and involved educator, Dr. Snow is known for his dynamic, comprehensive lectures and his original study materials, which he continually works to edit and improve.

Dr. Snow shows proficiency for individualized medical education not only by taking the time to help struggling students, but also by memorizing the names of nearly 200 incoming students before their first anatomy lab. “Students deserve to have a personalized medical education,” Dr. Snow has said. “At the very least, I can give each one the respect of calling them by their first name.” This focus on students makes Dr. Snow a distinct favorite among the many students at USC. His lectures are often filled to 100 percent capacity, despite the opportunity for students to webcast lectures from home. As one student says, “Every time Dr. Snow speaks, I learn something useful.”

Dr. Snow is known for being a caring administrator who puts students first. He has advocated strongly for his students in his capacity as chairman of the musculoskeletal system and as an active member on the curriculum committee. He played a pivotal role in the student-supported revision of the basic science curriculum, “one of the greatest curriculum advances at USC in the past ten years,” says Dr. Puliafito. Dr. Snow also serves as the advisor of the Student Ethics Committee, a role in which he is described by students and colleagues as “an invaluable and consistent source of wisdom and guidance.”

“At USC he has consistently won teaching awards every year he is eligible and he has become the most decorated basic science educator in the history of the Keck School of Medicine—and rightly so,” Dr. Puliafito says. His numerous accolades include the Kaiser Permanente Award for Excellence in Basic Science Teaching, which he has received for the past five years.

Dr. Snow’s research interests include the origin of regenerating skeletal muscle fibers; the role of satellite cells during muscle injury, disease, denervation and increased activity and decreased activity; and the activation of satellite cells by extracellular molecules. He has authored numerous publications on both clinical science and medical education.

Dr. Snow earned his B.A. from Olivet College and his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.

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.