Cole, Levine, Wren take home Goldstein Leadership Awards

F. Sessions Cole, MD, Mark D. Levine, MD and Megan E. Wren, MD, have been awarded the 2010 Samuel R. Goldstein Leadership Awards in Medical Education.

The annual awards, which recognize outstanding teaching and commitment to medical education, are among the highest honors that School of Medicine faculty can achieve. They were established in 2000 in memory of Goldstein, a longtime friend of the medical school.

A selection committee made up of faculty and a student representative from each class reviews all submitted nominations and selects three awardees based on innovative teaching, curriculum development, commitment to education and teaching evaluations. The committee forwards its recommendations to Larry J. Shapiro, M.D., executive vice chancellor for medical affairs and dean of the School of Medicine, for final approval.

“Sesh, Mark and Megan each exhibit excellence in and commitment to leadership in medical student education,” Shapiro says. “The School of Medicine and its students are extremely fortunate to have such talented and distinguished leaders of education at our institution.”

The awards will be formally presented at a dinner this spring.


Cole is the Park J. White, MD, Professor and vice chairman of Pediatrics. He is also assistant vice chancellor for children’s health, director of the Division of Newborn Medicine and chief medical officer of St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

Cole is well regarded for his commitment to excellence in education and outreach activities. Since his arrival in 1986, more than 2,500 medical students and more than 500 pediatric residents have directly benefited from his clinical scholarship and teaching. He was instrumental in the formation of community outreach programs for medical students, such as Students Teaching AIDS to Students (STATS), where medical students teach AIDS awareness to middle school students, and the Perinatal Program, where medical students provide teenage mothers and their babies with support and information. He also helped design an elective called Special Topics in Reproductive Health in response to students’ requests for a course focusing on adolescents, victims of child abuse and teenage pregnancy, and he allowed students to control the content and organization of the course.

Cole has received many awards and honors, including the Clinical Teaching Award from Washington University School of Medicine’s Classes of 1999 and 2000; Cartier First Aide Award from the St. Louis Effort for AIDS; Torch of Youth Award from the National Council on Youth Leadership; and FDR Leadership Award from the March of Dimes.

Levine is assistant professor of medicine and has been the emergency medicine division director for medical school education for nine years. In addition, he is medical director of the St. Louis Fire Department.

Colleagues say he is an upbeat and enthusiastic teacher who fosters inquisitiveness and excitement about the field of emergency medicine.
Levine directs the department’s annual First Responders program, a one-day course that familiarizes medical students with common disaster scenarios and provides them with basic information about how to intercede.


Levine also developed an innovative procedure lab, which offers students a hands-on approach to intubation, ultrasound, suturing and wound management. The course is offered monthly to the third and fourth year medical students. Students who nominated Levine said the course is one of the best parts of the emergency medicine rotation.

He holds weekly lectures and small group discussions and ensures that no student is scheduled to work the night before or the morning of the lectures. He adjusts lecture topics each semester in accord with student feedback. In addition, he implements a day in the rotation where students work with nurses to practice drawing blood, acquiring X-rays and other procedures. He has worked tirelessly to ensure that third- and fourth-year students have distinct clinical and learning experiences.

Levine has received two clinical Teacher of the Year awards. His colleagues say his dedication to teaching has fostered an enthusiasm for emergency medicine and has led to an increase in the number of students applying to the emergency medicine program.

In addition to his work at the School of Medicine, Levine teaches Emergency Medical Services both locally and internationally. He went to La Paz, Bolivia, to teach physicians, police and fire departments about emergency medicine, Emergency Medical Services and tactical medicine.

Wren, associate professor of medicine, has devoted a substantial portion of her time to medical student education at the School of Medicine for more than 20 years. She teaches second-year students about core clinical skills such as physical examination, formulating a diagnosis, writing admitting orders, principles of safe prescribing and how to write progress notes. Teaching in small-group sessions covers topics ranging from ethics to statistics to communication skills. She has recruited more than 10 faculty members to serve as preceptors for second-year students. Within the hospital, she regularly teaches third- and fourth-year students, and for fourth-year students, she has designed a pre-internship clinical review workshop.


Students who nominated Wren say she is honest, direct and demanding as a leader, while remaining gentle, encouraging and kind. She is approachable, open and communicates well and responds to students. She teaches by example, treating patients as individuals and listening to them, and putting the adage, “treat the person, not just the disease” into clinical practice, her students say.

Colleagues attribute her success to “an appropriate balance between educating and supporting students.”

Other colleagues also say as coursemaster of the Practice of Medicine II for second-year medical students, Wren has implemented innovative ideas to enhance students’ clinical knowledge and training, including CPR sessions, advanced physical exam sessions and exam review sheets.