Top Teacher, Mentor, Teaching Fellow Recognized at YSPH

Three members of the Yale School of Public Health’s academic community, two faculty and a student, are being honored by the graduating class of 2017 for their commitment as well as the lengths to which they gone to help advance students.

Shelley D. Geballe, J.D. ’76, M.P.H. ’95, assistant clinical professor of public health, is the recipient of the 2017 Distinguished Teaching Award. She was recognized for her passion for public health, law and policy and for social justice. Students praised Geballe for her commitment to their success as public health practitioners, her creativity in developing practice-based learning experiences, and her accessibility, fairness and the thoughtful feedback she readily gave.

Students noted that Geballe, who previously won the 2011 Mentor of the Year award, cultivated critical and independent thinking on real issues. During one “Public Health Law” class, students took on the roles of government officials, public health professionals and citizens involved in the Flint water crisis.

“The creativity, passion, vision and industriousness of this new generation of health leaders inspires me,” said Geballe.

The 2017 Distinguished Student Mentor award was given to Danya E. Keene, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Chronic Disease Epidemiology. She was selected for her individualized attention, support and encouragement, accessibility and being an “exemplar of excellence” to her students and advisees. Students said Keene goes above and beyond the duties of a thesis reader by coordinating group thesis working sessions, practice presentations and check-in sessions.

The creativity, passion, vision and industriousness of this new generation of health leaders inspires me.

Shelley Geballe

“I am grateful to my students for the opportunity to participate in their important projects, and in their growth as scholars and public health practitioners. I have learned so much from them in the process,” said Keene.

The 2017 Teaching Fellow Award was presented this year to William Schpero, a Ph.D. candidate. The award recognizes a doctoral student who demonstrates outstanding performance as a teaching fellow and promise as a future teacher. It is an honor that recognizes the recipient as a leader in shaping the next generation of public health professionals, someone who serves as a role model for students, sets high expectations, gives feedback and helps students in multiple ways.

Schpero received numerous nominations and was chosen to receive the award because of his enthusiasm and preparation, his ability to present material clearly, his willingness to offer extra help, his responsiveness to questions and his talent for making review sessions fun and interesting. Schpero was a teaching fellow for topics in health care decision modeling and microeconomics and health policy.

“It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to teach at Yale given the outstanding students and faculty mentorship,” he said. “What has been particularly rewarding is the extent to which I’ve found my teaching experiences have informed my research, and vice-versa— classroom discussion often touches on important policy research questions that still need to be answered. I am truly honored to receive this award.”

In announcing the 2017 award winners, Dean Sten Vermund said it is interesting to note that two themes recurred across all the nominations—the nominees’ willingness to go above and beyond and the fact that they cared about the subject matter and their students’ success. Vermund said that he and the rest of the YSPH community are “grateful for their dedication to world-class public health education and students’ success.”

The awardees will be recognized at Commencement on May 22 and their names will be added to the awards wall outside Winslow Auditorium.

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This article was submitted by Denise Meyer on May 15, 2017.

Related People

Shelley Diehl Geballe

Assistant Clinical Professor of Public Health

Danya Elizabeth Keene

Assistant Professor of Public Health (Social & Behavioral Sciences)

Sten H. Vermund

Dean and Anna M.R. Lauder Professor of Public Health