Siegel Awards Acknowledge Excellence in Teaching

Published May 5, 2022

story by dirk hoffman

Six Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences faculty members, five residents and three medical students received 2022 Louis A. and Ruth Siegel Awards or honorable mentions for excellence in teaching.

“He has an excellent ability to understand patients and their level of understanding, and then explain their problems in a way that is clear and logical for everyone in the room. ”
Student comment about award winner Sikandar Z. Khan, MD

The annual awards are the foremost means for Jacobs School medical students to honor their professors, instructors and teaching assistants.

This year’s awardees are from seven departments: neurologyneurosurgerypathology and anatomical sciencespediatrics, physiology and biophysics, radiology and surgery.

This year’s awards were announced through a series of daily emails from April 25-28.

“I am so pleased to read these students’ glowing reviews of our faculty, resident and student teachers,” said Allison Brashear, MD, UB’s vice president for health sciences and dean of the Jacobs School. “It speaks to the high level of academic instruction and clinical training provided every day at the Jacobs School.”

Award Winners

Teaching in the Preclinical Program

David A. Freedman, PhD

Across all nominations, Freedman was described as “the most dedicated” and “devoted teacher” who “went above and beyond” to empower students in tackling one of the most demanding courses of the medical school curriculum.
One student wrote, “Dr. Freedman treats every student with respect and takes his time to explain difficult material in a digestible manner, no matter how basic or convoluted the question is.”
Another nominator said “Dr. Freedman was a positive presence who gracefully managed questions from the entire M1 class, even after hours and on the weekends.”
Freedman made students laugh and have a good time, even when it was “easy to become discouraged during a difficult dissection or when the course concepts just aren’t coming together,” said another student.
Brian R. Weil; Department of Physiology and Biophysics; Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences; University at Buffalo; 2016.

Brian R. Weil, PhD

Nominators named Weil a “great teacher” who embodies all of the following: “knowledgeable and passionate about teaching, but above all, someone who continuously challenges his students, genuinely cares and shows compassion toward students.”

A student exclaimed, “I am very lucky to have taken his class!” as Dr. Weil provided “tremendous help breaking down really difficult concepts and making them simpler and easier for students to understand.”

Another said Weil would take the time to “gauge our understanding first, and then explain it so well afterward, which not everyone can do.”

Another student specifically thanked Weil for doing an “amazing job walking students through the difficult course” as well as being “easily available to answer any question” any time.

Teaching in the Clinical Program

Sikandar Z. Khan.

Sikandar Z. Khan, MD

Here is what nominators had to say:

“Dr. Khan is an excellent educator and role model for many aspects of what makes an incredible physician. In my time working with Dr. Khan, he took the time to break things down and explain different procedures and interventions. He is extremely gifted at making various vascular diseases and interventions easy to understand.”

“He has an excellent ability to understand patients and their level of understanding, and then explain their problems in a way that is clear and logical for everyone in the room. He has an excellent bedside manner and I aspire to work as a physician like him one day.”

“One of the most unique qualities of Dr. Khan is his dedication to teaching. At least once a week, he would inquire about a topic we wanted to learn more about, and then set up a time to discuss the topic (usually alongside a PowerPoint presentation he created).”

“He was additionally eager to allow me to perform surgical skills in the Operating Room with his oversight. He allowed me to grow as a young clinician in many skills, including clinical bedside manner, compassion, communication and counseling.”

Resident Teaching

Jasmine Bhinder, MD

Several nominators noted the “above and beyond” nature of Bhinder’s teaching.

Among the comments:

“Every single day she takes time out of her endless responsibilities to make sure that med students are involved, getting good experiences and learning the infinite amount of things needed to know while on rotation.”

“I’ve never had a resident who day in and day out takes downtime to sit down with you and talk out high-yield topics, quizzing and assessing our knowledge like your own personal private tutor."

“Jasmine pushes medical students to reach their full potential, and she encourages them to take a step outside of their comfort zone. Beyond her role as a teacher and advocate, she is a role model for medical students pursuing surgery.”

“She would be off to the side cheering us on while watching us present or be tested by attendings and the fact that she actually cared is nothing I have ever seen before.”

“If I had Jasmine as my resident in all my rotations, I would be 10 times a better doctor when the time comes and there is no one more deserving of this award than her.”

Special Recognition


Bradley Terence Jensen

Jensen was an anatomy peer tutor who went above and beyond his duties to ensure his students had the necessary understanding to perform well on their anatomy exams.

Noting that his students had different understanding levels, Jensen was very patient and understanding of this and made sure to answer the questions his students had and created PowerPoint slides with pertinent information his students needed.

Jensen also consistently “checked in on the emotional well-being” of his students before each anatomy exam and continuously did this even for other classes he was not tutoring. 

Honorable Mention

Teaching in the Preclinical Program

Teaching in the Clinical Program

Resident Teaching

Special Recognition


  • Mark Lauria, third-year medical student
  • Said Shukri, fourth-year medical student

A Special ‘Thank You’ to Retiring Faculty Adviser

The final email of the week contained a special tribute to Frank K. Schimpfhauser, PhD, associate dean for educational evaluation and research in the Office of Medical Curriculum, who has a 2022 retirement date.

Schimpfhauser served as faculty adviser for the Louis A. and Ruth Siegel Awards for Excellence in Teaching Committee for 46 years.

Since the Siegel Awards were established in the 1976-1977 academic year, Schimpfhauser “has fostered the growth of the awards to become distinguished honors throughout the community of learners at the Jacobs School.”

“He has empowered generations of medical students on the selection committee to evolve the recognition of teaching excellence by making each recognition ceremony better than the last and establishing new categories for awardees, including residents, fellows, medical student peers and staff,” the announcement said.

About the Siegel Awards

Louis A. Siegel received his medical degree from UB in 1923 and served as an assistant professor of obstetrics-gynecology for 21 years. He was a dedicated clinical teacher who inspired both medical students and house officers with enthusiasm and the spirit of inquiry.

Considerations for the Siegel Awards include nominees’ instructional skill, ability to stimulate thinking and develop understanding in students, demonstration of sensitivity toward the human condition and ability to serve as a role model for students.

A student committee comprised of representatives from each medical class reviews nominations from students and selects awardees.