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Julie Kim, MD, PHd: Teaching Excellence

July 03, 2014
Lebanon, NH

Photo: Julie Kim.

(Photo by Mark Washburn)

It was a circuitous road that brought CHaD’s hematology/oncology doctor, Julie Kim, MD, PHd, to the Saul Blatman Award for Excellence in Teaching.

“I was an English major,” Kim explains. “My master’s degree was in short stories and poetry.” Kim had thought about being a doctor, after all, her father was a surgeon, but still, she wanted to blaze her own trail. “I wanted to be sure that was what I really wanted to do and wasn’t just following in my father’s footsteps.”

Eventually, Kim did go to medical school, but the first two years were focused on “a lot of science-based classroom stuff and I realized I was curious how they came up with the information.” This curiosity caused her to take a detour into a PHd program in pharmacology and toxicology.

After considering family practice, then possibly internal medicine and adult oncology, Kim realized she wanted to be more focused, and “really enjoyed working with kids. I also felt I could make a bigger, preventative difference working in pediatrics.”

After a residency and fellowship in pediatric oncology at Yale, in 2006 Kim made her way to Dartmouth-Hitchcock and to the Saul Blatman Award for Excellence in Teaching.

The recipients of the teaching award—named after the founding chair of Dartmouth Medical School’s (now Geisel School of Medicine) Department of Maternal and Child Health—are chosen by residents and fellows. “I was not expecting it,” Kim says, “so it was very exciting and affirming that people are listening to what I’m saying.” On her teaching philosophy, Kim believes, “The old model of being taught ‘at’ in a one-way format doesn’t work anymore. It needs to be more didactic. You need to assess the learner and tailor your teaching toward that learner. The quality of our residents is fantastic, and each year it has gotten better.”

Dr. Karina Reynolds, one of Kim’s students, says that Kim, “is not only a superb teacher, she is also a wonderful role model.  She handles every day challenges with humor and grace, and challenges the residents to perform to their full potential.”

Looking toward the future, Kim may want to work with the American Academy of Pediatrics where she once served on the advisory board, but for now, she’s too busy. “If anything,” the award, she says, “is a positive reinforcement to keep teaching well.”

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