Dr. Donald Yandow receives Outstanding Clinical Teacher Award, celebrates successful career

Posted on April 2013

Each year, UW senior medical students choose one faculty member as an “outstanding clinical teacher” from among the entire UW clinical staff. This year’s winner is Dr. Donald Yandow, and when it comes to medical student education, Yandow is a stand-out.

In addition to recently receiving the medical student teaching award, in the past ten years Yandow has garnered medical school-wide awards for his teaching on nine separate occasions. He even won the same award, “Outstanding Clinical Teacher,” five different times. When considering the cutting edge technological research done at UWSPMH Department of Radiology department, one would expect Yandow to be at the forefront of new-age instructional methods. But Yandow’s innovation is to take teaching old school.

“I use a very retro approach,” Yandow admits. Worried that students wouldn’t pay attention to Power Point after the lunch hour, Yandow decided instead to teach with hard copy films on a view box. And since the device is forty years old, it has been around longer than Yandow has been at Wisconsin, albeit only by five years.

However, as evidenced by the numerous teaching awards, many students prefer this method. With the box illuminated, Yandow strives to examine cases critically while also weaving in a historical perspective. “Really good clinical stories drive their participation,” says Yandow, “[And] showing missed cases always increases interest, especially when I show them cases where they could have made the diagnosis that a radiologist may have missed.”

Interestingly, though, this professor attributes his effective teaching to both his predecessors and his students. Yandow is especially thankful for his teachers and colleagues. “John Juhl was an inimitable clinical role model,” Yandow said. Furthermore, he added, “Carrie Poole and Judy Imhof provided a very welcoming atmosphere for learning.”

About his students, Yandow was similarly grateful. “It is a great feeling to go into retirement knowing that you had some effect on the students who will be caring for us in the near future,” he said. “It has been the best part of my job here at UW. I have never come out of one of the sessions with the students without having learned something from them.”

It is this commitment to students that has made Dr. Donald Yandow such an integral part of the UWSMPH, and the department wishes him continued success in his retirement.