YSPH Names Ingrid Nembhard Teacher and Durland Fish Mentor of the Year

Ingrid Nembhard’s ability to connect with large numbers of students and make a course in Leadership and Organization Behavior engaging and relevant did not go unnoticed by the Class of 2010.

Nembhard was named Yale School of Public Health’s Class of 2010 as Teacher of the Year; an honor that will allow her to address the graduates at next week’s Commencement and will see her name inscribed in a plaque outside Winslow Auditorium.

“Dr. Nembhard was praised for her use of creative teaching tools like group activities and computer-based training exercises to encourage active participation and to ground theoretical frameworks in practical settings,” said Dean Paul D. Cleary.

Indeed, Cleary noted, one student described her as “an amazing leader and role model” who is “consistently able to engage each student with her remarkable energy and passion for the course material.”

Nembhard, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the division of Health Policy and Administration was nominated by students and then selected for the annual award by students in an online vote.

“This means a lot coming from students. I really do feel honored by it,” said Nembhard, who joined the public health faculty in 2007 and also has an appointment at the School of Management.

Her research focuses on organization learning and the implementation of evidence-based practices in health care settings. A paper she co-authored on the status dynamics present in many hospitals (such as might exist between a doctor and a nurse) recently won an award for best paper. It was praised for its originality and potential to inspire further research.

“YSPH is fortunate to have Professor Nembhard, and her dedication, energy, and responsiveness to student needs and feedback guarantees that she will continue to train and inspire future students. She is an outstanding professor,” one student wrote in nominating Nembhard.

Her colleague at the School of Public Health, Durland Fish, received the 2010 Distinguished Student Mentor award, an honor that was established last year to recognize excellence in student mentoring among faculty.

The award affirms the recipient as a leader in shaping the next generation of public health professionals, serving as a role model for students while encouraging them to grow and achieve their full potential. Fish was nominated by graduating students and selected by a student/faculty sub–committee of the Education Committee. He will also be awarded at Commencement and also recognized on a plaque outside of Winslow Auditorium.

“Durland is cited as an exceptional mentor, not only in individual academic and thesis advising, but also in his course, Studies in Evolutionary Medicine. Durland has exceeded expectations in fostering growth in the classroom and through professional skill development,” Dean Cleary said.

Fish, Ph.D., a professor in the division of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases, specializes in the ecology and prevention of vector-borne infectious diseases and is a widely recognized expert in Lyme disease.

“Durland was one of the primary reasons that I decided to come to Yale to pursue a Masters of Public Health degree in the first place,” a student wrote in nominating Fish for the honor. “Durland has always treated [me] and other students with fairness and respect, and has encouraged me to grow and achieve my full academic potential. … Ultimately, Durland has been a chief academic influence during my time here at Yale, and has been instrumental in allowing me to achieve excellence in my pursuits.”

Fish said he was honored by the award.

“This is the most important award that I have received in 30 years of academics,” he said.

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