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Impact in Education: Gary Beck Dallaghan, Ph.D.

Image with caption: Gary Beck Dallaghan, Ph.D.

Gary Beck Dallaghan, Ph.D.

Gary Beck Dallaghan, Ph.D., is one of the recipients of the Office of Academic Affairs inaugural Impact in Education Awards.

Research in Education Scholar Award

This award recognizes an individual who has advanced the educational literature through peer-reviewed publications, educational grants, and original research.

  • Name: Gary Beck Dallaghan, Ph.D.
  • Title: Assistant dean for medical education and director, Office of Medical Education; assistant professor, UNMC Department of Pediatrics
  • Joined UNMC: January 2, 1995
  • Hometown: Milo, Iowa

You are the recipient of the Research in Education Scholar Award. What is the importance of research in health care education?
The science of learning is a complex tapestry to unravel. There are so many factors that can impact students' ability to master content in health sciences education. If we don't evaluate and analyze the educational process or interventions being used, how will we know what is effective or not? There are assumptions that trends in education may be beneficial for students, such as use of handheld devices or "flipped" classrooms. Unless we study outcomes based on deliberate use of different teaching modalities we won't know if what we're doing is effective. In addition to different teaching innovations, we also need to investigate other factors that may impact learning, such as student wellness. Emotion states can have positive or negative influences on the learning process and all of this needs further understanding, which only educational research can uncover.

Describe your proudest moment as an educator.
Two things came to mind with this. The first was when I was awarded the Medical Education Laureate Award by the Association of American Medical Colleges Central Group on Educational Affairs in 2011. It's their highest honor and came as a complete surprise to me. It continually stands out as one of my most meaningful moments as an educator. The other moment was getting a random email from a graduate who had recently started her practice asking for some additional resources on LGBT health issues. She told me in her email that the elective I teach with Dr. Jim Medder was the most memorable experience of her medical education.

What advice would you give other faculty members who want to have an impact in education?
If a moment of serendipity presents itself, say, "Yes!" These are the moments in my career that have gotten me where I am today. The key is that you have to deliver once you have said yes. It's also important to identify key individuals who can mentor and guide you. Drs. Fred McCurdy, Hobart Wiltse, and Bruce Buehler have been and still are colleagues I go to for guidance. Dr. Linda Love also has become an invaluable sounding board. These relationships help you stay focused and grounded to accomplish your goals.

Do you have a favorite quote or philosophy on teaching?
I've always told people, "All the world's a joke and I'm the laughter!" My firm belief is that life is too short to not have fun. Teaching and learning should be fun . . . challenging . . . but always fun!

Ceremony Feb. 10

The Impact in Education Awards ceremony will be held at 2 p.m. Feb. 10 at the Durham Research Center, Room 1002, with a reception to follow.

Honorees are:

Educator Laureate
David O'Dell, M.D., professor in the UNMC Department of Internal Medicine, Division of General Medicine, '84 UNMC alum

Innovative Practices in Education Award:
Paul Paulman, M.D., professor in the UNMC Department of Family Medicine and '77 UNMC alum

Inspirational Mentor of Educators Award:
Shelby Kutty, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of pediatrics, internal medicine and physiology; director of cardiac imaging and research

Interprofessional Education Scholar Award:
Devin Nickol, M.D., associate professor, UNMC Department of Internal Medicine, Division of General Medicine and '96 UNMC alum

Research in Education Scholar Award: Gary Beck Dallaghan, Ph.D., assistant dean for medical education and director, Office of Medical Education; assistant professor, UNMC Department of Pediatrics

Valor in Educational Service Award:
Alan T. Richards, M.D., associate professor, UNMC Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Anatomy; adjunct associate professor, UNMC Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery

Visionary Leadership in Education Award:
Maurice Godfrey, Ph.D., professor, Munroe-Meyer Institute

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