The German society for epidemiology has an annual teaching award, i.e. the “Preis für exzellente Lehre in der Epidemiologie”. From their website:
Mit der Auszeichnung sollen herausragende Leistungen oder überdurchschnittliches Engagement in der Lehre der Epidemiologie gewürdigt werden. (…) Preiswürdig sind innovative, originelle oder nachhaltige Angebote, ebenso wie ein besonders hoher persönlicher Einsatz für die Lehre.”
In short, anything goes in terms of format, innovation, personal commitment etc. However, there is a trick: only students can nominate you. So what happened? My students nominated me for my “overall teaching concept”. Naturally, the DGEpi wondered what that teaching concept actually was and asked me to provide some more information. So I took that opportunity and actually described what and why I teach, to see what the actual concept behind this all is. Here is the result.
The bottom line is simple: I think you learn the best not only by reading a book, but that you learn by doing, help in the organization and help teach in various epi related activities. You need to get exposed in several formats with different people. So I have helped set up a plethora of activities for the young student to learn epidemiology in different ways on different levels: read classics, discuss in weekly journal clubs, use popular scientific books in book clubs, but also organize platforms for discussion, interaction and inspiration (yes, I am talking about BEMC). The most important thing might be that students should learn the basics for epidemiology, even though they might not need that for that own research projects. This is especially true for medical students who want to learn about clinical research.
Last week I learned that the award in the end was awarded to me. Of course I am honored on a personal level, and this honors needs to be extended to my mentors. But I also take this award as an indication that the recent and increasing Berlin based epi-activities I helped to organize together with epi enthusiast at the IPH, iBIKE and QUEST did not go unnoticed by the German epidemiological community.
I will pick up the price in Bremen at the yearly conference of the DGEPI. See you there?