Harvard Catalyst Profiles

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Michael John Cahalane, M.D.

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Phi Sigma - National biological Honor Society
The Academy Liberal Arts Honor Society
B.A. Degree conferred with High Honors and Departmental Honors
Alpha Omega Alpha
M.D. cum laude
S. Robert Stone Award for Excellence in Teaching
Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching, third year, Harvard Medical School
1999 George B. Starkey Award for Excellence in Teaching
Aesculapian Club
2000 Daniel D. Federman Outstanding Clinical Educator
Humanism in Medicine Award
George B. Starkey Award for Excellence in Teaching
A. Clifford Barger Award for Excellence in Mentoring
Member, Council of Distinguished Scholars
Peter Reizenstein Prize
Scholar, Academy at Harvard Medical School
Rosette of the Shapiro Institute Center for Education
Gold Humanism Honor Society
Outstanding Teacher Award
Top Doctor for Massachusetts

I have the honor of being Clerkship Director in Surgery at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. In this position, I attempt to foster a safe environment, rich in learning opportunities for students, focusing both on personal and professional growth. I believe that students need a gentle partner in the Clerkship Director to help them gain the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that will help them become caring and competent physicians. As reflected in the evaluation of my work by students, they have found me a strong advocate and collaborator. I work also to evaluate other faculty and help them develop their teaching skills and professionalism, as they teach and serve as role models for our students.

As a teaching doctor and surgeon, it has been a privilege to guide and coax students and residents in their quest for knowledge. They have stimulated me, in turn to be a better physician. I continue to enjoy finding “teachable moments” in my practice. In the middle of an operation, I have frequently stopped, looked up at residents and said “Now what?” Startled residents often then realize what their preparation has or often hasn’t prepared them to do.

While I have focused my work on Harvard Medical School students and surgical trainees, I am also active nationally in the Association for Surgical Education. I serve on the Committee on Curriculum, Clerkship Director’s Committee, and the Committee on Assessment and Evaluation. We are currently focusing on developing a national surgical curriculum for the third year clerkship. This work is complicated by the different surgical needs of various medical schools, and varying lengths of time devoted to surgery in the third year. This year, I was appointed to the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons Committee on Continuing Education. In 2006, I was honored by the Association for Surgical Education with their Outstanding Teacher Award.

I am proud to be a protégé of William Silen, M.D., and during my professional and personal life I continuously strive to emulate him. I believe I have been able to bring his rigor, intensity, criticality and humanism to my teaching and mentoring. His legacy has proven a challenging yardstick for me, and I continue to benefit from his advice.

I am intensely interested in continuing to serve my patients and students of Harvard Medical School. I am interested in teaching innovation and assessment.

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Funded by the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences through its Clinical and Translational Science Awards Program, grant number UL1TR002541.