Dr. Karen Szauter, assistant dean in the Office of Educational Affairs at the University of Texas Medical Branch, was named a recipient of the 2023 Association of American Medical Colleges Alpha Omega Alpha Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Award, which recognizes individuals and institutions that have made outstanding contributions in medical education, research, clinical care, and community engagement.
Szauter originally dreamed of a career in theater but, luckily for her students, she went into medicine where she says her love of the arts has helped her become the educator she is today.
“Throughout over 30 years at UTMB, Dr. Szauter has demonstrated her passion and commitment to undergraduate medical education,” Dr. Jeffrey L. Susman, senior associate dean for Educational Performance at the John Sealy School of Medicine at UTMB, told AAMC. “Her dedication to medical education made her a natural choice to be inducted to UTMB’s inaugural class of the Academy of Master Teachers (AMT) in 2007, and to receive the ATM’s Lifetime Achievement Award 10 years later.”
Among her many contributions at UTMB, Szauter mentors students on abstract writing, poster preparation, and other elements of presentation and publication. She recently stepped down after 15 years as co-director of the Internal Medicine clerkship, introducing new opportunities to support student learning and skills building to help ease students’ transition into residency. She has also mentored more than 30 faculty members via the Scholars in Education Program.
“An award such as this is an incredible honor and very humbling,” Szauter said. “It allowed me to reflect on the amazing opportunities that I have had professionally, the many brilliant educators who have guided me, and the countless lessons learned while interacting with students. I am truly grateful that I have been able to follow my passion for medical education and hope that this recognition can inspire others to do the same.”