Drs. Criscione-Schreiber, Heflin, Zaas Receive Inaugural Education Achievement Award

Drs. Lisa Criscione-Schreiber, Aimee Zaas, and Mitch Heflin have been selected as the inaugural winners of the Department of Medicine (DOM) Education Achievement Award in recognition for their exceptional dedication to the art and practice of teaching.

The new award recognizes faculty members who are beloved by former students, trainees, and faculty members, and who have made a positive impact on individuals' learning and careers. 


Dr. Lisa Criscione-Schreiber, MD, MEd
Professor of Medicine
Rheumatology and Immunology
Vice Chair for Education

Dr. Criscione-Schreiber serves as the DOM vice chair for Education following 14 years as program director for the Duke Rheumatology Fellowship. She is an education leader both within and outside of Duke University, and “the ideal candidate” for the award, said nominator, Dr. Megan Clowse, division chief, Rheumatology and Immunology.

“She has used her expertise in educational research to improve the education programs within and beyond our division, including programs to teach rheumatologists about reproductive health in lupus (the HOP-STEP program), infusion reactions, and teaching during consultation,” Clowse noted in her nomination, adding that Dr. Criscione-Schreiber’s leadership activities extend beyond the world of rheumatology.

She has served as a founding leader of the Department of Medicine Faculty Development Academy, chaired the Duke Program for Women in Medicine (PWIM), and helped develop the Civility Champions initiative and bring Stepping In 4 Respect to the department.

“Dr. Criscione-Schreiber is personally responsible for numerous pivotal advances and innovations in rheumatology education and has mentored multiple rheumatologists to become leaders in the field,” Clowse said. 


Mitch Heflin, MD 
Professor of Medicine
Senior Fellow, Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development

Dr. Heflin has demonstrated his commitment to the education mission in his many leadership roles through the years including the inaugural director of the Duke Interprofessional Education Center (IPEC) Geriatrics Fellowship Program director, chair of the Education Scholars’ Branch in the Faculty Development Academy, Steering Committee member for Duke Academy for Health Education and Academic Development (AHEAD), noted nominator, Dr. Cathleen Colón-Emeric, Geriatrics division chief.

Former mentees describe him as a true leader and mentor who sees the best in everyone and leads by example and in a way that makes students want to become geriatricians, and better scholars.

Dr. Heflin embodies “what it means to be an academic clinician educator,” said Center for Aging and Human Development colleague, Dr. Mamata Yanamadala, associate professor in the division of Geriatrics.  “As a mentor he will stay by your side, guiding, coaching, helping you get to that personal fulfillment, to those career goals without self-interest, taking gratification in his mentee’s success,” she added.

Heflin has demonstrated a strong commitment to mentoring individuals from diverse backgrounds as well.

“Dr. Heflin is an exemplary human being, well-rounded and stellar physician, a genuine mentor, and teacher like no other, with local, regional, and national reputation in geriatric medicine,” Dr. Colón-Emeric said.


Aimee Zaas, MD, MHS
Professor of Medicine
Infectious Diseases
Director, Internal Medicine Residency Program

Dr. Zaas has directed the Internal Medicine Residency Program since May 2011. She is being recognized for her exceptional contributions to the program, demonstrating “commitment to educating the next generation of physicians” and giving “200% effort at all times,” said nominator, Dr. John Perfect, Infectious Diseases division chief.

Dr. Zaas is also recognized as a thought leader in medical education with numerous publications on professionalism, milestones in graduate medical education, burnout, and a host of other topics, to her credit, noted co-nominator, Dr. Jenny Van Kirk, associate program director for the Internal Medicine Residency Program.  

Dr. Zaas models a leadership style that motivates trainees to excel, Van Kirk noted, adding that Dr. Zaas has been “the single most impactful person in my growth as a physician.”

“She is the pre-eminent role model for medical education, professionalism, academic rigor, and clinical excellence, and her unparalleled dedication to teaching and leading by example has left a positive mark on over a decade of residents, including myself,” Van Kirk said.