Upstate Medical University presented 16 awards at its fall convocation Sept, 16. The SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching was given to Michael L. Vertino, MD. Below is his biography, as it appears in the convocation program.
By Stephanie DeJoseph
Dr. Michael Vertino is known as an outstanding educator and has contributed significantly to faculty governance and administrative coordination of the undergraduate medical program in the College of Medicine. Over the past 12 years he has championed the integration of basic science courses and fostered curricular alignment for a more directed, coherent and developmentally appropriate neuroscience education at the university. His enthusiasm and ability to help students understand and learn the core clinical skills have been recognized as valuable to students and to the organization.
Dr. Vertino joined Upstate’s Neurology faculty in 2000. In 2002, he was chosen to direct the department’s student clerkship. “In the opinion of many, Dr. Vertino is one of the most charismatic, engaging and thoughtful teachers in our institution,” said one.
A gifted instructor, Dr. Vertino is capable of adapting his message and technique to students and residents in a variety of both basic science and clinical settings. His involvement in the first two years, from introductory lectures to case-based reasoning sessions, set the stage for a varied and immersive experience in the clerkship. “Students respond to his enthusiasm for teaching the development of history, examination and the fundamental skills of clinical practice,” noted a nominator. Dr. Vertino has been active and integral to the development of the Clinical Skills Center, where standardized patient scenarios serve as standardized assessments of these skills.
“He approaches medical student education in a holistic, interdisciplinary manner, focusing on core clinical skills of taking a thorough and nuanced history, performing an appropriate and targeted physical exam, and using both to inform the process of clinical reasoning and differential diagnosis,” said a colleague. Students describe him as “a great teacher, an effective team leader,” and hilarious!” He does a great job of relating to students and keeping them engaged.
Dr. Vertino has been described as both creative and practical; working collaboratively with colleagues to tackle challenges in the educational schedule across course boundaries. “He is not fixed by discipline and department allegiances; rather he considers what is best for student learning and for the sum of student knowledge and skills by graduation.”
He has been the been the faculty adviser and mentor to the American Academy of Neurology Student Interest Group in Neurology, the chair of the Curriculum Coordinating Committee for years three and four and the vicechair of the Educational Policies Committee. He is also a member of the Undergraduate Educational Committee and the Consortium of Neurology Clerkship Directors of the American Academy of Neurology. He has also given many invited lectures for continuing medical education.
Students have awarded him with an Alpha Omega Alpha Award for Excellence in Teaching. His university colleagues have also honored him with the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. In addition, he is the recipient of the A.B. Baker Award from the American Academy of Neurology.
Dr. Vertino is a cum laude and AOA graduate of Upstate Medical University, where he earned his MD degree in 1995. He completed his internship in internal medicine, residency in neurology and clinical neurophysiology fellowship at Upstate Medical University.