Teacher Spotlight


The Department of Psychiatry at the UC San Diego School of Medicine is committed to academic excellence and diversity within our faculty, staff and student body. We seek to recruit and retain leaders who are a reflection of our strong commitment to achieving excellence. Our faculty continuously demonstrate their commitment to maintain the highest standards of scholarship and professional activities while developing a climate that supports learning, equality, and diversity. They are leaders in their field, providing exceptional mental health care and training, and they exemplify this through their everyday duties in clinics, teaching, and mentorship.

Our clinician-educators are an integral part of the Department, and it is an honor to showcase a top member of our team each month who demonstrates leadership qualities through our monthly “Teacher Spotlight.” We want to acknowledge and thank them for their hard work and continuous efforts in the field of Psychiatry, and for their commitment to educating our trainees.

 The Office of Psychiatry Education & Training

June 2017 Teacher Spotlight:

Sidney Zisook, M.D. Sidney Zisook, M.D., Professor

“What an unexpected honor! Thank you so much. And to receive this distinction, you ask me to comment on what I like about being a teacher. How many pages can I have? I’ll try to be brief".

"For so long, my major academic role was to run a training program so that others could have the privilege and joys of teaching our trainees. Despite my love and passion for teaching, my administrative duties kept me from teaching as much as I would have liked. Instead, I privately took delight in the selection of each of my predecessors who earned the Teachers’ Spotlight, knowing that they were once “my” residents and that I might have had some role in shaping their extraordinary careers. What could be grander? When I look at our department and see that four of our Vice-Chairs, the leader of our medical student clerkship, our new Program Director, five Associate Training Directors, and many of our service chiefs and most esteemed teachers are all former “students,” I swell with pride. The number of physicians who are voted by their peers as San Diego’s leading psychiatrists, and of the current and most of the recent past presidents of the San Diego Psychiatric Society who are former trainees, is astounding. And, on a national level, past trainees and mentees are running other departments, national professional organizations, training programs, hospitals and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. I know I did not train any of them alone, but I like to think I have had a small role in their accomplishments and take a piece of each of them into my heart and soul".

"Glen Gabbard, a personal hero, said of teaching: “When you teach, you throw a pebble into the water and the ripples from that pebble create an endless ring of concentric circles in such a way that you never know when your influence ends.” In my first 14 years at UC San Diego, Steve Shuchter and I taught and supervised over 160 residents (and who knows how many other students and trainees) in the art and science of outpatient psychiatry. In my next 22 years as Program Director, I had a front-row seat in the professional development of at least 200 more residents (and many other students, post-docs, visiting scholars and mentees). Not only did I learn something from each and every one of them, but I like to think I passed something on to them that made a difference in their lives; and they, in turn, have passed something of my influence to benefit their students, patients and maybe even children. If that influence includes promoting healthy skepticism, curiosity, patience and a passion for learning, so much the better. The ripple effect is endless. Perhaps generations of teachers and patients will benefit from what has been passed on. This fulfills me. That is why I love teaching".



Past Teacher Spotlights

May 2017

Vanessa L. Lauzon, M.D. Vanessa L. Lauzon, MD, Assistant Clinical Professor

March 2017

Stephen Groban, MD, H.S. Stephen Groban, MD, H.S. Clinical Professor

July 2016

Dan Sewell, M.D. Dan Sewell, M.D., Clinical Professor

June 2016

Alana Iglewicz, M.D. Alana Iglewicz, M.D., Associate Residency Training Director; Assistant Clinical Professor

May 2016

Terry Schwartz, M.D. Terry Schwartz, M.D., Assistant Clinical Professor

April 2016

Larry Malak, M.D. Larry Malak, M.D., Assistant Clinical Professor

March 2016

Sanjai Rao, M.D. Sanjai Rao, M.D., Assistant Clinical Professor

February 2016

Louisa Steiger, M.D. Louisa R. Steiger, M.D., M.P.H., HS Clinical Assistant Professor

January 2016

David Lehman, M.D. David Lehman, M.D., H.S., Associate Clinical Professor