Honors & Awards

At the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, we recognize members of our medical school family for their outstanding contributions to medicine, science, patient care and their community in a variety of ways. 

Fourth-Year Students

Presented the week of graduation, these awards honor the achievements and hard work of our fourth-year medical students. 

Bertha and Lake Polan Award
This award is presented to the member or members of the graduating class with the highest cumulative grade point average during his or her medical studies. The Polan family established this award to honor Dr. Lake and Mrs. Bertha Polan, who devoted most of their lives to public service and health affairs. Dr. Polan established a medical practice in Huntington in 1915 and later, with his sons, established the Zenith Optical Company, the first precision optical plant in the U.S. and a pioneer in manufacturing lenses on a production basis. Two of their grandchildren are Dr. Mary Lake Polan, former professor and chair of obstetrics and gynecology at Stanford University and currently Professor of Clinical Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at the Yale University School of Medicine, who presented The Last Lecture to Marshall’s 1994 medical graduates, and the late Charles "Chuck" Polan, a businessman and former member of Huntington's city council.

Cutting Edge Award
This award is presented in memory of Dr. Homer Cummings, professor and founding chair of the Department of Surgery. Department faculty select the highest achieving graduating student matched in general surgery. This student exhibits academic excellence and a willingness to act as a servant to patients and to the community.

Faculty Choice Award
This special honor is presented by the Marshall University Alumni Association to the most outstanding fourth-year medical student as selected by the faculty.

Mildred Mitchell Bateman Psychiatry Student of the Year Award
This award is named for the inaugural chair of the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Medicine, Mildred Mitchell Bateman, MD. Department faculty select the graduating student matched in psychiatry who best exemplifies the characteristics that were trademarks of Dr. Bateman’s patient care, including compassion and humanism. Dr. Mitchell-Bateman was the first African-American woman to be named to a high-ranking office in West Virginia state government. She served as director of the Department of Mental Health from 1962 until 1977, when she became chair of psychiatry for the newly-formed Marshall School of Medicine. 

Dr. David K. Heydinger Award
Given in honor of the late David K. Heydinger, MD, a thoracic surgeon, the Dr. David K.  Heydinger Award is presented to the fourth-year medical student who exhibits an outstanding commitment to family medicine, academic excellence and leadership potential. A mid-career change led Dr. Heydinger into rural and public health care fields and, in 1975, he became President of Appalachian Regional Hospitals. He then served as associate dean for academic affairs and professor and the second chair of the Department of Family & Community Health at Marshall University.

Dr. Maurice A. and Diane W. Mufson Award
The Dr. Maurice A. and Diane W. Mufson Award is given to the outstanding, graduating fourth-year medical student who has excelled in the residency courses of the Department of Internal Medicine, who has matched in an internal medicine residency in the National Resident Matching Plan, and plans a career in internal medicine or one of its subspecialties. The Mufsons established an endowment in 1997 that serves as a reminder of the foundation, commitment to excellence and leadership the Mufsons have displayed over the years, Dr. Mufson as chair emeritus of internal medicine and Mrs. Mufson as a psychologist. 

Neurology Student of the Year
The neurology student of year award is presented to a graduating medical student – who has chosen to pursue a career in neurology – that has exhibited academic, clinical and humanistic excellence. The recipient is chosen by neurology faculty members.

Neurosurgery Student of the Year
The neurosurgery student of year award is presented to a graduating medical student – who has chosen to pursue a career in neurosurgery – that has exhibited academic, clinical and humanistic excellence. The recipient is chosen by neurosurgery faculty members.

Dr. Robert B. Walker Award
Given in honor of Robert B. Walker, MD, the Dr. Robert B. Walker Award is presented to the fourth-year medical student who shows outstanding dedication to rural primary care. Hailed as one of the nation’s premier advocates for rural health care and a former chair of the Department of Family & Community Health, Dr. Walker graduated the from the University of Florida College of Medicine and joined the National Health Service Corps (NHSC). During his time with NHSC, Dr. Walker and a colleague were assigned to rural West Virginia. They opened a clinic in an abandoned grocery store in Hamlin, West Virginia. The clinic became the first rural health clinic in America--Lincoln Primary Care Center.

Dean's Awards for Excellence

  • Dean's Award for Excellence in Education. This award recognizes and rewards faculty who demonstrate an ongoing commitment to educational excellence and have sustained a compelling record of excellence in teaching and learning. 
  • Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research. This award recognizes faculty members who have made significant and long-lasting research contributions that have advanced the fields of biomedical, behavioral, clinical or medical research. Junior and senior faculty recipients are selected from the basic science departments and the clinical departments.
  • Dean’s Award for Excellence in Clinical Care. This award recognizes one clinical faculty member who demonstrates exemplary patient-oriented services and conscientiously responds to the compelling needs of our community.

Faculty Impact Award

The Faculty Impact Award recognizes a faculty member who has made outstanding contributions to medical education through teaching & mentoring, scholarship and/or service.

Excellence in Mentoring Award

The Excellence in Mentoring Award recognizes a faculty member at the associate professor level or above who exhibits excellence in mentoring through the accomplishments of individual mentees, by the process by which faculty serve as role models for each other and through the promotion of the professional development of others, creating a supportive, positive working environment.

Excellence in Leadership Award

The recipient of the Excellence in Leadership Award inspires and encourages personal and professional development in others, builds strong relationships that support a high level of trust and credibility, adapts readily to new situations, effectively persuades others using keen organizational awareness, mentors and cultivates employees, creates a culture of respect that fosters an atmosphere conducive to achievement, contributes to the success of an initiative that benefits those outside their own department and/or places emphasis on collaboration within and among departments.

Resident of the Month

Each month, the Office of Graduate Medical Education recognizes a resident physician or fellow who has displayed exemplary service to patients, families and/or colleagues; outstanding educational efforts; and/or humanitarian service.

Distinguished Alumni Award

Created in 2011, the Distinguished Alumni Award is presented to a School of Medicine alumnus/a in recognition of their contributions through their demonstrated continued interest and support of the medical school and its students and/or excelling in their given specialty in the areas of medical science and education. The award is given at the annual homecoming banquet.

School of Medicine Award of Distinction

Created by the Marshall University Alumni Association in 2012, this award is given to a school of medicine graduate who best represents the mission of the school and brings pride to the medical school through their personal and professional lives. This award is presented during the Marshall University Alumni Association’s annual awards banquet.

Honorary Alumni Award

This special honor is presented annually at the investiture ceremony to the individual who is not a graduate of the school of medicine but has most exemplified distinguished service to our school and/or the medical community we serve.

Excellence in Diversity Awards

The Excellence in Diversity Awards were created in 2015 by the school's Multicultural Advisory Committee. The awards recognize and honor demonstrated commitment and outstanding effort toward creating a diverse and inclusive community. These awards are presented annually to individuals who have made an impact in the areas of age; disability; gender; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, ally (LGBTQA); race; faith; religion; health equity; and underrepresented student outreach programming. 

Drs. Joseph B. and Omayma T. Touma Lifetime Achievement Award
This award is given to the individual who has made major, innovative and cumulatively outstanding contributions to enhancing the practice of equality and diversity while devoting a major portion of their professional career to the effort.

Student Service Award
This award recognizes up to eight (8) fourth-year medical and pharmacy students who have gone above and beyond their medical school commitment to mentor and encourage ethnic minorities and individuals from the most deprived areas to pursue their dreams of becoming a physician or pharmacist.

Diversity & Inclusion Advocacy Award
This award recognizes up to six (6) medical or pharmacy students, faculty, residents or staff members who have demonstrated a commitment to diversity by serving as a role model and by contributing to the education of Marshall's health sciences community regarding gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) individuals and issues.

Excellence through Diversity Award
This award recognizes up to six (6) faculty, residents, staff members or alumni who go above and beyond to exemplify valuing people and the diversity goals of the schools of medicine and pharmacy. This includes participation and involvement with diverse individuals, groups and outreach programs while also providing leadership that encourages meaningful interaction and activities among diverse groups to improve campus climate.