Dr. Ralph V. Katz, professor and chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Health Promotion, has received the prestigious NYU Distinguished Teaching Award. The award recognizes that—along with research—exceptional teaching, both within and outside the classroom, is among NYU's institutional priorities. Professor Katz is one of only six NYU faculty members to receive the award this year.
Ralph's many achievements include conducting groundbreaking research and creating innovative educational opportunities for dental students, including a course in critical evaluation of scientific literature—the only course of its kind in a dental school in the US; receiving an $8.3 million award from the NIH to establish the NYU Oral Cancer RAAHP (Research on Adolescent and Adult Health Promotion) Center; authoring "The Tuskegee Legacy Project," which reports on the willingness of minorities to participate in biomedical research; and teaching a freshman honors course for the NYU College of Arts and Science entitled "Bioethics, Racism, and Paternalism: Tuskegee as a Case Study."
Ralph is also the supervisor and motivator-in-chief for a group of NIH postdoctoral fellows, who typically spend three to four years in the MS in clinical research track and five years in the PhD in epidemiology track, focusing on population-based research training (see related story here). A man of many gifts, and of a "larger than life" presence, Ralph Katz is, first and foremost, an extraordinary teacher and mentor. He has a zest for life and learning which he communicates in all of his encounters with students, transforming them into exhilarating, mutual learning exchanges. A perfect example is Ralph's founding, in 2003, of the "Spaghetti and Science" Society, which meets monthly at an Italian restaurant in Greenwich Village to provide "extra helpings" of science for predoctoral students who hunger for more discussion than is possible in the classroom.
"Ralph Katz understands that the secret to success as a teacher is a combination of scholarly expertise, the effective delivery of evidence-based practices, and a focus both on outcomes and caring for the patient," said Dean Bertolami. "It is altogether fitting that Ralph's commitment, energy, and creativity have been recognized with this coveted award."