student dentists examine child at home
Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine students conduct a home examination. (Photo courtesy of Department of Pediatric Dentristry Department.)

Medicine’s Shakuntala (Rita) Kothari earns teaching award

Shakuntala (Rita) Kothari, an assistant professor at the School of Medicine, was awarded the Ohio Chapter of the American College of Physicians 2022 Evelyn V. Hess, MD, MACP Master Teacher Award. The award was presented in recognition of her consistently outstanding educational contributions to trainees at all levels.

“Dr. Kothari is an outstanding teacher who offers outstanding learner-centric experiences to her trainees,” according to the award announcement. As a medical student longitudinal continuity clinic preceptor, Kothari works with first- and second-year medical students. For 12 weeks out of the year, she also teaches third-year medical students in her primary care clinic to fulfill their longitudinal ambulatory block requirement.

“With her recognized skillfulness as an educator, she has been entrusted additionally to help struggling medical students improve in their ability to care for patients in the ambulatory setting,” according to the announcement. “Dr. Kothari has a gift for providing insightful and targeted feedback. As one of her letter writers noted, ‘having written many letters of reference for medical students entering residency, I can say with authority that Rita’s assessments of medical students have been thoughtful, insightful, and extremely valuable.’”

Kothari became a steadfast, coveted continuity clinic preceptor of internal medicine residents, starting as soon as she joined the faculty at Cleveland Clinic in 1996. In this role, she helps guide and teach residents to provide exceptional primary care for their patients. Every year Kothari receives outstanding teaching scores for her work as a preceptor. The residency leadership ascribes great weight to her formative and summative feedback of residents. She provides specific and actionable feedback

For her colleagues, Kothari has been designated the onboarding lead since 2010. Within this role, she has developed a program to help new physicians using shadowing and reverse shadowing and teaching the intricacies of how to get things done within a complex health system. Her peer-to-peer teaching is crucial in making sure that new faculty members feel welcome and supported in their new job. Over the years, she has been recognized as a true resource for junior staff members in addition to being a role model and resource for medical students and residents. Additionally, she serves as the current Department of General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics grand rounds director.