Working a rotation at the old Philadelphia General Hospital as a young medical student in the 1960s, Lanny Edelsohn, M.D., couldn’t have predicted that 50 years later, he would be honored with the facility’s namesake award for excellence in teaching in clinical medicine.
“I’ve been involved with teaching students and residents for 42 years,” said Dr. Edelsohn, a neurologist with Christiana Care Neurology Specialists and a clinical professor of neurology at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. “The students inspire me, they really do. To be chosen as their teacher of the year was very humbling.”
Dr. Edelsohn is the recipient of the 2015 Blockley-Osler Award for Distinguished Teaching. Blockley is the informal name of the defunct facility, which began as the Blockley Almshouse charity hospital. It was there that William Osler, M.D., pioneered the modern-day teaching method of bedside clinical training, taking students out of the lecture hall. The annual award is presented to an affiliate faculty member who exemplifies, among other traits, “graceful humility, tireless, unselfish service, kindness, sympathy, generosity and charity to all men, capacity for exact observations, patience and avoidance of shortcuts, a life steeped in tireless and unselfish service.”
“He takes the time and he has an interest which is motivated purely by what doctors are supposed to be made of,” said David Paskin, M.D., vice dean of the Medical College. “He’s really a throwback to the physician that has been for centuries, one who passes on knowledge person-to-person in a very warm and understanding way. Here’s a guy who’s been teaching our students for years and year and years with high acclaim, and no one’s really said thank you in a formal, very respectful and elegant way. This award has done that.
“He’s there for his patients, and yet he brings his students in so they get an understanding of what a patient and physician relationship is all about.”
Dr. Edelsohn said his students inspire him.
“I’ve had hundreds of students over the course of my career. I’m amazed at their intelligence, motivation, enthusiasm and excitement on becoming physicians. “I probably would have retired long ago had it not been for the energy I feel when these future doctors, with smiles on their faces, present their findings, come up with a diagnosis and develop an appropriate treatment plan.”
Dr. Edelsohn joined Christiana Care Health System in 1973 and from 1987 to 2010 served as chief, Section of Neurology. In 2013, the system opened the Lanny Edelsohn, M.D., Neuro Critical Care Unit — the only one of its kind in the state, devoted to patients with immediate, life-threatening problems affecting the brain, spinal cord or peripheral nerves.