DPM Faculty Receive Prestigious Mentoring Awards

DPM Professor and Vice-Chair Emily Oken, MD, MPH and Assistant Professor Jason Block, MD, MPH are the recipients of the Excellence in Mentoring Awards from Harvard Medical School in recognition of their distinguished records of mentoring.  The Excellence in Mentoring Awards were established to recognize the value of quality mentoring relationships and the impact they have on professional development and career advancement in basic/clinical medicine, research, teaching, and administration.

Dr. Oken is the recipient of the Clifford Barger Excellence in Mentoring Award which was established in 1995 and in 1997, was renamed to honor the memory of Dr. A. Clifford Barger who, among other things, devoted his career to bringing out the best in those who studied, trained and worked at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Oken's research is focused on the health effects of nutrition and environmental toxicants on health and disease, with a particular focus on pregnancy and early childhood. She has studied the balance of risk and benefit from maternal fish consumption during pregnancy on child development, long term health effects of breastfeeding for both mother and child, and determinants and sequelae of excess gestational weight gain. Within the Department of Population Medicine, Dr. Oken is Vice Chair, Director of Faculty Development and site director for the Harvard General Medicine fellowship.  At Harvard Medical School, she is an Associate Director in the Oliver Wendell Holmes Society and Director of the Clinical Epidemiology and Population Health longitudinal curriculum. Dr. Oken completed residency training in both internal medicine and pediatrics. 

Dr. Block is the recipient of the Young Mentor Award, establish in 2005 to recognize faculty who are still in the early stages of their career, but are devoting their time to providing mentoring for others. Dr. Block is a general internal medicine physician with training in epidemiology and population health.  Working with interdisciplinary teams, his research follows two tracks (1) examining the geographic influences on the obesity epidemic and (2) intervening in multiple settings to promote weight loss and overall wellness, especially at the environmental level. His current studies include evaluating the coming federal regulation that will require calories to be posted on menus in chain restaurants and exploring financial incentives for weight loss and wellness, through health insurance-based incentives and direct financial incentives, at several workplaces. 

A celebration will be held in June to honor the recipients at Harvard Medical School.  Congratulations to Dr. Oken and Dr. Block!