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Vestermark Psychiatry Educator Award

The Vestermark Psychiatry Educator Award recognizes excellence, leadership, and creativity in the field of psychiatric education and is given annually to a psychiatric educator for outstanding contributions to the education and development of psychiatrists. The award was established in 1969 in memory of Seymour Vestermark, M.D., chief of the National Institute of Mental Health Training Branch from 1948 to 1959 and an authority in the field of professional mental health education. The award concentrates on the field of psychiatric education in its broadest context, with special emphasis on preparation of teachers, use of new educational tools, and improved teaching techniques in the field of mental health.

2024 Award Recipient

Sidney Zisook, M.D.

Dr Zisook is a UCSD Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry. He completed medical school at the Stitch-Loyola School of Medicine and residency/clinical fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital. He was the founding Director of the UCSD Healer Education, Assessment and Referral (HEAR) program, dedicated to preventing/reducing nurse and physician mental health stigma, burnout, and suicide, and currently directs the UCSD Physician Peer Support Program, serves on the Scientific Council of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Scientific Advisory Board of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, and Board of Directors of the American College of Psychiatry. Key academic interests include grief and bereavement, treatment resistant depression, physician suicide prevention and psychiatric education.

Previous Award Recipients

  • 2023: Laura Roberts, M.D., MA
    "Launching and Navigating a Successful Career in Academic Medicine"
  • 2022: No Award Given
  • 2021: No Award Given
  • 2020: Jeffrey M. Lyness, M.D.
  • 2018: Alan Kuo-Hin Luoie, M.D.
    "Why Artificial Intelligence and Computational Neuroscience Should Be Taught to Psychiatry Residents"
  • 2017: Sandra Sexson, M.D.
    "Promoting Physician Competence Across the Lifespan: Targeted Lifelong Learning and Continuous Practice Assessment and Improvement"
  • 2016: Robert E. Hales, M.D. & John H. Coverdale, M.D.
    "Psychiatric Faculty Development: Challenges for the 21st Century"
  • 2015: Geraldine S. Fox, M.D., M.H.P.E
    "Stories that Stick: Teaching From the Heart Using Personal Narrative Stimulus Video" (given at IPS)
  • 2014: Carol A. Bernstein, M.D.
    "Leading Change Through Education and Mentorship"

Program Benefits

Winner will present an award lecture on an educational topic during the Annual Meeting

Criteria / Eligibility

APA members that are in medical education.

Selection Criteria

Nominees for this award should have demonstrated evidence of work that includes contributions to medical education in the following areas:

  • Medical student education
  • Graduate education
  • Continuing education
  • Interdisciplinary programs
  • Research in education

Innovations in education:

  • Improved teaching methods
  • Improved or new methods and strategies in evaluation
  • Exploration in new and/or neglected areas
  • Relation of education to service delivery and/or labor use

Administrative educational contributions, e.g., leadership in educational components of local and national academic organizations and/or institutions:

  • Publications related to education.
  • Duration and intensity of commitment to psychiatric education.
  • Peer evaluation (comments of colleagues, supervisors, etc.), student evaluation, and other awards, prizes, or commendations received.

The Selection Committee is comprised of four APA members appointed by the President-elect. The committee uses the above criteria to score each nominee. The final selection will be forwarded to the Joint Reference Committee and the APA Board of Trustees for final approval.

Nomination / Application Details

An open call for nominations will be published in APA communications.

  • Nominations by a colleague or department Chair are accepted.
  • Nominations must include the following information:
    • Cover sheet to include:
      • Nominee Name, Email, Preferred phone number.
      • Nominator Name, Email, Preferred phone number (if not a self-nomination).
    • Abbreviated CV (maximum two pages) – including publications and documentation of experience as an educator.
    • Letter of recommendation
    • Maximum two-page narrative, demonstrating how the nominee exemplifies the selection criteria.

Submission Deadline and Instructions

Submissions are now closed.


Awardee will be notified no later than January 31.

Award Presentation

Awardee will receive the award and give an award lecture at the APA Annual Meeting. Awardees will also be posted on APA’s website.


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