Following the awards, Sheldon Benjamin, MD, delivered the Last Lecture called “On Mentorship and Memory.” The honor of presenting it was conferred upon Dr. Benjamin, professor of psychiatry and neurology and vice chair of education for the Department of Psychiatry, as the most recent recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Distinguished Teaching. His lecture interspersed accounts of his own mentors with insights in to how the brain remembers, how memory serves us and why the memory of mentors are so powerful.
“It’s the emotional connection that imbeds a memory most firmly in your psyche. And memory can actually change our neurons—it’s been proven,” Benjamin summarized. “This means that a mentor can change your brain when you have the right mentoring experience. You can be 90 years old and still remember your mentor to get you through a tough situation.”
He closed by reflecting on his own experience as a teacher and mentor at UMMS, asking the psychiatry and neuropsychiatry students and residents in attendance to stand and thanking them, to thunderous applause, for “teaching me how to teach.”
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