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Deborah L. Cabaniss, MD, Director of Psychotherapy Training, is the Recipient of the Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching at Columbia University

May 28, 2014

 Deborah L. Cabaniss, Director of Psychotherapy Training in the Columbia University Department of Psychiatry, and Director of the Virginia Apgar Academy of Medical Educators, received a Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching from President Lee Bollinger at this year’s Columbia University Commencement on May 21st.  The Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching is the highest award for teaching offered at the University, and this year five professors were chosen from over 500 nominations.


President Bollinger’s commendation of Dr. Cabaniss noted that she has “revolutionized the way psychotherapy is taught in the residency, in the medical school, and through her books and workshops, around the entire country. She has  “begun to integrate cognitive neuroscience into the understanding of psychodynamic mechanisms,” and that, “before the term ‘flipped classroom’ became fashionable” she flipped it, challenging her students to participate actively in every class.”


 Dr. Cabaniss, who has been at Columbia since entering medical school here in 1984, is a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who has indeed revolutionalized the way that psychotherapy is taught. Her books, Psychodynamic Psychotherapy: A Clinical Manual, and Psychodynamic Formulation have become core reading in residencies throughout the US and Canada and are being translated into Mandarin, Korean, and Farsi. She has been the recipient of the Roger MacKinnon Teacher of the year award from the Columbia residents, the Irma Bland Award for excellence in teaching residents and the Nancy Roeske Award for excellence in teaching medical students from the APA, and the Charles Bohmfalk Award for excellence in teaching at P&S – just to name a few. She has travelled the country, giving talks and educational workshops to help educators to teach psychodynamic psychotherapy in a clear, operationalized way that students can understand and master. Valued by the entire CUMC community for her excellence as an educator, she was made the Director of the Virginia Apgar Academy of Medical Educators in 2011, and she has been a campus-wide leader in shaping the new educational track system.


President Bollinger concluded his commendation with the heartfelt words that “we applaud and admire you for your passion for teaching, your generosity to those whom you teach, and for your commitment and dedication to the College of Physicians and Surgeons and Columbia. Your inspire your colleagues, and we take great pride in conferring the University's highest award for teaching.”


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