Drs. Steven Cheng and Timothy Yau Rewarded for Excellence in Teaching

Congratulations to nephrologists Steven Cheng, Associate Professor of Medicine, and Timothy Yau, Assistant Professor of Medicine, who were honored at the Distinguished Service Teaching Awards ceremony on October 24, 2017.

Dr. Yau is fourth from the left. Dr. Cheng is sixth from the right.

The awards, presented to faculty and house staff who have made “significant contributions to the training of future physicians,” are determined by the Washington University medical school Classes of 2018, 2019, and 2020.

Medical students finishing their first, second, or third year of studies nominate course directors, lecturers, clerkship directors, attendings, and residents who they believe made the biggest positive impact on their medical education. Votes are cast in July, and the awards are presented in October. The event is implemented with support from the Office of Medical Student Education.

Dr. Cheng was awarded the Distinguished Professor of the Year Award by the Class of 2019. “It’s such an honor to be recognized by the students,” says Dr. Cheng. “I share this award with my colleagues, who all play such an important role in making nephrology challenging, interesting, and fun.” Cheng is also quick to acknowledge those who inspire him. “I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to my own mentors, including Dr. Dave Windus and Dr. Stan Misler, who set an incredibly high standard for teaching renal pathophysiology in this institution.”

Dr. Timothy Yau.

The Class of 2019 honored Dr. Yau with the Distinguished Service Teaching Award. In addition, he received the Distinguished Service Teaching Award and the Practice of Medicine Small Group Leader of the Year Award from the Class of 2020. “It was a challenge navigating this complex course for the first time,” says Dr. Yau, who took over as Practice of Medicine 1 course director in 2016. “Working with these students on doctoring skills has absolutely led me to reflect on how I can become a better physician myself.”

In testament to both doctors’ exemplary service in medical education, these were not the first awards presented to them by Washington University medical students. In 2015, the Class of 2017 bestowed Dr. Cheng with the Course Master of the Year Award, and in 2016, the Class of 2018 awarded him Lecturer of the Year. Dr. Yau received Distinguished Service Teaching Awards in 2014 and 2016, as well.

Dr. Cheng is far left on violin.

In addition to his skills as a teacher, Cheng is a talented violinist who serves as co-concertmaster for the Saint Louis Philharmonic Orchestra. He is also a member The Osler Quintet, a group of four medical professionals and one web developer. (Follow this link to watch the latest performance of The Osler Quintet at the Eliot Unitarian Chapel in Kirkwood, MO, on October 15, 2017.)

In 2016, Dr. Yau was appointed the Practice of Medicine I and III Course Director, a role in which he is responsible for overseeing the clinical skills education of all first-year medical students, in addition to other duties. Yau is the creator and moderator of the innovative Washington University in St. Louis Nephrology Web Video Series, which recently topped 40K views on YouTube, and which won the 2016 ASN Innovation in Kidney Education Award. Yau is also Social Media Editor for the American Journal for Kidney Diseases blog site ajkdblog.org, developing and editing content for the AJKD blog site. An accomplished musician, Yau plays guitar, fiddle, bouzouki, and mandolin and is a big fan of traditional Irish music.

Left to right: Dr. Windus, Dr. Delos Santos, Dr. Yau (guitar), Dr. Cheng and Dr. Goldberg. Their new youtube parody of “Paradise,” a John Prine song, is up on youtube and dedicated to the Wash U School of Medicine Class of 2020.