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AAMC Honors Ober with National Teaching Award

After nearly 40 years of practicing and teaching medicine at Wake Forest Baptist, K. Patrick Ober, MD, FHO ’79, is receiving national recognition.

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) honored the professor of endocrinology and metabolism with the prestigious Alpha Omega Alpha Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Award during the AAMC annual meeting in November 2016.

“It’s a wonderful honor,” said Ober, who has received more than 30 major teaching awards from School of Medicine students and residents over the years. “When you think about how many medical school instructors there are for them to choose from, it’s humbling. I didn’t expect it.”

Ober began his internship at Wake Forest Baptist in 1974 and joined the faculty in 1979. Listed in Best Doctors in America consistently since 1996, he has served as medical director of the Physician Assistant Program since 2003 and previously served in multiple leadership roles with the medical school, including associate dean for medical education from 2002 through 2011.

“The only thing I can think of that’s possibly more fulfilling than being a doctor is being a teacher,” he said. “The grand fields, as far as I’m concerned, are medicine and education. Every day I get to interact with people who want to learn and do some good in this world.”

Ober said former students will often quote things to him from his lectures that he no longer remembers. “What I tend to remember most are the one-on-one interactions, whether with a student or with a patient,” he said.

As associate dean, Ober was known for his innovative approach to educating medical students. He also received national attention for incorporating professionalism concepts into the curriculum to assure the highest level of professional and ethical behavior in Wake Forest School of Medicine graduates.

In 2007, he was nominated for the AAMC Humanism in Medicine Award. He has served as president of the N.C. affiliate of the American Diabetes Association and as a member of its research committee, and he has served as a chairman of the Professional Education Committee.

Ober and his wife, Cathy, are highly involved in service-related activities in the community. Most notably, Ober serves on the board of directors for Bookmarks, a literary arts nonprofit organization in Winston-Salem, and DEAC (Delivering Equal Access to Care), the medical school’s student-run and physician-staffed free community clinic.

K. Patrick Ober, MD, FHO ’79

Then there is Ober’s noted expertise on the subject of Mark Twain.

“There was always so much written about Mark Twain and religion or politics, but never really anything on Mark Twain and medicine,” Ober said. “I was always curious about that.”

His research into the subject became a serious hobby, and he eventually wrote and published the book, Mark Twain and Medicine: Any Mummery Will Cure. He also recently contributed a chapter to another book, Mark Twain and Youth.