Justine Gortney wins 2020 Prism Prize for Innovation in Teaching

Justine Gortney“Dr. Gortney has been a great professor and an even better mentor,” said Ramy Mana, a Class of 2021 PharmD candidate. “She takes the initiative to help students reach their full potential both academically and personally.”

It should come as no surprise that someone who inspires that sort of sentiment would be awarded the 2020 Prism Prize for Innovation in Teaching from the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

The coveted Prism Prize recognizes faculty who demonstrate the true essence of service learning and its impact on students and the community. Associate Clinical Professor of Pharmacy Practice Justine S. Gortney was honored during the April 22 All College Faculty and Academic Staff meeting, held via teleconference due to novel coronavirus gathering restrictions.

“Justine was nominated for her leadership and commitment to CHIP, the Community Homeless Interprofessional Program,” said Dean Catherine Lysack. “Since its inception six years ago, she’s been a consistent volunteer, providing direct care while supervising and mentoring students.”

CHIP is a collaborative, student-run free clinic run by health professions students and WSU Applebaum, School of Medicine and School of Social Work faculty to provide basic medical services for people of Detroit who are experiencing homelessness. The program has received local and national recognition for its efforts, including an Excellence in Interprofessional Education Award Honorable Mention in 2019 from the U.S. Public Health Service.

CHIP student leaders
Ramy Mana (far right) and CHIP student and alumni leaders outside the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, which hosts the clinic.

“Dr. Gortney always takes the initiative to ask students how they are doing and if there is anything that can be done to help,” said Mana, who volunteers with CHIP under Gortney’s tutelage. “She goes above all expectations with CHIP to not only help students build skills and reach our full potential but also for improved outcomes for our patients.”

Upon retiring from WSU Applebaum, Assistant Dean of Student and Alumni Affairs Wyn Schumann generously created the Prism Prize for Innovation in Teaching to recognize faculty members who exemplify the principles of service learning and its impact. Through Schumann’s support, winners receive $1,500 to purchase education-related materials, underwrite the cost of a visiting speaker on the topic of service learning, or conference travel to present work related to service learning.

Schumann was able to join the online staff meeting and see the award being presented, giving Gortney the opportunity to express her gratitude directly. “Thank you, Wyn, on behalf of the entire CHIP team that I’m fortunate to work with,” Gortney said. “It’s been a great journey being able to serve the homeless, and it’s been great for our students too.”

Associate Dean of Pharmacy Richard L. Lucarotti said, “Justine is a most deserved individual for this award for her many years of commitment to service of the homeless and teaching/precepting students in this service. The homeless have benefited directly from her service and concurrently the students have gained in their ability to provide care and from seeing her as a role model.”

Added Dean Lysack, “We appreciate Justine’s steadfast dedication to our community and the service learning of our students.”

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