University of Washington Department of Medicine Names Spokane’s Dr. Kang Zhang a Excellence in Teaching Award Honoree

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

SEATTLE, WA – The University of Washington Department of Medicine has named Kang Zhang, M.D., of Spokane, WA, a recipient of the 2019 Richard M. Tucker WWAMI Excellence in Teaching Award.


Dr. Zhang is one of seven recipients that were selected for this award from more than 325 University of Washington clinical faculty members in the Department of Medicine from the states of Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho (WWAMI).  The recognition is based on medical student nominations and committee selection for “demonstrated enthusiasm and dedication to the teaching of medical students and residents.” Dr. Zhang is an Internist at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center.


Student comments include accolades for exemplary leadership skills, enthusiasm, extensive knowledge, and relentless encouragement.


“Throughout medical training, learners are often held to high expectations, and there is a tendency to achieve perfection,” said Dr. Zhang. A missed diagnosis or wrong answer is often internalized as guilt or a state of inadequacy, which can be a major barrier for active participation, engaged learning and open, critical thinking.  I try to set an environment where my learners feel safe; more specifically, this ‘safe environment’ means that the learners know their ideas and thoughts are supported. All views are worthy of consideration, and valued without judgment.”


The seven faculty awardees include:

  • Andrea Christopher, M.D. –  Boise, ID
  • Brian Fortuin, M.D. – Twin Falls, ID
  • Michael Herring, M.D. – Bozeman, MT
  • David Mark, M.D. – Hardin, MT
  • Michele O’Fallon, M.D. – Anchorage, AK
  • John Thalken, M.D. – Douglas, WY
  • Kang Zhang, M.D. – Spokane, WA

Since 1998, the UW Department of Medicine has honored physicians from Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho (WWAMI) with the WWAMI Excellence in Teaching Award. In 2009 the award was renamed to honor the late Richard M. Tucker, M.D., an infectious disease specialist at Wenatchee Valley Medical Center. Dr. Tucker served as the Wenatchee, WA clinical site coordinator and director for quality and education.


The University of Washington Department of Medicine is proud to celebrate Dr. Zhang and the other educators as exceptional role models for aspiring physicians. 


About the UW School of Medicine & WWAMI

The University of Washington School of Medicine, founded in 1946, is a public medical school based in Seattle, Washington. The School’s faculty includes physicians, biomedical scientists and allied health professionals. They conduct basic and clinical research, care for patients and train new physicians.


In the early 1970s the United States faced a shortage of general practitioners, especially in rural communities. This shortage impacted Washington state which, at the time, had no practicing primary care physicians in five of its counties. Noting that surrounding states and Alaska were faring even worse the UW took the initiative and developed a comprehensive program to train and prepare physicians to care for patients across Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho. This regional education program to bring primary care physicians to medically underserved communities was originally known as WAMI, an acronym for the states served by the UW School of Medicine; it became WWAMI in 1996 on the addition of Wyoming to the program.


WWAMI is a national model for community-based training of physicians for rural areas and for other populations lacking adequate medical services. The medical school is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top three medical schools for primary-care education, family medicine and rural medicine training.  It is also the nation’s #1 public university for receiving National Institutes of Health funding. And from all sources combined, the School receives more than $1 billion each year in research funding.

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