Dr. Talmon honored as Varner Educator Laureate

Geoffrey Talmon, MD — the 2020-21 Varner Educator Laureate — didn’t want to be a teacher.

His parents were both middle school teachers. They thought he would make a good teacher, too.
“No, I want to be a doctor,” he said.

Varner Educator Laureate Award

picture disc.

Dr. Varner

The Varner Educator Laureate Award is named after Jerald Varner, PhD, associate professor in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Engineering. In addition to his support of the Innovation in Education Awards, Dr. Varner also currently funds the Varner Professorship in Pancreatic Cancer and Global Health in the College of Medicine, which is held by Chandra Are, MBBS.

So he became a medical student. And then a pathology resident. And one day, as a resident, he discovered something.

He really loves teaching.
He loves the room to innovate. He loves seeing the flash of understanding in a student’s eyes. He loves the impact he and other educators have on the future of medicine.

See information on March 3 ceremony.

“Education is a place where there is always a need, and there’s always room to innovate and make things your own,” he said. “There’s opportunity to teach, but also to grow and be creative and to do stuff that’s fun.”

Dr. Talmon’s teaching efforts on the medical/graduate school level include both clinical and didactic courses, interacting with all students, faculty and residents in the pathology department. He also teaches with the High School Alliance — “That’s one of the things that I find most rewarding. In terms of honing my skills as an educator, that gives me the most room to try new things.”

Recently named associate dean for medical education for the UNMC College of Medicine, he handles an increasing amount of administrative duties, as well.

“The administrative work gives me a chance to provide the same opportunities that I had to junior faculty members as my leaders did for me,” he said. “I have a chance to give them that same opportunity to innovate and interact with students that I had.

“Right now, the thing that is most rewarding is to see the people that I trained training others.”

See ceremony program.

Dr. Talmon calls himself incredibly fortunate in the support he found for his educational efforts at UNMC, which included helping to found the Interprofessional Academy of Educators (IAE).

What others are saying

“Congratulations to Dr. Talmon on receiving the Varner Laureate Award. Dr. Talmon has shown over the past decade that he is a master teacher who knows how to bring complex ideas to life for his students and make his material fun to learn. Beyond that, he has created curriculum that spans learners from high school all through post-graduate fellows and practicing physicians. He also has been a leader in interprofessional education, has developed a national profile and has received numerous other teaching awards over his career. He exemplifies the same qualities of ingenuity, innovation and commitment that is common to the previous Varner Award recipients, and I am delighted he is this year’s award recipient.”
-Dele Davies, MD, senior vice chancellor for academic affairs

“Dr. Talmon is a talented and dedicated educator whose passion for teaching has benefited learners and educational programs across campus. However, his impact on education goes far beyond the classroom. With his effective teaching style, approachability, and expertise, he simultaneously educates and inspires his learners and in doing so, encourages them to become the next generation of health professions educators.”
-Brian Boerner, MD, director, Interprofessional Academy of Educators

“Dr. Talmon’s passion for and commitment to education is well-known to his colleagues, not only in the College of Medicine but throughout UNMC. We congratulate him on this most deserved recognition of his efforts and achievements in service of UNMC’s education mission.”
-Bradley Britigan, MD, dean, UNMC College of Medicine

“Dr. Steve Hinrichs, my chair, has never told me ‘No’ if there was an educational avenue I wanted to explore,” Dr. Talmon said. Gerald “Jay” Moore, MD, the college’s former senior associate dean for academic affairs, and UNMC College of Medicine Dean Bradley Britigan, MD, also were supportive.

Dr. Talmon said he was humbled by the chance to join the group of educator laureates who preceded him. He thanked Dele Davies, MD, senior vice chancellor for academic affairs, and Brian Boerner, MD, director of the IAE.

“One of the best parts about this award for me, and again, the most humbling, is that this is something for which you are nominated by your peers,” he said. “It’s also very gratifying that this award is coming not only from Dr. Davies’ office, but from the Interprofessional Academy of Educators itself — because that was an organization I have been involved with for so long.”

In the midst of a global pandemic and amid increased national awareness and willingness to address racial disparities and injustice, teaching’s importance is even more clear, Dr. Talmon said.

“If you want to talk about a place where you can have the most impact, it is teaching,” he said. “In any area in society, really, but especially health care. There’s probably no broader-reaching way that you can have sheer bang for your buck in terms of impact on the future of health care than in education.”


  1. Tanya Custer says:

    Congratulations to Dr. Talmon & all of the award winners!

  2. Linda Love says:

    It has been easy to see–for years–the influence Dr. Talmon has had on the future of our academic medical center–one classroom, one teaching moment, one change at a time. Congratulations, Geoff!

  3. Maher Abdalla says:


  4. Catherine Mello says:

    Congratulations, Dr. Talmon! Thanks so much for all you do!

  5. Peggy Moore says:

    Congratulations Dr. Talmon and these distinguished educators!

  6. Tom O’Connor says:

    Great story on a UNMC superstar!

  7. Heidi Kaschke says:

    Congratulations, Dr. Talmon! On behalf of the High School Alliance program we thank you for your continued support and willingness to teach our students.

  8. Krishna says:

    Congratulations Geoff!

Comments are closed.