Dr. Balasanova recognized for excellence in education

Alëna Balasanova, MD

Alëna Balasanova, MD

Alëna Balasanova, MD, an associate professor in the UNMC Department of Psychiatry, was named a recipient of the American Psychiatric Association 2022-2023 Nancy C.A. Roeske, MD, Certificate of Recognition for Excellence in Medical Student Education.

This award was established in honor of Nancy C.A. Roeske, MD, and serves as a tribute to her unique and creative contributions to psychiatric education. The certificate is awarded annually to APA members who have made outstanding and sustaining contributions to medical student education.

According to Vishal Madaan, MD, chief of education and deputy medical director of the APA, Dr. Balasanova received the award for her outstanding and sustaining contributions to medical student education in addiction psychiatry as a faculty member in the UNMC Department of Psychiatry. 

Dr. Balasanova has developed novel educational programs for medical students, residents, fellows and allied health professionals. She also holds a courtesy appointment in the UNMC College of Allied Health Professions for her work in physician assistant education. Dr. Balasanova was the founding director of the Outpatient Addiction Psychiatry Clinic and Longitudinal Integrated Mental Health/Substance Use Outpatient Clinic, an internationally recognized clinical experience for psychiatry residents. Most recently, Dr. Balasanova helped develop and currently co-directs the Addiction Psychiatry Consultation-Liaison Service in the hospital.

Dr. Balasanova said the best way to succeed as a clinician and educator is to integrate both specialties.

“I could just teach or just see patients, but I feel the best way to do both jobs is to put them together,” she said. “On our consult service, we will see patients at the bedside and provide them clinical care and simultaneously teach students on how to evaluate a patient. And you can add research to the mix by writing and publishing about those experiences. So really, you can integrate all of it.” 

On the research front, Dr. Balasanova integrates medical education by mentoring students on scholarly writing, which has led to first-author peer-reviewed publications for 10 students.


  1. Celeste Akers says:

    Congratulations, Dr. Balasanova on such a well-deserved award that recognizes your excellence in teaching best-practice Substance Use Disorder care!
    Also, way to go for both you and Kelly for co-authoring this influential article and getting it published!

  2. Dr. Sheritta Strong says:

    Congratulations on such a great honor!

  3. Brigette Vaughan says:

    Congratulations, Dr. Balasanova! This is very well-deserved. You blend teaching and patient care so effortlessly, and your commitment to APP’s is appreciated by all of us!

  4. Kelly Caverzagie says:

    Congrats Alena! A very well deserved recognition for your valued contributions!

  5. Kaleb Michaud says:

    Congratulations! Great news and glad to see you continue to rise!

  6. Karsten Bartels says:

    Congrats Alëna! So deserved.

  7. Tom O’Connor says:

    You make us proud, Alena! Thanks for all you do.

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