Allison Cushman-Vokoun, MD, PhD, named Varner Educator Laureate

Allison Cushman-Vokoun, MD, PhD

Allison Cushman-Vokoun, MD, PhD

Allison Cushman-Vokoun, MD, PhD, professor in the UNMC Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, has been named the Varner Educator Laureate for 2023-2024.

Dr. Cushman-Vokoun will be honored along with seven other recipients of the UNMC Impact in Education Awards during a ceremony Thursday, Feb. 29 at 4 p.m. in Durham Research Center, Room 1002, with a reception to follow. RSVP to attend the ceremony. The awards are the highest education-related awards conferred by UNMC, highlighting the dedication and ingenuity of UNMC’s educators.

The Varner Educator Laureate Award – the highest recognition among the honors – recognizes an individual with sustained achievement in education who has significantly improved the UNMC learning environment through the provision of outstanding educational experiences. The award is sponsored by Jerald Varner, PhD, a longtime educator at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

Dr. Cushman-Vokoun said she is deeply humbled and honored by the award. She thanked Dr. Varner, H. Dele Davies, MD, senior vice chancellor for academic affairs, and the Interprofessional Academy of Educators Awards Committee for their selection.

“Through my years at UNMC and my various activities, I have witnessed, and I am so inspired by, all of the innovative educational programs and activities on campus, and by those faculty and staff that lead and support them,” Dr. Cushman-Vokoun said. “I have also encountered so many dedicated and intelligent learners in various areas that challenge me. They are the reason we are here doing what we do.”

Dr. Cushman-Vokoun has a long history of educational excellence. Since joining UNMC in 2009, she has been significantly involved in the development of assessment materials for medical students, residents and fellows at UNMC and nationally. Dr. Cushman-Vokoun led the establishment of the UNMC Molecular Genetic Pathology Fellowship and, since 2015, has served as the program director. She also is an associate director for the UNMC MD-PhD Scholars Program.

Dr. Cushman-Vokoun has been an integral member of several national organizations, including serving as president of the Molecular Genetic Pathology Program Director’s Council under the Association for Molecular Pathology, as a member on the MGP Certification Examination Test Development Committee for the American Board of Pathology and as a member of the National Board of Medical Examiners.

She has served on many committees for the College of American Pathologists, Association for Molecular Pathology and American Society for Clinical Pathology, where she has led or been intimately involved in various educational programs and projects, leading to several publications meant to educate in the areas of molecular pathology and genetic medicine.

The other 2023-2024 UNMC Impact in Education Award recipients are:

  • Emerging Educator Award: Dalton Nelsen, MD, assistant professor in the UNMC Department of Emergency Medicine. The award recognizes an emerging health science educator who demonstrates excellence, dedication and perseverance in teaching and education early in their career.
  • Excellence in Educational Service Award: Kathleen “Kate” Scott, DNP, adjunct instructor in the UNMC Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The award recognizes a UNMC volunteer, emeritus or adjunct faculty member who exemplifies the spirit of outstanding teaching and whose contributions are significant and lasting to the advancement of health care learners, health care education or health care professions.
  • Innovative Practices in Education Award: Amy Cannella, MD, professor in the UNMC Department of Internal Medicine. The award recognizes an individual or team that demonstrates ingenuity, courage and creativity in teaching, including innovations in use of educational technology, experiential learning, adoption of simulation and/or creative use of the classroom.
  • Inspirational Mentor of Educators Award: Elizabeth Harlow, MD, associate professor in the UNMC Department of Internal Medicine. The award recognizes an individual who has mentored junior faculty or trainees in developing as health professions educators.
  • Interprofessional Education Scholar Award: Teresa Cochran, DPT, associate professor in the UNMC Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. The award recognizes an individual or team who has demonstrated excellence in IPE, including teaching in an interprofessional learning environment, disseminating IPE results and best practices and contributing to IPE advancement.
  • Scholar in Education Research Award: Sue Schuelke, PhD, assistant professor in the UNMC College of Nursing-Lincoln Division. The award recognizes an individual who has advanced the science of teaching and learning through research of educational pedagogy.
  • Visionary Leadership in Education Award: Jennifer Adams, MD, associate professor in the UNMC Department of Dermatology. The award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated the ability to skillfully establish or administer an educational initiative or role at UNMC or nationally.

“I am delighted that we can recognize this outstanding group of faculty members who have been selected by their peers as being exemplary in bringing innovation into their programs and in their dedication to and commitment to excellence,” Dr. Davies said. “Our faculty are integral to the high-quality education we deliver every day, and this year’s awardees are truly making an impact in transforming lives through extraordinary training programs. My congratulations to all the award recipients and my heartfelt thanks to all those who volunteered their time on the review panels that selected the awardees.”


  1. Tanya Custer says:

    Congratulations to each of these outstanding educators!

  2. Beau Konigsberg says:

    Outstanding recognition of all your work Ali. Congrats!

  3. Catherine Mello says:

    Congratulations! What an incredible honor for a wonderful person. Thanks for all you do!

  4. Peggy Slagle says:

    Congratulations Dr. Cushman-Vokoun on this well deserved award.

  5. Tom O’Connor says:

    A great choice! Way to go, Ali!

  6. Mary Haven says:

    Dr. Cushman-Voloun, congratulations on the Varner Award. You are doing amazing work.

  7. Mike Smith says:

    Congrats! Well deserved!

  8. Peter C. Iwen says:

    Allison, what a great honor and well deserved.

  9. Jay Helvey says:

    Congratulations! Well deserved addition to that grade-A CV you have there, Dr. A C-V!

  10. Lindsay Cosimano says:

    Congratulations, Ali! So great to see your hard work recognized with this amazing honor.

  11. Tim Greiner MD says:

    Woot! Woot!

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