The Ohio Academy of Family Physicians will recognize Christopher Bernheisel, MD, of Cincinnati, OH, with its 2016 Family Medicine Educator of the Year Award on Saturday, August 13, during its Academy Award Dinner.
Dr. Bernheisel is the program director at The Christ Hospital/University of Cincinnati Family Medicine Residency Program, where he has practiced family medicine since 2002 when he was a resident in the program.
One of the youngest program directors in the state, Dr. Bernheisel has a personal investment in each resident from a professional development, education, and personal life standpoint.
“He has encouraged residents to take ownership in identifying their individual learning styles, and being able to identify the learning styles of others in order to be more effective in communication. He has also seamlessly integrated technology and point-of-care tools into his teaching style, demonstrating the concept that medicine is truly an ‘open book’ endeavor,” said Chinyere Ogbonna, MD, MPH, a previous resident.
Dr. Bernheisel has transformed the UC family medicine residency curriculum and made the residency an example of true excellence in family medicine education.
“His encyclopedic knowledge of clinical medicine is made approachable with a teaching attitude that says ‘Come join my side, let’s figure this problem out together,’” said Jeffrey Schlaudecker, MD, MEd, program director for the University of Cincinnati Geriatric Medicine Fellowship Program.
“Personally, Dr. Bernheisel has helped me realize the importance of having a good work-life balance. He proves that it’s possible to have a fulfilling family life and family medicine practice. More importantly, he makes the time to meet with each resident to identify not only learning objectives, but also personal aspirations and goals. He encourages us to advocate for the kind of practice we envision having, and will assist residents in obtaining the clinical experiences tailored for their interests,” said Dr. Ogbonna.
Dr. Bernheisel leads a fulfilling life as a family medicine educator; husband to Lisa, a part-time Lutheran pastor; and father to John, twins Sam and Tom, and Peter. When he’s not chasing his four boys or leading the UC residents, Dr. Bernheisel loves experimenting with new technology or volunteering in his community.
Dr. Bernheisel is known throughout the residency, the UC medical school, and all of Cincinnati as the “bow tie” doctor, wearing a unique symbolic bow tie each day.
“While I was a resident, it was not uncommon for Dr. Bernheisel to stay late or come to the hospital early (or even on days off) to help the team and lead inpatient rounds. Patients and their families were always asking for the doctor with the signature bow-tie who provided exceptional care. Not only did he instill confidence and trust in his patients, but he instilled the same trust in the residents who hoped to emulate him,” said Lauren Wang, MD, a previous resident.
“Not only did Dr. Bernheisel teach about clinical topics, but he also taught us to be good people. Dr. Bernheisel was quick to acknowledge a kind deed or positive attitude, usually in the form of a handwritten note which he would take the time to send to a resident’s home. This sort of reinforcement did a lot to encourage our positive behaviors and shape our development into leaders,” continued Dr. Wang.
“The cornerstone of Chris’ effectiveness is made up of his incredible clinical acumen, extensive knowledge of medicine, passion for learning and teaching, internal motivation to excel, ability to discern in the moment, and his consummate integrity. Thus, he is quite extraordinary and leaves many in awe of his abilities, but at his core he is selfless and humble as a servant leader enabling him to lead those around him by example,” said Philip Diller, MD, PhD, chair of the University of Cincinnati Department of Family and Community Medicine.
Also an associate professor of family medicine and director of inpatient family medicine service at the residency, Dr. Bernheisel has received many awards from the residency including the Family Medicine Inpatient Teacher Award four times in his short career, the Excellence in Residency Training Award, the Family Medicine Mentor Award, and the Family Medicine Positive Changes Award.
Dr. Bernheisel is a founding member of Passion for Life, a non-profit designed to empower patients and communities. He volunteers at Price Hill Free Medical Clinic and is an active member of Ascension Lutheran Church serving in multiple different roles. He has made several different missions trips to Santa Lucia and Honduras.
Dr. Bernheisel graduated with his bachelor of science in chemistry from Bowling Green State University and earned his doctor of medicine at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. He completed his residency training at The Christ Hospital/University of Cincinnati Family Medicine Residency Program. He is board certified in family medicine.
The Bernheisels reside in Wyoming.
The OAFP annually presents the Family Medicine Educator of the Year Award to a family medicine educator that meets and exceeds the criteria of being a capable teacher of family medicine, successful administrator/practitioner, productive researcher/scholar, and inspiring leader. Candidates must also have 10 years post-residency (or equivalent) experience, be actively caring for patients, and be a member of the OAFP.
Also during the awards ceremony, Terry Wagner, DO, FAAFP, of Stow, will be presented with the OAFP Family Physician of the Year Award.
OAFP members are welcome to attend the Academy Awards Dinner at no charge; however, pre-registration is required. For more information on the Members Assembly and to register, please visit the OAFP website.