Dr Robbie Duschinsky is a 2022 winner of the University of Cambridge’s highest teaching award, the Pilkington Prize. Robbie is Associate Professor of Social Sciences at the Primary Care Unit in the Department of Public Health & Primary Care, and Fellow and Director of Studies at Sidney Sussex College.
Robbie was nominated for being a ‘passionate and inspiring multidisciplinary educator.’ His citation for the award describes his particular talent for promoting and supporting learning communities through his infectious enthusiasm and the sincerity of his caring for students and teaching colleagues.
The Pilkington Prize awards were endowed and inaugurated in 1994 by Sir Alastair Pilkington, to acknowledge excellence in teaching at the University of Cambridge. The prizes are awarded to individuals who make an outstanding contribution to the teaching programme of a Department, Faculty or the University as a whole.
Robbie’s Prize recognises his contributions to teaching and leadership of curriculum development within the School of Clinical Medicine and the School of Biological Sciences, as well as his inspiring supervision of undergraduate and postgraduate students in Human, Social & Political Sciences.
Professor John Danesh, Head of the Department of Public Health and Primary Care, said: “Dr Robbie Duschinsky is an inspiring teacher and a gifted scholar. The Department is absolutely delighted that Robbie’s sustained excellence has been recognised by the university’s highest teaching award.”
Robbie founded and leads the Applied Social Science Group at the Primary Care Unit. His graduate students wrote of his leadership: “Robbie has pioneered a unique model for our research group, structured not only as a highly interdisciplinary and collaborative space but also as a community of support. It is telling that nearly every doctoral student who has graduated from the group has chosen to remain involved, joining Robbie as graduate co-supervisors and pursuing further research. It reflects the unmatched environment Robbie has created.”
Robbie is active in equality, diversity & inclusion work within the Clinical School and these values figure strongly in his teaching and committee contributions, including as course convener for the Social & Ethical Context of Health and Illness paper taken by first-year medical students.
Professor Paul Wilkinson, Clinical Dean, said: “Robbie is an excellent, innovative and responsive teacher. He has developed the SECHI course with aplomb, partly because he has been so good at eliciting, then acting on, constructive evaluation from his students.”
Azmaeen Zarif, former MedSoc President, wrote in support of Robbie’s nomination: “I have served on several committees alongside Dr Duschinsky, including the Medicine and Veterinary Medicine Curriculum Review and the Clinical School’s Racism in Medical Education Student-Staff Liaison Group. He is deeply conscientious and cares passionately about improving teaching and learning. His lectures have fundamentally shaped my approach to learning medicine beyond simply the biomedical perspective. I am proud to have been one of his students as well as to have worked alongside him.”
Dr Duschinsky has consistently demonstrated his exemplary commitment to collecting and acting upon student feedback and concerns to drive continuous, real-time improvement.”
– Azmaeen Zarif, former medical student
In response to news of the Prize, Robbie commented: “Within the Primary Care Unit and my Department I have especially appreciated the depth of support to try things out, the scope for collaboration, as well as the shared, serious commitment to what becomes thinkable and possible through the creation and sharing of knowledge. Maybe it sounds a bit paradoxical, but I feel that something I have been able to learn here, as an educator and researcher, has been how exactly to knuckle down and get imaginative.”