ACH Healthcare Communication Teaching Excellence Award

Healthcare Communication Award Logo

About The Award

The ACH Healthcare Communication Teaching Excellence Award recognizes educators who advance the field of healthcare communication. 
Criteria for the Teaching Excellence award include at least one of the following:
  • Healthcare communication teaching that has made an impact beyond the candidate's institution
  • Original and innovative communication teaching and learning
  • Communication training in a particularly challenging environment
The award committee will look for evidence and recognition from others such as:
  • Evaluations from participants in a healthcare communication education program
  • Invitations to present at other institutions
  • Although not required, publications in peer-reviewed journals or durable education resources (e.g. MedEdPORTAL, book chapters) will add further support
  • Evidence of a sustained impact of teaching and/or curricular materials or programs
  • Letters of support

Eligibility: Nominators should be members of ACH. Upon acceptance of the award the winner should be a member of ACH.

Nomination Deadline: March 31, 2024

Awards will be presented at the 2024 ACH ENRICH Healthcare Communication Course in Atlanta, GA: May 30 - June 2, 2024

Nominees should be available to attend this event in the event they are selected as an awardee.  Awardees are provided travel expense reimbursement for travel to the course along with complimentary registration.


Nominations can be sent by candidates themselves or by colleagues with the candidate's agreement.
  • Cover letter
  • An up-to-date CV of the nominee
  • A description of the healthcare communication program through which the nominee has made a significant and outstanding contribution to health care communication: nominees should provide an example of teaching materials that are particularly representative
  • Two letters of recommendation by senior colleagues or others, describing the accomplishments of the nominee and explaining how the nominee fulfills the criteria for the award in the field of health care communication teaching
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Cropped Photo Of Sally Fortner
2023 Healthcare Communication Teaching Excellence Award Recipient

Congratulations to Sally Fortner, MD, MS, FACH

Recipient of the 7th annual Healthcare Communication Teaching Excellence Award, which recognizes educators who advance the field of healthcare communication!

Dr. Fortner is a professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine at the University of New Mexico. Her passion for education and communication became evident early in her career, during her fellowship in Cardiac Anesthesiology at Vanderbilt University. It was there that she began to understand the critical importance of effective communication between team members in high acuity situations. As an academic anesthesiologist, Dr. Fortner continued to mentor learners in all areas of health care, and has been a great resource and trusted colleague for faculty, residents, and students alike. Her passion for life-long education has led her to innovate and create meaningful educational endeavors for physicians and other practitioners at all stages of their careers. At UNM, Dr. Fortner sought advanced training in simulation design and debriefing. She has developed and directed the simulation courses not only for physicians-in-training, but also for seasoned professionals as the Director of Simulation for Maintenance of Certification in Anesthesiology – an undertaking that requires a nuanced and considered depth of understanding for both educational and evaluative aspects, as well as particular attention to engagement and identity in this population. Dr. Fortner’s tenure at ACH includes her work both as a FIT Co-director and one of the founding Co-Directors of the FITFAB Course for faculty in training. Her efforts to make education within health care accessible, interesting, and memorable add joy to her daily duties! 

This award was presented at the 2023 ACH ENRICH Healthcare Communication Course in Austin, TX.

Previous Recipients: Healthcare Communication Teaching Excellence Award

2023 – Sally Fortner
2022 – Auguste H. Fortin
2021 – Denise Davis
2020 – R. Ellen Pearlman
2019 – Calvin Chou
2018 – Maysel Kemp White
2017 – Jane Shaw