AIDS Researcher Detels Wins Teaching Award

AIDS Researcher Detels Wins Teaching Award

Professor Roger Detels, right, laughs with some of his graduate students. (Photo by Reed Hutchinson)

Roger Detels, a professor of epidemiology, is recognized for Distinction in Teaching at the Graduate Level.

By Alison Hewitt for UCLA Today

GRADUATES FROM Epidemiology Professor Detels' classes don't just go on to careers in public health. They go on to establish a public health school in Cambodia or serve as director of health for all of California, for example. Other graduates include the minister of health for Hungary and the former minister of health for Taiwan.

[Detels is one of this year's six Distinguished Teaching Award Senate winners, which represents the highest attainment of academic and professional excellence at UCLA. Read more.]

But what Detels is really known for is his work exploring HIV and AIDS. "His teaching and research accomplishments have fundamentally advanced the theory and practice of HIV/AIDS epidemiology," wrote his colleagues. Detels is "a world-renowned teacher and researcher in the field."

"Teaching is a performance art," Detels said. "Humor is key. You can give a fine lecture, but if the students were asleep, you didn't give it! Appropriate humor keeps them attentive, especially if you use it to illustrate a point or concept. … There is no greater joy for a teacher than watching young minds open up and realizing what they can achieve."

Along with garnering more than $100 million in grants during his 38 years at UCLA, Detels makes a point of helping his master's and doctoral students obtain funding.

Published: Tuesday, June 02, 2009