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Dr. Edward JN Ishac

Dr. Edward J.N. Ishac, Associate Professor, Pharmacology and Toxicology, received the School of Medicine's Educational Innovation Award.

Perhaps no instructor has done more to bring 21st Century technology into the VCU School of Medicine (SOM) classrooms than Dr. Edward Ishac, Associate Professor in the Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology and the winner of the 2004 SOM Educational Innovation Award.

His teaching style is as much high-touch as it is high-tech. For example, when instructing students about the autonomic regulation of the cardiovascular system and how agents act upon that system, he provides blood pressure monitors for in-class use. He also developed an interactive “Wet-Lab” that allows students to visualize the characteristics of normal blood pressure and heart rate, then click on a drug and see the traces it should produce.

“What makes Eddy really a cut above all the other talented teachers…is his ability to employ his considerable talent with computers and computer systems toward making his teaching even more effective,” wrote George Kunos, MD., Ph.D., Scientific Director, NIAAA/NIH. “He has developed a multifaceted web-based teaching resource in pharmacology that is indeed unique in its kind. It combines syllabi, multiple choice practice questions, references to the latest information that has just appeared in the literature, and innovative interactive tools combining video and audio techniques to illustrate difficult-to-grasp concepts in a highly user friendly manner.”

Dr. Ishac is the most innovative educator that I have met in my almost 40 years at a university,” praised Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology, William L. Dewey, Ph.D. “He has created the first comprehensive website for pharmacology instruction in our School of Medicine. One of the most impressive aspects of his contributions to teaching is the manner in which he improves and encourages self-education for all students, faculty and others. His web-based instruction makes available a level of learning that cannot be provided in the classroom; it is not a replacement for but an important supplement to in-class instruction. These learning innovations are not only beneficial to current students as enhanced study tools, but also for the continuing education of all medical personnel through their careers.”

Among those tools is a comprehensive Pharmacology and Toxicology CD that covers the entire discipline of Pharmacology, a CD that Dr. Ishac prepared to assist faculty in lecture preparation. He also leads faculty and staff workshops to further the use of electronic media as an educational medium. His commitment to students is broad and deep as well, and includes both one-on-one time, an amazing electronic FAQ (frequently asked questions) resource that anticipates and answers the questions students have about pharmacology, and an online resource of more than 200 multiple choice questions, including both the correct answer and the reason why that answer was correct. Current innovations by Dr. Ishac include the incorporation of audio and video into the online Powerpoint presentations.

While this is Dr. Ishac’s first Educational Innovation Award, he already has won several Professor of the Year awards in the department and several teaching excellence awards for the Pharmacology course in the School of Medicine. He consistently receives the highest evaluations from his students in the 2nd year medical school, the nurse anesthetist program in Allied Health, and from graduate students in the Pharmacology/ Toxicology Department. His prowess is summarized best by Billy R. Martin, Ph.D., Harris Professor and Chair, Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology: “He is an outstanding educator because his love for teaching, great depth of knowledge and powerful communication skills converge in the classroom.”


Virginia Commonwealth University   |   School of Medicine   |   Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology
1112 East Clay Street, Suite 100, P.O. Box 980613, Richmond, Virginia 23298-0613   |   Phone: (804) 827-0375
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Updated: 9/9/2013