National Honor for UConn Health’s Dr. Mario Fahed

American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry 2024 Educator of the Year

Portrait of awardee and two presenters

Dr. Mario Faheed accepts the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry's 2024 Educator of the Year Award from Dr. Helen Lavretsky, AAGP president (left), and Dr. Michelle Conroy, chair of AAGP's teaching and training committee (right) at the association's annual meeting in Atlanta, March 15, 2024. (AAGP photo)

Dr. Mario Fahed, geriatric psychiatrist in the UConn Center on Aging, is the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry’s (AAGP) 2024 Educator of the Year.

The AAGP presented Fahed with the award, which recognizes demonstrated excellence in the field of geriatric psychiatry education, at its annual meeting in Atlanta March 15.

“Dr. Fahed displays excellence in education across multiple categories for which this award is given, including leadership, teaching, mentoring, curricular development, faculty development, and educational publication,” says Dr. Kristina Zdanys, fellow UConn Health geriatric psychiatrist. “On a personal note, I would like to add that Dr. Fahed is an inspiring colleague who brings out the best in our faculty and motivates us all to continue life-long learning. He constantly drives me and our other Geriatric Psychiatry Division members to push ourselves out of our comfort zones in the classroom, embrace new learning models, pay attention to our personal biases, and first and foremost unabashedly share our passion for geriatric psychiatry with trainees at all levels.”

Zdanys and Dr. David Steffens, UConn Health psychiatry chair, nominated Fahed.

“Dr. Fahed is the model clinician educator,” Steffens says. “Here at UConn, he has received several teaching awards from our residents as well as the Gold Humanism Honor Society Award. Beyond his teaching awards, Dr. Fahed has served as Psychiatry Clerkship Director. He has also spearheaded development of a new curriculum for psychiatry residents, geriatric psychiatry fellows, and geriatric medicine fellow on ‘Neuroimaging in Cognitive Disorders.’ Working with colleagues at Yale, Dr. Fahed used a ‘flipped classroom approach’ to engage trainees. He was very well deserving of the AAGP Educator of the Year Award.”

Dr. Mario Fahed portrait in white coat
Dr. Mario Fahed is a geriatric psychiatrist at UConn Health. (Photo by Tina Encarnacion)

Fahed is an associate professor of psychiatry and faculty co-director of medical student affairs in the UConn School of Medicine.

“Receiving the AAGP 2024 Educator of the Year award is an honor that deeply humbles me as an international medical graduate who’s had the opportunity to grow into an academic geriatric psychiatrist,” Fahed says. “This recognition is not just a personal milestone; it symbolizes the collective effort and dedication of many who have journeyed with me — mentors, family, colleagues, residents, students, patients, and their families. It reinforces the importance of geriatric psychiatry in addressing the complex mental health needs of the aging population, a field that is both challenging and profoundly rewarding.”

He says the honor renews his sense of purpose and serves as a call to action.

“It’s an encouragement to continue advocating for the mental health of the elderly, to innovate in our teaching methods, and to foster a global community of practice that bridges gaps in care and knowledge,” Fahed says. “It’s a reminder that, even as an individual from an international background, my contributions can have a significant impact, inspiring others in diverse contexts to strive for excellence in the care of our aging population.”

The AAGP is a membership association of more than 1,000 geriatric psychiatrists and other health care professionals dedicated to the mental well-being of older adults.