Andrew H. Dubin, MD, Receives Ernest Johnson Outstanding Educator Award
AANEM has selected Andrew H. Dubin, MD to receive the Ernest Johnson Outstanding Educator Award in 2021. AANEM Outstanding Educator Awards honor members for their significant contributions related to neuromuscular and electrodiagnostic medicine education. Dr. Dubin, currently Professor of PM&R and Program Director at the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Florida, has been a member of AANEM since 1995. He has been a practicing physiatrist for 31 years.
I was drawn to this field because of PMR’s holistic approach to the patient,” Dr. Dubin explains. “The field’s emphasis on function, quality of life, and optimization of life continues to motivate me.” Dr. Dubin includes a personal thanks to Dr. Gerald Herbison. “It was Dr. Herbison’s mentorship and challenge to be the best I could be that sparked me to excel. The joy on his face when he was teaching and exchanging ideas with residents and colleagues confirmed PMR was the field for me, and that electrodiagnostic medicine—and all it encompasses—was destined to be my passion.” Dr. Dubin also cites his love of working with people, problem solving and optimizing patients’ quality of life. “My motivation is my residents and their never-ending desire to learn and question,” he explains.
Dr. Dubin’s clinical area of interests include botulinum toxin for spasticity management, management of neuropathic pain syndromes, and electrodiagnostic testing. Dr. Dubin has been published in a dozen publications and has experience researching pelvic floor dystonia and paraspinal muscle fatigue modeling. He also has been featured in over twenty book chapters. “If there is one valuable lesson I’ve learned throughout my career, it’s that there is always something new to learn, and every day brings opportunity to learn, grow, and be amazed,” Dr. Dubin states.
Dr. Dubin calls out his AANEM membership as helping shape his love of teaching and allowing him to make friendships that have endured since 1995. “The colleagues I’ve met through AANEM continue to stimulate my mind while encouraging me to both teach and learn. Throughout my membership, I have served on multiple committees including EDX SAE, CNCT Examination Committee, and the Equipment Committee. Currently, I serve on the UNE Task Force Committee, as well as the Abstract Review Committee.” Dr. Dubin is also a past member of the board.
There is one patient story that brings a smile and a happy tear to Dr. Dubin’s face every time he shares it. “It is the story of a three-year-old boy who took his first steps after botulinum toxin injection treatment for spastic diplegic CP,” Dr. Dubin begins. “His first steps were spent running clumsily down the hallway of a museum causing pandemonium. His mother wondered who the little boy was causing all the trouble. When she realized it was her own son, she ran down the hallway, scooped him up, and sat on the floor, bursting into tears. Everyone thought she had hurt herself. She was crying too hard to tell people that she was fine and they were tears of joy. To this day that story resonates in my heart and motivates me to do the good work.”
Dr. Dubin believes the most rewarding aspect of teaching is “having the pleasure and privilege” of refining the next generation of physiatrists, as well as learning from each generation. He reminds his students to follow their passion and do what they love. “If you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life. In 30-plus years, I have never worked a day in my life,” Dr. Dubin says. “My own mentor would be Dr. Gerald Herbison who taught me the joy of PMR and electrodiagnostic medicine. My teacher would be my dad—a brilliant engineer who taught me the joy of learning, teaching, and never being afraid to ask why.”
Dr. Dubin is a member of multiple professional organizations, including the National Board of Medical Examiners, American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and American Board of Electrodiagnostic Medicine. He has been awarded with the VA Innovators Grant for the development of the safety seat ejector prototype and multiple grants for clinical research on the use of botulinum toxic for pain treatment. Outside of his career, Dr. Dubin is an avid Concept 2 indoor rower because he “delights” in challenging himself. He also loves to cook, cultivate and tend a wide variety of plants.
“Winning this award and doing this interview made me think about what gets me up every day. My answers are from the heart, which sometimes makes for less than perfect prose,” Dr. Dubin relays. “So I look forward to meeting in-person at the 2021 Annual Meeting and the chance to learn, exchange ideas, and see near and dear friends. Zoom meetings are just not the same.”