AANEM’s Jun Kimura Outstanding Educator Award recognizes members for their significant contributions related to NM and EDX medicine education. David C. Preston, MD, has been selected for the 2022 Jun Kimura Outstanding Educator Award.
Preston has inspired generations of neurologists, NM physicians, physiatrists, and other members of the NM/EDX fields. He has left an immeasurable impact on his residents, fellows, technologists, and colleagues, from his training, academic work in his major publications, sessions at the AANEM conferences, and work in the emerging field of NMUS.
Preston said his path to medicine “was actually a fortuitous route - no one in my family had ever been a doctor, and I had no interest in being a doctor.” His father, grandfather, and great- great grandfather were all engineers. He was also interested in math, science, and electronics, so he went to Case Western Reserve University to study biomedical engineering.
Preston was introduced to the idea of medical school in college. “One of my biomedical engineering professors had done the first 2 years of medical school to learn anatomy and physiology to make himself a better biomechanical engineer. He was a spectacular teacher and motivator. I thought in the back of my mind, ‘That’s kind of a clever idea; maybe I should think about doing that.’”
He began taking pre-med courses, and as he got closer to graduation, decided to apply to medical school. “I wasn’t quite sure where this would take me, but once I got into medical school, I found it absolutely fascinating. Every single day I was learning new things, amazing things, and it just took over my life.”
Preston earned his MD from Case Western Reserve University and completed a neurology residency and clinical neurophysiology fellowship at Tufts Medical Center. He is currently a professor of neurology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine; vice chair of the neurology department, program director of the neurology residency, and director of the NMUS laboratory at the Neurological Institute at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center.
He has received numerous awards and honors throughout his career, including 2021 Academy of Scholar Educators, Case Western Reserve University, School of Medicine; 2020 Robert B. Daroff Department of Neurology Excellence in Teaching Award; and 2019 Dennis, MD, Landis Department
of Neurology Excellence in Teaching Award for PGY3 Residents.
Preston has an extensive background in research and education, and he has published more than 65 original contributions, in addition to writing 25 chapters in neurologic, orthopedic, and internal medicine textbooks. He’s directed and lectured in more than 30 CME courses on NM disorders, EDX testing, and NMUS at the American Academy of Neurology, the AANEM, and Harvard Medical School.
With his wife and colleague, Dr. Barbara Shapiro, he wrote Electromyography and Neuromuscular Disorders, Clinical Electrophysiologic and Ultrasound Correlations
. This best- selling textbook is one of the most comprehensive EDX resources for beginners, and it has served as the foundation upon which physicians around the world learn EMG.
Preston has been told by many trainees he has met across the world that his book is the best EMG book in their countries and that it’s changed their lives. “It’s very humbling,” he said. “I imagine these people were going through neurology or physiatry and deciding which way they wanted to go. At some point they became interested in peripheral nerve and muscle disorders and EDX testing and found a teaching source that really made it come alive to them and motivated them.” Preston said that’s always been important to him as an educator – “you always want to motivate the next generation.”
Preston is also known as an early proponent of d in recent years he has become in the field. He developed a robust NMUS curriculum at his own institution and since then, MUS has continued to take off. “NMUS has dramatically changed the care that we can deliver to our patients. In my opinion, this is one of the biggest advancements in the field in the last 30 years.”
Preston is proud of the impact he’s had on the development of ABEM’s NMUS Certificate of Added Qualification. “I was part of a group of experts who got involved in creating a board certification in NMUS. This was a gigantic endeavor because we had to gain support of the AANEM and then create the board examination itself,” he explained. “The whole idea was to help improve the quality of the tests, improve the education of the people who are learning to do the tests, and to support our own members.”
Preston considers his greatest career accomplishment of all to be his students. He has trained more than 300 neurology residents and 75 NM fellows and said there is nothing more amazing than seeing his students succeed. “Our trainees’ successes are our successes as educators. When one of my former residents or fellows publishes a landmark paper, or wins an award, or is now a chair of a department, it’s an amazing success for them, but it’s also a success for us.”
“I really owe a lot to my mentors for inspiring my involvement in education. They really got me into teaching, education, and writing.”