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Sicily-based Navy physician Mark Stephens was recently recognized with the William P. Clements Jr. Award for Excellence in Medical Education from the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md.
Sicily-based Navy physician Mark Stephens was recently recognized with the William P. Clements Jr. Award for Excellence in Medical Education from the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md. (Courtesy of the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences)

A Sigonella, Sicily-based Navy physician was recently recognized with the William P. Clements Jr. Award for Excellence in Medical Education from the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md.

Cmdr. Mark Stephens spent three years as an adjunct associate professor at the school’s Department of Family Medicine, teaching the mainly first- and second-year medical students who are all commissioned officers.

“We taught not just about medicine, but about life as military officers …,” Stephens said.

This year’s class chose to honor Stephens with the award, even though he had transferred from the school and hadn’t taught them for two years.

“This was pretty amazing,” he said. “I personally think they picked the wrong guy.”

“It doesn’t surprise me,” said Dr. (Cmdr.) Ken Iverson, Sigonella Naval Hospital’s director of medical services. “He’s very personable and an excellent teacher. I can see why the students in the class … still valued him as a mentor.”

Stephens transferred to Sigonella’s Flight Line Clinic this year and didn’t expect to return to the school any time soon. An e-mail from a former student told the Swarthmore, Pa.-native he had been selected for the award and was invited back for graduation.

“I was more interested in congratulating them,” Stephens said. “This is the biggest day in these young people’s lives. I was just the small window dressing of the day.”

Iverson promoted Stephens to his present rank during a ceremony Tuesday.

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