2024 Presidential Awards recipients recognized at ceremony


During the Presidential Awards ceremony held on Wednesday, April 17 at the Betty Kelso Center at the San Antonio Botanical Garden, 15 individuals received awards in the areas of distinguished research scholar, clinical excellence, teaching excellence (emerging and sustained) and staff individual excellence. An award for team excellence was also given in recognition of exemplary contributions and outstanding collaboration.

Established in 1985, the Presidential Awards recognize exemplary performance by faculty and staff who consistently excel in their positions and demonstrate a strong commitment to the mission and core values of UT Health San Antonio.

During the ceremony, Acting UT Health San Antonio President Robert Hromas, MD, FACP, said all of the awardees embody UT Health San Antonio’s mission to make lives better.

“I am so proud of each of you and am glad your family, friends and colleagues could join you this evening as we thank you for your many contributions,” he said.

Hromas also shared that while all the honorees hold different positions and come from a variety of backgrounds, they share one trait: a desire to contribute in a unique and meaningful way for the benefit of others.

“Through their creativity, perseverance and leadership, they elevate our university as a stimulating environment for the education of the next generation of health professionals and scientists, an exciting home of research and discovery — and, perhaps most importantly, a beacon of hope,” Hromas said.

Hromas thanked the selection committees and all those who had a hand in putting the event together and spoke about how special the event was for President William L. Henrich, MD, MACP. Henrich passed away on March 14 from complications related to a second stem cell transplantation.

“I know he enjoyed these events immensely as they recognize those who truly fulfill our missions: our staff and faculty,” Hromas said. “Tonight, we recognize his values that live on in each of one of us. And so, we celebrate his presence here tonight and promise to continue to fulfill his legacy going forward.”

During the event, each of the awardees received a congratulatory senate proclamation from the State of Texas by Senator José Menéndez and a monetary award.

To view the printed program from the ceremony, click here.

To view a video featuring the honorees, click here.

The 2024 Presidential Award recipients are:

Distinguished Research Scholar

Kumar Sharma, MD, FAHA, FASN, L. David Hillis MD Endowed Distinguished Chair of Medicine, Chief of Division of Nephrology and Vice Chair for Research, Department of Medicine, Long School of Medicine

Clinical Excellence

Edward R. Kost, MD, Professor/Clinical, Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Long School of Medicine

Carolina Solis-Herrera, MD, Associate Professor/Clinical, Chief of Division of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine, Long School of Medicine

Teaching Excellence – Emerging

Jack Badawy, MD, Assistant Professor/Clinical, Division of Hospital Medicine, Department of Medicine, Long School of Medicine

Lea El-Hachem, DDS, MS, FICD, Associate Professor, Department of Periodontics, School of Dentistry

Teaching Excellence – Sustained

Paul B. Allen Sr., DSc, MPAS, PA-C, FAAPA, Associate Professor, Chair, Department of Physician Assistant Studies, School of Health Professions

Christine A. Andre, MD, Professor/Clinical, Division of Hospital Medicine, Department of Medicine, Long School of Medicine

Deborah L. Conway, MD, Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Vice Dean of Undergraduate Medical Education, Long School of Medicine

Nikita Bharat Ruparel, DDS, PhD, MS, Associate Professor, Department of Endodontics, School of Dentistry

Nilam J. Soni, MD, MS, FHM, FACP, Professor/Clinical, Division of Pulmonary Medicine and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, Long School of Medicine

Staff Individual Excellence

Guiming Li, PhD, Research Scientist, Department of Biochemistry and Structural Biology, Long School of Medicine

Brandie L. Otten, Associate Director, Institutional Review Board, Office of Clinical Research

Courtney McElhaney Peebles, MPH, Director, Research Operations, Office of the Dean, UT School of Public Health San Antonio

Carol Sherman, LCSW, Senior Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Mays Cancer Center, home to UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center

Angela M. Watts, PhD, Director, Academic Enhancement, Office of the Dean, School of Nursing

Staff Team Excellence

Orthopaedic Trauma

Team Leader: Boris A. Zelle, MD, Professor

Team Members:
Animesh Agarwal, MD, Professor of Orthopaedics
Jennifer Aguilar, RN, Clinical Research Nurse
Christina Brady, MD, Assistant Professor of Orthopaedics
Anna Conti, Administrative Assistant – Senior
Douglas Cromack, MD, Professor of Orthopaedics and Plastic Surgery
Christopher Delallo, MPAS, PA-C, Physician Assistant
Anil Dutta, MD, Associate Professor of Orthopaedics
Priscilla Gomez-Ramos, DMSc, MPAS, PA-C, Physician Assistant
Thomas Hand, MD, Assistant Professor of Orthopaedics
Jennah Jorge, MPAS, PA-C, Physician Assistant
Ravi Karia, MD, Professor of Orthopaedics, Executive Vice-Chair
John Kodosky, DHSc, MPAS, PA-C, Assistant Professor of Orthopaedics
Case Martin, MD, Assistant Professor of Orthopaedics
Monica Ramirez, CPC, Surgical Care Coordinator


Share This Article!