Presidential Awards honor exemplary faculty, staff

Linked by what President William L. Henrich, M.D., MACP, called a common “desire to contribute in a unique and meaningful way for the benefit of others,” extraordinary members of the faculty and staff were honored with Presidential Awards from UT Health San Antonio.

The 17 individuals and one team “embody the reason that UT Health San Antonio exists: to make lives better,” said Dr. Henrich in prepared remarks. The awards dinner scheduled for March 5 was canceled out of concerns surrounding the coronavirus. The Office of the President is considering a future date to honor the awardees.

The awards were given in the areas of employee excellence, team excellence, teaching excellence (sustained and emerging), clinical excellence, distinguished service to the institution and distinguished research scholar.

The most prestigious awards, Distinguished Research Scholar and Distinguished Service to the Institution, were given to Charles P. France, Ph.D., and Norma Martínez Rogers, Ph.D., respectively.

Dr. Henrich praised Dr. France, a professor in both the Department of Pharmacology and Department of Psychiatry, for his pioneering research in the causes and cures of addiction.

“Dr. France’s contributions to science, his amazing record of scholarship, his research prowess and his dedication as an educator make him highly deserving of this award,” Dr. Henrich said.

The president called nursing professor Dr. Martínez Rogers “a transformational figure in health care in San Antonio, Texas and the nation,” adding that she “has dedicated her career, and her life, to service as a nurse, nurse educator and advocate for minorities and the underserved.”

“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 for patients and their families,” Dr. Henrich said.

All winners were acknowledged with a congratulatory Senate Proclamation from the State of Texas by state Sen. Jose Menendez of San Antonio as well as a monetary gift.

Dr. Henrich said he is thankful to the selection committees chaired by Jacqueline Mok, Ph.D., vice president for academic, faculty and student affairs, and Jessica Perez from the Office of Human Resources.

Watch a video featuring the honorees.

The honorees are:

Distinguished Research Scholar

Charles P. France, Ph.D., Robert A. Welch Distinguished University Chair in Chemistry; professor, Department of Pharmacology and Department of Psychiatry, Long School of Medicine

Clinical Excellence

Ramin Poursani, M.D., professor/clinical, Department of Family and Community Medicine, Long School of Medicine

Shafqat Shah, M.D., associate professor/clinical, Division of Hematology-Oncology, Department of Pediatrics, Long School of Medicine

Edward F. Wright, D.D.S., M.S., professor, Department of Comprehensive Dentistry, School of Dentistry

Teaching Excellence – Sustained

Michael Geelhoed, D.P.T., PT, associate professor and director of clinical education, Department of Physical Therapy, School of Health Professions

Omid B. Rahimi, Ph.D., associate professor, director of Human Anatomy Program, Department of Cell Systems and Anatomy, Long School of Medicine

Temple A. Ratcliffe, M.D., FACP, associate professor/clinical, Division of Hospital and General Medicine, Long School of Medicine

P. Renee Yew, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Molecular Medicine, Long School of Medicine

Teaching Excellence – Emerging

Elizabeth Reed Hanson, M.D., associate professor/clinical, Division of General Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics, Long School of Medicine

Luke A. Newton, M.D., associate professor and chief, Division of General Obstetrics and Gynecology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Long School of Medicine

Annette Occhialini, M.D., assistant professor, Department of Cell Systems and Anatomy, Long School of Medicine

Distinguished Service to the Institution

Norma Martínez Rogers, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, professor, Office for Faculty Excellence, School of Nursing

Employee Excellence

Julie Collins, B.A., director of communications for study promotion and dissemination, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Long School of Medicine

Thea K. Lyssy, M.A., PMP, CQIA, director of accreditation, compliance and quality improvement, Office for Undergraduate Medical Education, Long School of Medicine

Natalina Martinez, M.B.A., director of finance and administration, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Norman Mendez, B.S., operations manager, Greehey Children’s Cancer Research Institute, Long School of Medicine

DJ Smith, special events coordinator, Office of the Dental Dean, School of Dentistry

Team Excellence

UT Health Cranial Remolding Program, Department of Neurosurgery

Darren J. Poidevin, CLPO, clinical program director, team leader, Department of Neurosurgery, Long School of Medicine

Jim P. Brookshier, M.P.O., CLPO, cranial remolding specialist, Department of Neurosurgery, Long School of Medicine

Monica Garcia, referral coordinator senior, Department of Neurosurgery, Long School of Medicine

Debbie Rose, physician relations specialist senior, Department of Marketing, Communications and Media

Marissa Velez, referral coordinator senior, Department of Neurosurgery, Long School of Medicine

Watch the video

Photos of award winners are available to be downloaded for free until May 31

Read more about the awardees



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