President’s message: Presidential Award recipients announced

Dear UT Health San Antonio faculty, staff, students and residents:

Every day, our employees work tirelessly to advance our missions of education, research, clinical care and community service. Established in 1985, the Presidential Awards recognize exemplary performance by individuals who consistently excel in their positions and demonstrate a strong commitment to the mission and core values of UT Health San Antonio. The annual awards provide the university the opportunity to recognize faculty and staff contributions with six signature honors in four categories.

Many deserving faculty and staff were nominated to be honored with a Presidential Award for demonstrating outstanding service in their respective fields. I am grateful to the selection committees, led by Jacqueline Mok, PhD, vice president for academic, faculty and student affairs, and Jessica R. Perez, MS, organizational effectiveness specialist in the Office of Human Resources, for their careful review of those nominated and their selection of the following awardees.

Please join me in congratulating our 2021 Presidential Award recipients who will be honored with a plaque and cash award during a celebration in April.

Distinguished Service to the Institution

Robert Leverence, MD, FACP, Professor of Medicine and Chief Medical Officer, UT Health Physicians, Long School of Medicine

Distinguished Research Scholar

Thomas F. Patterson, MD, FACP, FIDSA, Chief, Division of Infectious Diseases, Professor of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Long School of Medicine

Clinical Excellence

Jason E. Bowling, MD, FIDSA, Associate Professor/Clinical, Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Long School of Medicine

Laura Novak, OTD, OTR, BCG, Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, School of Health Professions

Raj Sehgal, MD, Clinical Associate Professor and Section Chief of Hospital Medicine (VA), Department of Medicine, Long School of Medicine

Cindy Sickora, DNP, RN, Clinical Professor, Howard & Betty Halff Endowed Professorship in Nursing Excellence for Patient Care, Vice Dean of Practice and Engagement, School of Nursing

Luis C. Yepes, DDS, MS1, Assistant Professor/Clinical, Department of Comprehensive Dentistry, School of Dentistry

Teaching Excellence

A.J. Carpenter, MD, PhD, Professor/Clinical and Program Director, Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Long School of Medicine

Brian L. Mealey, DDS, MS, Professor and Graduate Program Director, Department of Periodontics, School of Dentistry

Haley Nation, PhD, Assistant Professor/Clinical, Department of Cell Systems and Anatomy, Long School of Medicine

Meredith Quinene, DHSc, MPAS, PA-C, DFAAPA, Assistant Professor, Department of Physician Assistant Studies, School of Health Professions

Heidi J. Worabo, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, FAANP, Associate Professor/Clinical, School of Nursing

Employee Excellence

Jennifer Cerecero, MS, CHP, LMP, Director, Radiation Safety, Office of Environmental Health and Safety

Albert Contreras, SHRM-CP, PHR, Manager, HR Service Delivery, Office of Human Resources

Stephanie R. Gutierrez, BA, Program Coordinator-Senior, School of Medicine Office of UME

Ellen Nystrom, BA, Director, Veteran Services and Financial Aid, Office of Financial Aid

Elizabeth Walton, Clinical Information System Analyst-Senior, UT Health Physicians Administrative EPIC Practice Management

Team Excellence

COVID-19 Clinical Trials Response Team

Robin Tragus, MSN, RN, Clinical Research Nurse Supervisor, Department of Medicine/Infectious Diseases, Team Leader

44 Team Members

COVID-19 Rapid Response Testing Team

Marjorie David, MD, Assistant Professor/Clinical, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Team Leader

24 Team Members

Environmental Health and Safety Team

Michael A. Charlton, PhD, CHP, LMP, CIH, CSP, Assistant Vice President, Office of Risk Management and Safety, Team Leader

21 Team Members


William L. Henrich, MD, MACP

President and Professor of Medicine
John P. Howe, III, M.D., Distinguished Chair in Health Policy

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