The UTMB Academy of Master Teachers has selected eight new members to represent its class of 2011. The academy was established in 2007 and represents all four schools — the School of NursingGraduate School of Biomedical Sciences, School of Health Professions and the School of Medicine.  It is an honorary service organization that provides support to UTMB faculty in the form of grants, programs, and mentorship, including an annual Faculty Development Day and Education Symposium; education grand rounds, a journal club, innovation grants, mentoring and consultations.

Membership to the Academy is sought by faculty who prepare an application which is vigorously reviewed by their peers using a structured selection criteria.  Members serve three-year terms and may be honored with the designation as University of Texas System Distinguished Teaching Professors.

School of Nursing

Dr. Yolanda Davila received a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from the University of Texas at Austin and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Master of Science in Nursing, and Doctorate from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. She also completed a two-year fellowship at The University of Michigan Center for Health Promotion and Risk Reduction with a focus on health disparity reduction intervention research among vulnerable populations. Davila is recognized for her research on the major public health epidemics of intimate partner violence and other health disparities among at-risk populations, using community-based participatory research with mixed qualitative and quantitative methodologies.


Dr. Helen M. Jordan received her Doctor of Education in Higher Education from the University of Houston and her master’s and baccalaureate degrees from UTMB. Her nursing practice is adult health and her focus in education is curriculum development and evaluation. She currently teaches in the master’s program as the Track Director for Nursing Education.  During the past year she has made podium presentations at the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and the National Organization for Nurse Practitioner Faculties. Her current focus is using the electronic portfolios to showcase student scholarship and capture elements for program evaluation.


Dr. Charlotte A. Wisnewski came to UTMB School of Nursing in 1996 to teach in her specialty area of medical-surgical nursing and critical care nursing. During the past 15 years, she has served as course coordinator of multiple courses including critical care, medical surgical nursing, health assessment, pathophysiology, and nursing research. She has been previous undergraduate program director, ad interim and is currently in that role, having been recently promoted. Wisnewski has served as faculty liaison to the 12-month UHC/AACN Nurse Residency Program for the past six years. In this role she educates new nursing graduates at UTMB to include evidence-based nursing research in their practice of nursing. Nursing certifications include medical surgical nursing, certified diabetes educator, and certified nursing educator.


School of Medicine

Dr. Mark Holden graduated from the UTMB School of Medicine in 1985, completed his internship in Internal Medicine in San Antonio, and served his residency in Internal Medicine at UTMB. He joined the UTMB Internal Medicine faculty in 1988, becoming actively involved as a clinician educator. After being selected as a scholar in the McGovern Academy of Oslerian Medicine, Holden organized the implementation of the Osler Student Societies at UTMB in 2006. He has been recognized for his clinical skills, bedside teaching, and curriculum development and was a founding member of The University of Texas Academy of Health Science Education.


Dr. Michelle Sierpina, founding director of Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UTMB, began her work in eldercare in the 1960’s. Her doctorate with concentration in Humanistic Gerontology investigated the lived experience of lifestory writing and sharing groups. Her Master of Science. in Human Services Administration focused on management of non-profit organizations, especially adult daycare. At UTMB she developed The Pentimento Project—Lifestory Writing and Sharing Groups, a part of the Creativity Continuum: Storytelling modalities across a continuum of capability including those with dementia. A certified facilitator trainer for TimeSlips©, creative storytelling for those with dementia, she also serves on the national Scientific Advisory Council, Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation.


Dr. Caroline W. Stegink-Jansen is Associate Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy in the School of Health Professions at UTMB. She received her Physical Therapy education in her native country, the Netherlands, and obtained her advanced master’s degree and her doctorate degree from the Texas Woman’s University. She continues to maintain her clinical specialization as a Certified Hand Therapist. Jansen’s educational philosophy -- what it means to be an educator -- has been shaped by the many role models encountered throughout her life span, by formal education, interaction with other educators, by students and patients. All these influences have boiled down to an educational theme “creating opportunity for growth in others.”

Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Dr. Rolf König is a professor in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology and the director of the Graduate Program in Microbiology & Immunology. He is a senior scientist in the Sealy Center for Molecular Medicine; a scientist in the Sealy Center for Vaccine Development, and also a member of the Institute for Human Infections & Immunity and the NIEHS Center in Environmental Toxicology at UTMB. He received his undergraduate and graduate education at the University of Bern in Switzerland, where he graduated with a Master of Science in Biology. To maintain a balance between research, teaching, and other interests, he uses Galveston’s beaches as running trails, taking a canine companion on longer runs and he has participated in the play “A Long Journey Home” on the challenges facing Alzheimer’s patients and their families.


Dr. Cheryl J. Vaiani is currently an assistant professor in the Institute for Medical Humanities and Clinical Ethicist and Director of the Ethics Consultation Service at UTMB, where she is involved in clinical consultation, teaching, and the Institutional Ethics Committee. She received her doctorate in medical humanities at UTMB in 1998 and also completed a postdoctoral fellowship in clinical ethics at UTMB. She co-directs the Practice of Medicine Two course in the medical school. Her research interests include ethical issues involving infants and children and end-of-life care. She is immediate past president of the Galveston Historical Foundation and is also a member of the Galveston Historical Commission. She is chair of the City of Galveston Ethics Commission.