Kira Bacal (assistant professor, Preventive Medicine and Community Health) is among seven Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellows named by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for 2004–2005. The Health Policy Fellows, who start their assignments in September, spend a year in Washington, D.C., working in congressional or executive-branch offices with responsibilities for health legislation and programs. After completing the program, fellows return to their home institutions or health care practices to assume leadership roles to improve health policy and management. Bacal holds an M.D., a Ph.D., and a master’s degree in public health. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, based in Princeton, N.J., is the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health and health care.
Thomas A. Blackwell (professor, Internal Medicine, and associate dean, Graduate Medical Education) was elected to a two-year term as a member of the board of directors for the American Board of Internal Medicine.
UTMB President John D. Stobo named Barbara Breier, former executive director of development for the UT System, director of the Program to Eliminate Health Disparities. This new program promotes UTMB’s mission to improve the health care of the area’s medically underserved populations.
Vicki Freeman (chair, Clinical Laboratory Sciences) won the 2004 American Society for Clinical Pathology Associate Excellence in Education Award, presented annually to an individual who has demonstrated outstanding performance in teaching. Freeman helped develop an innovative, state-of-the-art clinical laboratory sciences distance-learning program based at UTMB.
Robert M.A. Hirschfeld (Titus H. Harris Chair and professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences) was one of three recipients of the Nola Maddox Falcone Prize, a $50,000 award for research on bipolar disorder given by the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression. He was selected by a peer panel of internationally renowned psychiatrists in recognition of his groundbreaking work.
Mark D. Holden (assistant professor, Internal Medicine) and Barbara L. Thompson (professor and chair, Family Medicine) each received appointments to join the university’s John P. McGovern, M.D., Academy of Oslerian Medicine. They became official members in January 2004. Holden and Thompson were chosen because of their devotion to compassionate patient care.
Janice Kvale (assistant professor, School of Nursing) won a Fulbright Scholarship to teach in India at the Amrita Institute of Medical Science and Research in Cochin, Kerala.
James F. Leary (professor, Internal Medicine) was an invited symposium speaker at PittCon 2004, the world’s premier conference and exposition devoted to laboratory science. His topic was “Nanoparticle Detection and Drug/Gene Therapy of Rare Cancer Cells.” Leary was also invited to speak at Purdue University’s Pioneering Research in Biomedical Engineering Lecture Series. The goal of his nanomedicine research is to repair organs and tissues “one cell at a time” at the molecular level within single cell systems.
Stanley M. Lemon (dean, SOM) and C.J. Peters (professor, Pathology, and Microbiology and Immunology) contributed chapters to the new book, Vaccines: Preventing Disease and Protecting Health ($62, Pan American Health Association, 2004). Lemon wrote a chapter examining innovative efforts under way to test the efficacy of a vaccine against hepatitis A virus. Peters, director for biodefense in UTMB’s Center for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases, wrote about vaccines against viral hemorrhagic fevers.
Kyriakos Markides (director, Sociomedical Sciences, and Anne and John Gnitzinger Professor of Aging) received a five-year extension on a National Institute on Aging grant to continue to study the health of older Mexican Americans from five Southwestern states. As principle investigator for the study since 1993, his interviews have allowed UTMB researchers to compile the nation’s primary source of information about the health of Mexican Americans.
John Papaconstantinou (professor, Human Biological Chemistry and Genetics) was awarded the Mary and J. Palmer Saunders Professorship for Excellence in Teaching. He was recognized for exemplary teaching and for his work in training graduate students in his laboratory, mentoring postdoctoral fellows, and developing courses at UTMB.
Suzanne Peloquin (professor, Occupational Therapy, SAHS) recently received the Eleanor Clarke Slagle Lectureship Award at the annual conference of the American Occupational Therapy Association in Minneapolis. The award is the highest scholarly honor the association bestows. Peloquin was recognized for promoting holistic practice through the development of two themes: empathy in practice and confluence in education. “Dr. Peloquin embodies the ideal writer, philosopher and conscience for the profession of occupational therapy,” according to the text of the award. She will deliver her lecture in Long Beach, Calif., in May 2005, and it will be published in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy.
Billy U. Philips Jr. (professor, Preventive Medicine and Community Health, and director, Epidemiology and Biostatistics) was awarded the Dr. Leon Bromberg Professorship for Excellence in Teaching in recognition of his exemplary teaching skills. Phillips instructs graduate and medical students and physician residents about the cause of disease as well as cancer prevention and control.
Ben G. Raimer (vice president, Office of Community Outreach) was reappointed chairman of the Statewide Health Coordinating Council by Texas Governor Rick Perry. The council developed the Texas State Health plan and works to integrate planning, education, and regulation of the health care work force to ensure quality health care for all Texans.
Victor S. Sierpina (associate professor, Family Medicine) was named the first W.D. and Laura Nell Nicholson Family Chair in Integrative Medicine and will hold that title through October 2008. Faculty members receiving this appointment will conduct research that studies and supports the integration of conventional and alternative medicine in clinical practice and education.
Alice J. Speer (associate professor, Internal Medicine, and director, Division of General Medicine) was appointed to the Admissions Committee of the Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) Program for Women. ELAM is widely recognized as an excellent leadership educational program and receives applications from faculty at medical and dental schools throughout the United States and Canada.
Courtney M. Townsend Jr. (John Woods Harris Distinguished Chair, Surgery) was elected president of the Southern Surgical Association. Membership in the organization, which was founded in 1887, includes surgeons from across the United States.
Brian Zachariah (medical director, Emergency Medicine) joined UTMB in January 2004. He was the former medical director of the Las Colinas Medical Center in Dallas. Zachariah plans to focus on improving wait times and customer service and hopes to begin an emergency medicine residency program.
Joseph Zwischenberger (professor, Surgery and Internal Medicine, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine) was appointed editor of the ASAIO Journal by the board of trustees of the American Society for Artificial Internal Organs (ASAIO). His five-year term began in January 2004.
Dr. L. Charles Powell Jr. died June 12, 2004, after decades of helping to bring life into the world as an obstetrician. He taught and practiced at UTMB for 45 years, then stayed on part-time while traveling to serve poverty-stricken communities. He worked as a volunteer physician on Indian reservations and at hospitals in Africa and Southeast Asia. He was honored in 1999 for his service with the prestigious Rabbi Henry Cohen Humanitarian Award. He is survived by his wife, Jeanne, and his three sons: Randall, Daniel and Gerard. Anyone interested in making a memorial gift may contribute to the Faculty Distinguished Professorship in Obstetrics and Gynecology honoring Alvin L. LeBlanc, M.D., Harry M. Little Jr., M.D. and L. Charles Powell Jr., M.D., established in 1999 to recognize the dedication and accomplisments of three legendary UTMB physicians. For more information, contact the Office of University Advancement at (409) 772-1991.