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Faculty honored at convocation [Media Release]

LUBBOCK –Eleven outstanding faculty members of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center will be honored during the State of the University Address and Faculty Convocation by receiving Presidential awards on Monday (Oct. 15) at 4 p.m. at the TTUHSC, Academic Classroom Building, 3601 4th St., in room 100.  A reception will follow in the foyer.   

“This group of individuals is deserving of recognition for their contributions to research, to our students, our institution and the communities we serve,” said John C. Baldwin, president, TTUHSC.

Three being honored with the President’s Community Engagement Award :

Gilbert A. Handal, M.D., first joined the TTUHSC as director of the Student Clerkship Program for the El Paso School of Medicine.  During his 32 years, Dr. Handal has been extensively involved in a variety of community initiatives and consortia with the community at large.  His community projects include both sides of the border in addressing health care, health education and health disparities affecting indigent populations.   

Linda Brice, R.N., Ph.D., RNP, has been teaching in the School of Nursing for the past four years and serves as a role model and mentor to her students.  She emphasizes to her students the significance of giving back to their communities.  Dr. Brice brings community needs and student-learning opportunities together in partnership through participation in health fairs and various other projects throughout the region.  In 2003, she established a Stork’s Nest Baby Shower engaging students, faculty, businesses and community members in providing donations for expectant mothers. 

Thomas E. Tenner, Jr., Ph.D., has been a dedicated member of the TTUHSC faculty for 29 years.  He is currently a professor in the Department of Pharmacology and in 2006 became Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs and Development.  Dr. Tenner is actively involved in many activities in the local community as well as being involved with the American Health Association (whether at the state or national level). 

One being honored with the President’s Young Investigator Award :

Maurizio Chiriva-Internati, Ph.D., is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and an assistant professor in the Department of Internal Medicine/Hematology/ Oncology Division.  Additionally he is the director of basic research in the division of Hematology/Oncology, the director of the experimental clinical translational research program, a leader in the bone marrow transplant research and translational immunology program as well as an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Four being honored with the President’s Excellence in Teaching Award :

Cathleen Anderson-Collins, R.N., MSN, CHPN, began teaching in the School of Nursing eight years ago.  She is viewed as a master teacher and excellent lecturer by students and faculty. Ms. Collins sets a positive, highly interactive and engaging learning environment for student enrolled in distance learning. 

Evans H. Spears, Ph.D., CRC, is an assistant professor in the Master of Rehabilitation Counseling Program and was named the program director in 2004.  Dr. Spears consistently receives exemplary student evaluations identifying him as an excellent instructor and mentor within the program. 

Robert Stephen Urban, M.D., is recognized as a premier teacher.  He is considered a role model for students and residents.  Dr. Urban currently serves as clerkship director for the Department of Internal Medicine in Amarillo. 

Jon A. Weidanz, Ph.D., is associate professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences in Abilene.  Dr. Weidanz helped develop a clinical immunization course, serving as team leader.  The newly developed course was instrumental in giving students hands on training in vaccination. 

One being honored with the President’s Research Award :

Thomas Thekkumkara, Ph.D., made significant impact in growing the research environment at the School of Pharmacy at Amarillo.  Dr. Thekkumkara’s expertise and collaboration provides a key link to the success of many research programs. 

One being honored with the University Distinguished Professor Award :

Quentin Smith, Ph.D., has received the highest level of national and international recognition because of his dedication to teaching, research and service.  The Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Amarillo has been headed by Dr. Smith since 1997 and has seen tremendous growth over the last decade under his leadership. 

Dr. Baldwin said that because of the work of these outstanding faculty members, the TTUHSC persists in research, education and patient care. 

“With their leadership, the Health Sciences Center will continue to recruit and retain outstanding faculty and students,” he said.