Table of Contents
Awards - Outstanding Teachers
Students choose the John P. McGovern Outstanding Teacher Award winners for stimulating curiosity, promoting professional development and contributing to students’ abilities to think creatively. The awards are made possible by an endowment from the McGovern Foundation. John P. McGovern, M.D., who died recently, was founder of the McGovern Allergy Clinic and held faculty appointments at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.
Donald M. Belles, D.D.S., associate professor of prosthodontics, received the McGovern Award at the Dental Branch.
Belles graduated from the Georgetown Dental School in 1978 and completed a residency in prosthodontics from UT San Antonio Dental School in 1987. After 21 years as a dentist in the U.S. Air Force, Belles began teaching at the UT Dental Branch in 1999.
“What I enjoy most about teaching is being able to pass on the knowledge I have obtained throughout my career,” he said. “If I can help a student learn a technique a little quicker or better, I have done my job well.”
Angelina N. Chambers, Ph.D., assistant professor of clinical nursing and certified nurse-midwife, was selected at the School of Nursing. She was described by her students as not only engaging, thorough and informative, but also kind, caring and approachable.
“She has a passion for nursing that is inspirational and a wealth of knowledge to share,” a student said.
Another said, “She allowed her students to learn, understand and grow as critical thinkers in the field. She provided us with the evidence-based information that allowed us to critically think about the interventions we performed during our clinical experience. Dr. Chambers always cared about each and every one of her students. She is what every teacher should be.”
Kay Dunn, Ph.D., associate professor of biostatistics, received the McGovern Award at the UT School of Public Health. A student described her as “armed with a great combination of knowledge, teaching skills, wisdom, and of course patience that is unnatural by any standard.”
“I can think of few people who can match what she does,” a student said. “A very understanding person by nature, Dr. Dunn has demystified biostatistics like no one else, and would be a teacher worthy of this recognition.”
The award nomination describes careful attention to handouts that provide “the simplest explanation for every concept covered in the class.”
Another student said, “Dr. Dunn always makes her time available to the students. She promotes student progress and is heartfelt in her teaching position.”
Kevin Morano, Ph.D., assistant professor of microbiology and molecular
genetics at the Medical School and Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS), was selected by GSBS students.
“Dr. Morano motivates those around him to achieve excellence by his actions and his words – he embodies the concept of an outstanding teacher,” a student said.
“As a mentor, Dr. Morano teaches his students to consider the bigger picture, to focus on hypothesis-driven science, and to appreciate the aesthetic value of deductive reasoning,” the student said. “Dr. Morano is able to balance offering advice and allowing his students to learn from their own mistakes.”
A student described Morano’s lectures as “clear, current and informative. He encourages questions, and his door is always open to students.”
Alberto Puig, M.D., Ph.D., won as outstanding clinical teacher at the Medical School – for the second time in three years. But this year, Puig received news of his award from his new job at Harvard Medical School.
At UT Medical School, Puig was assistant professor of internal medicine, Division of General Medicine, and course director for Fundamentals of Clinical Medicine. “What students and residents want most, aside from interest, enthusiasm and vitality, is methods applicable to their everyday life as learners,” he said. “And there is no better place to connect the basic science and its clinical application than in front of a patient.
“I love the students,” he said. “It’s the hugest honor – just the recognition that the students appreciate what you do.”
Willy Wriggers, Ph.D., associate professor, received the award in the School of Health Information Sciences. Wriggers, who also has a faculty
appointment in GSBS, directs the Laboratory for Structural Bioinformatics at the School of Health Information Sciences, and the Laboratory for Molecular Imaging at The Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine for the Prevention of Human Diseases.
Last year he chaired a six-day international workshop on “Innovations in Nanoscale Modeling and Imaging of Biological Systems.” He pioneered the use of modern information processing techniques to combine data from a variety of sources in creating 3-D images and structural maps of proteins. Detailed analysis helps to identify targets for drug design.
At the Dental Branch and Medical School, the John Freeman Award for Outstanding Non-Clinical Teaching applauds faculty who demonstrate knowledge, competency and enthusiasm in the classroom, along with interest in students outside of the classroom. The awards are made possible by a gift from the late John H. Freeman, a lawyer, original member of the Texas Medical Center Board of Directors and major supporter of the health science center.
Elizabeth “Beth” Hartwell, M.D., is the winner of the Freeman Award, recognizing the Medical School’s outstanding basic science faculty member.
Previously Histology course director and an associate professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, Hartwell left the full-time faculty to become medical director of the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center. But her love of teaching kept her on board for teaching histology.
“I really, really enjoy teaching the first-year students,” Hartwell said. She strives to keep her lectures current. “I always think, ‘Is there something I can do better?’”
Hartwell said she was “surprised and flattered” to be chosen for the teaching award. “I was blown off my feet – it was a very nice feeling,” she said.
William Tate, D.D.S., associate professor of restorative dentistry and biomaterials, was named the winner of the Freeman Award at the Dental Branch.
Tate is an alumnus of the UT Dental Branch, graduating in 1985. He has spent time in private practice and has enjoyed teaching at the Dental Branch since 1987.
“I’m just here to learn,” Tate said, adding that he receives just as much from his students as he tries to instill in them. “I wouldn’t be the instructor I am today, if it weren’t for the faculty who work alongside me. It is the people that I work with who make me better.”
The Lorna J. Bruning Award for Clinical Teaching Excellence recognizes dental hygiene faculty who demonstrate knowledge, competency and enthusiasm for teaching dental hygiene, along with the encouragement of critical thinking. The award was established through the Office of the Dean at the Dental Branch, on the 50th anniversary of the dental hygiene program, to honor the first director, Lorna J. Bruning.
Ann O’Kelley Wetmore, assistant clinical professor in the Department of Periodontics/School of Dental Hygiene, received the Bruning Award. She joined the Dental Branch in November 2005 and has enjoyed the experience of being involved in academia and clinical education.
Wetmore said the award means a great deal to her. “There is nothing like the ‘aha!’ moment when you know you have explained a concept the way a student can grasp it.”
Wetmore obtained a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene from Eastern Washington University and is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Dental Hygiene at Idaho State University.
The AOA Volunteer Clinical Faculty Award is given annually to recognize a community physician who contributes with distinction to the education and training of clinical students. The recipient is nominated and chosen by student members of Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA), a national honor medical society.
G. S. Ramesh, M.D., clinical assistant professor of medicine, has received the AOA Award at the Medical School for the second time in his teaching career. Ramesh teaches internal medicine and gastroenterology to fourth-year medical students on a one-on-one basis in a clinical setting, rather than in a classroom.
“The student has all my attention for one entire month,” he said. “It’s a nice combination of clinic and hospital work.” When training with Ramesh, students learn both the clinical and business sides of medicine.
“That is the greatest honor a teacher can receive,” he said. “Because it’s from the students, you feel like you’ve made a difference in their life.”
Made possible by a gift from the DuPonts, the Herbert L. and Margaret W. DuPont Master Clinical Teaching Award reflects the Medical School’s priority of clinical medical education. Herbert DuPont, M.D., is the Mary W. Kelsey Professor in the Medical Sciences and director of the Center for Infectious Diseases at the School of Public Health. Margaret W. “Peggy” DuPont provides administrative oversight to travel health clinics in Mexico where health science center faculty carry out research.
Eugene C. Toy, M.D., clinical associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences, has been selected as winner of the DuPont Award.
“I was frankly speechless when I found out about the award,” Toy said. “I see teaching as one of the highest callings by any physician. And even though I am the one receiving the award, I do it on behalf of all of the faculty and resident physicians of the department.”
He is creator and lead author of 15 books for the Case Files series, in which he has partnered with Medical School faculty in both clinical and basic science disciplines. “The books are an extension of my teaching worldwide, as they have been translated now into nine languages,” he said.
Humanism in Medicine Award
The Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award, sponsored by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, honors Medical School faculty who are exemplary in their compassion and sensitivity in the delivery of care to patients and their families, who administer scientifically excellent clinical care, and who serve as role models to students.
For Judianne Kellaway, M.D., her path to medical school started because of a desire to help people. “My life has branched into all of these different areas, but my patients are where it all started,” she said. Kellaway, associate professor of ophthalmology and visual science and the Stephen A. Lasher III Professor in Ophthalmology, received the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award.
“I’ve had so many good role models, including my teachers, students and patients. The honor needs to be shared with them because they have played a major role in the kind of doctor I am becoming,” Kellaway said.
Before attending medical school, she taught kindergarten for 10 years. “I’m always aware that students have something important to teach me,” she said.