Annual conference recognizes HSC’s exceptional leaders
The University of Texas Academy of Health Science Education recognized several Health Science Center professors this month as some of Texas’ most outstanding educational leaders.
Dennis Blessing, Ph.D., professor and chair of physician assistant studies; Patricia Brewer, Ph.D., associate professor and deputy chair of physical therapy; Ellen Kraig, Ph.D., professor of cellular and structural biology; Richard Luduena, Ph.D., professor of biochemistry; and Shirlyn McKenzie, Ph.D., professor and chair of clinical laboratory sciences, were each honored at the academy’s annual conference held Oct. 5-6 in Austin.
“Each of these individuals is recognized for their teaching excellence and enhancing health science education,” said Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., president of the Health Science Center. “I am so proud of our faculty who were inducted into this prestigious group, and for what they contribute to health education each day.”
Drs. Blessing, Kraig, Luduena and McKenzie were inducted into the UT Academy of Health Science Education in October 2006. Robert Esterl, M.D., professor in the transplant center, and Linda Johnson, Ph.D., associate professor of cellular and structural biology, were selected as members of the academy last year. Drs. Esterl and Johnson were two of the 13 inaugural members of the UT Academy of Health Science Education.
Dr. Blessing was recognized for his incomparable contributions to educating both faculty and students. He has headed the physician assistant program for only six years, and has already helped the program advance to its current ranking of 14th in the nation.
Dr. Brewer won first place in the 2006 Innovation in Health Science Education division for her project “GATEways: Gross Anatomy Teaching Enhancement.” The project, led by Dr. Brewer, is a collaboration of all five Health Science Center schools designed to develop technological enhancements for teaching gross anatomy. Among the enhancements are dissection videos and 3-D medical-illustrated animations. Dr. Brewer says that other faculty and staff members involved in this AT&T-funded project play an integral role in the creativity.
Dr. Esterl has been closely involved in the education effort of medical students. He is the chair of the School of Medicine curriculum committee, and has been the recipient of several departmental teaching awards in addition to the Presidential Teaching Excellence Award in 2004. Dr. Esterl is now the secretary/treasurer of the academy.
Dr. Johnson teaches gross anatomy, embryology and neuroscience to medical and graduate students. Her students say that her class has taught them not only anatomy, but also discipline, teamwork, communication skills and professionalism. She has been the recipient of the Teaching Excellence Award three different years: 1985, 1994 and 2004. She and Dr. Esterl were named founding members of the academy in 2005.
Dr. Kraig has been involved in graduate education during her tenure and was chair of the cellular and structural biology committee on graduate studies for many years. She is a member of the graduate school program planning committee and chairs its curriculum subcommittee. Dr. Kraig received the Dean's Award for Exceptional Graduate Teaching in 2000, and the Presidential Award for Teaching Excellence in 1996. She is especially proud of the continued successes of the eight Ph.D. and five M.S. students who have trained in her laboratory.
Dr. Luduena is another extremely dedicated educator. He has received the Presidential Award for Teaching Excellence and has been honored by several classes of medical students for his contributions to their basic science instruction. He has served as the course director of the medical biochemistry course in the curriculum of the School of Medicine and has represented the basic science departments on the curriculum and preclinical promotions committees. Dr. Luduena has made major contributions to the educational process for graduate students as a professor and as a mentor. He is also an internationally recognized research scientist.
Dr. McKenzie is the president of the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science, the most prestigious organization in the nation for clinical laboratory science practitioners. She is the leader of clinical laboratory science education and has developed a nationally ranked program in San Antonio.
Congratulations to each of these outstanding educators!
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