|Two of the honorees are Sue Cunningham, Ph.D., RD, LD, CDE, (left) assistant professor in the Coordinated Program in Dietetics and Nutrition, and Carol Nguyen, M.S., RDH, assistant professor of dental hygiene.|
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Three faculty members from the School of Health Professions are being honored this spring with top educator awards from their respective statewide professional associations. They include:
- Sue Cunningham, Ph.D., RD, LD, CDE, assistant professor in the Department of Physician Assistant Studies, Coordinated Program in Dietetics and Nutrition;
- J. Glenn Forister, M.S., M.P.A.S., PA-C, program director and associate professor/clinical in the Department of Physician Assistant Studies; and
- Carol Nguyen, M.S., RDH, assistant professor in the Department of Dental Hygiene
Juanita S. Wallace, Ph.D., interim dean of the School of Health Professions, said, “Having faculty members recognized in three different fields speaks volumes about our teaching skills in the health professions. I am so very proud of them.”Dr. Cunningham: Outstanding Dietetic Educator
Dr. Cunningham will be presented the Outstanding Dietetic Educator Award from the Texas Dietetic Association at the annual Food and Nutrition Conference and Exhibition on Friday, April 13, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel San Antonio Riverwalk.
Dr. Cunningham started her career as a military dietitian, eventually becoming chief of Allied Health Services at the 5501st U.S. Army Reserves Hospital at Fort Sam Houston. She retired as a colonel with more than 30 years of active and reserve military service. She was a research nutritionist for the Diabetes Prevention Trial before joining the UT Health Science Center’s Dental School as a nutrition instructor in 1999, and then the Department of Dietetics and Nutrition in the School of Health Professions in 2009.
She is co-investigator in the Correction of Glutathione Deficiency in Diabetic Mellitus Nephropathy research study funded by the National Institutes of Health, along with a number of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation-sponsored research projects. She has been a longtime go-to expert for dietetics and nutrition topics at the Health Science Center.
Second-year dietetics student Maryam Mohammed nominated Dr. Cunningham for the award. She said, “Dr. C, as she is called by her students, is highly respected and loved by all that have had the pleasure to be taught by her. Her ability to make tough courses interesting, approachable and interactive, as well as being available to answer questions and give her students advice and feedback, has made her a very popular and in-demand professor. She is the faculty adviser for the Student Dietetic Association, mentoring them through the challenges of rigorous coursework, the internship or any other issues that seem, to come up. With educators like her in our field, we are assured that the future dietitians that she has taught and guided will be assets to our community.”
Forister: Outstanding Physician Assistant Educator of the Year
|J. Glenn Forister, M.S., M.P.A.S., PA-C, program director and associate professor/clinical of the Physician Assistant Studies program, received the Outstanding Physician Assistant Educator of the Year Award from the Texas Academy of Physician Assistants.|
The Texas Academy of Physician Assistants’ Outstanding Physician Assistant Educator of the Year Award “honors an individual who has demonstrated exemplary service to physician assistant (PA) students and has furthered the leadership, educational or professional development of PA students,” according to the association’s website. Forister was presented the academy’s 2011 award at its 37th annual conference in Dallas Feb. 25.
Forister has been a PA for the past 21 years. He started his teaching career by serving as a clinical preceptor and guest lecturer in physician assistant (PA) and nurse practitioner programs. In 2001, he joined the Health Science Center’s PA faculty and discovered a real passion for teaching. He received a Presidential Teaching Excellence Award in 2007 and is a member of the Academy of Master Teachers. He is a doctoral student at Texas A&M University in education and human resource development.
Dennis Blessing, Ph.D., PA-C, professor and chair of the Department of Physician Assistant Studies, and associate dean in the School of Health Professions, nominated Forister for the award. He said, “Mr. Forister represents what excellence means in teaching. He is innovative and willing to try new approaches. He does this without sacrificing quality. That is a rare skill.”Nguyen: Teacher Excellence Award
The Texas Dental Hygiene Directors’ Association and Proctor & Gamble presented Nguyen the Teacher Excellence Award on Feb. 3, at the association’s meeting in San Marcos. Matthew A. Williams, D.M.D., a community partner and active member of the Department of Dental Hygiene’s Community Liaison Committee, nominated Nguyen. He said:
“Carol has spent more than a decade performing preventive dental and hygiene care in community clinics that serve populations with disabilities. I am always amazed at the confidence, compassion and excellent clinical skills that Carol’s students display during their rotations at these sites. These rotations are often the student’s first clinical interactions with patients who have disabilities. Many patients not only have severe mental disabilities but are also physically disabled and have complex health and medical histories.
“Carol’s students always enter this new treatment environment well prepared and display high levels of flexibility, adaptability and empathy needed to deliver quality care to these special patients. Her students are highly proficient through all stages of treatment from the initial assessment of the patients’ medical/dental record, medication history through the treatment/caregiver education phases of their appointment. The excellent preparation and clinical instruction Carol provides allows her students to confidently and capably provide excellent clinical care in an often challenging treatment modality,” Dr. Matthews said.