Nov. 9, 2001
Volume XXXIV, No. 45


Of Note


UTHSC professors receive award for teaching excellence

Photo of Williams and Ramamurthy holding roses (L-R) Drs. Gail Williams and Rajam Ramamurthy were among 13 local educators to receive the Yellow Rose Award in recognition of their commitment to teaching.

Drs. Rajam S. Ramamurthy, professor of pediatrics, and Gail B. Williams, associate professor of nursing, were among 13 educators presented with the prestigious Yellow Rose Award in recognition of their lifetime devotion to teaching.

The awards were presented during the Salute to Education event held Oct. 27. Each honoree received a ceramic medallion, a certificate and a yellow rose. The award, given yearly by the Constance Allen Heritage Guild for Lifetime Learning, recognizes educators from throughout the city. The guild, chartered in 1986, is a non-profit corporation organized by the Past Presidents of the Business and Professional Women's Club of San Antonio. Named after Constance Allen, who dedicated 63 years to education, the guild provides scholarships to assist deserving individuals in furthering their education. Constance Allen was commissioned as a Yellow Rose of Texas by the then governor of Texas.

Dr. Rajam Ramamurthy has been on the faculty of the Health Science Center for 24 years. She completed her residency in pediatrics and a fellowship in neonatology at the Cook County Hospital in Chicago. The hospital has one of the largest and most prestigious pediatric training programs in the country. Dr. Ramamurthy pioneered efforts to teach neonatal resuscitation in San Antonio and South Texas. She is the recipient of numerous teaching and community service awards, including the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching.

When Dr. Ramamurthy is not practicing medicine, she is practicing her second love — dancing. "Medicine is my life and dance is my love," she says. Dr. Ramamurthy is a founding member of the Arathi School of Indian Dance, the first school for Indian classical dance in San Antonio. Her involvement with the school has helped draw citywide attention to the art of Indian classical dance, and has earned her recognition in the San Antonio arts community. Dr. Ramamurthy has served on the advisory board of the city's Office of Cultural Affairs and the Texas Commission on the Arts. She currently serves on the dean's advisory council for UTSA's College of Fine Arts and Humanities.

Dr. Gail Williams has been with the Health Science Center since 1991 and has more than 20 years of teaching experience. She earned her master's degree in psychiatric mental health nursing from Adelphi University Garden City in Long Island and her doctorate in nursing research from New York University. She is certified as a childbirth educator and as a perinatal nurse clinician.

Dr. Williams also is active in the Planned Parenthood organization in San Antonio and South Central Texas. She believes that with the constantly changing nature of the profession of nursing, it is vital for nurses to develop critical thinking skills and to be able to evaluate and act effectively in clinical situations. She strives to instill these essential skills in her students. Dr. Williams was honored with the presidential teaching award last year.