2021 Faculty Achievement Award honorees announced 

By Krista Roberts

Melissa LewisHSC faculty experienced a year like no other, but they continued to excel during extraordinary circumstances with great determination, resilience and dedication. 

Each year, Faculty Achievement Award finalists are recognized for exemplary performance in at least three of the following categories: teaching, research/scholarship, service, clinical service and leadership. Nominated by their peers, the five finalists were announced during a virtual faculty assembly meeting. 

The overall winner, announced by HSC President Dr. Michael Williams, was Dr. Melissa Lewis, Professor of Health Behavior and Health Systems in the School of Public Health.  

The selection committee noted, “Dr. Lewis is well deserving of the HSC Faculty Achievement Award because of her exemplary achievements in research, teaching and service.” 

Dr. Lewis is nationally recognized for her research examining risky behavior among young people. Since 2004, Dr. Lewis has published nearly 130 peer reviewed journal articles and is one of the most heavily cited authors in this research area. She was the first faculty member in the School of Public Health to be named Principal Investigator on two separate National Institutes of Health (NIH) Research Grants (RO1s) at the same time. 

She co-founded the STARR Lab on the HSC campus, which studies the etiology and prevention of alcohol and related risks among adolescents and young adults, where she trains and mentors early career faculty and graduate students. 

As a core faculty member in the Public Health Sciences PhD program in Health Behavior Research, Dr. Lewis provides world-class mentorship to doctoral students and shares her expertise in grant writing.  

As described by her nominators, “Her rich background in the field allows her to provide mentorship around research methods, data collection and analysis, dissertations, scientific writing, manuscript and grant reviewing, grant applications, promotion process and career development.” 

Dr. Lewis has served on multiple HSC committees, including a current position as chair of the SPH Promotion and Tenure Committee and as incoming president of the HSC Faculty Senate. She has also served on many national grant review panels over the past three years, and currently serves as a member of the Membership Development Council for the American Academy of Health Behavior.   

2021 Finalists 

Riyaz Basha, PhD, Associate Professor, Pediatrics, Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine

Dr. Basha is the Director of the TCOM Pediatric Research Program for second-year medical students and Faculty Advisor to the Oncology Student Interest Group. His research expertise is in the field of experimental therapeutics and cancer. 

“Dr. Riyaz Basha embodies the values at HSC and is one of the most valuable members of our TCOM faculty,” said TCOM Dean Dr. Frank Filipetto. “I’m very proud that he was nominated by three different individuals for this distinguished award, and it speaks to the respect and admiration that he has from our entire faculty.” 

Dr. Basha is a member of the TCOM Research Advisory Committee and the organizing committee of the Texas Center for Health Disparities annual conference. Over the last three years, he has published 28 articles, secured and continuously maintained extramural funding, taught up to 30 contact hours a year while consistently obtaining 4.5-5.0 scores on student evaluations, and mentored 29 students in research.  

Stella Goulopoulou, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Physiology & Anatomy, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Dr. Goulopoulou is recognized as an exceptional scientist, educator and mentor, and she is passionate about outreach regarding women’s health and health disparities.  

Associate Dean Dr. Tom Cunningham stated, “Dr. Goulopoulou truly embodies our values of service and innovation and is one of the most giving, conscientious and honest people I’ve worked with.”  

Since 2014, Dr. Goulopoulou published over 15 peer-reviewed publications and has been awarded more than $3 million in research funding, including an American Heart Association Transformational Project Award. She recently received a prestigious NIH RO1 award worth $2.6 million.  

Dr. Goulopoulou consistently receives outstanding student ratings while teaching, training and mentoring students across multiple disciplines and academic programs. Concerned about isolation early on in the pandemic, Dr. Goulopoulou instituted a weekly “Zoom Social Hour,” providing a consistent anchor for trainees and faculty.  

She also played an integral role in planning the annual HSC Women’s Cardiovascular and Brain Health research symposium from 2018 to 2020.  

Meredith Howard, PharmD, BCPS, Associate Professor of Pharmacotherapy, College of Pharmacy

Dr. Howard is the Director of Hospital Practice and a preceptor for experiential education. She consistently earns exemplary teaching ratings and was voted by her students as Pharmacotherapy Teacher of the Year in 2019 and P3 Faculty of the Year in 2020. 

As a researcher, Dr. Howard’s nominators noted her creativity in leading and publishing research in high-impact journals related to student learning and innovative approaches to patient care in her internal medicine practice. As an educator, she is valued for her focus on practical skills, her professionalism and dedication, and the creative methods she uses to teach complex topics.  

Dr. Howard was recently elected as Chair-Elect for the American College of Clinical Pharmacy’s Education and Training Practice and Research Network (EDTR PRN).  

“Dr. Howard is a terrific colleague and leader in the College of Pharmacy, and we are proud of her accomplishments and contributions,” Dean Dr. S. Suresh Madhavan said.  

Howe Liu, MPT, PhD, MS, MD, Professor, Department of Physical Therapy, School of Health Professions

“Dr. Liu is incredibly committed to the success of his students,” Dean Dr. Glenn Forister said. “He has spent a decade at HSC, and the students say he is highly accessible to them by cell phone and weekend tutoring sessions.”  

Dr. Liu, who also received this award in its inaugural year of 2017, serves as course director, not only for the physical therapy department but also the PA program. He mentors students in multiple programs while balancing a heavy teaching load. 

With a productive research agenda, Dr. Liu has published 56 peer-reviewed publications, including 11 in the past year, and conducted over 100 presentations at state, national and international scientific meetings.  

He has served on numerous SHP committees over the years, including chair of the Research Committee and the Promotion and Tenure Committee, and mentors visiting scholars and junior faculty.  

At a national level, Dr. Liu is involved in many associations and national committees and is an active journal reviewer for more than 10 peer-reviewed journals.  

Each finalist received $2,500, and the overall winner received a total of $10,000.  

Learn more about the HSC Faculty Assembly.


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