2022 Faculty Achievement Award winner announced

HSC School of Biomedical Sciences, Dr. Keisa Mathis
Dr. Keisa Mathis, Assistant Professor of Physiology and Anatomy at the HSC School of Biomedical Sciences

On Wednesday, Dr. Keisa Mathis, assistant professor of physiology and anatomy at the School of Biomedical Sciences, was awarded The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth’s prestigious Faculty Annual Achievement Award – taking home a $10,000 prize in addition to the prestigious award.

The Faculty Senate names an annual winner for this award based on a nominee’s accomplishments in teaching, research and scholarship, service, clinical service and leadership. An awards committee consisting of a senator and faculty member selected from each of the five HSC colleges and schools reviews the nominees.

To be eligible for the peer-nominated honor, a faculty member must have been an active member of faculty for at least three years and work primarily at HSC. Faculty members who hold administrative appointments and immediate past winners are not eligible.

During an afternoon Zoom meeting, Dr. April Wiechmann, immediate past-president of the Faculty Senate and chair of the Faculty Awards committee, announced the five finalists for the award — one from each of HSC’s colleges.

The School of Health Professions’ Dr. Kenneth Miller, the School of Public Health’s Dr. Eun-Young Mun, Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Dr. Sarah Ross and College of Pharmacy’s Dr. Hongli Wu were also nominated and will receive a $2,500 cash prize for being finalists.

Dr. Johnathan D. Tune, Professor and Chair of the Department of Physiology and Anatomy and one of two faculty members to nominate Dr. Mathis, said Dr. Mathis has provided outstanding service to HSC and her profession.

“Dr. Mathis has been highly committed to providing quality service to the department, school, institution and professional societies,” Tune said in his nomination letter. “In particular, she has served as co-director of the departmental communications committee and on the SBS diversity, equity and inclusion committee as well as the SBS Admissions Committee.”

In his letter, Dr. Tune also praised Dr. Mathis for developing a nationally recognized research program that focuses on the role of chronic inflammation in the development and maintenance of hypertension. 

She has been widely published during the past several years. Dr. Mathis recently was appointed as a Fellow of the American Heart Association; took on roles as associate editor and consulting editor for two leading journals of the American Physiological Society; and now chairs the American Heart Association’s Hypertension Membership and Communications Committee.

Dr. Mathis is the recipient of the American Physiological Society’s 2022 Arthur C. Guyton Award for Excellence in Integrative Physiology and Medicine. She received the Dale Benos Early Career Service Award in 2016. Dr. Mathis co-founded Black in Physiology, which held its inaugural event in April of 2021. 

2022 Faculty Achievement Award Finalists

Dr. Kenneth L Miller, PT, DPT, GCS, ACEEAA 

 Dr. Miller is an assistant professor with a full-time primary appointment in the Department of Physical Therapy at the School of Health Professions and a secondary appointment in the TCOM Department of Internal Medicine and Geriatrics.

“Dr. Miller’s character and spirit is one that cares for, empowers and engages in the education of students in a way that reaches far beyond the classroom setting,” one of his students stated in a letter, “Dr. Miller has played an incredibly important role during my journey to becoming a physical therapist, and I know he will for future students as well.”

Dr. Miller is a widely published and sought-after national speaker, serves as an editorial board member for multiple journals and is active on multiple on-campus committees and councils.

He serves in multiple national leadership roles, including his election to a second term as director of practice for the Academy of Geriatric Physical Therapy. He served as a co-chair of a best practices task force for the Academy of Geriatrics Physical Therapy; the practice committee chair and a board of directors’ member for more than 10 years for the Academy of Home Health Physical Therapy and is still leading a home-health handbook revision task force. He recently was recognized and honored with the President’s Award from the Academy of Home Health Physical Therapy for notable service to the academy. 

Dr. Eun-Young Mun, Ph.D.

As a professor of health behavior and health systems in the School of Public Health, Dr. Mun has received continuous support from the National Institutes of Health and other federal, state and local sources. She has been awarded more than 25 grants, totaling more than $10 million.

“In addition to her outstanding research achievements, Dr. Mun has been a selfless mentor who has provided high-quality training experiences for early career faculty and graduate students in research and professionalism/career development,” the four faculty members who nominated her in a joint letter agreed. “For instance, her funded research program has provided funding for six other faculty members, one Ph.D.-level research scientist, one postdoctoral associate and two full-time graduate research assistants in the School of Public Health.”

Dr. Mun has received numerous honors, including being invited to be a speaker, discussant and panelist for NIH-held research events. She has won multiple NIH Travel Awards, the Computing & Technology Award from Michigan State University and several Junior Investigator Awards from the Research Society on Alcoholism and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. 

Dr. Sarah E Ross, DO, MS 

Dr. Ross joined TCOM’s Department of Internal Medicine and Geriatrics in 2011 as an assistant professor and was promoted to associate professor in 2021. She is board certified in family medicine, geriatrics and palliative medicine and hospice by the American Board of Family Medicine and earned the title of Certified Medical Director in 2016 from the American Board of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine.

Dr. Janice Knebl — UNT System regents professor, DSWOP-endowed chair, tenured professor in geriatrics, interim chair for the Department of Internal Medicine and Geriatrics and HSC Health’s interim chief medical officer — recounted the leadership role Dr. Ross took on during the early phases of the pandemic.

“Dr. Sarah E Ross, DO, MS embodies and exemplifies HSC’s values and is dedicated to the mission to transform lives through education and to improve the health of the community that she serves,” she said. “She placed herself in harm’s way on the front line of health care for older adults in nursing homes, on house calls and in the geriatric’s clinic since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and continues to do so today.”

Dr. Ross is Co-Medical Director for James L. West Center for Dementia. She received the Tarrant Area Gerontological Society’s Mildred O. Hogstel Award for Excellence in Geriatrics Education in July 2019. She has appeared on Fort Worth Magazine’s Top Docs list annually since 2014. In 2020, Dr. Ross was honored as the HSC Valubility of the Year recipient, the university’s highest honor.  

Hongli Wu, Ph.D. 

Dr. Wu joined the College of Pharmacy in 2013 as assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences and earned promotion to associate professor with tenure in 2018. She was one of the earliest faculty hires in the College of Pharmacy and made countless contributions to the then-nascent school that contributed to its successful accreditation and current academic standing.

Kyle A. Emmitte, professor and chair for the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the College of Pharmacy, said Dr. Wu’s teaching, research, service and leadership as a faculty member in the college has been consistently exemplary for many years.

“At the outset, Dr. Wu was called on to take on substantial workload in the areas of teaching and service beyond what is typical for a new assistant professor, who is also expected to build a successful independent research program from the ground up,” he said. “Dr. Wu has done so successfully, while simultaneously establishing herself as a leader within the college and her field.”

In 2015, Dr. Wu was chosen by her peers to serve as the college’s faculty representative on the its executive council, and she chaired the monthly College of Pharmacy faculty meetings. She has one multiple awards, including Faculty of the Year Teaching Award for the college in 2013 and 2017. 

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