2023 Faculty Achievement Award winner announced

Erika Thompson With Provost Taylor
Dr. Erika Thompson with Provost Charles Taylor

On Friday, Dr. Erika Thompson, associate professor in the School of Public Health’s Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, was awarded The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth’s prestigious annual Faculty Achievement Award – taking home a $10,000 prize in addition to the prestigious award.

The Faculty Achievement Award Committee 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 the Spring Faculty Assembly in Luibel Hall, all five finalists — one from each of HSC’s colleges — were recognized.

Dr. Xiaowei Dong of the UNT System College of Pharmacy, Dr. Kimberly Fulda of the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, Dr. Rachel Menegaz of the School of Biomedical Sciences, and Dr. Teresa Wagner of the School of Health Professions were also nominated and will receive a $2,500 cash prize for being finalists.

In the nomination letter, assistant professors Dr. Stacey Griner, Dr. Nolan Kline, Dr. Malinee Neelamegam, and Dr. Charlotte Noble praised Thompson for exemplifying HSC’s values.

“Dr. Erika Thompson is incredibly well deserving of the HSC Faculty Achievement Award because of her exemplary achievements in research, teaching and service,” the letter says. “Her commitment to these areas promotes the values of the HSC as she models exceptional standards and act in the best interest of our community.”

Thompson has served the American Academy of Health Behavior as the 2021 conference research review chair, the Association for Teachers of Maternal and Child Health’s Advisory Board and as chair of their Education and Mentoring Committee, and the American Public Health Association Women’s Caucus ‑ Caucus Collaborative Representative. She is also a senior associate editor for Behavioral Medicine with an emphasis on women’s health research, and serves on the editorial board for Health Behavior Research.

Locally, Thompson is the co-chair of the advocacy committee and sits on the board of the Immunization Collaboration of Tarrant County. She also serves on the core team and is a founding member of the Birth Equity Collaborative of Tarrant County, an organization created through a partnership with CityMatCH.

In addition to these leadership roles, she is a member of several community efforts, including the Tarrant County Health Equity Alliance, the Tarrant County Homeless Coalition’s Family Homelessness Committee, the Texas HPV Vaccine Coalition, and the Cervical Cancer Screening Workgroup for the Cancer Alliance of Texas. Within the School of Public Health, she has been active in several school committees, including the MS/PhD Committee; Program Director Committee; Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee; and Scholarship and Awards Committee.

2022 Faculty Achievement Award Finalists

Dr. Dong
Dr. Xiaowei Dong

Dr. Xiaowei Dong received her PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Kentucky. Prior to her current position at the HSC College of Pharmacy, she worked as a lead formulator for drug development at Novartis Pharmaceutical Corporation for four years.

She is a member of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists and also a co-inventor in several pending patents. In 2008, she was selected as one of six students nationwide to participate in the 2008 AAPS Graduate Student Symposium in Drug Delivery and Pharmaceutical Technology sponsored by Bristol-Myers Squibb. Additionally, she is an active reviewer for many journals such as the Journal of Controlled Release, the International Journal of Nanomedicine and PlosOne.

Her research is focused on drug delivery and formulation development with a primary emphasis on cancer and brain drug delivery.

Kimberly Fulda
Dr. Kimberly Fulda

Dr. Kimberly Fulda is the director of the North Texas Primary Care Practice-Based Research Network (NorTex). NorTex is a network of primary care clinics that conduct research to improve the health of our community. She primarily conducts research on health disparities; however, NorTex research covers a wide array of research topics relevant to primary care. Her research is interdisciplinary and includes investigators from many fields. Fulda also has experience in evaluation and has served as an evaluator for multiple federally funded projects. She has specific expertise in public health, health disparities, clinical research, and research design and analysis.

Rachel Menagaz
Dr. Rachel Menegaz

Dr. Rachel Menegaz’s research explores the growth and function of cranial tissues, particularly the structures involved in feeding. The biomechanical demands imposed by diet are known to affect chewing behavior and joint kinematics and, over time, the growth trajectories of the craniofacial skeleton and its associated soft tissues. By modulating diet, she has found, people are able to affect the overall growth of these tissues, bone quality in the jaws, the integrity of the jaw joint (TMJ), dental occlusion, and masticatory muscle structure. She is particularly interested in how early life history events (such as weaning and dental eruption/replacement) affect feeding, growth, and adult morphological outcomes.

Teressa Wagner
Dr. Teresa Wagner

Dr. Teresa Wagner is an assistant professor in the School of Health Professions. She teaches Communication in the Lifestyle Health Sciences program and teaches nutrition in the Diabetes Self-Management Education Program on campus. She also serves as interim director and clinical executive for Health Literacy at SaferCare Texas and as director of the Community Health Worker Training Program.

She’s certified in Public Health, Patient Safety, Lifestyle Medicine, Health Coaching and a certified Community Health Worker Instructor. Wagner has delivered multiple programs, speaking engagements and trainings on health literacy issues. Additionally, she established both a multi-stakeholder health literacy collaborative with the DFW Hospital Council Foundation and Health Literacy Texas, a statewide nonprofit to build community around health literacy efforts in Texas. As a result of her work, she has received both the 2018 Texas Health Literacy Hero Award as well as the 2020 Distinguished Alumni Award from Texas Christian University.

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