College of Pharmacy announces 2023 Outstanding Achievement honorees in Clinical Care and Research
The annual awards celebrate faculty and staff for their substantial, impactful and deliberate achievements that emphasize innovation and HSC values in four major areas: teaching and service (presented in even years) and clinical care and research (presented in odd years).
“Our faculty and staff contribute so much above and beyond their daily responsibilities, and this is a time to recognize those who are making a notable impact in our college,” said interim dean, Dr. Annesha White. “I couldn’t be prouder of our faculty award recipients this year, Dr. Atanda and Dr. Wu, who are both such admired and innovative leaders in our college.”
Outstanding Achievement in Clinical Care
Assistant dean, Pharmacy Student Success and Academic Performance
Associate professor of Pharmacotherapy & director for Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experiences, vice-chair of the Curriculum Committee, Department of Pharmacotherapy
Atanda, who joined HSC in 2016, is a board-certified ambulatory care specialist and certified diabetes care and education specialist. Over the last three years, she practiced at the HSC Health Center for Older Adults, where she said the medical team prioritizes an interdisciplinary and whole health approach to patient care. Additionally, Dr. Atanda teaches in various pharmacotherapy courses and directs the advanced diabetes care elective course.
“I am passionate about providing comprehensive and patient-centered care to geriatric patients because this population has unique and complex medical needs,” she said.
Atanda served as program director and quality coordinator and one of the founding faculty for the Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support Program at HSC and led the successful accreditation of the program by the American Diabetes Association.
The DSMES quarterly program, one of only a few in the DFW region, provides comprehensive diabetes education and resources to HSC Health patients with diabetes in a four-week class structure.
“Receiving participant feedback about how the information and resources provided have empowered [patients] to take a more active role in their health has truly been one of the highlights of my career,” she added.
The awards committee specifically highlighted her accomplishments in this area noting, “Her dedication in improving outcomes for her patients can be seen in the many areas she has been involved in the last two years.” In addition, they noted “her clinical collaboration skills are highly regarded by her physician counterparts, receiving all 5’s/excellent on her peer evaluations.”
Atanda was also recognized for her extensive publications, posters and presentations given on a grant she was awarded in October 2022 related to the “Implementation and Evaluation of an Interdisciplinary Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support Program on Clinical and Behavioral Outcomes in a Geriatric Population”.
“Receiving this award and recognition from my peers was especially meaningful to me because I transitioned out of direct patient care in July 2023 after practicing for almost 10 years,” Atanda said. “The College of Pharmacy clinical faculty group is phenomenal, and they have always been so supportive of the various patient care initiatives I have led or been involved in.”
Outstanding Achievement in Research
Associate professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences
North Texas Eye Research Institute Researcher
Dr. Wu joined HSC in 2013 and is recognized as a leader in the college for her exemplary contributions to teaching, research and service. She has received multiple awards for her work in the college, including Faculty of the Year Teaching Award in 2013 and 2017, Faculty Achievement Award finalist in 2022, and voted the Class of 2026 Professor of the Year in 2023. She teaches courses related to cardio-renal physiology and pharmacology.
“In addition to teaching, I am deeply committed to research as a vision scientist,” Wu said. “I have been investigating critical issues such as cataracts, retinal degeneration, and glaucoma, with the aim of advancing our understanding of these eye conditions and developing innovative therapeutic solutions.”
The awards committee noted Wu’s exceptional achievements in the areas of collaboration and mentorship, productivity and recognition. “Dr. Wu has made impactful contributions to ophthalmology with oral presentations at prestigious conferences like the International Society of Eye Research (ISER) and the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology and is fully committed to guiding the next generation of scientists and pharmacists”.
Wu has also achieved publications in high-impact journals, spanning topics such as lens epithelial cell function, cataract formation, antioxidative activities and racial disparities in glaucoma. Her ability to secure substantial funding for her research initiatives is equally commendable, with a total funding of approximately $1,534,923, obtained through grants from the Department of Defense, National Institute of Health and industry.
“Receiving this prestigious research award is deeply meaningful to me, and I’m profoundly grateful for the recognition,” Wu said. “This honor signifies not just an acknowledgment from my colleagues of the dedication I’ve committed to my research, but also the impact of our collective work. While this award serves as a testament to past achievements, it also serves as a reminder of the ongoing commitment for future success.”
Wu also takes great pride in nurturing and witnessing the growth and success of her students. “Seeing my PharmD and graduate students flourish academically and professionally is incredibly rewarding,” she said. “Their achievements reflect not only on their dedication but also on the quality of education and mentorship provided at our institution.”