Health Science Center Dominates List of Healthcare Heroes; Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine Receives Top Honors

February 8, 2006

Once again, UNT Health Science Center dominated the Healthcare Heroes list from the Fort Worth Business Press.

In total, the health science center had seven individuals and one group who were selected as Healthcare Heroes for 2006. The Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine was also named the Legacy Award Winner for 2006. The award will be announced at the Fort Worth Business Pressâ?? banquet honoring the award recipients on Feb. 28. One of the individuals received a special award from the Fort Worth Business Press after her nomination letters for others struck a chord with the voting panel.

Suzanne B. Davis, residency program administrator for the Department of Family Medicine, nominated the healthcare providers who were instrumental in her cancer treatment. The letters she wrote about them moved the Business Pressâ?? voting panel to giver her a special award.

This year, one group nominee from the health science center was named an Education Healthcare Hero. Project SCORE, Schoolsâ?? Cooperative Opportunities for Resources and Education, a joint project between the health science center, Texas Wesleyan University and the Fort Worth Independent School District funded by the National Science Foundation.

Project SCORE provides graduate and undergraduate students the opportunity to teach FWISD high school science students, and it also provides some laboratory equipment for the schools. Rusty Reeves, PhD, assistant professor of cell biology and genetics, serves as the principal investigator of the federally funded program.

Patientâ??s Heroes from the health science center include Sam Buchanan, DO, and Greg Friess, DO. Above and Beyond Hero was Phillip Saperstein, DO, FACOFP. Ximena Urrutia-Rojas, DrPH; and Stephen Weis, DO; were chosen as Education Heroes, and Linda Davis, PA-C, is a Hurricane Hero.

â??We are excited to have so many people from the health science center selected as Healthcare Heroes this year,â? Dr. Blanck said. â??All of our employees and students are truly heroes in their own right, working to make healthcare better today and for the future.â?

Dr. Buchanan is an associate professor in the Department of Surgery. He is board certified in general surgery and has been named a Top Doc by Fort Worth, Texas magazine, and was recently named a Super Doctor by Texas Monthly. He was nominated by Suzanne Davis.

Dr. Saperstein is a professor in the Department of Family Medicine. He is director of the family practice residency program at Plaza Medical Center of Fort Worth. He also works at the Seminary Family Medicine Clinic. He was nominated for his work with patients at Plaza Medical Center.

Dr. Friess is a graduate of the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine and currently serves as a clinical assistant professor for the health science center. He is director of education and analytics at the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders. Dr. Friess was an assistant professor at TCOM prior to joining the center. He was nominated for his work in cancer care at the center.

Dr. Urrutia-Rojas is an assistant professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences in the School of Public Health. She has been the principal investigator in several studies of childhood obesity and diabetes, particularly in Fort Worth and Tarrant County. Her work in childhood obesity and diabetes is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Weis is a professor of medicine in the Department of Internal Medicine, division of endocrinology. Dr. Weis is currently the principal investigator on a $5.3 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study tuberculosis. Dr. Weis works closely with the Tarrant County Public Health Department on clinical trials associated with tuberculosis.

Linda Davis is an instructor in the division of rheumatology in the Department of Internal Medicine. She was chosen as a Hurricane Hero for her work at shelters in the Tarrant County area, where she volunteered her time and provided medical care and support for the survivors of Hurricane Katrina.

The Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine received the 2006 Legacy Award in celebration of its 35th anniversary. TCOM was also instrumental in coordinating volunteer work at the Tarrant County shelter for hurricane survivors this year. This is the second year in a row that the Legacy Award Winner has come from UNT Health Science Center.

Last year, Ronald Blanck, DO, president of UNT Health Science Center, was named the 2005 Legacy Award winner by the Fort Worth Business Press at its annual Healthcare Heroes banquet. Other Healthcare Heroes from the health science center last year were Russell Gamber, DO, MPH; Laurie Hill, PA-C, MHS; Melva Jones, LVN; Albert Olivencia-Yurvati, DO; and James Simpkins, PhD.

The banquet to honor this yearâ??s Healthcare Heroes will take place at the Fort Worth Club Feb. 28.

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Contact: Kay Colley 817-735-2553, cell 817-980-5090, e-mail kacolley@hsc.unt.edu.

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