Commencement awards and congratulations

May 5, 2021 • Uncategorized

By Sally Crocker




This spring, 56 new School of Public Health graduates will celebrate Commencement.

Three graduates are receiving special recognition, and a number of students are being named into honor societies for the fields of public health and health care management and policy.

This year’s Leon Brachman Community Service Award honoree is Joanna Li. The Brachman award recognizes the graduating public health student who best exemplifies the ideals of academic excellence, leadership and community service.   This award is named for Leon Brachman, a member of the 1992 Steering Committee that explored development of the SPH. He was instrumental in the school’s 1999 founding and was a recognized leader and philanthropist in the Fort Worth community. Brachman’s namesake award is presented annually to a public health student in the MPH or MHA program demonstrating exemplary academic achievement in his or her graduate course of study.

Sydney Manning is receiving this year’s Kenneth Cooper Award.The Kenneth H. Cooper Award for Outstanding Research is presented each year to a public health student who demonstrates excellence and quality in the application of research methods in preparation of a final product for the thesis or other research activities. Best-selling author and health/wellness guru Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper, who started the famous Cooper Aerobics Center in Dallas in 1970, is the inspiration behind this award.

Amber Deckard is being recognized as this year’s Dean’s Award for Academic Achievement The Dean’s Award for Scholarly Excellence in Academic Achievement is presented to the student who distinctly represents scholarly excellence with an emphasis on academic achievement.

The SPH is also inducting seven students into the Delta Omega Public Health Honor Society, Alpha Sigma Chapter, and seven students into HSC’s Upsilon Phi Delta Honor Society chapter, in recognition, reward and encouragement of their academic excellence in the study of health care management and policy.

Membership in Delta Omega reflects the dedication of an individual to quality in the field of public health and to protection and advancement of the health of all people. Election to the society is based on outstanding performance – scholarship in students, teaching and research in faculty members, and community service in alumni. Election to membership in Delta Omega is intended not only to recognize merit, but also to encourage further excellence in, and devotion to, public health work.

Upsilon Phi Delta represents the national academic honor society for students in health care administration across the United States. The organization was formed in 1965 to further the profession of health administration and the professional competence and dedication of its members.

Congratulations are offered to the following new Delta Omega members: Allison Christian, Amber Deckard, Palak Desai, Joanna Li, Edward Monroy, Alice Phillips and Angela Taylor.

Congratulations are also extended to this year’s new honorees named into Upsilon Phi Delta: Hina Ajaz, Kartika Ayyappan, Lydia Ford, Lydia (Brett) Ironside, Aminata Ka, Parvathy Nair Prasannan and Erin Sam.

Each year at commencement, the HSC Public Health Student Government Association (PHSGA) selects winners for the Annual PHSGA Awards, to recognize and thank special SPH faculty and staff for going above and beyond in their support.

The 2020-2021 SPH Faculty and Staff Awards presented by PHSGA, along with this year’s nominees, include:

SPH COVID-19 Response Trail Blazer Award: Dr. Diana Cervantes.
Outstanding SPH Educator Award: Dr. Stacey Griner.
Additional nominees for this award were Dr. Won Seok Choi, Dr. Stephan Davis, Dr. Kayla Fair and Dr. Menghua Tao.
Outstanding SPH Researcher Award: Dr. Erika Thompson.
Dr. Erica Spears and Dr. Emily Spence were also nominees for this honor.
Outstanding SPH Staff Member Award: Chelsea Lancaster, SPH Academic Services.
Public Health Leader of the Year Award: Dr. Dana Litt.

The SPH extends congratulations to all and the very best wishes to our new graduates!