End of Year Celebration honors special achievements

April 12, 2019 • Uncategorized

By Sally Crocker

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The School of Public Health recently recognized 2018-19 academic year student, faculty and staff accomplishments at its annual End of Year Celebration.

 This year’s Dean’s List honorees, representing a select group who achieved excellence in their academic program, including those at the top 10% of their class, were:
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  • Victoria Carver
  • Ambriale Davis
  • Diana Edwards
  • Deepika Kamath
  • David Kauvar
  • Priscilla Kha
  • Monica Kovuri
  • Elvis Longanga
  • Joel Massey
  • Sarah Matthes
  • Laura Mayfield
  • Kimberly Morris
  • Emma Nalin
  • Megan Nolte
  • Sarah Ortiz
  • Amruta Sakhalkar
  • Sarah Shin-Kim

The Dean’s Award for Scholarly Excellence in Academics was presented to Carolyn Bradley-Guidry.

The Dean’s Award for Scholarly Excellence in Research was presented to Shlesma Chhetri.

Sph2019 Grad Celebration3aThree SPH students were admitted into the UNTHSC Alpha Sigma Chapter of Delta Omega public health national honor society, based on their academic excellence, leadership and commitment to the field of public health: Priscilla Kha, Sarah Matthes and Kimberly Morris.

Three SPH alumni were inducted into Delta Omega this year: Leslie Allsopp, Amy Board and Joel Massey.

For his dedication to teaching, research and always being available to help students in need of assistance with statistics, SPH faculty member Dr. Subhash Aryal was also inducted into Delta Omega.

Each year, the SPH chapter selects one community member into Honorary Delta Omega membership, in recognition of exceptional qualifications, distinction in the field and a commitment to improving life and health in the community.

This year’s honoree was Patsy Thomas.

As one who has been dedicated to improving public health for many years in Fort Worth and Tarrant County, Thomas was responsible for establishing the private Fort Worth Academy for grades K-8, building a nationally-noted crime prevention program and resource center in the local area, and lending leadership guidance in the development of a comprehensive, multi-agency mental health collaboration that has brought millions in grant funding to local and regional initiatives.

This year’s Leon Brachman Award was presented to SPH student Kimberly Morris.

The Brachman award is given annually to a public health student in the MPH or MHA program demonstrating exemplary academic achievement in his or her graduate course of study, as demonstrated by overall grade point average, quality of projects/presentations and written and oral communication skills.

The award is named in honor of the community leader and philanthropist Leon Brachman, who helped establish the UNTHSC School of Public Health in 1999.

The student winner of this year’s Kenneth Cooper Award was Joel Massey.

This award –named for best-selling author and internationally known health/wellness guru Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper, who started the Cooper Aerobics Center in Dallas in 1970 and pioneered the concept of preventive medicine and healthy lifestyle – honors one student each year who most accurately reflects the leadership and community service qualities demonstrated by Kenneth Cooper.

Dr. Cooper was among a small steering committee of North Texas community leaders who first proposed bringing a school of public health to the local area, back in 1992.

Img 1981aSarah Matthes was presented with the Bob Crow Award, named for the former executive director of the Texas charitable Amon G. Carter Foundation and past member of the school’s Steering Committee, recognizing an outstanding MPH or MHA student with exemplary leadership and service to the school and community.

Ela Vashishtha was presented with this year’s Richard S. Kurz Award, established in 2012 in honor of SPH Dean Emeritus Dr. Richard Kurz, who led the UNTHSC School of Public Health from 2007 to 2015. This award is given to an outstanding student who emulates the leadership, accomplishments and visionary qualities of Dean Kurz.

Alexis Rendon received the Outstanding Student Paper Award, recognizing high quality work in research papers, as determined by quality of the journal, sophistication of the analyses and importance of the conclusions.

SPH Recognition Awards were also presented to honor faculty for excellent/impactful teaching, research or service, and to recognize SPH staff for major contributions during the previous 12 months.  All were nominated by their peers, with award selections made by a committee of non-administrative faculty and staff.

Honorees this year were:

  • Excellence in Teaching – Dr. Witold Migala
  • Excellence in Service – Dr. David Sterling
  • Outstanding Faculty in Research – Dr. Melissa Lewis
  • Excellent Performance by a Staff Member – Vikas Tomer


The UNTHSC Public Health Student Government Association (PHSGA) also presented honors, highlighting faculty and staff members for going above and beyond in support of SPH students.

The awards were created to recognize faculty and staff who have supported students through quality teaching, research, advising and service, as voted on by the student body.

Honored were:

  • Outstanding Faculty in Teaching award, Department of Health Behavior and Health Systems – Dr. Thad Miller
  • Outstanding Faculty Member in Teaching, Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology – Dr. Katherine Fogelberg
  • Outstanding Faculty Member in Research, Department of Health Behavior and Health Systems – Dr. Erika Thompson
  • Outstanding Faculty Member in Research, Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology – Dr. Subhash Aryal
  • Outstanding Faculty Advisor – Dr. Liam O’Neill
  • Outstanding Public Health Staff Member – Katie Cantu Anguiano

“The School of Public Health extends congratulations to all of this year’s honorees,” said Dr. Dennis Thombs, SPH Dean. “All of the hard work and the strides in public health academics, research, community service, teaching and leadership that these individuals are making is noteworthy and truly inspiring.”

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