Valubility of the Month: June 2019


Published: July 5, 2019

The June recipients of Valubility of the Month live out UNTHSC’s five core values on a day-to-day basis.

These recipients of the Valubility of the Month honor were selected from among dozens of nominees that a UNTHSC committee reviewed.

Nominate a teammate for Valubility of the Month


Rens Bais, Center for Innovative Learning  

Instructional Media Specialist Rens Bais went above and beyond, serving others first and being highly collaborative, to help Physical Therapy students make videos for their class project.  

He worked around students’ busy schedules, meeting with them and doing the video recordings when their time permitted between their classes and other obligations. 

Bais also was visionary. Said one of his nominators, “He is an excellent candidate [for Valubility of the Month] because he coordinated with my team to put together our vision for a falls preventions video. 

His nominators have high praise for his enthusiasm and skills in making their videos professional-quality and visually appealing, as well as meeting their class requirements. He “provided feedback and guidance along the way,” says a nominator, and “took the extra time and did as many re-recordings as needed. 

Says another nominator, “Without his assistance the project would have not been possible. 

Nominators: Students Rebecca Leissner, Mersida Kolenovic, Monica Penfield and Maria Rousseva  

Haley Barnes, Student, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences   

Haley Barnes serves her fellow students and the community in exemplary ways. When she realized some of her classmates missed lectures due to professional school interviews or unexpected life events, she shared her notes in real time on Google Drive. She crafted higher-order practice questions to share with fellow students before every exam, compiling more than 1,200 questions for the benefit of her classmates.  

Additionally, she demonstrated leadership in ensuring that the classroom environment is professional and respectful.  

Her work in the community has included encouraging undergraduates to apply to the medical sciences masters program, encouraging young people to pursue STEM degrees, volunteering with Girls Inc. of Tarrant County, and volunteering at the True Worth Place Foot Clinic. 

Barnes also assisted the Center for Anatomical Sciences in planning the Legacy of Life Ceremony honoring the relatives of donors to the Willed Body Program. Says her nominator, “This is an outstanding example of collaboration, because Haley was a teammate alongside seven other Medical Sciences students and two TCOM students during the invitation process to 200-plus donor families. During the five-hour ceremony, Haley led a group of eight UNTHSC students spanning TCOM, School of Health Professions and Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Says her nominator, “Haley’s leadership amongst the students is a testament to her ability to collaborate interprofessionally. 

Nominator: Blair Creedle Reynolds, Student 

Cara Fisher, Anatomical Sciences 

Cara Fisher, Instructor in Physiology and Anatomy, goes beyond the call of duty in her mentorship of UNTHSC students — and also kids in grades K-12, when she leads outreach programs that help youngsters get excited about science and medicine. Her nominator says, “Her efforts reach hundreds of students every year and inspire those students to pursue further education (at our campus and elsewhere).” 

In her other work at the Human Anatomy Lab, she demonstrates our values of integrity and respect in a program that relies on people to donate their bodies to our Willed Body Program. When she conducts tours for our own campus community and guests, she emphasizes how much the university values and appreciates the donors’ contribution to educating the providers of the future. In her teaching, she makes the most of their donation by finding ways to highlight each donor’s unique anatomy and pathology. She uses their unique differences to further the field of anatomical knowledge by overseeing case reports every year. Fisher never hesitates to spend time mentoring TCOM and PA students who need guidance and assistance. She also mentors all student prosectors, the students who undertake additional dissection projects so that other programs can learn from the Anatomy Lab. 

For the past five years, Fisher also has served as advisor to Camp Neuro and Camp Cardiac, summer enrichment programs for high school students. Says her nominator, “She is the reason that our Fort Worth chapter of these camps], one of 30 nationwide, is the only one that offers human brain dissection and human heart dissection for the students. This is an incredible opportunity that few students will ever be able to have, and Dr. Fisher ensures this happens. 

Nominator: Megan McConathy, Student  

Candice Davis, Family Medicine/OMM 

Candice Davis, LVN, has been at UNTHSC less than a year but already has shown how she lives the values in her everyday work. She is the sole nurse for the busy family medicine clinic in the Health Pavilion. Says a nominator, “From the moment she came, our clinic morale has improved, patient care has gotten better, and overall patient satisfaction has improved.  

Davis took charge of the child vaccine program, a collaboration with the local health department, and “helped us pass our recent audit with zero red flags,” says a nominator. She also helped improve medical supply ordering, and taught clinical staff and students proper protocol. These are examples of her willingness to lend expertise at problem-solving.   

Davis went beyond the call of duty in serving others first when a co-worker’s car broke down. Every day for two weeks, she made a 15-minute detour to drive him to work.  

She’s unfailing in showing respect, as evidenced by an incident in which a patient in the lobby began yelling at front-desk staff to finish paperwork that actually couldn’t be completed until after the appointment. Davis gently intervened and calmed the patient. 

Nominators: Subhada Kambhampaty and team 

Itzel Pena Perez, Office of Research Compliance 

Itzel Pena Perez often goes extra miles in practicing respect, diplomacy and integrity in her work as Assistant Director of the North Texas Regional Institutional Review Board. The IRB office provides oversight for research integrity, and Perez is essential in helping ours to just that. 

In spite of major changes in the office, including new staff and launch of the online IRBNet, she works diligently to communicate new regulations or the status of pending IRB reviews.  

Perez responds promptly to often-stressed researchers, by phone or email, even during her off hours or times that might be considered “wind-down” around holidays. When a PhD student was nearing panic over a deadline, Perez called from home to ensure the student had the needed information and could meet the deadline.

Perez takes the time and care “to understand what we researchers are trying to accomplish,” says a nominator. “She learns from our ongoing projects and helps us stay abreast of new developments and regulations.  

A nominator describes her as “the consummate professional,” who recognizes that investigators’ needs and barriers vary widely from study to study, and she is always open to discussing the best way to set up a project. She has been an invaluable resource to the university with regard to non-English-language research, since we do not have institutional infrastructure for translation validation.  

Nominators: E.Y. Mun, Scott Walters, Abdullah Mamun, Haylie Miller, Patrick Clay and Rajesh Nandy