(COLLEGE STATION, TX) — George C.Y. Chiou, Ph.D., of the College of Medicine and Larry D. Gamm, Ph.D., of the School of Rural Public Health are the Texas A&M Health Science Center’s (TAMHSC) latest recipients of the prestigious Regents Professor Award.

Established in 1996, the Regents Professor Award is bestowed annually by The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents in recognition of awardees’ exemplary contributions to their university or agency and to the people of Texas. Since its adoption, 144 faculty members from universities, agencies and the Texas A&M Health Science Center across the A&M System have been recognized with the award.

Dr. Chiou and Dr. Gamm were announced at the Nov. 3 meeting of the Board of Regents. In all, 13 A&M System faculty members were designated Regents Professors for 2010-11.

After more than 30 years in the field of medical research, Dr. Chiou has become one of the world’s leading researchers in ocular pharmacology. He joined the TAMHSC-College of Medicine in July 1978, serving as the founding chair of the Department of Medical Pharmacology and Toxicology, a position he would hold for more than 27 years.

Dr. George C.Y. Chiou

George C.Y. Chiou, Ph.D.

“My time in research and medicine has been dedicated to finding answers and sharing knowledge, and I believe that by devoting my time for the right cause, I can make a lasting impact,” Dr. Chiou said. “Being recognized as a Regents Professor allows me to continue to create a legacy for others to follow, and I am honored to be chosen.”

While at the TAMHSC-College of Medicine, Dr. Chiou has been associate dean for research, and taught medical and graduate students as an adjunct professor of ophthalmology and surgery and as a professor of neuroscience and experimental therapeutics. In the mid-1980s, he was instrumental in establishing the original Ph.D. program in medical sciences, which launched graduate student education at the college.

Dr. Chiou continues to serve the college as director of the Institute for Ocular Pharmacology (IOP), a position he has held since 1984. He and his institute colleagues are researching and developing the first medicinal eye drops for age-related macular degeneration (dry-AMD), which affects more than 30 million people worldwide.

Dr. Chiou’s critical invention in drug discovery has attracted great attention to The Texas A&M University System, TAMHSC and the college. The Texas A&M System and college created MacuClear, a company that receives private investments and is supported by the Texas Emerging Technology Fund. MacuClear aims to develop a drug based on Dr. Chiou’s research for the treatment of AMD.

The founding editor of Journal of Ocular Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Dr. Chiou holds more than two dozen patents and has published more than 250 peer-reviewed research publications, including many significant contributions to the treatment of glaucoma, AMD, uveitis, ischemic retinopathy, cataracts, dry eye syndrome and myopia.

Dr. Chiou received his Ph.D. in Pharmacology from Vanderbilt University in 1967 and continued to do postdoctoral research in autonomic pharmacology at Vanderbilt and the University of Iowa Medical School from 1967 to 1969.

“For more than 30 years, Dr. Chiou has served as an example not only in the field of research but also as an educator to decades of medical and graduate students,” said Sam Shomaker, M.D., J.D., TAMHSC-College of Medicine dean and TAMHSC vice president for clinical affairs. “His dedication to his work and to the College of Medicine is evidenced by his many service activities both in and out of the classroom. He is a teacher and mentor of the highest caliber, and we are incredibly proud of his recognition as a Regents Professor.”

Dr. Gamm, also designated a Regents Professor, teaches in the Master of Public Health (M.P.H.), Master of Health Administration (M.H.A.) and Ph.D. programs in the TAMHSC-School of Rural Public Health Department of Health Policy and Management. He also developed and directs the multi-university National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded Center for Health Organization Transformation (CHOT).

Dr. Gamm’s research and teaching focuses on health care management and improvement, with research primarily on electronic medical records, chronic disease management and rural health. He directed the development and publication of the widely used “Rural Healthy People 2010,” which addresses rural health conditions and rural models for health innovation.

Dr. Larry D. Gamm

Larry D. Gamm, Ph.D.

Joining the TAMHSC-School of Rural Public Health in 2000 as it was getting under way, Dr. Gamm led development of the M.H.A. and Ph.D. programs and guided the school’s curriculum analysis in

its early years. As M.H.A. director until 2007, he headed the first accreditation of that program and its selection by the National Center for Healthcare Leadership as one of 10 leading M.H.A. programs to advance leadership competencies. He served as health policy and management head through 2010.

Dr. Gamm received the TAMHSC Presidential Award for Excellence in Education and Mentorship in 2006 and an American College of Healthcare Executive Regent’s Award in 2008. Recipient of The American Hospital Association’s Crosby Fellowship Award in 1993, he currently serves a four-year term on the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services appointed by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Prior to the TAMHSC-School of Rural Public Health, Dr. Gamm worked at Penn State University for more than 25 years, where he retains the rank of Emeritus Professor. After completing his Ph.D. at the University of Iowa, he joined Penn State when it was starting a new, innovative College of Health and Human Development, eventually heading an M.H.A. and Ph.D. program and developing its Center for Health Policy Research.

“It is wonderful to work with very talented students who are preparing to lead and manage health care and public health organizations and other great students who are learning to become health services policy and management teachers and researchers,” Dr. Gamm said. “Moreover, our research center (CHOT) is designed to link our students and faculty in research with many leading health systems engaged in innovation. I have been fortunate, indeed, to collaborate with many excellent faculty colleagues who share a commitment to integrating effective teaching and research and to continually improving processes and outcomes of both in our department and school.”

With his long academic track record and extensive experience as a state rural health leader, Dr. Gamm was the first professor targeted by Dr. Craig Blakely, Ph.D., M.P.H., TAMHSC-School of Rural Public Health dean. At the time, Dr. Blakely had been appointed the school’s first health policy and management department head.

“Larry has served the school in administrative posts, as first chair of the curriculum committee and as a very successful researcher,” Dr. Blakely said. “He built our nationally regarded M.H.A. program and is now coordinating an exciting NSF-supported center studying and assisting major hospitals and health plans with the process of translating best practice management and clinical procedures to their facilities. The school has a rapidly growing team of stellar faculty members that have been recognized by the A&M System Board of Regents for their exemplary performance and contributions to higher education in Texas, and Larry certainly deserves to be included among those elite colleagues.”

Award recipients are designated as Regents Professors for the duration of their service or employment within the A&M System, provided a $9,000 stipend payable in $3,000 increments over three consecutive years, and receive a special medallion bearing the seal of the A&M System and a certificate signed by the chancellor and the chairman of the Board of Regents.

The designation as Regents Professor places Drs. Chiou and Gamm on a growing list of TAMHSC faculty members to receive this distinction. Second only to Texas A&M University in total recipients, the health science center is now home to 27 Regents Professor Award holders, whose excellence in a variety of fields of expertise has earned them this recognition.

Robert J. Hinton, Ph.D., of the Baylor College of Dentistry and Kenneth R. McLeroy, Ph.D., of the School of Rural Public Health were named Regents Professor last year from the TAMHSC.

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Texas A&M Health Science Center Regents Professors

Prior winners of the Regents Professor Award from the Texas A&M Health Science Center include the following:

• Larry Bellinger, D.D.S., Baylor College of Dentistry

• William H. Binnie, D.D.S., M.S.D., Baylor College of Dentistry

• David Carlson, Ph.D., Health Science Center Research and Graduate Studies

• K.C. Donnelly, Ph.D., School of Rural Public Health

• Richard H. Finnell, Ph.D., Institute of Biosciences and Technology

• William W. Hallmon, D.M.D., M.S., Baylor College of Dentistry

• Catherine Hawes, Ph.D., School of Rural Public Health

• Robert J. Hinton, Ph.D., Baylor College of Dentistry

• Magnus Höök, Ph.D., Institute of Biosciences and Technology

• Arthur Johnson, Ph.D., College of Medicine

• Wallace McKeehan, Ph.D., Institute of Biosciences and Technology

• Kenneth R. McLeroy, Ph.D., School of Rural Public Health

• David McMurray, Ph.D., College of Medicine

• Gerald Meininger, Ph.D., College of Medicine

• Toru Okabe, Ph.D., Baylor College of Dentistry

• Marcia G. Ory, Ph.D., M.P.H., School of Rural Public Health

• Carlos Nick Pace, Ph.D., College of Medicine

• Charles Phillips, Ph.D., M.P.H., School of Rural Public Health

• Allison C. Rice-Ficht, Ph.D., College of Medicine

• Stephen H. Safe, Ph.D., Institute of Biosciences and Technology

• N. Sue Seale, D.D.S., M.S.D., Baylor College of Dentistry

• Kathy Svoboda, Ph.D., Baylor College of Dentistry

• R. Gilbert Triplett, D.D.S., Ph.D., Baylor College of Dentistry

• Robert Wells, Ph.D., Institute of Biosciences and Technology

• John M. Wright, D.D.S., Baylor College of Dentistry

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