Convocation focuses on “CARE,” honors Dr. Dickey

January 23, 2012

(COLLEGE STATION, TX) — The Texas A&M Health Science Center (TAMHSC) hosted its biennial academic convocation Friday (Jan. 20) to celebrate its achievements and future endeavors. An evening gala raised private donations and profits to establish the Nancy W. Dickey, M.D., Endowed Scholarship in recognition of her 10-year anniversary as institution president.

Convocation at Rudder Auditorium on the Texas A&M University campus honored the renewed vision and reaffirmed commitment to providing quality programs and services throughout the state. As in 2010, it was satellite broadcast to campuses in Dallas, Temple, Kingsville, Round Rock, McAllen, Houston and Corpus Christi.

“From its beginning, the health science center has followed a thoughtful and rational growth process,” said Nancy W. Dickey, M.D., president of the Texas A&M Health Science Center and vice chancellor for health affairs for The Texas A&M University System.

“We have evaluated the needs of the state, the nation and, in some instances, the world. We have considered potential solutions and how TAMHSC could be part of the solution. We have built upon our land grant heritage, helping to meet the needs of the state and facilitating Texans’ access to education and training that allows them to remain in their jobs even as they build their competencies.”

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), the accrediting authority for the TAMHSC, is evaluating the institution for compliance with core requirements, comprehensive standards and federal requirements. The outcome of this evaluation will help determine if the TAMHSC will receive continuing accreditation.

A new component of the accreditation process is the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP). The plan involves broad-based participation from the Texas A&M Health Science Center community in selecting and focusing on a topic that enhances student learning throughout the institution.

The chosen QEP topic is CARE – Critically Appraise Relevant Evidence – and it will establish a foundation of critical-thinking skills in students while enriching the teaching and application of evidence-based decision-making. In doing so, CARE will enhance the processes through which the institution teaches and practices its vision that all people “deserve the benefits of compassionate care, superior science and exceptional health education.”

To further promote the QEP, TAMHSC students were invited to participate in a contest to produce a two-minute video representing CARE. The winning team was Joe Cerrato, Barbara Reed and Rebecca Armanath in the College of Nursing. Their video aired during convocation and will be posted on the institutional YouTube page ( and SACS website. The college was awarded a $500 scholarship and plaque, and each team member received a $25 gift card for iPhone/iPad applications.

In her keynote address, “I CARE. You Should Too,” Dr. Dickey said today’s health care professionals must learn to efficiently and effectively evaluate, synthesize and apply rapidly changing data. This requires the TAMHSC continually change curricula and evaluate measurement tools such as exams. And from matriculation to graduation, students must demonstrate improvement in their decision-making.

“TAMHSC has embraced the belief, the philosophy, that health care providers who are taught to critically appraise relevant evidence will be better prepared to provide the best treatment, evaluation and solution options for their communities, patients and clients,” Dr. Dickey said. “It is no longer enough for us to say we teach students to learn and learn continuously. We must teach students how to use the moving database to be competent diagnosticians and cutting-edge problem-solvers in a strong patient-client centered way.”

Dr. Dickey closed by announcing plans for a new research building and new clinical building on the Bryan campus. Details are still being finalized for the facilities, which will complement the Health Professions Education Building, Medical Research and Education Building, and Clinical Building I.

During the convocation, Dr. Dickey awarded six Presidential Awards for Excellence to individuals or groups who personified servant leadership in the areas of community outreach, health care services and delivery, research, institutional advancement, education and mentorship, and administrative support. Also acknowledged were multiple faculty and research awards – some of which were presented at an earlier faculty luncheon – along with Regents Professors and distinguished and emeritusprofessors.

From left, Frank Dickey; Daisy Sloan White; Regent John White; Charlotte Sharp, Chancellor John Sharp; Nancy W. Dickey, M.D.

Additional convocation remarks were provided by A&M System Chancellor John Sharp, M.P.A.; A&M System Board of Regents Chairman Richard A. Box, D.D.S.; Jim Burdine, Dr. P.H., speaker of the Faculty Senate; and School of Graduate Studies student Brenna McGruder, president of the Student Government Association.

Following the event, an evening celebration gala at Miramont Country Club featured gourmet dining, fine wine and dancing in honor of Dr. Dickey’s 10 years as TAMHSC president, having assumed office Jan. 1, 2002. It included a video tribute to Dr. Dickey that highlighted her tenure and personal life, with comments from Sharp, Dr. Box and State Sen. Steve Ogden, R-District 5.

In academia, “convocation” is a ceremonial assembly of the members of a college or university. Traditionally, it celebrates a special event, such as the beginning of the academic year or the anniversary of an institution.

Texas A&M Health Science Center Presidential Awards for Excellence

The following individuals and/or groups were recognized with Presidential Awards for Excellence during the TAMHSC academic convocation Friday, Jan. 20:

  • Community Outreach – Department of Public Health Sciences, Baylor College of Dentistry. The department improves the health and well-being of thousands of underserved children and adults in North Texas through excellence in education and oral health care delivery. The award recognizes those who exemplify the mission and vision of the TAMHSC and contribute to the health and well being of underserved and/or rural populations or communities.
  • Health Care Services and Delivery – Psychiatry and Behavioral Health, Texas A&M Physicians. These skilled and compassionate mental health providers are the principal faculty supporting medical school teaching in psychiatry in Bryan-College Station and the foundation of the community’s mental health infrastructure. The award acknowledges exceptional commitment and innovation to the provision of health care over time.
  • Research – Marcia Ory, Ph.D., M.P.H., Regents Professor of social and behavioral health, School of Rural Public Health. An international leader in healthy aging, community-based prevention and wellness, Dr. Ory has authored or co-authored more than 200 journal articles and book chapters, generated more than $1 million annually in expenditures for research and service, and more. The award honors significant contributions that enhance, facilitate or accelerate the TAMHSC research enterprise.
  • Institutional Advancement – Albert and Margaret Alkek Foundation. One of the TAMHSC’s longest and most generous partners, the foundation has provided significant and continuous support of the Institute of Biosciences and Technology in Houston since its inception 25 years ago. The award honors an individual or foundation demonstrating outstanding commitment to the mission of the TAMHSC by providing significant support to one or more areas within the institution.
  • Education and Mentorship – Virginia Ann Utterback, Ph.D., assistant professor, College of Nursing. Involved in interprofessional education of medical and nursing students and instrumental in developing clinical simulation center evaluations, Dr. Utterback exemplifies a faculty member always searching for ways to improve education and who contributes above and beyond to the TAMHSC and College of Nursing. The award honors exceptional contribution and achievement as an educator or mentor and is reflective of the breadth of educational and mentoring activities across the TAMHSC.
  • Administrative Support – Norma Jones, College of Medicine. With the college for more than 30 years, Jones is extraordinarily knowledgeable and a critical resource for faculty and students. The award acknowledges individuals who have made distinguished contributions to the TAMHSC through their dedication, initiative, outstanding achievements, enthusiasm and attitude in their work.

Texas A&M Health Science Center Convocation and College Awards

The following individuals were recognized with college awards during a luncheon preceding the TAMHSC academic convocation Friday, Jan. 20:

  • Baylor College of Dentistry (BCD) Hall of Fame – William H. Binnie, D.D.S., M.S.D., professor emeritus in diagnostic sciences; Patricia L. Blanton, D.D.S., Ph.D., professor emeritus in biomedical sciences
  • 2010 BCD Alumni Association Dental Teacher of the Year – David M. Grogan, D.D.S., M.S.D., associate professor and chair of oral and maxillofacial surgery
  • 2011 BCD Alumni Association Dental Teacher of the Year – Amp W. Miller III, D.D.S., professor of restorative sciences and director of curriculum
  • 2010 BCD Alumni Association Dental Hygiene Teacher of the Year – JoAnn C. Scofield, M.S., RDH, associate professor of dental hygiene
  • 2011 BCD Alumni Association Dental Hygiene Teacher of the Year – Leigh Ann Wyatt, M.A., assistant professor of dental hygiene
  • College of Medicine (COM) Award for Research Excellence Senior Faculty – Jeffrey D. Cirillo, Ph.D., professor of microbial and molecular pathogenesis
  • COM Award for Research Excellence Junior Faculty – Kayla Bayless, Ph.D., assistant professor of molecular and cellular medicine
  • COM R. Kelly Hester Teaching Award for Basic Science Education – Wei-Jung Chen, Ph.D., associate professor of neuroscience and experimental therapeutics
  • COM Distinguished Teaching Award for Clinical Education – Santosh Reddy, M.D., assistant professor of internal medicine
  • College of Nursing (CON) Excellence in Discovery – Karen Kincaid, Ph.D., RN, CNE, assistant professor; Karen Landry, Ph.D., RN, assistant professor
  • CON Excellence in Service – Wanda Seaback, M.S.N., ANP, RN, assistant professor; Sonia Turnbow, M.S.N., WHNP, RN-c, assistant professor
  • CON Excellence in Enhancement – Cathy Hansen, M.S.N., RN, CNE, assistant professor and director of undergraduate studies
  • CON Excellence in Administrative Support – Heather Zaleski
  • 2010 Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy (COP) American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy Teacher of the Year – Lacy Daniels, Ph.D., professor and interim chair of pharmaceutical sciences
  • 2011 COP American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy Teacher of the Year – Mohammad Nutan, Ph.D., assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences
  • School of Rural Public Health (SRPH) Excellence in Education/Teaching – Leslie Cizmas, Ph.D., assistant professor of environmental and occupational health
  • SRPH Excellence in Research –Kenneth McLeroy, Ph.D., M.P.H., Regents Professor of social and behavioral health
  • SRPH Excellence in Public Health Practice – Monica Wendel, Dr. P.H., M.P.H., assistant professor of social and behavioral health
  • SRPH Excellence in Administrative Support – Jerry Pittman

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