(COLLEGE STATION, TX) — Robert J. Hinton, Ph.D., of the Baylor College of Dentistry and Kenneth R. McLeroy, 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, 131 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. Hinton and Dr. McLeroy were announced at the Dec. 2 meeting of the Board of Regents. In all, 11 A&M System faculty members were designated Regents Professors for 2009-10.

Dr. Hinton is professor and director of undergraduate teaching and faculty mentoring in the Department of Biomedical Sciences. Prior to joining the TAMHSC-Baylor College of Dentistry faculty in 1983, he completed his Ph.D. in biological anthropology and postdoctoral work in anatomy and craniofacial biology at the University of Michigan.

BCD Dr. Hinton

Dr. Robert Hinton

“This award is a tremendous honor, and I am flattered to join the company of the distinguished faculty at BCD who are previous recipients,” Dr. Hinton said. “I feel fortunate to have spent my career in a department that encourages and rewards both research excellence and teaching innovation.”

Dr. Hinton’s research focuses on the temporomandibular joint – the jaw joint associated with a painful condition commonly known as TMJ disorder or TMD. Known internationally for his work in this area, his research has been supported by three National Institutes of Health grants and three foundation grants.

Dr. Hinton also is a recognized leader at the college in teaching innovation and curriculum development. He is a principal investigator for a four-year $630,000 NIH R25 Oral Health Research Education Grant, which is the driving force behind the college’s evidence-based-dentistry initiative, a significant paradigm shift in teaching at TAMHSC-Baylor College of Dentistry. Dr. Hinton coordinates the grant’s multifaceted elements, including the development of curricular materials for students as well as seminars and training programs for the clinical faculty who will implement the concept of using current research findings to supplement patient treatment planning. He also oversees an enrichment program for dental students considering academic careers.

In addition to serving on numerous committees and taskforces at the college and the TAMHSC, Dr. Hinton’s national service has included presidency of the International Association for Dental Research’s Craniofacial Biology Group and membership on the American Dental Association’s National Board of Anatomic Sciences Test Construction Committee.

“Bob Hinton is a stellar professor, as evidenced by the fact that he has been nominated six times for Teacher of the Year by BCD students,” said James S. Cole, D.D.S., TAMHSC-Baylor College of Dentistry dean. “He also is an innovator who is merging his passion for research with enhanced clinical dental education. It is gratifying to see him receive the recognition of Regents Professor. He is certainly worthy of such a distinguished honor.”

Joining Dr. Hinton as Regents Professor is Dr. McLeroy, a professor of social and behavioral health at the TAMHSC-School of Rural Public Health. He is principal investigator on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-funded Center for Community Health Development and the National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities-funded Program for Rural and Minority Health Disparities Research. He is well known for applying social ecology to health promotion and public health, as well as his work on community-based interventions and program evaluation.

McLeroy

Dr. Kenneth McLeroy

“Public health is a field of practice that requires multidisciplinary teams and systemic interventions,” Dr. McLeroy said. “I have been very fortunate in my career to be associated with a very productive, supportive and thoughtful group of colleagues who helped me see the world in different ways. I want to thank them, the school and the regents for this honor and award.”

Prior to the Texas A&M Health Science Center, Dr. McLeroy served as assistant then associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and professor and department head at the University of Oklahoma School of Public Health. He received a doctorate in public health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dr. McLeroy has been chair of the editorial board for the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH), editor of the AJPH Department of Framing Health Matters, Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation Presidential Professor at the University of Oklahoma, Research Laureate for the American Academy of Health Behavior, Outstanding Alumni at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School, co-chair of the Association of Schools of Public Health Behavioral and Social Science workgroup for the Master’s in Public Health core competencies, and a member of numerous peer reviews and federal and state grant review committees.

“When you envision a Regents Professor, Ken is the sort of colleague that immediately comes to mind,” said Craig Blakely, Ph.D., TAMHSC-School of Rural Public Health dean. “His heuristic work on the epidemiologic transition and early contributions to our current thinking about social determinants of health has led to his being widely recognized across the country. The awards he has received in several national settings in the past few years clearly attest to the high regard his peers have for him. It is only fitting that we finally catch up with recognizing his contributions as the rest of the country has been doing for years.”

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. Hinton and McLeroy 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 25 Regents Professor Award holders, whose excellence in a variety of fields of expertise has earned them this recognition.

The late K.C. Donnelly, Ph.D., head and professor of environmental and occupational health at the School of Rural Public Health, and Kathy Svoboda, Ph.D., professor and graduate program director in biomedical sciences at the Baylor College of Dentistry, 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 S. 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
  • 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
  • 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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