Christine Kaunas, MPH, will serve as the new Director for Faculty Excellence and Diversity in the Office of Academic Affairs at the Texas A&M Health Science Center, effective immediately. Working with all units and colleges within the health science center, she will provide leadership for the newly established Division of Interprofessional Education and head professional development efforts for faculty, especially as they relate to diversity and inclusion. Kaunas will also identify needs and strengthen existing programs in these areas and will use her knowledge of existing programs at Texas A&M University to build bridges to the health science center.

“We look forward to Chris bringing her expertise and enthusiasm to help the institution move forward in these important areas,” said Emily Wilson, Ph.D., associate vice president for academic affairs at the Texas A&M Health Science Center.

From 2011–2016, Kaunas served as the inaugural director for the ADVANCE Center at Texas A&M University, a $3.5 million, National Science Foundation-funded effort to promote the success of women faculty, particularly those in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) fields. In 2016, she was awarded the Women’s Faculty Network Service Award in recognition of her contributions to the Women’s Faculty Network.

Kaunas, a first-generation college graduate born in California and raised in Wisconsin, received her bachelor’s degree in sociology from DePaul University in Chicago and completed her graduate work in public health with an emphasis on epidemiology at San Diego State University. She spent more than 20 years conducting health care research in two primary areas—HIV/AIDS and birth defects—before redirecting her career focus to higher education.

— Dominic Hernandez

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