Larry D. Gamm, Ph.D., of the Texas A&M Health Science Center (TAMHSC) School of Rural Public Health, is the latest recipient of the prestigious Regents Professor Award. During the past six consecutive years, TAMHSC-School of Public Health faculty have received this distinguished award, including Ken McLeroy, Ph.D.; K.C. Donnelly, Ph.D.; Charles Phillips, Ph.D.; Marcia Ory, Ph.D.; and Catherine Hawes, Ph.D.

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. Gamm’s award was 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.

Dr. Gamm 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).

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.”

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.

Joining the TAMHSC-School of Rural Public Health in 2000 as it was getting unde 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.”

— Rae Lynn Mitchell