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Awards presented at School of Medicine Annual Faculty Retreat

November 29, 2012

By KUMC News

Dr. Steven Stites presented the "Glendon" to Dr. Karen Miller

Seven individuals received awards at the 2012 School of Medicine Annual Faculty Retreat on November 9.

Steven Stites, M.D., the acting executive vice chancellor of the University of Kansas Medical Center and acting executive dean of the School of Medicine, presented the awards. "Each unique in their own right, our winners offer valuable characteristics which strengthen our faculty and trainees in the School of Medicine, and the mission of our institution, our community and the University of Kansas as a whole," he said.

Ruth Bohan Teaching Professorship
Joseph D. Fontes, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Pamela K. Shaw, M.D.
Professor of Pediatrics

Joseph FontesFontes was an associate professor of biological, geological and environmental sciences at Cleveland State University before he arrived at KU. New to medical education, Fontes was supposed to learn the ropes from George Helmkamp, Ph.D, then the director of the foundations of medicine module, which is arguably the most difficult module in curriculum to teach.

Helmpkamp, however, retired not long after Fontes joined the faculty. So Fontes stepped in as module director. Gerald Carlson, Ph.D, the chair of biochemistry and molecular biology, says he was "completely confident that Joe would perform admirably as module director. Joe rose to the occasion and did a marvelous job, while pleasantly surprising even his doubters in the process."

Students who wrote letters in support of Fontes' receipt of this award described him as an inspiring, reassuring educator. "A good teacher motivates his students to diligently master the course material, but an excellent teacher inspires his students to explore further on their own," one student wrote. "By this measure, Joe Fontes stands among the best of teachers."

In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Fontes is a member and vice chair of the Phase I committee. He is also a researcher who serves on grant review panels and as an ad hoc reviewer for seven top-tier science journals.

Pam ShawA member of the faculty for the past 22 years, Shaw has played major roles in both the undergraduate and graduate medical curricula. She is a former director of the pediatrics residency program and was instrumental in the development of the current undergraduate curriculum. At the present time, she is the medical director of the Neis Clinical Skills Lab and the director of the Phase II curriculum.

Wrote one student: "Dr. Shaw is admired not only for her skills as a teacher, but also for her skills as a clinician and strong advocate for children and families. She is a nationally recognized pediatric expert with an incredible breadth of knowledge of health care issues on a local and national basis. She is able to bring that knowledge and skill to learners in a highly respectful and effective manner."

Shaw's teaching skills have been recognized previously with seven Student Voice Awards, two Pediatric Resident Faculty Teaching Awards and the Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award.

A professor of medicine at KU from 1914 to 1945, Peter T. Bohan established trusts to provide support for programs in the School of Medicine. After his death, Ruth Harris Bohan dedicated herself to continuing her husband's philanthropy. Her trust provides support for the Ruth Bohan Teaching Professorship.

Executive Dean's Achievement Award for Mentoring Postdoctoral Fellows
Faris Farassati, Ph.D., PharmD.
Associate Professor of Medicine

Faris FarassatiThe award for mentoring postdoctoral fellows is earned by assistant, associate and full professors and is based upon the number of post-docs mentored and the outcomes or examples of their efforts. It acknowledges the time, sacrifice and commitments of faculty members to ensure our post-docs achieve their full academic or research potential.

Since his arrival at KU, Farasatti has dedicated himself to the development of a postdoctoral program and the mentoring of fellows in his lab. "The mentor role is strengthened by investing in the development of the fellow – not only through day-to-day interaction on scientific topics and experimental design and trouble-shooting, but through a career development approach," he says.

Farassati trained as a molecular oncologist and cancer gene therapist at the University of Calgary, Harvard Medical School and Mayo Clinic. His research is mainly focused on understanding the features of pro-oncogenic cell signaling events in cancer cells and utilizing this knowledge to design gene and drug therapy strategies to target them. He currently directs the Molecular Medicine Laboratory, where cancer research and therapies are the primary focus.

Executive Dean's Achievement Award for Mentoring Residents
Albert Buddy Poje, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavior Sciences

Buddy PojeResidents who work under the guidance of Poje describe a mentor with a professional demeanor, a humble disposition, a steady approach and the ability to make the material fun and engaging. "In the few short years Dr. Poje has served on the faculty, he has distinguished himself as a go-to leader for practical day-to-day mentoring for our resident physicians," says William Gabrielli Jr., M.D., Ph.D., the chair of the department.

A staff psychologist for the adult inpatient psychiatry service, Poje enjoys teaching applications of psychological science in the practice of health care. He regularly supervises psychology practicum students, clinical psychology interns, medical students and psychiatry residents in the areas of abnormal psychology, clinical psychology, psychometrics, neuroscience, research methods and professional practice. His research activities focus on psychophysiology and clinical health psychology.

The award for mentoring residents is earned by assistant, associate and full professors and is based upon the number of residents mentored and the outcomes or examples of their efforts.

Executive Dean's Excellence in Mentoring Award
Edward F. Ellerbeck, M.D., M.P.H.
Sosland Family Professor and Chair of Preventive Medicine and Public Health

Ed EllerbeckSince joining the faculty 15 years ago, Ellerbeck has worked tirelessly at mentoring junior faculty. He is described as an outgoing, passionate mentor who knows how to challenge and support his mentees, promoting their continuing development toward becoming independent, nationally recognized investigators. His mentees admire his wisdom and ability to instill in them the critical thinking skills necessary to design research.

Improving the quality of health care has been the underlying theme behind Ellerbeck's research, teaching and service. His current research focuses on methods to improve the delivery of preventive services in clinical practice, in particular, enhancing smoking cessation services. In addition to smoking cessation, he is actively engaged in projects related to obesity, colon cancer screening, mammography and heart failure management. He leads a course for medical students examining systems of medical care and practice-based learning and improvement.

The excellence in mentoring award is earned by associate and full professor members of the faculty and recognizes an individual who has served on our faculty for more than five years but fewer than 20.

Jayhawk Lifetime in Mentoring Award
Thomas L. Pazdernik, Ph.D.
Professor of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Therapeutics

Thomas PazdernikThomas Pazdernik has been a beloved member of the faculty for nearly 40 years. His nomination was supported by 18 former and current junior faculty members, an outpouring of support that represents just a few of many lives he has touched over the years.

A role model for a successful academic career, Pazdernik has published more than 100 peer-reviewed publications in the areas of neuropharmacology and neurotoxicology and is the author of a well-respected board review book in pharmacology. Also a dedicated teacher, he has been instrumental in helping junior faculty members establish their research programs, secure research funding, expand their research into new technical and programmatic areas, and develop as teachers.

Wrote one of the supporters of his nomination for the prize: "The impact of a mentor on a junior faculty mentee's development is best evaluated not by counting publications or summing grant dollars, but rather by observing the lasting impact that the mentor has on the character and culture of their protégés. It is in this way that Dr. Pazdernik has inculcated several generations of junior faculty, and consequently numerous doctors, nurses, researchers who were trained by them, in a culture of excellence and integrity in education and scientific thought. This is the sort of legacy the School of Medicine Executive Dean's Distinguished Mentoring Awards should aspire to recognize, and why we recognize Dr. Thomas Pazdernik today."

Glendon G. Cox ING Leadership Award
Karen L. Miller, Ph.D., RN, FAAN
Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs
Dean of the Schools of Nursing and Health Professions

Karen MillerInitiated by faculty, the Glendon G. Cox ING Leadership Award honors a member of the academic medical community as a leader and recognizes contributions made in an extraordinary fashion and at a consistently high level over a span of many years. Miller, this year's recipient, is recognized for her administrative skill and sensitivity in dealing with a variety of difficult issues. In presenting the award, Stites called Miller an "incredibly valuable resource" during his time as acting executive vice chancellor, adding: "On a daily basis, you provide a unique combination of civil and servant leadership."

Miller has more than 35 years of experience as a health care executive. Throughout her career, she has published and presented on organizational leadership in health care, financial management of clinical services and nursing workforce issues. She is President of KU HealthPartners, Inc., a faculty practice plan and direct clinical services corporation for nursing and allied health professionals. She serves on the boards of the University of Kansas Research Institute and The University of Kansas Hospital.

Among past national appointments, Miller has served on the Workforce Advisory Council for the Association of Academic Health Centers as a representative for nursing and allied health professions. In 2008, she completed a two-year term as president of the Board of the Friends of the National Institute of Nursing Research. She was named a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing in 1995 and a fellow in the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions in 2010.

For more information about these and other honors for faculty members, please use this link.

Last modified: Jul 26, 2018