The UAMS College of Medicine is proud to honor the recipients of the 2023 Dean’s Honor Day Awards. The outstanding team members highlighted on this page were recognized in an April 25 ceremony in the Fred Smith Auditorium on the UAMS campus.
Capping the ceremony was the presentation of the Distinguished Faculty Service Award to David L. Davies, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences who has served on the faculty for 38 years and continues to lead key educational activities for the college. The award is just the latest for Dr. Davies, who has been long recognized as an exceptional educator.
Read more about Dr. Davies and the ceremony overall in the 2023 Dean’s Honor Day main feature story. (Link coming soon!)
Watch the video recording of the ceremony here.
Congratulations to the following 2023 award winners!
Staff Excellence Award – Education
Kelly Hamman, LCSW
Trauma Treatment Training Specialist
Arkansas Building Effective Services for Trauma (ARBEST)
Department of Psychiatry
Kelly Hamman, LCSW, has dedicated her career to serving and advocating for some of the most vulnerable Arkansans as a trainer with Arkansas Building Effective Services for Trauma (ARBEST) in the UAMS Psychiatric Research Institute.
ARBEST develops and carries out initiatives in clinical care, training, advocacy and evaluation to improve mental health outcomes for children who have experienced trauma. Hamman is integral in disseminating evidence-based treatments to clinicians throughout the state. She also teaches community volunteers how to facilitate a specialized parenting curriculum developed by ARBEST called Managing Youth Trauma Effectively. After training, these volunteers provide education and support for parents, many of whom are waiting to be able to reunite with their children.
In her nomination letter, Lindsey Roberts, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychiatry, shared some of the praise Hamman has received. “Kelly holds the best interests of children and families in mind all the time, so it is not surprising that she goes above and beyond to ensure their needs are met,” said a colleague. “When she’s not thinking about children or families, she’s thinking about the best interests of the ARBEST team or ways to include the voices and perspectives of those whose voices have traditionally been left out of discussions around mental health.”
Staff Excellence Award – Research
Angela Kyzer, B.A.
Program Manager, Research and Evaluation Division
Department of Family and Preventive Medicine
Angela Kyzer, B.A., has provided stellar support for researchers in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine for 19 years. She currently serves as the program manager for multiple community-based intervention studies involving efforts to support young children’s social-emotional development, including interventions in early care and education settings.
“It immediately became clear that Angie has an outstanding work ethic, strong initiative, a desire to learn and grow, and an ability to work effectively and respectfully with a wide range of colleagues and study participants,” said Nikki Edge, Ph.D., professor and associate director of the Research and Evaluation (RED) Division. Edge nominated Kyzer on behalf of numerous faculty and staff as well as community and national partners.
Early in her career, Kyzer worked on a series of studies involving mothers in substance abuse treatment with their children. She went on to volunteer extensively in prevention efforts, serving for 14 years on the statewide Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Task Force.
“Angie regularly contributes to scholarly activity and has a growing national reputation,” Edge wrote in her nomination. A research colleague from Georgetown University was quoted, explaining that Kyzer “has been integral to the process of disseminating findings from UAMS early childhood research to the larger scholarly community.”
Staff Excellence Award – Administration
Mark Mosby, B.S.
Division Administrator, Endocrinology and Metabolism
Department of Internal Medicine
Mark Mosby, B.S., has served in administrative, research and regulatory-focused positions at UAMS for 24 years. As administrator for the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism since 2011, he is responsible for the daily administration of faculty and staff, management of division budgets that include seven National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants, and more.
Nominators Elena Ambrogini, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor and division director, and Charles O’Brien, Ph.D., professor and director of the Center for Musculoskeletal Disease Research, said that among many accomplishments, Mosby was instrumental in the preparation of the center’s NIH Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) grant and subsequent renewal.
“In addition to these major efforts, Mr. Mosby is also an effective problem solver,” they wrote in their nomination. “He takes responsibility even for assignments that are not his formal duty. In doing so, he sets an outstanding example for his administrative team and the rest of us in the Division. In our collective more than 40 years of time at UAMS, we have not known or worked with any administrator with a greater level of dedication and effectiveness.”
“Mr. Mosby is an exceptional employee, who builds a climate of comradery, positivity and cooperation, while displaying genuine caring and respect for his coworkers.”
Residency Educator – Program Coordinator
Stephanie Veach, B.A.
Program Coordinator, Pediatric Fellowship Programs:
Hematology Oncology, Emergency Medicine, Endocrinology, Child Abuse, Hospital Medicine
Stephanie Veach, B.A., makes life smoother for trainees and faculty alike in five pediatric fellowship programs, including Hematology-Oncology, where nominator Joanna Mack, M.D., said she is indispensable.
“I could not do my job as a physician and program director without her,” Mack, assistant professor and fellowship program director, wrote in Veach’s nomination letter. “She is my partner in providing the best experience for fellows in graduate medical education.”
“Stephanie has been instrumental to my success in my first year as a pediatric hematology-oncology fellow,” Paige Strebeck, M.D., wrote in a supporting letter. “She is a great communicator and constantly reminds me of deadlines knowing that I have a busy first-year schedule. She checks in with me frequently just to make sure I’m doing alright.”
Mack said Veach seamlessly coordinates applicant interviews for the fellowship programs, scheduling interviews with more than 30 faculty and current fellows and ensuring that more than 60 applicants feel welcome. She noted that Veach also has done outstanding work as Fellows Day coordinator for several years across pediatric fellowship programs. “She truly goes above and beyond what is in her job description to help make fellowship easier for all fellows.”
Residency Educator – Program Director
Mollie Meek, M.D.
Professor, Department of RadiologyDirector, Interventional Radiology Integrated Residency
Mollie Meek, M.D., has excelled in numerous educational and clinical leadership roles in the Department of Radiology, including Division Director of Interventional Radiology since 2012 and Program Director for the Interventional Radiology Integrated Residency since its inception in 2016.
Several residents wrote in support of Meek’s nomination, citing her dedication to helping the next generation of physicians grow and learn both personally and professionally.
“Dr. Meek is passionate about teaching residents and has a unique ability to make complex medical concepts easy to understand, while also challenging residents to think critically and develop their problem-solving skills,” the residents wrote. “She always welcomes students and residents to do simple and complex cases with her believing there is always something to learn.”
Arabinda Choudhary, M.D., MBA, professor and chair of the Department of Radiology, lauded Meek’s service as program director and more broadly, including her work as a member of the UAMS Graduate Medical Education Committee and her recent appointment to the national Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) Radiology Review Committee.
Master Teacher Award
Rosalia C.M. Simmen, Ph.D.
Professor and Co-Vice Chair of Education
Director, Graduate Program Cell Biology and Physiology Track
Department of Physiology and Cell Biology
Rosalia C.M. Simmen, Ph.D., is highly regarded for her commitment to educational excellence in the classroom and for providing outstanding mentorship for graduate and medical students as well as early career scientists in the fields of endocrinology, physiology, and cell and cancer biology.
“Dr. Simmen is a dedicated and inspiring educator who has demonstrated excellence in education during her 37 years as an academician, including 20 years at UAMS,” Teresita Bellido, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Physiology and Cell Biology, said in her nomination letter. “Her educational contributions at UAMS exhibit a remarkable breadth, covering teaching in the classroom and in the laboratory, mentoring and leadership, and teaching administration.”
Simmen’s internationally recognized research group has made significant contributions to the understanding of the basic mechanisms underlying women’s reproductive health issues including infertility, endometriosis, endometrial cancer, abnormal labor and breast cancer. “Rosie’s passion for research mobilizes students in the classroom and the lab, and her research laboratory provides optimal teaching opportunities,” Bellido wrote.
Simmen has served as track director for the Cell Biology and Physiology track in the UAMS Graduate School’s Interdisciplinary Biomedical Sciences program since 2018. She has taught in the endocrine and reproduction module for second-year medical students since 2016, earning praise for her lectures and making complex information understandable.
Educational Innovation Award
Leslie Stone, M.D., MPH
Assistant Professor, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine
William Ventres, M.D., M.A.
Associate Professor, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine
Family and Preventive Medicine colleagues Leslie Stone, M.D., MPH, and William Ventres, M.D., M.A., developed and implemented Philosophies of Family Medicine, an innovative and well-received curriculum for third-year medical students completing their clinical rotations in family medicine.
The curriculum highlights the important role of family medicine in the health care system, including the centrality of the bio-psycho-social model to family medicine, the therapeutic nature of the doctor-patient relationship, the importance of robust primary-care practice to health equity, and the necessity of working together in systems-based care. The “flipped curriculum” model of learning has students read key articles prior to each session, which has prompted lively discussions among students.
“It encourages student involvement in a supportive, engaging, and thoughtful manner around topics that are useful for student physicians entering any discipline,” wrote nominator Richard Turnage, M.D., interim chair of the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine and vice chancellor for UAMS Regional Campuses. Turnage noted that Stone, Ventres and colleagues recently published an article on the effectiveness of the curriculum in PRiMER (Peer-Reviewed Reports in Medical Education Research).
“The Philosophies of Family Medicine curriculum is a wonderful example of the creativeness and innovation I have come to know exists within family medicine,” Turnage wrote. “We should all learn from this curriculum and celebrate the efforts of Drs. Stone and Ventres.”
Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award
Presented by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation
Deidre Wyrick, M.D.Assistant Professor, Department of Surgery, Division of Pediatric Surgery
Department of Pediatrics, Section of Critical Care Medicine
Trauma Medical Director, Arkansas Children’s Hospital
Deidre Wyrick, M.D., is just a few years into her career as a faculty member, but the pediatric surgeon is proof that you do not need years of experience as faculty to be recognized as among the best. She proves that every day with the standard of care she provides.
“When it comes to compassionate patient care, I can honestly say that in my 22 years of clinical experience, I have yet to encounter someone better at the role than Dr. Wyrick,” Jennifer York, APRN, wrote in her nomination letter. “She is wise, considerate, kindhearted, and cares deeply for her patients and their families.”
Wyrick graduated from the College of Medicine in 2010 and stayed at UAMS for her general surgery residency and pediatric surgery fellowship. She continued her training with a surgical critical care fellowship at Oregon Health and Sciences University and was recruited to UAMS and Arkansas Children’s in 2020. Wyrick holds a number of leadership roles in pediatric trauma and surgical critical care. She is highly respected for her teaching and mentoring, as well as for providing exceptional patient- and family-centered care.
“She recognizes that trauma, surgical and critically ill patients have complex medical needs that can feel overwhelming to family members,” York wrote. “Dr. Wyrick has an innate ability to connect with patients and families in difficult situations.”
Excellence in Research Award
Paul Drew, Ph.D.
Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences
Professor and Director of Research, Department of NeurologyAssistant Dean for Research, College of Medicine
Paul Drew, Ph.D., is an internationally recognized neuroscientist who has contributed substantially to the research enterprise at UAMS for the past 26 years through scholarly work, teaching and mentoring, and numerous research leadership roles.
“Dr. Drew is a well-rounded researcher who attracts graduate students and collaborators and has established an outstanding record of publications and service to his field,” said nominator Gwen Childs, Ph.D., distinguished professor and chair of the Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences. “He is both a leader in his field and has served us well as a leader in research on campus.”
Drew’s research has focused on neuroinflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases with a focus on multiple sclerosis (MS), alcohol use disorders (AUD) and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). Through seminal discoveries, his research team has significantly advanced the understanding of central nervous system cell population responses to alcohol exposure at all ages.
His work has been steadily funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation, and private funding agencies including the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Rampy Foundation for MS Research. He frequently reviews grants for the NIH, the Department of Defense and the National MS Society.
As Assistant Dean for Research, Drew facilitates collaborative research initiatives across the College of Medicine. He co-leads a “creativity hub” focused on neurodegenerative disease research. He has served on numerous college and university committees.
Outstanding Advanced Practice Provider
Jennifer York, APRN, MNsc, CPNP-AC
Advanced Practice Registered Nurse
Division of Pediatric Surgery and Trauma
Arkansas Children’s Hospital and UAMS
Jennifer York, APRN, is so highly respected and appreciated by clinical colleagues, learners and others at Arkansas Children’s that if you are walking through the hospital with her and are in a hurry, it might be difficult making your way to your destination with so many stopping for her advice.
“Amazingly, when she is stopped, she makes the person she is talking to feel like they are the most important thing she is doing at that moment,” Deidre Wyrick, M.D., wrote in her nomination of York. “While this might seem like ‘fluff,’ it is crucial to why she is such a great APRN. She has fostered this trust and respect from her colleagues because she is excellent.”
Wyrick said York provides outstanding patient- and family centered care, is a skilled communicator, promotes interdisciplinary collaboration, and teaches across the spectrum of care providers. She has served as an APRN in Pediatric Surgery and Trauma for five years and previously held positions in other areas.
York currently serves on the APRN Council at Arkansas Children’s and has been recognized for her work through multiple honors. She is also active in the field at the national level, currently serving as Vice-Chair of the Advanced Practice Provider (APP) Steering Committee of the Pediatric Trauma Society.
Excellence in Quality and Safety
Zachary Lewis, M.D.
Associate Professor, Division of Emergency Ultrasound
Department of Emergency Medicine
Zachary Lewis, M.D., is dedicated to ensuring the quality and safety of care for patients in the Emergency Department now and in the future through education, quality assurance activities and other measures.
“Since joining the faculty, he has worked tirelessly to improve the quality of education and clinical care regarding point-of-care ultrasound both within UAMS and throughout the emergency medicine community,” Jason Arthur, M.D., MPH, wrote in his nomination of Lewis. Lewis was the first fellow trained in emergency ultrasound at UAMS. He currently serves as co-director of Emergency Ultrasound Education, the Pediatric Emergency Ultrasound Fellowship, and the Emergency Ultrasound Fellowship.
Lewis has performed quality assurance on over 17,000 point-of-care ultrasounds at UAMS since joining the faculty in 2017. Lewis and colleagues in the Division of Emergency Ultrasound perform quality assurance on all ultrasound studies performed in the Emergency Department, to ensure excellent care, foster quality improvement, and add an additional layer of safety for patients. Lewis also has served on task forces to develop and implement multiple state-of-the-art applications of point-of-care ultrasound.
“Beyond ultrasound, Dr. Lewis has a passion for ensuring efficient and compassionate care,” Arthur said, noting his collaborations with others to make improvements in the electronic health record system that will increase clinical efficiency, safety and provider satisfaction.
Excellence in Service and Professionalism
Konstantinos Arnaoutakis, M.D.
Associate Professor, Division of Hematology/Oncology
Program Director, Hematology/Oncology Fellowship Program
Department of Internal Medicine
Konstantinos Arnaoutakis, M.D., brings excellent clinical skills, leadership and a strong commitment to service to his work with patients, fellows and other learners in the Division of Hematology/Oncology.
Arnaoutakis joined the faculty in 2009. He served as associate program director for the Hematology/Oncology Fellowship Program from 2011 to January 2021, when he was named program director.
“Dr. Arnaoutakis has significantly contributed to the service and growth of our division,” Division Director Rang Govindarajan, M.D., said in his nomination letter. “He is a great teacher, very collegial, and liked by all his peers, nurses and patients.”
Govindarajan said Arnaoutakis provides excellent care for patients as well as outstanding consultation services for clinical colleagues. “He is compassionate and takes personal responsibility and pride in providing individual patient care, Govindarajan wrote. “I see him following through on his patients’ needs by staying late at work, and sometimes coming in very early in the mornings prior to inpatient rounds. His patients feel that Dr. Arnaoutakis treats them like a family member.”
“As Hematology/Oncology Program director, he does an excellent job managing and mentoring fellows,” Govindarajan said. “He is approachable and takes great care to guide them. Dr. Arnaoutakis is a great advocate for the fellows, residents and medical students.”
Best Consulting Physician
Samidha Tripathi, M.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry
Director, Consultation-Liaison Service
Psychiatric Research Institute
Samidha Tripathi, M.D., was formally appointed as director of the Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry Service at UAMS last year in recognition of her outstanding collaborative work as a psychiatrist and consulting physician.
“Dr. Tripathi has skillfully demonstrated that building effective collaborative relationships across different groups can help address the mental health needs of Arkansans and help improve the quality of care delivered to our patients at UAMS,” Laura Dunn, M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Director of the Psychiatric Research Institute, said in her nomination letter.
Consultation-liaison (C-L) psychiatry is a subspecialty of psychiatry that focuses on the care of patients with co-existing psychiatric and general medical conditions. The care of these patients can be complex, and C-L psychiatrists must work closely with clinicians across a wide range of primary and specialty care teams.
Dr. Tripathi has collaborated with other clinical teams to improve care and reduce boarding times of patients with mental health needs in the Emergency Department, and to implement a collaborative care model for improving access to mental health treatment for Arkansans at several primary care clinics. She continues to work in additional areas to further integrate mental health services.
Collaborations and Teamwork
Patient Care, Laboratory Diagnostic and Antimicrobial Stewardship Project Team
Eric R. Rosenbaum, M.D., MPH
Katherine T. Lusardi, Pharm.D., BCIDP
Ryan K. Dare, M.D.
Juan Carlos Rico, M.D.
Nicole M. Emery, M(ASCP)
Brett J. Bailey, Pharm.D.
In 2017, an interdisciplinary team of laboratory specialists, pharmacists and infectious disease experts came together to help address the medical, financial and public health burdens that bloodstream infections impose in hospitals such as UAMS.
Together, the team pioneered the introduction of a completely new type of laboratory diagnostic technology that has improved care of UAMS patients with life-threatening bloodstream infections. The work has subsequently received significant international attention for successfully demonstrating substantial downstream cost savings through the technology.
The project team includes Eric Rosenbaum, M.D., MPH, associate professor in the Department of Pathology and medical director of UAMS Clinical Microbiology; Division of Infectious Disease faculty members Ryan Dare, M.D., and Juan Carlos Rico, M.D.; Katherine Lusardi, Pharm. D. (UAMS Hospital Pharmacy); Nicole Emery, M(ASCP) (Pathology); and Brett Bailey, Pharm.D. (UAMS Clinical Informatics).
The team initially convened to evaluate newly available laboratory systems capable of rapidly identifying pathogens and determining the appropriate antibiotic treatment using blood samples collected from patients suspected of having serious bloodstream infections. After selecting the FDA-approved Accelerate PhenoTM technology, the team tested and validated the system and introduced it for patient testing. The team continued to work together in the following years, analyzing and quantifying the positive impacts of the new system. The results have been highlighted in numerous journal articles and presentations at national and international conferences.
Rising Star Clinical Faculty
Joseph Henske, M.D.
Associate Professor, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism
Director, UAMS Diabetes Program
Department of Internal Medicine
Joseph Henske, M.D., has quickly garnered recognition as an outstanding, extremely dedicated and effective diabetes-focused clinician and educator who has made fundamental contributions to the UAMS mission.
“Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes himself at the age of 15, Dr. Henske has committed his life to helping others better manage their disease,” Elena Ambrogini, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, said in her nomination of Henske, who joined the faculty in 2019. “In his brief time here, Dr. Henske has greatly impacted the care of patients with diabetes in our institution as well as the state of Arkansas at large.”
“He always goes the extra mile and spends endless hours to identify the optimal and latest approach to treatment,” Ambrogini wrote. “He never gives up on anyone.”
Henske, director of the UAMS Diabetes Program, also has advocated publicly for the needs of patients with diabetes. His testimony and work with Arkansas legislators helped to secure the 2021 law mandating that the Arkansas Medicaid program cover a continuous glucose monitor for individuals with diabetes. At UAMS, he has been active in teaching and mentoring of students, residents and fellows, and has presented extensively on diabetes topics for colleagues in other specialties.
Physician of the Year
Thomas Kiser, M.D., MPH
Professor, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Thomas Kiser, M.D., MPH, has dedicated his career to providing stellar care for Arkansans with spinal cord injuries and other conditions requiring highly specialized physical rehabilitation.
“Over the past 26-plus years, Dr. Kiser has distinguished himself locally and nationally as an outstanding clinician and teacher, Professor and Chair Kevin Means, M.D., wrote in his nomination. “He has demonstrated excellent leadership within our department, within the hospital where we at UAMS Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (PM&R) primarily practice, the Baptist Health Rehabilitation Institute (BHRI), within Arkansas, and within our specialty.”
“Dr. Kiser has demonstrated subspecialty knowledge, expertise, and substantial practice experience dedicated to the care of the most vulnerable, most complex, and most severely disabled subpopulations of persons requiring medical rehabilitation,” Means wrote.
Kiser received his medical degree at the University of Missouri-Columbia and came to UAMS for his internship and residency training in PM&R. In addition to his certification by the American Board of PM&R, he was among the first group of physiatrists nationally to earn additional certification in spinal cord injury medicine. He received a Master of Public Health from the Arkansas MPH Program and Tulane University in 2000.
Kiser has served as Medical Director of the Arkansas Spinal Cord Commission since 1998. He recently was appointed UAMS Musculoskeletal (MSK) Service Line medical director at BHRI. Previous leadership roles included three two-year terms as chief of staff at BHRI.