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Nelson Order reveals TEACH finalists; Gov. fetes CAY leader


Top educators receive Nelson Order nod; TEACH Prize finalists narrow to seven

The University of Mississippi Medical Center has announced seven finalists for the Regions TEACH (Toward Educational Advancement in Care and Health) Prize, along with the Nelson Order of Teaching Excellence inductees.

Nelson-Order_no_shadeThe winner of the 2021 Regions TEACH Prize will be announced in May, at a date to be determined, said Dr. Rob Rockhold, professor of pharmacology & toxicology, and deputy chief academic officer. Plans for a TEACH Prize/Nelson Order ceremony are being finalized, he said.

TEACH Prize finalists are drawn from each year’s class of the Nelson Order, an honor recognizing faculty in the Medical Center schools. Each school selects from one to six inductees for the Nelson Order. From those choices, each school identifies one faculty member as its Regions TEACH Prize finalist.

Created in 2004 by the Office of Academic Affairs, the order is named for the late Dr. Norman C. Nelson, the longest-serving vice chancellor at UMMC.

The TEACH Prize, sponsored by Regions Bank and awarded since 2013, commends an even higher level of exceptional faculty performance. The winner receives a cash award of $10,000, recognition at the Nelson Order ceremony, and public recognition at the UMMC commencement ceremonies.

The 2020 winner of the TEACH Prize was Dr. Jason A. Griggs, professor and chair of the department of biomedical materials science in the School of Dentistry. 

2021 Regions TEACH Prize Finalists/Nelson Order Inductees

Amanda Capino, PharmD; clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice; School of Pharmacy

Elizabeth Franklin, PhD; associate professor of health administration; School of Health Related Professions

Kenneth Holm, BS; instructor in data science; John D. Bower School of Population Health

Yuefeng Lu, MD, PhD; associate professor of neurobiology and anatomical sciences; School of Dentistry

Anne Norwood, PhD; professor of nursing; School of Nursing

Stephen Stray, PhD; associate professor of microbiology & immunology; School of Graduate Studies in Health Sciences; School of Medicine (students from both schools selected Stray)

Lyssa Weatherly, MD; assistant professor of medicine, assistant dean of student affairs; School of Medicine

Additional Nelson Order Inductees

(School of Pharmacy, School of Graduate Studies in the Health Sciences, and the John D. Bower School of Population Health each selected only a single Nelson Order inductee, who also serves as that schools’ Regions TEACH Prize finalist.)

School of Dentistry

William Boteler, DDS; associate professor of care planning and restorative sciences

Amanda Morellato, DDS; assistant professor of care planning and restorative sciences

Cynthia Senior, DHA; assistant professor of dental hygiene

School of Health Related Professions

Britney Reulet, MSEd; assistant professor of health sciences

Felicia M. Tardy, PhD; professor of medical laboratory science

School of Medicine

Savannah Duckworth, MD; assistant professor of medicine

Zeb Henson, MD; associate professor of medicine

Stanley Smith, PhD; associate professor of pharmacology and toxicology

School of Nursing

Sharon McElwain, DNP; assistant professor of nursing

Deidra Morgan, MSN; assistant professor of nursing

Amanda Weeks, MSN; instructor in nursing

Governor appoints CAY medical director to advisory council

Portrait of Dr. Susan Buttross

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves has appointed Dr. Susan Buttross, UMMC professor of child development and medical director of the Center for Advancement of Youth, to the State Early Childhood Advisory Council.

The State Early Childhood Advisory Council leads the development or enhancement of a high-quality, comprehensive system of early childhood development and care to ensure statewide coordination and collaboration among the wide range of early childhood programs and services in Mississippi, including childcare, Head Start, IDEA, pre-kindergarten programs and other services.

“I am excited about this appointment as it will allow our Mississippi Thrive team to continue to work with others in the state to promote early child health and further our work to improve the developmental and behavioral health for children,” Buttross said.

The Mississippi Thrive! Child Health Development Project, an innovative partnership between UMMC and Mississippi State University’s Social Science Research Center, works with families, childcare centers and health clinics across the state to gauge the health and development of children ages 5 and younger and to link those in need to services.

Mississippi Thrive! is funded by a $14 million grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration. Buttross is principal investigator of the project.

A School of Medicine alumna, Buttross completed residency training in pediatrics at UMMC and at the University of Texas at Galveston. She also had postgraduate training at the University of Tennessee Boling Center at Memphis.

After serving as a pediatrician in Galveston and San Antonio, Texas, Buttross returned to UMMC to pursue clinical care and research while educating the next generation of pediatricians. She received UMMC’s 2019 Platinum Medallion for Excellence in Research and its 2018 Gold Medallion for Excellence in Research. She received the Torch Bearer Award from the Coalition of Citizens with Developmental Disabilities in 2017 and was named Mississippi National Alliance on Mental Illness Doctor of the Year in 2018.

The first SECAC meeting is scheduled to take place in April.

Pharmacy assistant dean garners innovative UM diversity honor

Katie McClendon

Dr. Katie McClendon, director of student affairs for the Department of Pharmacy Practice and the School of Pharmacy’s assistant dean for student services at UMMC, recently received the University of Mississippi’s 2021 Diversity Innovator Award from UM‘s Division of Diversity and Community Engagement.

McClendon is one of four faculty and staff members recognized as leaders who are making the Oxford campus a more equitable environment for everyone.

“Each awardee has dedicated their professional efforts to ensuring our community can achieve its goals through embracing individual differences and prioritizing equitable practices,” said Shawnboda Mead, interim vice chancellor for diversity and community engagement.

In her roles at UM and at UMMC, McClendon has worked with students to open a pharmacy in the Jackson Free Clinics. At UMMC, McClendon is a member of the Vice Chancellor's Council on Diversity and Inclusion.

“COVID has really highlighted all these barriers, and taking care of patients and meeting their needs is important,” McClendon said. “Patients from all over the state come to the Jackson Free Clinics because they don’t have access.”

McClendon also partnered with the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy to host the first Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Institute virtually from the Medical Center campus.

State health department labels UMMC COVID-19 Center of Excellence

Thomas Dobbs

The Mississippi State Department of Health has included the University of Mississippi Medical Center among 33 health care institutions across the state designated as COVID-19 Centers of Excellence for their commitment to COVID-19 response in their communities.

To be designated a Center of Excellence, a health care provider must agree to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to eligible members of its community, serve as a referral location for COVID-19 monoclonal antibody treatment (a therapeutic infusion to reduce the severity of the disease) and address disparities in vaccination access in its community.

“We are incredibly proud that these health systems have stood up to arm their communities with additional vaccination and treatment efforts in the fight against COVID-19,” said Dr. Thomas Dobbs, MSDH state health officer. “With the help of these Centers of Excellence, we can reach important populations that might not be otherwise be served through our traditional drive-through clinics.”