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Faculty, Staff, Alumni Saluted at Dean’s Honor Day


Distinguished Faculty Service Award winner Kent Westbrook, M.D., (left) and Distinguished Alumnus Service Award recipient F. Eugene Joyce, M.D., of Texarkana, Texas, both have advanced cancer care and research in Arkansas.

Inaugural recipients of the Staff Excellence Award are joined by then-Dean Debra H. Fiser, M.D., (third from right) after the ceremony. The honorees are (from left) Felicia Brown of the Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences, Kim Hall of the Department of Pathology, and (at right) Terry Fletcher of the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology.

Richard P. Wheeler, M.D., presents Nicholas Long, Ph.D., with the Master Teacher Award for his nationally recognized work in parenting education and related programs for professionals who work with children.

David Jacks, M.D., a winner of the Distinguished Alumnus Service Award, visits with Debra H. Fiser, M.D., after the ceremony.

May 15, 2013 | Extraordinary service was a major theme as the College of Medicine at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) celebrated achievements of faculty members, staff and alumni at the third annual Dean’s Honor Day ceremony on April 30.

The Distinguished Faculty Service Award was presented to Kent Westbrook, M.D., a surgical oncologist and faculty leader for 40 years.

Westbrook, a 1965 College of Medicine graduate, co-founded what is now the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute
in 1984 and served as director for 14 years. He was chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology from 1992 to 2003, when he was promoted
to the rank of distinguished professor. He has been an associate dean and a member of the UAMS Chancellor’s Cabinet.

Westbrook also was lauded for accepting the helm during key leadership transitions on campus, serving as interim chair of the Department of Surgery from 1999 to 2002 and as interim vice chancellor for UAMS Development and Alumni Affairs in 2011.

“Whenever asked, Dr. Westbrook has worked diligently to improve health care for Arkansans through improvements on our campus,” Debra H. Fiser, M.D., told a standing-room-only crowd in the Fred W. Smith Auditorium on campus.

The ceremony was held on Fiser’s last day as dean of the college before returning to the faculty of the Department of Pediatrics. She was honored at the end of the ceremony for her work to enhance the educational curriculum, foster research collaboration and promote high-quality, patient-centered clinical care during her seven years as dean.

A new recognition, the Distinguished Alumnus Service Award, was presented to two graduates who have supported many campus initiatives and advocated for the college throughout the state:

  • David Jacks, M.D., a 1976 alumnus and highly regarded Pine Bluff urologist, was honored for his work on several UAMS projects and for his service to Arkansas through the State Medical Board, Arkansas Medical Society and other organizations.
  • F. Eugene Joyce, M.D., a 1968 graduate and retired pathologist in Texarkana, Texas, was recognized for his work with the Cancer Institute, including the successful effort to garner innovative state matching funds for the institute's most recent major expansion.

The college inducted four individuals into its Hall of Fame, which recognizes alumni and former faculty members from throughout the college’s 134-year history. This year’s new members are:

  • Paul Wilbur, M.D., a 1976 graduate who practiced family medicine in Mountain Home for 22 years before opening a free medical clinic there that has cared for more than 13,000 patients since opening in 2000.
  • James Wallis Marsh, M.D., a 1950 alumnus who practiced family medicine for 57 years and became a community leader in Warren while serving as a mentor for many other physicians.
  • John Cody, M.D., a 1960 graduate who was a leading psychiatrist in Kansas for many years and became known as “the Audubon of moths” for his highly acclaimed watercolors and work to raise awareness of the threat of environmental degradation.
  • Patrick Tank, Ph.D., an internationally known anatomist and award-winning educator who taught and mentored more than 4,000 medical students during his 34 years on the faculty before his death from cancer in July 2012.

Current faculty members were honored for accomplishments in education and other areas:

  • Nicholas Long, Ph.D., a professor and chief of pediatric psychiatry in the Department of Pediatrics, received the Master Teacher Award for his work in parenting education and educational programs targeting professionals who work with parents and children.
  • Kimberly Curseen, M.D., an assistant professor in the Donald W. Reynolds Department of Geriatrics, received the Educational Innovation Award for enhancing geriatric palliative education for medical students and others.
  • John Shock, M.D., a distinguished professor in the Department of Ophthalmology, received the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation for his work to promote patient- and family-centered care at UAMS.
  • Frederick Bentley, M.D., a professor in the Department of Surgery, received the Residency Educator Award for his work as director of the Surgery Residency.
  • Tonya Thompson, M.D., an associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics, received the Residency Educator Award for her work as director of the Pediatric Emergency Medicine Fellowship.
  • Marwan Yared, M.D., an associate professor in the Department of Pathology, was invested in the Charles H. Lutterloh and Charles M. Lutterloh Medical Education Excellence Professorship.

A new honor, the Staff Excellence Award, was presented to three non-faculty employees for their work in the college’s major mission areas:

  • Felicia Brown, coordinator of the Anatomical Gift Program, received the educational staff award for her sensitivity in working with prospective donors and their families, and other contributions to the Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences.
  • Terry Fletcher was honored for his creative solutions to problems and mentoring activities as a research associate and laboratory manager in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology.
  • Kim Hall, outreach laboratory manager in the Department of Pathology, received the clinical staff award for her sense of duty to “the patients behind the tests,” very high quality work and for fostering teamwork.

The ceremony also included recognition of 46 faculty members who were promoted in rank, received tenure, or both. They included longtime faculty member and neurosurgeon M. Gazi Yasargil, M.D., who will become a professor emeritus on July 1, and endocrinologist Stavros Manolagas, M.D., Ph.D., who will become a distinguished professor. The college also honored 10 faculty members named to endowed chairs this academic year.

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