Texas Medical Center

Faculty Honored for Teaching Excellence

Ten faculty members from University of Texas System institutions in the Texas Medical Center have been elected to the University of Texas Academy of Health Science Education, an organization of scholars from UT institutions recognized for teaching excellence.

The new members will be inducted during the 2013 Innovations in Health Science Education annual conference Feb. 21 and 22 in Austin. Thomas Viggiano, M.D., associate dean for faculty affairs at Mayo Medical School, will give the plenary presentation.

This year’s new academy members are:


Michelle Barton, Ph.D., who along with Michael Blackburn, Ph.D., shares the position of dean of the UT Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston. The school is a joint venture of the UT Health Science Center at Houston and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and offers Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in biomedical research. Barton also is a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at MD Anderson, and co-director of MD Anderson’s Center for Stem Cell and Developmental Biology.




Michael Blackburn, Ph.D., who along with Michelle Barton, Ph.D., shares the position of dean of the UT Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston. Blackburn also is a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the UT Medical School at Houston. His work as been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health for 15 years, and he has received a number of awards including an American Lung Association Career Development Award and Young Investigator Award from the American Asthma Foundation.




Bryant Boutwell, Dr.P.H., the John P. McGovern Professor of Oslerian Medicine in the McGovern Center for Humanities and Ethics at the UT Medical School at Houston. Boutwell’s teaching interests include medical communications, history, ethics and humanities. A former news journalist, he has written award-winning newspaper columns, radio programs and video productions, including scripts narrated by Walter Cronkite. In 2000, he published a history of the Texas Medical Center and the UT Health Science Center.




Gerard Francisco, M.D., clinical professor and chairman of the physical medicine and rehabilitation department at the UT Medical School at Houston. Francisco is also chief medical officer and interim co-director of the Brain Injury and Stroke Program at TIRR Memorial Hermann. His research interests include spasticity management and rehabilitation after brain injury and stroke.




Jacqueline Hecht, Ph.D., professor and director of the Pediatric Research Center at the UT Medical School at Houston, and professor and assistant dean of research at the UT School of Dentistry at Houston. As a faculty member with the Human and Molecular Genetics Program at the UT Graduate School for Biomedical Sciences at Houston, she founded the Genetic Counseling Program in 1989.




Patricia Doan Mullen, Dr.P.H., professor of health promotion and behavioral sciences at the UT School of Public Health at Houston. Her research interests include health promotion for disadvantaged or incarcerated women, contraception and risk reduction for sexually transmitted diseases and HIV, and informed decision making for cancer and other screening tests.




Evan Pivalizza, M.D., professor and vice chairman of academic affairs in the anesthesiology department at the UT Medical School at Houston. Pivalizza was a 2011 adjunct member of the American Society of Anesthesiologists’ Transplant Anesthesia Committee and was named to the UT Medical School at Houston’s Master Educators in 2010. The school’s annual faculty teaching award was renamed in his honor in 2009.




Laura Rudkin, Ph.D., interim chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine and Community Health at the UT Medical Branch in Galveston. Rudkin is principal investigator for the Primary Care Plus Project at UTMB, which seeks to integrate primary care and public health training in the medical school. Her primary interest is in how social factors influence health outcomes.




Cynthia Santos, M.D., professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the UT Medical School at Houston and attending physician at the UT Harris County Psychiatric Center.  For two decades Santos has served as training director for the medical school’s Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship Program. She also is on the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology’s adolescent psychiatry steering committee, and is a member of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education’s psychiatry residency review committee.




Daneshvari Solanki, M.B.B.S., professor of anesthesiology at the UT Medical Branch at Galveston. Solanki is director of UTMB’s Interventional Pain Service which she founded in 1992. She also is director of regional anesthesia, and volunteers her clinical expertise on mission trips to underdeveloped countries.