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Six Professors Receive UTAA Awards

Dr. Harkrider teaches Audiology and Speech Pathology classes in Knoxville

Six faculty members at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) were honored recently by the University of Tennessee Alumni Association (UTAA). The awards were presented during the annual banquet of the Student Government Association Executive Council. Ashley W. Harkrider, PhD, College of Health Professions, and James Patrick Ryan, PhD, College of Medicine, received the Distinguished Service Professorship Award. Anne H. Zachry, PhD, OTR/L, College of Health Professions, received the Public Service Award. Lekha K. George, MD, MBBS, College of Medicine and the College of Health Professions; William H. Noyes, DDS, College of Dentistry; and Stephanie J. Phelps, PharmD, College of Pharmacy, received the Outstanding Teacher Award.

Distinguished Service Professorship

Ashley Harkrider, PhD

Dr. Harkrider is a professor and chair of the Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology at UTHSC in Knoxville. In her first year, she successfully transitioned the department and its five degree programs administratively from UT, Knoxville, to UTHSC. Most recently, she implemented the Bachelor of Science in Audiology and Speech Pathology, the first undergraduate joint degree program offered by UTHSC and UT, Knoxville. As chair, she oversees the education of hundreds of audiology and speech pathology students, while maintaining financially viable, state-of-the-art campus clinics.

“Dr. Harkrider is highly dedicated to her students,” said Noma Anderson, PhD, dean of the College of Health Professions. “Dr. Harkrider utilizes case studies, lectures, homework, PowerPoint, reading materials and labs, all in a highly effective manner.”

“I am honored to be recognized by the UT Alumni Association for my contributions to higher education and scientific knowledge in the disciplines of Audiology and Speech Pathology,” Dr. Harkrider said. “It is a privilege to join the strong group of faculty who have received the Distinguished Service Professorship.”

Dr. Harkrider, who came to UTHSC in 2000, has taught more than 500 students. She also directs the Human Auditory Physiology Laboratory at UT. Her research, which is funded by the National Institutes of Health, focuses on developing a neural marker for individuals who stutter, so that children who are at risk for persisting with this debilitating communicative disorder can be identified and treated early in the disease progression.

James Patrick Ryan, PhD

Dr. Ryan is a professor in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Biochemistry, as well as assistant dean of the basic science curriculum in the College of Medicine (COM). Dr. Ryan, lecturer for the Common Mechanisms of Disease Module, and co-course director for additional modules, has played a key role in the college’s efforts to update its curriculum and teaching methods.

“Pat was a major player in the recent overhaul of the COM curriculum and worked to implement the changes,” said David Stern, MD, the Robert Kaplan Executive Dean of the College of Medicine. “Almost anyone can design a course on paper, but to implement it is difficult. Dr. Ryan made sure the change from the old to the new curriculum was as painless as possible for the M1 and M2 students, who were most affected. He led the way and showed by example the new content delivery methods, such as team-based learning, small groups, and flipped classrooms that are becoming more common in the COM curriculum.

“The students have noticed his efforts and made us aware of them,” Dr. Stern continued, adding that Dr. Ryan has received the Golden Apple Award given by the second-year medical school class no less than nine times, plus the Course Director of the Year Award by the second-year medical students four times. Dr. Ryan has my highest level of endorsement and my gratitude for his endeavors,” Dr. Stern said.

“This is really a significant award for me,” Dr. Ryan said. “Awards like these are not common. I take it as a reflection not just of service to students, but to my fellow faculty. I am humbled by it.”

Public Service

Anne Zachry, PhD

Dr. Zachry is an assistant professor and chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy in the College of Health Professions. Before joining the faculty in 2013, Dr. Zachry worked as a pediatric occupational therapist for 22 years. Her blog, Pediatric Occupational Therapy Tips, provides therapeutic and educational tips for occupational therapists, as well as the parents of children with developmental disabilities. The blog, which has had more than 1.5 million visits, has been described by Career Moxie as “one of the best educational online tools for occupational therapists,” and by Horizon Healthcare as “one of the top 10 occupational therapy blogs.” Dr. Zachry’s book, “Retro Baby,” which was published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, has earned the Benjamin Franklin Gold Medal Award, the Gold Medal Award from the Annual Midwest Book Awards, and Honorable Mention by the American Medical Writer’s Association Book Awards.

Most recently, under Dr. Zachry’s direction, students in the UTHSC Department of Occupational Therapy opened the Rachel Kay Stevens Therapy Center. Named after an OT student who suddenly passed away last year, this is the only student-run, pro bono, pediatric occupational therapy clinic in the country.

“I am extremely humbled and deeply honored to receive this award,” she said.

Outstanding Teachers

Lekha George, MD

Dr. George is an assistant professor in the Department of Nephrology. She is also an associate professor in the College of Health Professions where she spearheads the clinical teaching initiatives of the Physician Assistant training program at UTHSC.

Dr. George is board-certified through the American Board of Internal Medicine in Internal medicine and Nephrology. She continues to pursue her passion as teaching faculty in the College of Medicine for nephrology fellows, internal medicine residents, medical students and physician assistant students at UTHSC. She has authored many peer reviewed articles and book chapters on chronic kidney disease and cardiovascular disease. Her research work had been presented at various national and international conferences including the annual sessions of the American Society of Nephrology and National Kidney Foundation.

She moved to Memphis with her husband Dr. Santhosh Koshy, who is chief of medicine at Regional One and professor in the UT College of Medicine. Dr. George joined the UTHSC faculty in 2009 after her fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine.

Dr. George is also involved in collaborative efforts with the American Tamil Medical Association (ATMA) for health care projects in India such as “Fight for Sight” where funds are raised for free eye surgeries. She is also involved in a joint kidney initiative designed to help end stage renal patients with access to free dialysis. Currently, Dr. George plans to do work on community initiatives in Memphis with Physician Assistant students focusing on women’s health.

William Noyes, DDS

Dr. Noyes is assistant professor in the UTHSC College of Dentistry and acting chair of the Department of General Dentistry.

In 2002, he and his wife, Nancy, founded the Noyes Brain Tumor Foundation, after their oldest son, Matthew, was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. The diagnosis led to the first of many trips to Memphis for Matthew’s treatment at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The foundation has raised more than $1 million for brain tumor treatment and research at St. Jude, chiefly by means of an annual fundraising dinner and auction, Noyes said. The foundation also helps children attend Camp Sunshine, a camp for children with life-threatening illnesses, in Casco, Maine.

In 2013, Dr. Noyes sold his private practice in Maine and moved to Memphis, after his wife became the first bereavement coordinator at St. Jude. He began his career at UTHSC as a clinical group leader, and has served in the Faculty Senate and numerous other College of Dentistry committees. In January 2016, he was named the acting chair of the Department of General Dentistry.

I didn’t expect it at all,” Dr. Noyes said of the award. “I’m very appreciative.”

Stephanie Phelps, PharmD

Dr. Phelps is professor of Clinical Pharmacy and Pediatrics and associate dean of Academic Affairs in the College of Pharmacy.

“I am so blessed to have been nominated and selected for this award,” Dr. Phelps said of the Outstanding Teaching Award. “Teaching student pharmacists for more than 30 years has been a highlight in my professional career. I have gained so much more through my involvement with students than I have given or could ever give. Without a doubt, they have made me a better teacher, pharmacist and person.”

She received the 1999 APhA-Academy of Student Pharmacists Outstanding Chapter Advisor Award, the 2009 Tennessee Society of Hospital Pharmacists Distinguished Service Award, PPAG’s 2011 Helms Award for Excellence in Pediatric Pharmacy Practice, the 2013 ACCP Outstanding Educator Award, and the 2016 Linwood F. Tice Friend of APhA-ASP award. Dr. Phelps has received numerous teaching awards from students at UTHSC, and was the first pharmacy faculty member elected to the UTHSC campus Academy of Distinguished Teachers.

During her career, she has participated in the education of five post-doctoral fellows and more than 60 pediatric pharmacy residents. She is editor of “The Teddy Bear Book: Pediatric Injectable Drugs” and is editor-in-chief of the “Journal of Pediatric Pharmacology and Therapeutics.”

Dr. Ryan and College of Medicine students