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UT Health Science Center Honors Impact of Exemplary Faculty, Staff, Students

Raaj Kurapati delivers welcome remarks at the UTHSC Impact Awards.

At the 2023 UTHSC Impact Awards, the Office of Inclusion, Equity, and Diversity recognized faculty, staff, students, and trainees for the outstanding work they do at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

“Today we celebrate colleagues who have gone above and beyond, giving exemplary service,” said Raaj Kurapati, UTHSC’s executive vice chancellor and chief operating and financial officer, during his welcome speech at Friday’s ceremony in the Mooney Library on the Memphis campus.

The first award announced was the Thomas C. Lichterman Outstanding Employee Award, given to an employee based on their reliability, quality of work, and attitude and disposition in the workplace. The 2021 award winner, Jean Perdicaris, presented this year’s award to Sharlet Alexander, an executive administrative assistant in the College of Medicine. Perdicaris described Alexander as the “true glue” of her department.

“Being a hard worker is an understatement for them. They have a no-nonsense take-charge leadership style evident in their day-to-day interactions with their colleagues,” she said of the winner.

Sharlet Alexander, second from right, an executive administrative assistant in the College of Medicine, won the Thomas C. Lichterman Outstanding Employee Award. David Clark, left, and Charlene Buckley, right, were finalists for the award.

The Chancellor’s Exempt Staff Award was given to Pamela Beckley, a grants administrator in the Department of Pediatrics in the College of Medicine. She was honored for her dedication, reliability, and the personalized service she curates despite managing more than 200 accounts in her department. Beckley’s nominator described her as someone who personifies all characteristics of an exemplary employee: knowledgeable, self-driven, authentic, worldly, organized, dependable, and honest.

Executive Vice Chancellor Raaj Kurapati poses with the finalists for the Chancellor’s Exempt Staff Award. Pamela Beckley, center, was the winner.

Michelle Martin, PhD, a professor in the College of Medicine’s Department of Preventive Medicine, was awarded the Chancellor’s Faculty Award. Dr. Martin currently co-leads the Tennessee Clinical and Translational Science Institute and is the founding director of the Center for Innovation in Health Equity Research: A Community Cancer Alliance for Transformative Change. The goal of her work is to make a difference in health outcomes for racial and ethnic minorities diagnosed with cancer.

The winner of the Chancellor’s Faculty Award was Michelle Martin, PhD, second from right.

Student Impact and Advocacy Leadership Awards were given to one or more students from each of UTHSC’s six colleges. The winners were:

  • College of Nursing – Caileen Washington
  • College of Dentistry – Gabriela Reyes
  • College of Health Professions – Ethan Reichle
  • College of Graduate Health Sciences – Flavia Villani and Luis Octavio Romero Garcia
  • College of Pharmacy – Diego Benavides
  • College of Medicine – Khadijat Adegbemisola Perkins

Charles Snyder, PhD, associate vice chancellor for Student Success and chief student affairs officer, announced the student winners. “Your contributions to our campus community are inspirational, and we cannot wait to see what you all accomplish in years to come,” he said to them.