News from Dean Spann | May 2023
05/22/2023, 12:00:01 PM
Tilman J. Fertitta Family College of Medicine Dean's Newsletter May 2023 Edition

Dr. Winston Liaw and I had the wonderful privilege of traveling to Santa Ana, a rural village in Southeastern Honduras from April 15th through April 23rd with 10 of our first-year medical students, two members of our staff, and Dr. Bob Parkerson, a physician faculty member at Baylor College of Medicine. There, we worked with a local team including a physician, dentist, nursing personnel, administrator, and translators in providing primary medical care to 180 patients in a resource-poor setting. Our medical students were actively involved in examining the patients, developing a differential diagnosis, and a treatment plan for each patient we saw in clinic. We also made two house calls, one of which involved a 1.2 mile hike in the mountains to reach the patient’s home. All of us thoroughly enjoyed the trip and the opportunity to work together as a team providing compassionate medical care with the goal of improving the health of the patients we were honored to serve. We were all reminded of the purpose that attracted us to the medical profession, and experienced great joy in caring for these grateful patients. We hope to offer several opportunities each year for our medical students, both first year and upperclassmen, to enjoy learning about global health in this setting that has significant health care needs.

UH Health Family Care Center Ready to Serve You

On February 22, 2023, UH Health Family Care Center celebrated its first-year anniversary.  Our family clinic is available to take care of the health care needs of UH faculty, staff and their families along with residents of surrounding communities. With Fertitta Family College of Medicine faculty as providers, the clinic offers pediatric and adult primary care, women's health and mental health services, integrated behavioral health, as well as outpatient psychological and psychiatric consultation services.


This spring marked the launch of our “Spring Clean Your Health Routine” marketing campaign.  With a goal to reach 63,000 households in the Third Ward, the new spring marketing campaign is aimed at encouraging target community members to spring clean their health routines and allow the Family Care Center to be their health care home.

UH Health Family Care Center is now accepting Traditional Medicaid and Medicare, along with most major insurances including the UH BCBS Health Select Plan.

For appointments, call 832-UHCARES or visit our website:

Student News

Our medical students are finding the right way to make a difference:

Albert Schweitzer Fellows Program 2023-2024 - Isabella Marnago - Amber Hurd - Hannah Adams - Anica Felix - Angelique Basquine

  • Congratulations to our newest 2023-2024 Albert Schweitzer Fellows: Isabella Martingano, Amber Hurd, Hannah Adams, Anika Felix and Angelique Basquine. The mentored experiential learning and leadership development program is designed to increase our student’s skills and commitment to more effectively address the health needs of underserved people.
  • Sarah Snyder, third year medical student, was selected as a 2023-2024 regional candidate for the White House Fellows Program. The selection criteria for this program includes a record of remarkable professional achievement early in one’s career, evidence of leadership skills, a demonstrated commitment to public service, and much more.  
  • Ashlynn Mills, third year medical student, was selected as one of six 2023 Mary Susan Moore Medical Society Scholarship recipients.
  • Nyeomi McGaskey, first year medical student, was selected for the 2023 Hematology Opportunities for the Next-Generation of Research Scientists (HONORS) Award. The goal of this award is to gain experience in a year-long or summer laboratory, translational, or clinical investigation under the mentorship of an ASH member.
  • Diamondneshay Ward, third year medical student, was elected to serve as the student representative to the Harris County Academy of Family Physicians Board of Directors for 2023. She is replacing a fellow Cougar medical student, Ashlynn Mills, who served in this role for the past two years.
  • Breanna Chachere, third-year medical student, for her appointment as the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) Student Liaison to the Student National Medical Association (SNMA).
  • Congratulations to the 2023 Student Scholarly Project Presentation Day winners, our second-year medical students presented their projects on a variety of relevant topics. Please help me applaud our winners:
    • 1st place: Sylvia Omozee and IIiana Oberkircher for “Investigating Cellular Patterning of Breast Cancer Cells with ADGRF1 Overexpression or Activation on Novel Micropatterned Substrates.”
    • 2nd place: Carolina Venturi and Salik Tehami for the “Use of Digital Campaign to Promote COVID-19 Vaccination and Clinical Trial Participation in Vietnamese Texans;” and Isaiah Carter for “Relationships Between Religion, Spirituality, or Personal Beliefs on Health Outcomes.”
    • 3rd place: Romi Govender and Linda Ferelle for “Transportation Barriers to Healthcare Among U.S. Latino Adults.”
    • Best overall biomedical science research: Ian Dadeboe for “Using Computational Pharmacology to Identify N. fowleri Antibiotics.”
    • Best overall social-behavioral research: Hannah Adams and Taylor Jackson for “The Power of Support: A Scoping Review Investigating the Impact of Perinatal Support in Improving Maternal and Fetal Outcomes.”

Congratulations to our first-year medical students, Kaylah Perez and Rolando Alvarado, on being awarded first place in their categories for their research presentations at the Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA) Southwest Regional Conference in Fort Worth, TX. Also, congratulations to Kaylah, who was elected as the Chief Information Officer for the LMSA SW Regional Board.

Faculty News

  • Congratulations to Omolola Adepoju, Health Systems & Population Health Sciences, for winning the Outstanding Population Health Publication. This annual award from UH Population Health is to recognize the lead author of a peer-reviewed journal article or book chapter, judged as making a substantial contribution to the literature and/or practice of population health.
  • Grant funding to David F. Curtis, Ph.D., Principal Investigator, and Bill Elder, Ph.D., Co-Investigator, for project: Child, Adolescent, and Family Mental Health Services. Funding Agency: American Recovery Plan Act – Community Based Organization Grant, for $1,311,196.  
  • Grant funding to Winston Liaw, M.D., M.P.H., Principal Investigator, and Ioannis A. Kakadiaris, Ph.D., Omolola E. Adepoju, M.P.H., Ph.D., and LeChauncy D. Woodard, M.D., M.P.H., Co-Investigators, for project: Primary Care Forecast: Using Social Risk Factors and Actionable, Explainable Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning to Prevent the Progression of Diabetes Complications. Awarded $499,998.

Welcome the following new faculty members to our college:

Tameka Clemons, Ph.D., assistant clinical professor, joined the Department of Biomedical Sciences. Dr. Clemons will teach biochemistry.

Diana Grair, M.D., is the medical director for the UH Health Family Care Center and joined the Department of Clinical Sciences as a clinincal associate professor.

Natarajan Venkatayan, M.D., clinical associate professor, joined the Department of Clinical Sciences. Dr. Venkatayan is the program director for the UH-HCA West Family Medicine Residency Program.

Mohamed Zebda, D.O., M.P.H., clinical associate professor, joined the Department of Clinical Sciences. Dr. Zebda is a practicing board-certified pediatrician at the UH Health Family Care Center.

Kind regards,

Stephen J. Spann, M.D., M.B.A.
Founding Dean
Tilman J. Fertitta Family College of Medicine
Vice-President for Medical Affairs
Humana Endowed Dean's Chair in Medicine
Phone (713) 743-0875

Mission - To Improve health and health care in Houston, Texas, and beyond.
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