News from Dean Spann | Fall 2022
10/18/2022, 03:00:02 PM
Tilman J. Fertitta Family College of Medicine Dean's Newsletter Fall 2022 Edition

We started our third academic year, with a new name, a new home, and focused on our mission. Now halfway through the semester, I believe that we are making solid progress towards accomplishing our objectives.

The Tilman J. Fertitta Family College of Medicine moved into its new state-of-the art 130,000-square-foot building, designed to provide a student-centric, active-learning environment; collaborative spaces for teams to come together; and areas for community-oriented meetings, events, and partnerships, on July 7. A formal building opening ceremony will take place later this month.

We welcomed our new class of 60 students on July 18. These remarkable students were chosen from more than 5,000 applicants, and we're honored to have them start their medical school journey with us. Meanwhile, our inaugural class is midway through their core clinical clerkship rotations and gaining great experience and the Class of 2025 successfully started their second year.

University of Houston

UH Health Family Care Center Ready to Serve You

I am also happy to share that the UH Health Family Care Center, our new on-campus clinic, is available to take care of the health care needs of UH faculty, staff and their families along with residents of surrounding communities. Fertitta Family College of Medicine faculty serve as providers and 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.

In addition, our partnership with VillageMD allows staff and faculty insured through UH access to an expanded network of Village primary care preferred providers and specialists. For those without access to insurance, the FCC offers a Sliding Fee Discount Program, ensuring that quality healthcare is within reach for everyone.

Call 713-743-9682 to schedule an appointment, or visit our website:

Student News

Black and Native American women are two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complication than white women. More than 80 percent of these deaths are potentially preventable. Our 2022-23 Albert Schweitzer fellows Breanna Chachere, Zikora Stephens, and Taylor Jackson launched their fellowship project MatCHrescence, which focuses on peer mentoring to increase support for the reproductive wellness needs of women of color experiencing pregnancy and postpartum in Houston. The team is working with UH Healthy Start on this project. To read more about the students and their year-long service-learning projects, please click this article link.

Several of our students are scheduled to present at national and state conferences in October:

  • Nabeel Ahmad and Ashlyn Mills, third-year medical students, will share their presentation “Initiating the Health Career Collaborative program at an underserved urban high school: A collaboration between medical students and high school science teachers” at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference & Exhibition in California.
  • Iliana Oberkircher and Sylvia Omozee, second-year medical students, will present “Tilman J. Fertitta Family College of Medicine Collaboration with Yates High School for the Health Career Collaborative” at the Healthier Texas Summit in Austin.
  • Anthony Carona, a second-year medical student, will present his research titled “Systemic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Effectiveness of the Lactinex Probiotic Against Diarrhea” at the 2022 American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) Annual Scientific Meeting and Postgraduate Course in North Carolina.
  • Brandon Gonzalez, another second-year medical student, will present “Patterns of Failure Following Gamma Knife Stereotactic Radiosurgery for Recurrent High-Grade Giloma” at the American Society for Radiation Oncology's (ASTRO) 64th Annual Meeting in San Antonio.
  • Adebosola Karunwi, a second-year medical student, will present her poster “Telemedicine During the Pandemic: Leaving the Visually Impaired and Others with Disabilities Behind?” and Brianna Gonzalez, a third-year medical students, will present her poster “Challenges to Remote Patient Monitoring Implementation in Rural and Urban Communities” at the Texas Academy of Family Physicians’ Annual Session and Primary Care Summit Research Poster Competition in Grapevine.

Faculty News

Dr. Kathryn Horn, founding Associate Dean for Student Affairs, Admissions and Outreach, is retiring Oct. 31. She joined the College of Medicine leadership team in July 2018 and has made enormous contributions to our new medical school. We will reconfigure the leadership structure of the current office to include three assistant deans. I am pleased to announce that Dr. Kristin Kassaw will serve as our new Assistant Dean for Student Affairs; Dr. Michelle Carroll Turpin will serve as our new Assistant Dean for Admissions, and Dr. Kenya Steele will continue to serve as our Assistant Dean for Diversity and Outreach.

Please join me in thanking Dr. Horn for her outstanding leadership and wishing her well in this new phase of her life; and in wishing Drs. Kassaw, Carroll Turpin and Steele all the best in their new positions.

Assistant Deans - Photos of Michelle Carroll Turpin, Ph.D., Kristen Kassaw, M.D., and Kenya Steele, M.D.

Congratulations to Ben King, Ph.D., M.P.H., for being selected to serve on the EPA Science Advisory Board (SAB) Hexavalent Chromium Review Panel and as a member of the Strategic Outcomes Subcommittee of the American Heart Association.

Also, please help me welcome the following new faculty members to our college –

Summer Chavez, D.O., M.P.H., M.P.M. joins us as Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Systems and Population Health Sciences.

M. Mahbub Hossain, Dr.PH, M.P.H., M.D., joins as Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Systems and Population Health Sciences. He is a UH Presidential Frontier Faculty of Health Care and has a joint appointment at the C.T. Bauer College of Business.

Emaan Lehardy, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist, is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences.

Zhengwei Li, Ph.D., serves as an assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences. He holds a joint appointment at the UH Cullen College of Engineering.

Yabo Niu, Ph.D., is a Clinical Assistant Professor of biostatistics in the Department of Health Systems and Population Health Sciences. He is a UH Presidential Frontier Faculty hire and holds a joint appointment at the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

Chakravarthy Marx Sadacharan, Ph.D. joins us as a Clinical Professor in anatomy for the Department of Biomedical Science.

Recent Publications

Global burden of mental health problems among children and adolescents during COVID-19 pandemic: An umbrella review, Mahbub Hossain, M.D., M.P.H., Dr.P.H., and colleagues, Science Direct.

Telemedicine during the pandemic: Leaving the visually impaired and others with disabilities behind? Omolola Adepoju, M.P.H., Ph.D., and colleagues, Health Affairs.

Undocumented Motherhood: Conversations on Love, Trauma and Border Crossings, Elizabeth Farfán-Santos, Ph.D., University of Texas Press.

Religious Service Attendance and Mortality among Adults in the United States with Chronic Kidney Disease, Marino Bruce, Ph.D. M.S.R.C., M.Div., Bettina Beech, Dr.P.H., M.P.H., and colleagues, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

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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