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Faculty Winners Recognized for Outstanding Teaching, Research

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 - 10:01am

Winners of the 2012 Dean's Excellence Awards

Dean's Excellence Award Winners for 2012 include (from left) Drs. Ana Neumann, Shelly Patel, Shawn Adibi, Veronique Delattre, Sheila Koh, Don Le and Jackie Duke.

Dean’s Teaching Excellence Awards have been presented to seven faculty members who exemplify The University of Texas School of Dentistry’s commitment to quality teaching.  The 2012 winners – honored in four categories – include Drs. Ana Neumann, Shalizeh "Shelly" Patel, Shawn Adibi, Veronique Delattre, Sheila Koh, Don Le and Jackie Duke.

Dean John A. Valenza, DDS, presenting the awards earlier this year, noted that the awards are intended to recognize educators for engaging classroom presentations, hands-on learning or innovative curricula.

“These faculty members have earned the respect of students and colleagues and were selected as this year’s most outstanding teachers,” he said.


Ana Neumann, DDS, MPH, PhD
An assistant professor in the Department of General Practice and Dental Public Health, Ana Neumann was recognized for the innovative teaching methods she incorporated into the three courses she directs. For example, she added curricula in geriatric dentistry and health promotion activities in nursing homes for the Prevention of Oral Diseases class. And in the Dental Public Health course, she instituted team-based learning to teach students principles of epidemiology and biostatistics in scientific literature.

Neumann earned her DDS from the Federal University of Southern Mato Grosso in Brazil, a master’s degree from UT School of Public Health (SPH), and a PhD from UT M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and SPH.

Shalizeh A. “Shelly” Patel, DDS
An assistant professor in the Department of Restorative Dentistry and Prosthodontics, Shelly Patel listened carefully to her students to create more-absorbing classroom presentations. She produced nine high-quality, professional operative-dentistry videos that have become essential teaching tools in the preclinical operative-dentistry curriculum. As a result, students are more attentive during lectures, ask better questions and are more efficient during laboratory sessions. Listening to student feedback has made her a more effective teacher, Patel said.

She is a graduate of UT Dental School in San Antonio.


Sheila H. Koh, DDS
A professor in the Department of General Practice and Dental Public Health and director of the General
Practice Residency Program, Sheila Koh is a leader in dental education and training, both in the School of Dentistry and beyond. She helped found UTSD’s Advanced Education in General Dentistry Program and served as its director.

Koh was appointed to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Advisory Committee on Training in Primary Care Medicine and Dentistry, where she helped produce a report on incorporating team-based health care delivery into primary-care training. Koh also recently played a leading role in securing a five-year, $1.2 million federal grant.

She earned her dental degree from UTSD and maintained a private practice before joining the faculty full-time.


Shawn Adibi, DDS, MEd
Having devoted most of his career to teaching and learning, Shawn Adibi has gone above and beyond by continuing his professional development as an educator. An assistant professor in the Department of Diagnostic and Biomedical Sciences as well as the Department of General Practice and Dental Public Health, he has developed “AdibiRays,” an atlas of common radiographic lesions. He is also active in the Health Educators Fellowship Program.

This year, Adibi earned a master’s degree in education from the University of Houston, where he also completed a certificate in Integrative Innovative Technologies in Health Science Education. He received his dental degree from the University of Oklahoma.

Veronique Delattre, DDS
A professor in the Department of General Practice and Dental Public Health, Veronique Delattre directs 10 courses at UTSD. In addition, she provides annual education and hands-on training in forensic dentistry for Baylor College of Medicine Pathology Fellows and sponsors the Academy of General Dentistry’s Fellow Track Program.

Delattre graduated from the Educational Scholars Fellowship Program in 2011 and was invited back to deliver a presentation. She earned her DDS from UTSD.


Don Le, DDS
As a volunteer clinical assistant professor, Don Le generously shares his wealth of experience and knowledge with his students in clinical dentistry. He has served as a volunteer faculty member for three years, primarily in urgent care, and is recognized as an excellent role model by UTSD’s students and faculty.

Le is active in the Houston Asian American Dental Society and serves on UTSD’s Advisory Council, where he assists with the school’s major fundraising activities. He has helped establish a new professorship endowment in general dentistry and has cultivated donations for student scholarships. He is a graduate of Baylor College of Dentistry.


Pauline “Jackie” Duke, MAT, PhD
A professor in the Department of Orthodontics, Jackie Duke is the first faculty member to receive a Dean’s Excellence Award for Research. She is not only a prolific researcher, but as UTSD’s student research coordinator, she encourages student involvement in research activities.

Her research in the areas of tissue engineering and skeletal changes – including collaborative work with NASA to study skeletal development in space – is described by colleagues as consistently innovative. Underscoring her background as a high school biology teacher, she shares her passion for the laboratory with students, working with dental students who are conducting research, co-authoring papers and presenting at conferences. The awards UTSD’s student researchers have won are a testimony to her efforts, according to colleagues.

Duke earned her master’s degree and doctorate from Emory University.