2021 Dean’s Excellence Award winners announced

Published: September 08, 2021 by Kyle Rogers

Dean’s Excellence Award winners for 2021 were recognized Tuesday, Sept. 7, during a virtual, evening event held via Cisco Webex. Faculty department chairs were also invited to attend.
Dean’s Excellence Award winners for 2021 were recognized Tuesday, Sept. 7, during a virtual, evening event held via Cisco Webex. Faculty department chairs were also invited to attend.

Eight faculty members have been named recipients of the UTHealth Houston School of Dentistry Dean’s Excellence Award for 2021.

Walid Fakhouri, MSc, PhD; Cameron Jeter, PhD; Margo Melchor, RDH, EdD; Ezinne Ogbureke, BDS, DMD; Karo Parsegian, DMD, PhD, MDSc; Maryam Tabrizi, DMD, MPH; Bing-Yan Wang, DDS, MS, PhD; and Samuel Winkelmann, DDS, MS; were honored for outstanding work in the categories of Application, Discovery, Integration, Teaching, Mentoring, and Volunteerism.

Dean and Distinguished Teaching Professor John Valenza, DDS, recognized the award recipients Tuesday, Sept. 7, during a virtual, evening event held via Cisco Webex. Faculty department chairs were also invited to attend.

The award winners were first announced during the Joint Faculty + Staff Retreat in July.

Here are details about each category and winner(s), including comments from nominators:


“For aiding society and professions in addressing problems”

Nominators’ Comments:  Dr. Fakhouri’s depth and breadth of accomplishments since he joined our institution have been consistently demonstrated. For example (2):

As director of the Evaluation and Presentation of Scientific Research elective course, Dr. Fakhouri’s dental students have significantly benefited from his expertise in human genetics and published multiple peer-reviewed articles with him.


“For building new knowledge through research”

Nominators’ Comments:  Dr. Wang is an active collaborator with other researchers in and outside UTHealth School of Dentistry, demonstrated by her publications, presentations, and grants record.

She has established novel strategies to assess antimicrobial properties of regeneration materials and potential antimicrobial agents, developing models systems mimicking the oral cavity.

Dr. Wang has published 59 research articles and presented at multiple national and international meetings.

She has obtained multiyear grant funding from major funding agencies, including R03, U01, U30, R15, and U54.


“For interpreting the use of knowledge across disciplines”

Nominators’ Comments:  Dr. Jeter has developed innovative strategies and methods of integration of teaching in dental education and for interdisciplinary teaching and research, especially IPE. She is a newly appointed co-course director for three courses:

Dr. Jeter is also a mentor on Dean's Small Grants, and a PI on funded interprofessional research in oral health, dementia, and access to health care for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

She has published numerous articles and made several national talks.


“For studying teaching models and practices to achieve optimal learning”

Nominators’ Comments:  Dr. Parsegian is an individual who continuously proposes innovative ideas to enhance students’ educational experiences. For example:

Dr. Parsegian’s teaching endeavors have been recognized nationally, as he is a recipient of the Colgate Junior Faculty Award from the American Dental Education Association and the Award for Outstanding Teaching and Mentoring in Periodontics from the American Academy of Periodontology.

Nominators’ Comments:  Dr. Tabrizi has demonstrated an award-winning contribution in teaching and advancement in geriatric oral health to all learning levels at UTHealth School of Dentistry. Examples of her achievements include:

Dr. Tabrizi, through her efforts, has improved the overall health of the geriatric population and taken geriatric education from the classroom to chairside and bedside.


“For demonstrating commitment to, and effectiveness in, faculty mentoring”

Nominators’ Comments:  Dr. Melchor’s guidance has indeed placed me where I am today as one of her colleagues, and she continues to mentor me through the good and difficult times as I become familiar with the art of instruction.

She provides advice on leadership opportunities through suggesting conference attendance and committee work, including holding leadership positions within the committees and how to support the school endeavors through these leadership positions.

She tirelessly models professionalism and provides guidance on how to write, speak, and conduct myself as a professional. I am encouraged to reach out to new faculty in supportive and mentoring relationships in preparation of becoming a strong mentor myself in the future.

Nominators’ Comments:  Dr. Ogbureke not only leads by example by continuing to pursue scholarly activity, but also by encouraging me to do the same. Regularly, she encourages me to submit abstracts, invites me to assist with editing, and provides valuable scholarly content for workshops and presentations.

Examples of Dr. Ogbureke’s contemplative advice include mentoring on a survey questionnaire for my first research project. This effort led to a presentation at an IADR Annual Session. Later, she mentored me in redesigning this project that was also accepted for an ADEA Annual Session as a workshop.

Through her mentorship, I was able to edit an article that was published in the GHDS Journal and invited to provide scholarly content for a presentation in 2020 for the Gulf State Dental Association.


“For a faculty member who has consistently volunteered his/her time in supporting and sustaining the mission of the School of Dentistry”

Nominators’ Comments:  Dr. Winkelmann has distinguished himself as a dedicated educator and has demonstrated a remarkable commitment to excellence and service to orthodontics and UTHealth School of Dentistry.

He is a teacher who understands how to engage students, sharpen their minds, and cultivate within them curiosity for learning the material.

Dr. Winkelmann is the ultimate teacher, mentor, and role model, who has brought the highest level of professional standards to his teaching responsibilities for the past 13 years.

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