The Faculty Council of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine held its first-ever awards program during its final meeting of the academic year on May 22.
The atmosphere was just right for something new, with faculty members chatting amiably beside a well-stocked supper buffet, and live jazz — courtesy of Charles Bergeron, a jazz bassist and assistant professor of professional practice at UM’s Frost School of Music, accompanied by Josh Bermudez, a Frost School jazz guitar student — adding a musical dimension to the event.
Sanjoy Bhattacharya, Ph.D., professor of ophthalmology and the speaker of the Faculty Council, says the awards were the collective idea of Council leadership, Edward Abraham, M.D., dean and chief academic officer of the Miller School, and Carl Schulman, M.D., Ph.D., M.S.P.H., professor of surgery and executive dean for research.
“We did not have an awards program, and we felt there needed to be a way to recognize faculty members who contribute above and beyond the norm in research and medical education,” he said.
Bhattacharya took some of his personal inspiration from the African nation of Benin, whose language includes the word “Ubuntu,” which means “I am because we are” — the implication being that individual strength comes from the collective strength, and support, of the overall group.
The award recipients were selected by a faculty committee consisting of Bhattacharya, Joan E. St. Onge, M.D., associate professor of medicine and senior associate dean of graduate medical education, JoNell Potter, Ph.D., professor of obstetrics and gynecology, JoAnn Van Schaik, M.L.S., executive director of the Calder Medical Library, and F. Daniel Armstrong, Ph.D., professor of pediatrics and senior associate dean of faculty affairs.
The awards, which were presented by Abraham, who is also executive vice president for health affairs and CEO of UHealth, consisted of a framed certificate and $2,000 to be used for academic endeavors.
“It is absolutely wonderful that we are doing this,” said Abraham. “It is very gratifying to recognize outstanding contributions from our faculty.”
Diego Correa, M.D., M.Sc., Ph.D., research assistant professor in the Department of Orthopaedics and the Diabetes Research Institute, received the Faculty Council Research Award.
“I feel truly honored,” he said. “As a young investigator trying to establish a solid research agenda, this award certainly gives me extra motivation to work hard with my team to contribute scientifically and medically to the community on and off campus.”
Mariya I. Miteva, M.D., assistant professor of clinical dermatology, received the Faculty Council Clinical Educator Award.
“This distinction makes me really proud and happy, and motivates me to work even harder to provide outstanding education,” she said.