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Michael R. Blackburn, Ph.D.,  presents Susan Tortolero Emery, Ph.D., with a the President's Award for Leadership, outstanding faculty category.
Michael R. Blackburn, Ph.D.,  presents Susan Tortolero Emery, Ph.D., with a the President's Award for Leadership, outstanding faculty category.

HOUSTON – (Mar. 31, 2016) – For the first time this year, the UTHealth President’s Awards for Leadership recognized four individuals who were nominated by their peers in one of three categories: classified staff, management/administrative and professional and faculty.

This year the recipients are Jonathan Green, manager of Technical Services at UTHealth School of Dentistry; Alisa Sanders, R.N., clinical director of The Lactation Foundation and senior lactation consultant at McGovern Medical School; Bassel Choucair, executive director of information technology at McGovern Medical School; and Susan Tortolero Emery, Ph.D., senior associate dean for Academic and Research Affairs and Allan King Professor in Public Health at UTHealth School of Public Health.

These prestigious awards, presented annually at the STAR Awards luncheon, honor the memory of the late Michael “Mike” Jimenez, former UTHealth vice president and chief human resources officer, and reflect the characteristics of a man who made an indelible mark on the university in four short years.

“Mike believed that effective leadership existed in all areas of our organization, from faculty, A&P and from classified staff as well.” said Kevin Dillon, M.B.A., C.P.A., senior executive vice president, chief operating and financial officer.

The President’s Awards for Leadership criteria are based on the qualities of leadership that Jimenez embodied: the consistent demonstration of leadership through service, compassion and ethical standards.

“The greatest asset at UTHealth is you,” said Giuseppe N. Colasurdo, M.D., president of UTHealth. “I am proud to stand behind the deans as they stand behind you.”

President’s Award for Leadership: Outstanding Faculty

Susan Tortolero Emery, Ph.D.
Senior Associate Dean for Academic and Research Affairs
Allan King Professor in Public Health UTHealth School of Public Health

“Handmade and homegrown by UTHealth School of Public Health, Susan is a thriving researcher,” Michael R. Blackburn, Ph.D. said. “She is a natural collaborator, actively seeking opportunities for faculty, staff and students with other campuses to enhance UTHealth’s productivity – collaborations such as UTMB, Harvard and RAND Corporation.” Blackburn is executive vice president and chief academic officer of UTHealth, co-dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, professor and vice chairman of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the McGovern Medical School.

One nominator said, “Susan leads through integrity. She knows that serving in these trusted positions is a privilege, not a right, that she honors her promises, speaks up when there are concerns, respects the contributions of others and is a champion for those she serves and leads.”

While accepting her award, Tortolero Emery stated how proud she was of placing family and relationships first. “You can’t lead if you don’t have a sense of balance of what is important in life. My ability to lead has little to do with me and more to do with the people around me.”

Tortolero Emery shared with the audience that the reason behind her devotion to UTHealth is “our purpose to make an impact to improve health and well-being for Texas, our nation and beyond and to train our students to make an impact to improve health and well-being for Texas, our nation and beyond.”

Visit the STAR Awards Flickr album to view more images of the awardees receiving the President’s Awards for Leadership.