Texas Tech University System Chancellor Robert Duncan announced the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso recipients of the annual Chancellor’s Council distinguished faculty awards. Recognizing excellence in academics and research, these awards represent the most prestigious honors granted to faculty members throughout the TTU System.
“It is truly exciting to be able to present our dedicated faculty members with these honors,” Duncan said. “In my first months as chancellor when visiting our campuses, one of the first things I noticed was the strength of our faculty, especially here at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso. The accomplishments of our faculty and the impact they leave on our students make them a vital asset to our team.”
Additionally, six faculty members from Texas Tech University, two faculty members from Angelo State University, and four faculty members from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center received the honors for a total of 16 recipients.
Since their established in 2001, these honors have been awarded to only seven members of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso faculty. Each winner receives a commemorative medallion and a $5,000 award. The Chancellor’s Council raises funds for student scholarships and recruitment, faculty awards and support, and other programs of excellence.
The Distinguished Teaching Awards went to the following individuals:
Harry E. Davis II, M.D.
Harry “Pete” Davis is an associate professor and the vice chairman for education in the Department of Internal Medicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso. He also serves as the clerkship director and is an active member of the school’s medical honor society Alpha Omega Alpha, mentoring and selecting students to join the prestigious organization. Joining the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine in 1997 after a long and distinguished career in the military, Davis has received numerous awards from the university, including the President’s Excellence in Teaching Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award. He also was elected to fellowship in the American College of Physicians in 2001 and to mastership in 2014. Davis earned his bachelor’s degree and medical degree from West Virginia University.
Janet Piskurich, Ph.D.
Janet Piskurich is a college master and professor in the Department of Medical Education at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso, teaching immunology and microbiology. She joined the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine in 2008 after time at Mercer University and was a leader in the design of the school’s novel clinical presentation-driven curriculum. With a distinguished teaching career of more than 15 years, Piskurich is known for providing an educational yet practical learning environment for students, and has extensive experience in curriculum development and course administration, which is exemplified by her election to the steering committee of the Association of American Medical Colleges Southern Group on Educational Affairs and recent appointment as associate editor for the International Journal of Self-Directed Learning. Piskurich earned a B.S. in biology and a Certificate in Medical Technology from the University of Pittsburgh, and her Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University.
Because Dr. Piskurich was presenting a research paper at a lecture out of town, Tammy Salazar, Ph.D., of the TTUHSC El Paso Dept. of Medical Education, accepted the award on her behalf.
The Distinguished Research Awards went to the following individuals:
Rajkumar Lakshmanaswamy, Ph.D.
Rajkumar Lakshmanaswamy is an associate professor and the basic science research director of the Center of Excellence in Cancer Research at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso. Joining the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine in 2004, he has been instrumental in building the university’s research enterprise, securing more than $3.5 million in external funding from the National Institutes of Health, the Health Resources and Services Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among many others. His research has contributed greatly to the understanding of hormonal regulation of breast cancer. Lakshmanaswamy has published more than 50 peer-reviewed articles, and serves as a reviewer for federal grants at the U.S. Department of Defense and an editorial board member for multiple journals. Lakshmanaswamy obtained a Ph.D. in endocrinology and oncology from the University of Madras in India, and conducted his postdoctoral training in the Cancer Research Laboratory at the University of California at Berkeley.
Richard W. McCallum, M.D., FACP, FRACP (Aust), FACG, AGAF
Richard McCallum is a professor and the founding chair of the Department of Internal Medicine in the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso. He also is the director of the Center for Neurogastroenterology and GI Motility, which conducts research on the interactions between the brain and stomach to treat gastroparesis, a problem caused by impaired nerves and muscles of the stomach, as well as understanding the causes of nausea and vomiting. Pioneering efforts for more than 20 years, McCallum discovered and invented a gastric pacemaker to help patients who cannot digest food properly. His research has been supported by numerous prestigious organizations such as the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the American Diabetes Association. McCallum has published more than 400 articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals and 120 textbook chapters, has edited 14 scientific textbooks and is the holder of three patents. A native of Australia, McCallum received his bachelor’s and medical degrees from the University of Queensland.
About the Texas Tech University System
The Texas Tech University System is one of the top public university systems in the nation, consisting of four component institutions —Texas Tech University, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Angelo State University and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso—and operating at 12 academic sites and centers. Headquartered in Lubbock, Texas, the Texas Tech University System has an annual operating budget of $1.7 billion and approximately 17,000 employees focused on advancing higher education, health care, research and outreach around the globe.
In 2014, the Texas Tech University System endowment exceeded $1 billion, total research expenditures were approximately $200 million and total enrollment approached 47,000 students. Whether it’s contributing billions of dollars annually in economic impact or being the only system in Texas to house an academic institution, law school and medical school at the same location, the Texas Tech University System continues to prove that anything is possible.