The University of Kentucky College of Medicine is pleased to announce the faculty, staff, and learners who were winners of the annual Mission, Vision, Pillar, and Enabler Awards.
Now the second year for these awards, the college continues to recognize individuals who have made exceptional contributions that embody the overall mission, vision, and purpose of the college’s current strategic plan, COMMITS, which encompasses excellent education, patient-centered clinical care, transformative research, diversity and inclusion, community engagement, and enabling the success of each.
The following individuals were nominated and awarded for their outstanding achievements in the aforementioned areas.
Brittany Levy, MD | Learner Awardee
Chief Resident, Surgery
Dr. Levy has brought immense value to the College of Medicine as a leader in promoting quality improvement processes and innovation in the hospital system and addressing health disparities in the community. “Anyone who works with her knows her ideas are endless, and if there is a problem, she never settles until she can solve it,” according to her nomination. In addition to her original work on an improved tourniquet application process accessible for the layperson, she is heading up artificial intelligence innovations to improve speedy care for trauma patients arriving at the emergency room. Dr. Levy is an enthusiastic teacher who continues to be recognized by the students she teaches and encourages. Described as an exceptional resident and researcher, she “is simply trying to make the University and the world a better place in every way she can.”
Sumati Hasani | Learner Awardee
Graduate Student, Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry
Markey Cancer Center
Hasani is currently in her fifth year of the Integrated Biomedical Sciences program. She is dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion in the lab space and has done an outstanding job providing individualized guidance and mentorship for trainees of all levels. She mentored high school students in the UK Appalachian Career Training in Oncology (ACTION) program, as well as undergraduate students through the Markey STRONG Scholars program. Highly productive in her own published research, Hasani received the Basic Science Graduate Student Poster Award and was recognized for her oral presentation at the Markey Cancer Center Research Day. “She has been a role model and a great mentor for many students coming from various backgrounds,” her nomination reads. “I am grateful to Sumati for supporting my growth as a student and scientist.”
William W. Stoops, PhD | Faculty Awardee
Professor, Behavioral Science (Joint Appointments: Psychiatry, Psychology)
Center on Drug and Alcohol Research
Director, Clinical Research Support Office
In his roles at UK, Dr. Stoops solves challenges in health care through transdisciplinary and transformational research. According to his nomination, Dr. Stoops is a “visionary leader within the institution and nationally,” who successfully led the implementation of the Clinical Research Support Office, transforming how UK tracks, evaluates, and manages clinical trial research. With over 140 publications in top journals, Dr. Stoops has made vital research contributions and demonstrated leadership that has led to novel discoveries in research and improvements in treating substance use and mental health disorders. Dr. Stoops’ commitment to research is evident and appreciated at the College of Medicine.
Helen Klarich Garces, MS | Staff Awardee
Assistant Dean, Curriculum and Assessment
Medical Student Education
Garces “looks for ways to solve problems and educates others along the way.” As a meaningful contributor to the college, she oversees staff and possesses a unique understanding of the UK curriculum, big-picture plans, and small process details. Garces’ commitment to students and faculty is evident through her efforts to facilitate innovative ideas and her dedication to ensuring the College of Medicine’s onsite testing compliance. Through Garces’ organization, UK students have an opportunity to learn well. “I can think of no one who contributes more to the curricular education of medical students at UK than Helen Garces,” her nomination reads.
Robert W. Hadley, PhD | Faculty Awardee
Associate Professor, Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences
Director of Graduate Studies
Dr. Hadley is an outstanding instructor highly regarded by students and one whom faculty strive to emulate. His broad expertise in pharmacology resulted in one of the most diverse teaching assignments in the department, and his “crystal clear handouts” ensure students always know exactly what is expected. His ability to provide appropriately tailored material for a wide range of student audiences points to some of the best evaluations in the department. One student shared that Dr. Hadley is “my favorite teacher. My only suggestion is that he teach everything.”
Sarah Nicole Inman, MAE | Staff Awardee
Registrar, Bowling Green Campus
Medical Student Education
Inman is “very proud our small campus has been able to create such a robust research program for our students.” Her contributions include creating key partnerships for the Bowling Green Campus that facilitate research, enhance the pairing of mentors and students, and promote training and engagement in community research. Inman’s efforts not only support learning for existing students but are important for UK’s commitment to increasing the quality and accessibility of education for students attending our regional campus locations across the Commonwealth.
Christopher M. Norris, PhD | Faculty Awardee
Professor, Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences
Sanders-Brown Center on Aging
Dr. Norris “exemplifies UK's notion of what it means to be a Research Pillar.” Dr. Norris leads the field in astrocyte biology and pathology for neurodegenerative disease, and his research team is a great example of team science. Through his leadership, Dr. Norris established new technology at the College of Medicine that allows visualization of movement and metabolic activity of cells, “a remarkable feat that has ushered in a new era of neuroscience,” his nomination reads. Dr. Norris’ work is instrumental to the research success of the College of Medicine and supports scientists across many labs and other broadly applicable scientific endeavors.
Amanda K. Silva, MD | Faculty Awardee
Assistant Professor, Surgery
Dr. Silva has built a microsurgery service that exemplifies the College of Medicine’s mission of compassionate clinical care and increases the availability of services within the region. She has significantly improved the care experience and medical outcomes of women with breast cancer who are treated at UK. Dr. Silva’s collaboration with other surgeons and peers at UK and across the community has contributed to the program’s success. Her efforts have not only led to shorter patient stays and a decreased likelihood for return hospital visits but also extended into providing special resources such as support garments and cosmetic tattooing for patients in need.
Holly G. Danneman, MD | Faculty Awardee
Assistant Dean, Northern Kentucky Campus
Medical Student Education
An influential member of the UK College of Medicine-Northern Kentucky Campus from the beginning, Dr. Danneman “has a heart for bringing people together and finding ways for them to learn through challenges,” according to her nomination. In her role at UK, Dr. Danneman demonstrates her passion for medical education through her teaching, as well as serving as a group advisor, preceptor, and site director. Her community engagement is expressed by serving as a board member for several organizations and building connections for learners to engage in medical student-run free clinics. “Holly has connected multiple organizations with the College of Medicine and has found ways for all parties to benefit and learn together,” her nomination reads. Dr. Danneman’s efforts bring students, faculty, and staff closer to the educational values of the College of Medicine.
Allison D. Walters | Staff Awardee
Administrative Staff Officer II, Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences
Barnstable-Brown Diabetes Center
Walters’ significant insight, knowledge, and sincerity influences her approach to work and “puts the wheels into motion to further programmatic development at UK,” her nomination reads. Her oversight related to space requirements of the Healthy Kentucky Research Building and personalized onboarding process of newly hired research investigators reflect her dedication and specialized organizational skills. Walters brings tremendous value to the College of Medicine and the Barnstable-Brown Diabetes Center as she “troubleshoots all manner of issues and is proactive and finds solutions.