Ima Ebong, MD, assistant professor of neurology and clinical neurophysiology, is one of 10 winners to receive the University of Kentucky’s 2022-23 Outstanding Teaching Awards.

These awards identify and recognize individuals who demonstrate special dedication to student achievement and who are successful in their teaching. Recipients were selected via nomination and reviewed by a selection committee based in the UK Provost’s Office for Faculty Advancement and the Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching.

“This award is a testament to the excellent teachers who have molded me over the years — from the brilliant teachers who inspired me in my formative years in the Bahamas, to my college, graduate school and medical school professors, to my attending physicians in residency and fellowship and now my colleagues and mentors who encourage me to continue learning every day in order to inspire the next generation of physicians. This award is in honor of them,” said Ebong.

The Bahaman native earned her bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering and master’s in bioengineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. After working for the Bahamas Ministry of Health, she decided to become a physician and earned her medical degree from the UK College of Medicine. As a student at UK, Ebong started the University of Kentucky Medical Education Development (UKMED) program designed specifically to recruit prospective medical students from underrepresented backgrounds.

After her time at UK’s College of Medicine as a student, she completed her residency and fellowship at the Jackson Memorial Hospital/University of Miami Department of Neurology. In 2018, she returned to Lexington where she holds an appointment as an assistant professor of neurology and clinical neurophysiology in the UK College of Medicine. She also serves as an advisor to the College of Medicine’s pipeline programthat she helped create during her time as a student.

As a member of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN), Ebong was selected to participate in the AAN’s Diversity Leadership Program in 2019. The program aims to identify, mentor and engage AAN members from underrepresented minority groups for leadership development. Ebong has been actively involved in health care diversity efforts for many years and currently serves as the director of diversity and inclusion for UK’s Department of Neurology.

In recognition of her work, Ebong has received several awards. In 2020, she was named one of “1,000 Inspiring Black Scientists in America” by Cell Mentor and published by The Community of Scholars. She is the recipient of two Academy of Medical Education Excellence in Medical Education Awards from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine (2020 and 2021).  She was awarded the University of Kentucky Martin Luther King Living Legacy Catalyst Award and was the inaugural recipient of the University of Kentucky College of Medicine Diversity and Inclusion Pillar Award (Faculty).

Additionally, Ebong was elected for membership into Alpha Omega Alpha (AΩA) Honor Medical Society, one of the highest honors in the field of medicine, signifying a lasting commitment to professionalism, leadership, scholarship, research, and community service. 

This year’s Outstanding Teaching Awards were given to seven faculty and three graduate teaching assistants. Each winner received an award certificate, a commemorative engraved gift and a cash award in recognition of their teaching excellence.