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2021 Faculty Convocation Recognizes Excellence

September 22, 2021
Kaveri Roy
Dr. Kaveri Roy received the 2021 Nancy T. Watts Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Faculty excellence and the contributions of staff members was the focus of the MGH Institute’s 2021–2022 Faculty Convocation. 

Recognizing the “magical” work of the school’s faculty and staff in advancing the Institute during very challenging times, the virtual event was emceed by British magician Kealan Leyser, who entertained the audience intermittently throughout the presentation.   

Hosted by Alex F. Johnson, PhD, provost and vice president for academic affairs, the celebration held on September 17 was the eighth year in which the MGH Institute has held the event. 

Dr. Johnson praised the hard work and determination of faculty and staff for helping more than 500 students graduate last month while in the middle of the continuing coronavirus pandemic. He noted that following the science is even more crucial in these precarious times of distance learning, clinical challenges, fatigue, the rising threat of climate change, and racial injustice.

“Believe it or not, like it or not, we are the solution to so much of what the world needs,” said Johnson. “Leadership, attention to science and scholarship, empathic and evidence-based health care, and constant attention to issues of inequity, social justice, and anti-racism are the proven mitigators to these challenges. We don’t have all the answers, but in our constant attention and struggle to do what is right, we are moving forward in an exemplary way.”

Highest Faculty Teaching Award Presented

Kaveri Roy, DNP, RN, an assistant professor of nursing, received the Nancy T. Watts Award for Excellence in Teaching, the MGH Institute’s highest faculty honor for teaching.

According to faculty members and students, naming Dr. Roy the 32nd Watts recipient was a well-deserved honor.

“She has student success, student interests, and the values of the Institute at the forefront every time she’s teaching a class,” said Rebecca Hill, PhD, DNP, FNP-C, CNE, an associate professor of nursing who noted Roy regularly asks students for feedback and incorporates it into her teaching. “There’s never a time where the vast majority of her class doesn’t absolutely applaud her for all the ways she promotes student success, enhances their learning, and readies them for subsequent semesters in the program.”

“Dr. Roy is a unique teacher in that she is so engaged in her students,” said Julika Wocial, BSN ’19, an academic support counselor in the School of Nursing who works closely with Roy. Wocial noted that Roy allows her teaching assistants to develop leadership skills while providing them with appropriate guidance.

“It’s impossible not to pay attention in her class which is important because what she teaches – pathophysiology – is the fundamental of everything else students learn,” said Erin Decew, MSN ’22, who works with Dr. Roy as a teaching assistant.

“She has a clear dedication to her students, no matter the venue,” noted Elissa Ladd, PhD, FNP-BC, a professor of nursing who saw Roy’s commitment during an IHP-sponsored, month-long learning experience to India in early 2020 when Roy continued to teach her classes despite the 10-hour time difference that often had her working into the early hours of the morning. “She really maintained her engagement with her students from halfway around the world.” 

The Watts award is named after the nationally renowned physical therapist pioneer at Massachusetts General Hospital, who was instrumental in the creation of the MGH Institute and was the first leader of the school’s physical therapy program.

Faculty Research Awards

Several faculty members received awards for their exemplary contributions in research.

Yael Arbel, PhD, CCC-SLP, a professor of communication sciences and disorders, received the 2021 Faculty Award for Excellence in Research, the Institute’s highest research award. A co-director of the Cognitive Neuroscience Group, she has an outstanding research program which has gained national recognition, most recently when she received R01 funding from the NIH. Using research strategies based on out-of-the box ideas, she is bringing a transformational impact at the national level as well as benefitting local schools and school children. She also has been a mentor to early investigators, postdoctoral fellows, PhD students, CSD graduate students, and undergraduate interns.

Jordan Green, PhD, CCC-SLP, the Matina Souretis Horner Professor in Rehabilitation Sciences, director of the Speech and Feeding Disorders Lab, and a professor of communication sciences and disorders, received the Excellence in Mentorship Award. Widely recognized internationally as a leading researcher in speech and swallowing issues for people with ALS and those who have undergone facial transplants, He has mentored post-doctoral fellows, and students at the doctoral, graduate, and undergraduate levels. All his past mentees have achieved next steps in their career, while all of his current PhD students from his lab have received F31 funding from the NIH. And in 2021, three of his postdocs received independent NIH funding and joined the IHP faculty.

Two faculty members received New Investigator awards. 

Rawan AlHeresh, MScOT, PhD, OTR/L, an associate professor of occupational therapy, was recognized for improving patient-reported outcomes for people with arthritis, her work in creating the “Toward an All-Inclusive Jordan” initiative, an academic-community partnership model serving as a platform for education, clinical training, and advocacy for the rights of people with disabilities living in refugee camps in her native country, receiving two Durant Fellowships from the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Global Health to health care professionals serving refugee populations and victims of complex humanitarian disasters.

Shweta Gore, PhD, DPT, GCS, CLT, an associate professor of physical therapy, was recognized for her research in physical activity assessments in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and for receiving a Learning Health Systems Rehabilitation Research Network grant in which she is working with investigators from John Hopkins and Boston Medical Center to implement and evaluate an activity and mobility program in acute care. In 2019, she was awarded a $10,000 IHP internal grant that she used for a $500,000 NIH R15 grant that is expected to be awarded this fall. 

Interprofessional Contributions

The Award for Excellence in Advancing Interprofessional Education and Practice was given to the Health Professions Education Program team: Roger Edwards, ScD, the program chair and a professor; Suzie Kardong-Edgren, PhD, RN, ANEF, CHSE, FSSH, FAAN, an associate professor; Anshul Kumar, PhD, an assistant professor; Yolanda Mendez Rainey, the operations manager; Janice Palaganas, PhD, APRN, ANEF, FNAP, FAAN, FSSH, a professor; Jennifer Rodriguez, the program manager for online learning; Claudia Rosu, MD, PhD, an adjunct assistant professor; Anne Thompson, PT, EdD, an adjunct associate professor; and BA White, EdD, MA, an adjunct associate professor. The team received the award for its vision and commitment to advancing interprofessional education or practice, having a collaborative approach to communicating and working with relevant stakeholder groups when implementing interprofessional initiative, and producing exemplary high-quality work that is theory or evidence based and illustrative of best practice.

Three faculty were elected to the third cohort of the Teaching Excellence Academy for Learning (TEAL), an honorary society for faculty members who demonstrate sustained contributions to the teaching mission of the Institute and capacity for mentorship. The new fellows are associate professors of nursing: Suellen Breakey, PhD, RN; Eleonor Pusey-Reid, DNP, RN, MEd; and Kathy Simmonds, PhD, MPH, RN, WHNP-BC. Fellows receive funding for professional development and the title of Distinguished Teaching Professor. 

To support all faculty in advancing their scholarship, the Office of the Provost sponsors Onramp groups where experienced investigators lead a team of collaborators in preparing a manuscript for peer review. Two faculty members from the School of Nursing served as Onramp group leaders in 2020–2021: Patrice Nicholas, DNSc, DHL (Hon.), MPH, RN, NP-C, FAAN, director of the Center for Climate Change, Climate Justice, and Health and a professor of nursing; and Elissa Ladd, PhD, FNP-BC, a professor of nursing. Dr. Nicholas and her co-authors’ manuscript, "Health Impacts of Climate Change on Gender Diverse Populations: A Scoping Review," will be published soon in the Journal of Nursing Scholarship. 

Other Faculty News

The MGH Institute Board of Trustees awarded sabbatical leave to seven faculty members for the 2021–2022 academic year: Susan E. Fasoli, ScD, OTR/L, a professor of occupational therapy; Tiffany P. Hogan, PhD, CCC-SLP, a professor of communication sciences and disorders; Elissa Ladd, PhD, FNP-BC, a professor of nursing; Patricia Reidy, DNP, FNP-BC, FNAP, associate dean of academic affairs and program innovation and a professor of nursing, David Selkowitz, PT, PhD, DPT, OCS, DAAPM, an associate professor of physical therapy; Diane L. Smith, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, a professor of occupational therapy; and Lisa Walker, MPAS, PA-C, chair of physician assistant studies and an assistant professor.

Faculty Promotions

The following faculty were promoted in 2021:

Assistant Professor: Patricia Kelley-Nazzaro, MS, CCC-SLP, Communication Sciences and Disorders; Emilie Larrivee, MS, CAGS, CCC-SLP, Communication Sciences and Disorders; Dominique Caruso Murphy, MMSc, PA-C, Physician Assistant Studies; Amanda Worek, MS, CCC-SLP/L, Communication Sciences and Disorders; and Indigo Young, MS, CCC-SLP, Communication Sciences and Disorders. 

Associate Professor: Annie B. Fox, PhD, Center for Interprofessional Studies and Innovation; Clara Gona, PhD, FNP-BC, Nursing; Shweta Gore, PhD, DPT, GCS, CLT, Physical Therapy; Rebecca Hill, PhD, DNP, FNP, CNE, Nursing; Rita Olans, DNP, RN, CPNP-PC, APRN-BC, Nursing; and Eleonor Pusey-Reid, DNP, RN, MEd, Nursing.

Professor: Yael Arbel, PhD, CCC-SLP, Communication Sciences and Disorders; Roger Edwards, ScD, Health Professions Education; and Janice Palaganas, PhD, APRN, ANEF, FNAP, FAAN, FSSH, Health Professions Education.