Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
TTUHSC Faculty Receive Chancellor’s Council Distinguished Teaching and Research Awards

TTUHSC Faculty Receive Chancellor’s Council Distinguished Teaching and Research Awards

Five people stand in front of a TTUHSC photo backdrop.
Left to right: Chancellor Tedd L. Mitchell, M.D., Ph.D., Duke Appiah, Ph.D., MPH, Jen Collins, Ph.D., R.N., Amy Stark, M.D., and President Lori Rice-Spearman.

Texas Tech University System (TTU System) Chancellor Tedd L. Mitchell, M.D., Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) President Lori Rice-Spearman, Ph.D., and TTUHSC Provost and Chief Academic Officer Darrin D’Agostino, D.O., presented the 2023 Chancellor’s Council Distinguished Teaching & Research Awards today (March 24). 

Recognizing academic excellence, the honors are the most prestigious awards granted to faculty throughout the TTU System. The awards are funded by gifts to the Chancellor’s Council, a giving society that supports the chancellor’s priorities across the TTU System. 

“These awards recognize the best of the best, and I am extremely honored to recognize our world-class faculty across the TTU System,” Mitchell said. “Our award recipients have ascended to the top of their areas of study and are leading experts at providing students with an unrivaled educational experience. I congratulate each of our esteemed faculty receiving this year’s teaching and research awards.”  

The Chancellor's Council Distinguished Teaching Awards recognize faculty members for teaching excellence, as evidenced by their attainment of distinction both within and beyond the institution for outstanding teaching and outstanding contributions related to excellence in teaching. The Chancellor's Council Distinguished Research Awards recognize outstanding research, scholarship and creative activity of faculty members in the developmental stages of their careers.

“The award recipients have truly distinguished themselves in their fields, and I’m so very proud for them to receive this recognition,” Rice-Spearman said. “They each embody the values of our great university’s culture, and their work significantly adds to our vision to transform health care through innovation and collaboration.”

The awards are funded by gifts to the Chancellor’s Council. Since the honors were established in 2001, 233 faculty have received awards totaling nearly $1.4 million. Award recipients receive a $5,000 stipend and an engraved medallion. 

TTUHSC honorees include:


Distinguished Teaching Award Recipients

Duke Appiah, Ph.D., MPH, is an associate professor in the Julia Jones Matthews School of Population and Public Health. The majority of his work, published in high-impact journals, has focused on understanding the etiology and prevention of chronic diseases with emphasis on women and underserved populations, as well as the intersection of infectious and chronic diseases on long-term health. His passion as an educator is to help students cultivate their intellectual interests, challenge their critical-thinking skills and engage them with active-learning strategies. 

Appiah’s dedication to excellence in research and teaching has been recognized with several awards including three Outstanding Teacher of the Year awards, the Dean’s Teaching Award, the Trudy Bush Fellowship for Cardiovascular Disease Research in Women's Health from the American Heart Association and the Alumni Fellow Award for Public Health from the University of Louisville. He is a governor appointee on the Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response for Texas.


Amy Stark, M.D., is an associate professor of psychiatry at the School of Medicine in Amarillo and is board certified in general and addiction psychiatry. Upon earning her medical degree from TTUHSC, Stark completed residency in general psychiatry at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and fellowship training in addiction psychiatry at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.  

Stark has served as clerkship director of medical student education in psychiatry while maintaining a busy clinical practice and providing expert care as the only addiction psychiatrist in Amarillo. She has received numerous teaching awards, but one of her proudest accomplishments is what medical students call the “Stark Effect:” kindling a passion for psychiatry and inspiring pursuit of a career in the field. In her time as clerkship director, the Amarillo campus has matched 21 students into psychiatry residencies, and this year, nine students from Amarillo are applying to psychiatry residencies.  


Distinguished Research Award Recipient

Jen Collins, Ph.D., R.N., is a professor in the School of Nursing. Her research focus is community-based approaches to address inequities in social determinants of health among young adults, including those in foster care; those living in poverty and experiencing homelessness; and those involved with criminal justice systems.

Collins holds a Bachelor of Science in nursing from the Catholic University of America, a Master of Science in nursing from Baylor University and Doctor of Philosophy in nursing from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (now UT Health San Antonio). Actively identifying and engaging key stakeholders and their communities to collaboratively address community-specific health needs has been her focus throughout her undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate career.