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Posted: March 02, 2005


Ronald Blanck, DO, president of the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth was named the 2005 Legacy Award winner by the Fort Worth Business Press at its annual Healthcare Heroes banquet.

Dr. Blanck was surprised by the award saying, “I am extremely honored by this recognition. This is really about the privilege of being in healthcare—the tremendous opportunities which exist there—but mostly it’s about the people who, working together, provide the service and make us all look good.”

In total the health science center had six faculty, staff and administrators who were named Healthcare Heroes for 2005.

“We are excited to have so many people from the health science center selected as Healthcare Heroes this year,” Dr. Blanck said. “All of our employees and students are truly heroes in their own right, working to make healthcare better today and for the future.”

In addition to Dr. Blanck, the Healthcare Heroes from the health science center were Russell Gamber, DO, MPH; Laurie Hill, PA-C, MHS; Melva Jones, LVN; Albert Olivencia-Yurvati, DO; and James Simpkins, PhD.

Dr. Gamber is a professor of manipulative medicine at the health science center. He believes that his job as a doctor is to be a facilitator for his patients. He says patients are often overwhelmed by chronic pain and need encouragement, education and hope in order to feel better. Dr. Gamber treats patients using osteopathic manipulative treatment.

Hill is an assistant professor for physician assistant studies and a physician assistant in the department of surgery. She started working at the health science center in 1998 as a guest lecturer. Now, she splits her time between seeing patients in the surgery department and mentoring students in the classroom.

Jones is a senior licensed vocational nurse for the department of surgery and general surgery at the health science center. She has been at the health science center for 13 years. She has not only carried on the daily activities of a nurse in a clinical setting, she has served as a clinical research coordinator. Jones still assists with those tasks when needed.

Dr. Olivencia-Yurvati is a professor of surgery and vice-chair of the department of surgery at the health science center. He is an alumna of the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine and has returned to the health science center where he treats patients, teaches students and seeks new discoveries in the field of cardiovascular surgery. Dr. Olivencia-Yurvati is internationally known for his work on the effects of cardiopulmonary bypass.

Dr. Simpkins is chairman of the pharmacology and neuroscience department of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Dr. Simpkins is internationally known for his work in Alzheimer’s and aging. He is also the director of the Institute for Aging & Alzheimer’s Research.

The banquet to honor this year’s Healthcare Heroes took place at the Fort Worth Club on Feb. 16. ##

Contact: Kay Colley 817-735-2553, cell 817-980-5090, e-mail kacolley@hsc.unt.edu

If you are with the media and need additional information or would like to arrange an interview,
please contact Jeff Carlton, Director of Media Relations, at 817-735-7630.


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