Rhee, Tilford Receive Chancellor’s Teaching Awards

By Spencer Watson

“Sung and Mick are tremendous assets to UAMS, respected by colleagues and students alike, who advance scholarship and the academic mission of UAMS every day. They are shining examples to which all educators should aspire,” said Cam Patterson, M.D., MBA, chancellor of UAMS and CEO of UAMS Health.

Tilford is the recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Society and Health Education Excellence. The award recognizes the design and implementation of courses or activities that advance the topics of society and health. It can be through areas of cultural awareness, health care economics, health equity, health literacy, health systems, interprofessional education, collaborative practice, public and population health, patient- and family-centered care, or educational scholarship.

Tilford joined UAMS in 1993 and is a professor and chair in the Department of Health Policy and Management in the Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health. His Health Systems and Services Research academic program grew from part-time to full-time, accompanied by increased grant submissions and publications by students and faculty. He worked with the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville to develop a health care concentration in their Executive MBA program that started in 2017.

Trained as a health economist, Tilford saw a need to equip social scientists with data analytics skills, so he collaborated with bioinformatics and biostatistics colleagues to create a health care analytics academic program at UAMS in 2018. This work laid the foundation for a 2020 National Institutes of Health training grant, creating a network with seven institutions across the country to train doctoral students in advanced analytics toward the goal of eliminating health care disparities.

Rhee is the recipient of the Award for Teaching Excellence. The award recognizes direct teaching, mentoring or educational scholarship between a faculty member and any learner. It can be in all settings, including the classroom, online, clinic or laboratory.

An associate professor in the College of Medicine’s Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology, Rhee joined UAMS in 2004, with research interests related to new treatments for stroke, hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases. He soon proved an exceptional teacher with improved student outcomes and a flair for using props and technology to spur class engagement. During the pandemic, he adapted to online instruction in ways that encouraged student participation and developed protocols for online exams that quickly became a standard. He assisted faculty members in adopting active learning techniques such as self-paced mobile polling. In 2019, he teamed up as co-director for Honors in Research Program for medical students — even designing an online system for applications and matching applicants with faculty mentors.

From 2016-2020, second-year medical students selected Rhee, director of the cardiovascular module, as the most outstanding teacher of the year. In 2019, he was chosen for that award by sophomore and senior students, adding to his already numerous teaching honors.