Dean of Medical Students selected for prestigious Piper Professor Award for educators

Dr. Angela Mihalic
Dr. Angela Mihalic

DALLAS – May 1, 2019 – Dr. Angela Mihalic, Dean of Medical Students and Associate Dean of Student Affairs, has been selected to receive the 2019 Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation’s Piper Professor Award, a prestigious honor that recognizes outstanding college professors across Texas.

Dr. Mihalic, a Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, is the 15th UT Southwestern faculty member to receive the elite award, established in 1958 to honor dedication to teaching and outstanding academic achievement.

“Dr. Mihalic is universally regarded as an exceptional educator by students and peers. Her passion for engaging medical students to become lifelong learners is matched with a compassion to guide them to success that exemplifies the best of UT Southwestern’s educational mission,” said Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, President of UT Southwestern who holds the Philip O’Bryan Montgomery, Jr., M.D. Distinguished Presidential Chair in Academic Administration, and the Doris and Bryan Wildenthal Distinguished Chair in Medical Science. “Her contributions to reshaping our curriculum and robust mentoring reflect the spirit that the Piper Award was designed to acknowledge.”

Dr. Mihalic, a 1995 graduate of UT Southwestern Medical School, said her appreciation for teaching evolved during that time.

“My best friend was a classmate and her mother became very ill,” Dr. Mihalic recalled. “As she became the primary caretaker, I assumed the role of teacher and tutor to ensure that she kept up. I learned that I loved teaching and was so proud when my friend continued to do well despite the burden she faced.”

A member of Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society as a student, she completed her pediatric internship and residency at Children’s Medical Center Dallas before being invited to join the UTSW faculty in 1998. Her tenure includes serving as one of the first mentors for the Academic Colleges program and as pediatric clerkship director, along with multiple outstanding teacher honors that include twice receiving the Socrates Award for clinical teaching and being selected by students as Commencement Marshall 12 times.

“This love of teaching grew as I chose my specialty. Pediatricians are teachers at the core – helping parents learn how to care for their infants, how to support their development, and how to prevent illness and injury. And I quickly confirmed my passion for teaching as a faculty member. Nothing was as fulfilling as seeing learners’ excitement, understanding, and desire to learn more,” Dr. Mihalic said. “But I also soon began a career-long passion for finding the gap through needs assessments, developing curriculum, delivering it, and evaluating its success. My passion for advising and mentorship grew as an Academic Colleges mentor, and the opportunity presented as Associate Dean broadened the impact I could have to all medical students by developing initiatives that would have a lasting impact.”

Dr. Charles Ginsburg, Vice Provost and Senior Associate Dean for Education and former Chair of Pediatrics, recruited her in 1998 to the Pediatrics faculty.

“Angela Mihalic is clearly one of the two or three most outstanding physician-educators that I have had the good fortune to encounter during my 42 years in academic medicine,” said Dr. Ginsburg, Professor of Pediatrics who holds the Marilyn R. Corrigan Distinguished Chair in Pediatric Research. “She has integrity, grit, passion for learning and teaching, superb clinical skills and judgment, a strong work ethic, a cheerful and upbeat demeanor, and she has the protective maternal instincts of a grizzly bear when it comes to medical students. Dr. Mihalic epitomizes, in all respects, the term ‘physician-educator."

Piper Professor Award

The Piper Foundation was created in 1950 by Randall Gordon Piper and Minnie Stevens Piper. The next year the Foundation launched a loan program that allowed economically disadvantaged students in Texas to attend college. After the Pipers’ deaths in 1955, their foundation initiated the Piper Scholars Program for undergraduates, the Pipers Fellows Program for graduate students, and the Piper Professors Program to recognize inspiring educators. Previous Piper Professors on the UTSW faculty include:

  • James Richardson, Professor Emeritus of Pathology (2008)
  • Phillip “Eugene” Jones, Professor Emeritus of Physician Assistant Studies (2009)
  • Ellen Vitetta, Professor of Immunology and Microbiology (2011)
  • Jerry Shay, Professor of Cell Biology (2013)
  • Joel Goodman, Professor of Pharmacology (2014)
  • Dennis Burns, Professor of Pathology (2016)
  • Frederick Grinnell, Professor of Cell Biology (2017)

About UT Southwestern Medical Center

UT Southwestern, one of the premier academic medical centers in the nation, integrates pioneering biomedical research with exceptional clinical care and education. The institution’s faculty has received six Nobel Prizes, and includes 22 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 17 members of the National Academy of Medicine, and 15 Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigators. The full-time faculty of more than 2,500 is responsible for groundbreaking medical advances and is committed to translating science-driven research quickly to new clinical treatments. UT Southwestern physicians provide care in about 80 specialties to more than 105,000 hospitalized patients, nearly 370,000 emergency room cases, and oversee approximately 3 million outpatient visits a year.