National Honors for UConn Health

Read about the latest national awards and honors received by UConn Health's faculty and students.

Academic entrance at UConn Health. (Photo by Janine Gelineau)

UConn Health’s latest national awards and appointments include:



Dr. Richard Fortinsky, professor in the Department of Medicine and the UConn Center on Aging, has been selected by the National Institutes of Health to serve as chairperson of its Community-Level Health Promotion Study Section in the NIH’s Center for Scientific Review (CSR). His one-year term begins in July. CSR’s key mission is to see that NIH grant applications receive fair, independent, expert, and timely reviews so the most promising research can be funded. Fortinsky’s new role is a unique opportunity to contribute to the national biomedical research effort. He was selected for his scientific achievement evidenced in the quality of his research accomplishments, publications in scientific journals, and other significant scientific activities.

Fortinsky is also the recipient of the 2018 Leader in Advancing Research Award for his dedication to the Alzheimer’s Association. The award recognizes his outstanding leadership and tireless efforts in addressing and raising awareness of the advancement of research. He was honored by the Alzheimer’s Association’s Connecticut Chapter on April 19 at the 21st Dementia Education Conference at the Mohegan Sun Convention Center.

“We are incredibly proud of Dr. Fortinsky’s achievements,” shared Dr. George Kuchel, director of the UConn Center on Aging.


Dr. Wizdom Powell, director of the Health Disparities Institute and associate professor of psychiatry at UConn Health has been appointed to the National Advisory Committee for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF) Interdisciplinary Research Leaders program. The program provides leadership development opportunities for teams of researchers and community partners, including community organizers and advocates. These research and community partner teams use research to accelerate their work in the community to advance health and equity and build a culture of health.



Second-year medical student Tiahna Spencer is back from a summer research internship at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases in Bethesda, Maryland, one of the National Institutes of Health. (Photo by Ronnie Gladney)

Tiahna Spencer of UConn School of Medicine’s Class of 2019 will participate in the 2018-2019 National Institutes of Health (NIH) Medical Research Scholars Program (MRSP). The unique biomedical career training program is committed to training the next generation of healthcare providers in research. “Congratulations,” said Dr. Marja M. Hurley, professor of medicine and orthopedics and associate dean of the Health Career Opportunity Programs at UConn Health. “This is quite an achievement for a third-year medical student that brings prestige to our medical school.” In the summer of 2016 Spencer completed an internship at the NIH’s National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases with a renowned researcher studying autoimmune diseases.