2020 Recipients

Distinguished Alumnus Award

Archana Chatterjee, MD, PhD (Class of 1993)


Archana “Archie” Chatterjee, MD, PhD, is a nationally recognized educator, researcher and specialist in pediatric infectious diseases. She joined Rosalind Franklin University in April 2020 as the Dean of the Chicago Medical School and Vice President for Medical Affairs. For the previous 7 years, she served as Professor and Chair of the Department of Pediatrics and Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Development at the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine (USD SSOM), Sioux Falls, SD. She has spent nearly 12 years as a leader in Faculty Affairs/Faculty Development, initially at Creighton University School of Medicine, and later at USD SSOM.

Mentorship and sponsorship of faculty and learners has been a hallmark of Dr. Chatterjee’s entire thirty-year career in academic medicine.

Through her tireless efforts at guiding, promoting and encouraging faculty and learners, she has impacted the careers of numerous leaders, faculty members, fellows, residents, and students, not only at her home institutions, but around the world. Other highlights include the supervision and nurturing of a pediatric residency program, implementation of a new curriculum and founding the Women in Medicine and Science program at USD SSOM.

She has conducted over 120 clinical trials, published over 90 peer-reviewed articles, 26 invited review articles, 24 book chapters and one book. She serves as a reviewer for 35 journals. She has delivered over 700 lectures and 175 scientific presentations at various international, national, regional, and local venues. She has served as the course director for over 30 CME programs, given over 55 media interviews and published 25 newspaper articles.

Dr. Chatterjee is a past fellow of the prestigious Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Council of Deans Fellowship. She has participated in teams who have prepared for Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) site visits at both Creighton and USD medical schools. Her current and past national leadership roles include membership on several advisory boards and committees, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, and AAMC Steering Committees for the Group on Faculty Affairs and Group on Women in Medicine and Science. She also serves on committees of the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society.

The first woman and person of color to serve as dean of the Chicago Medical School, Dr. Chatterjee, a native of India, earned her medical degree from the Armed Forces Medical College at Pune University in India and her PhD from the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) in Omaha. She completed her residency and a pediatric infectious diseases fellowship at Creighton University/UNMC.

Early Career Achievement Award

Sara A. Myers, PhD (Class of 2011)

sara-myers.jpg Sara A. Myers, received her PhD at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in 2011 while using biomechanics to better understand functional impairments in patients with peripheral artery disease. Dr. Myers is currently the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research and Creative Activity and an Associate Professor in the Department of Biomechanics at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Her current research is focused on improving quality of life in older individuals and those with peripheral artery disease. Her research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, Department of Veterans' Affairs, and NASA. Dr. Myers is a native of rural Hampton, Nebraska and she currently resides in Ashland, NE with her husband Matt and their five children.


Honorary Alumnus Award

Joyce Solheim, PhD


Dr. Joyce Solheim has worked at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) for 21 years and is currently a Professor in the Eppley Institute for Research in Cancer and Allied Diseases.  She is also the Faculty Director for the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences – Cancer Research Doctoral Program, as well as the Associate Director for Education and Training for the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center. Throughout her career, she has made significant contributions to the field of cancer research. She holds a patent for a cancer immunotherapy invention, which received the Most Promising Invention of the Year at the UNeMed Innovation Awards Ceremony in 2016.

Dr. Solheim has secured grants and funding for her research as a primary investigator totaling over several million dollars, including R01 grants from the National Institute of Health. She has given back to UNMC and the community in many ways, including her development of courses and presentations and in her role serving as the Faculty Director for the UNMC High School Alliance Biology & Prevention of Cancer Course.

Among other awards, Dr. Solheim has been the recipient of the UNMC Distinguished Scientist Award and is a two-time recipient of the UNMC Outstanding Faculty Mentor of Graduate Students Award. She completed her PhD in Microbiology at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and has previously worked at Washington University School of Medicine and the University of South Dakota School of Medicine.


Past Recipients