Faculty of Health awards recognizes four early-career faculty members

Four faculty members within the Faculty of Health at York University were recognized on Nov. 6 for their accomplishments in teaching, research and service. The annual awards are presented by the dean, and reflect excellence and innovation within the Faculty.

This year’s recipients are: Christopher Perry – Award for Excellence in Service in the University and Community; Hannah Wong – Award for Excellence in Service in the University and Community; Ali Abdul-Sater – Award for Excellence in Research; and Michael Boni – Award for Excellence in Teaching.

“These Faculty Awards recognize the excellence of three individual faculty members whose dedication and expertise have enabled us to achieve our mission of providing an innovative and supportive environment for learning, teaching and discovery,” said Faculty of Health Dean Paul McDonald. “On behalf of all faculty, staff, students and community partners, congratulations and thanks to this year’s winners.”

The annual awards alternate each year between “early career” faculty and “established career” faculty in the categories of Teaching, Research and Service. This year’s awards cover the 2018-19 academic year for early career faculty.

The awards were adjudicated by the Research & Awards Committee.

Left to right: Hannah Wong, Ali Abdul-Sater, Dean Paul McDonald and Michael Boni. Absent is Christopher Perry.

Award recipients for the 2018-19 academic year include:

Dean’s Award for Excellence in Service in the University and Community – Christopher Perry

This award recognizes the outstanding service contributions of faculty in the Faculty of Health, for excellence in service to the University, contributions to a discipline or profession and/or to the community.

Since 2012, Chris Perry as a faculty member in the School of Kinesiology and Health Sciences has contributed significantly to the outstanding success of York University both internally and externally. His dedication and commitment to the success of the institution goes well beyond an average faculty member.

Despite his teaching and supervisory responsibilities, Perry has served on several University committees. Most recently, he served as Chair of Animal Care Committee (ACC) which was a significant responsibility as he had to ensure that the animal care facilities at York University was compliant with national ethical agencies standards. In addition, he served on the Vivarium User Committee, Farquharson Building Renovation User Committee, Faculty of Health Tri-Council Internal Peer Review Committee. Kinesiology and Health Sciences (KAHS) University Honours and Awards Committee, KAHS Search Committee and many other committees where he gave of his time and talent.

Perry believes in giving back to the community-at-large by serving on several external review panels and editorial boards. He has served as a panel member on Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) and now is a member of the board. He also served on the organizing committee for University of Guelph Career day for graduate students. He is also a sought-after expert by media outlets where he has been featured in news items related to fitness and exercise.

Perry also finds time to provide leadership in his professional field by organizing conferences, serving on numerous peer review panels and editorial boards. He symbolizes an early faculty member who is achieving the Faculty of Health mission of providing an innovative and supportive environment for learning, teaching and discovery.

Dean’s Award for Excellence in Service in the University and Community – Hannah Wong

This award recognizes the outstanding service contributions of faculty in the Faculty of Health, for excellence in service to the University, contributions to a discipline or profession and/or to the community.

Hannah Wong joined the School of Health Policy and Management in 2012 and immediately joined the recruitment committee. As a member of this committee she worked many evening and weekends promoting York University to high school students, participated in university fairs and campus days. Wong also volunteered to serve on the Faculty of Health Petitions Committee. Her involvement in the petitions committee shows her willingness to contribute in meaningful ways to the university.

In 2016, she took on the responsibility of undergraduate program director, even though she was junior in her tenure at York University. Wong delayed her sabbatical by one year to complete her term. As undergraduate program director she maintained open and up to date communications with the students, parents, teaching assistants, administrators and faculty. She played a crucial role in developing, reviewing and revising remediation plans with instructors. She also provided students clear guidance on their rights and all options available to them.

Despite her many commitment to the University, Wong finds time to serve on many external committees. She serves on the Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare Quality and Safety Committee and the Mon Sheong Foundation and long-term care home committee. She is also a long-time volunteer at a local nursing home.

Wong contributes her time and talent to the professional development of her colleagues. Recently she was invited to join the planning committee of Ontario Hospital Association Governance Centre of Excellence Board Quality Committee Education Program.

Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research – Ali Abdul-Sater

This award recognizes the outstanding contributions to research by faculty in the Faculty of Health. The individual is recognized for making significant contribution in a particular field of inquiry, pioneering new methods of analysis, models of investigation or theoretical perspectives that are subsequently widely acclaimed with commitment to dissemination of research findings.

Abdul-Sater is an assistant professor in the School of Kinesiology and Health Sciences, since joining York University in July 2016. His research successes are outstanding; in less than three years, he has made exceptional contributions to his field of research, which investigates the connection between exercise regime, immune system and inflammation. He is using novel molecular immunology approaches to elucidate the answers and has received more than $2 million in funding from external funders to pursue this line of inquiry.

Abdul-Sater recently received the prestigious Stars Career Development Award from the Arthritis Society of Canada. This highly competitive award established to fund early career investigators who are working on improving the understanding of arthritis, finding cure, improving care and management of arthritis. Abdul-Sater has also secured funding from CIHR, NSERC, CFI and Banting Foundation. His success in securing funding indicates that his area of research is highly relevant to funders and the public.

In addition to his research, Abdul-Sater publishes in high-impact journals, including Nature Immunology and Immunity to name a few. He is also a sought-after speaker, invited to make presentations across Canada and internationally. Abdul-Sater’s research activities is putting York University on the map as a global leader in fields of immunology and exercise physiology.

Deans Award for Excellence in Teaching – Michael Boni

This award recognizes the outstanding contributions of faculty to the learning and experience of students in our education programs. The recipient exhibits all aspects of learning, from the direction or teaching of a course, leading a seminar, supervising theses or practicum experience to acting as a mentor to students in a particular program or stream.

Michael Boni was hired as an assistant professor in July 2016 in the School of Kinesiology and Health Sciences (KAHS), however he has been teaching athletic therapy courses in the KAHS for the past 18 years. Besides teaching second-, third- and fourth-year undergraduates, he has also supervised clinical placement and overseen the athletic therapy practicum in the graduate program. He consistently receives exceptional scores on teacher evaluations.

Boni also takes the lead in program development, ensuring that technology is used to enhance content and make it more relevant to students. Most recently he led the redesign of the Athletic Therapy program which recently received senate approval and was implemented this fall. He believes in his role as teacher and mentor as evidence by his participation in teaching and learning workshops and extensive mentoring of students in the KAHS program.

Boni also contributes to teaching and learning beyond York University. He plays an active role in the instruction, examination and mentorship of candidates for the Diploma in Advanced Manual and Manipulative Physical Therapy courses. His active participation in external activities has established a fantastic network that York alumni are able to leverage once they graduate. Boni is a passionate and dedicated educator whose influence and impact are benefiting student, alumni and others outside the University.

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