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Teacher of the Year
Fadia Tohme Shaya, PhD, MPH
School of Pharmacy
Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research
Vice Chair for Academic Affairs
Fadia Tohme Shaya leads by example, blending teaching, research, and public service into one powerful package for students to emulate. She’s diverse, not only because she speaks five languages, but because she has appointments at two UMB schools and holds interprofessional forums that include five more. Plus she gives her students freedom, engaging them in research and publications early on, while maintaining strict oversight to keep them focused.
No wonder students, past and present, love her.
“I could tell right away she was a generous person, full of intelligence but humble and an ideal mentor,” said Confidence Gbarayor, PhD, MPH, program coordinator at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “Under Dr. Shaya’s guidance, I was awarded an NIH supplement grant, which allowed me to thrive in my studies and earn my PhD in 2011. Dr. Shaya brings out the best in people and is definitely an inspiration.”
Shaya loves the students right back. “It goes without saying that their professional accomplishments, striving for excellence, and an unfailing work ethic bring me great satisfaction,” she said. “However, the greatest satisfaction for me is the knowledge that they are carrying with them professional and personal values of civility, respect, integrity, and humility that I try to espouse and have them emulate.”
A professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research (PHSR) at the School of Pharmacy (SOP) and vice chair for academic affairs, Shaya was one of the first faculty in PHSR to recruit, support, and mentor postdoctoral fellows. “Over 15 years she has graduated more than 20 postdoctoral fellows who have pursued successful careers in academia, government, and industry,” said SOP Dean Natalie D. Eddington, PhD, FAAPS, FCP, and C. Daniel Mullins, PhD, chair of PHSR, in their Teacher of the Year nomination. “Dr. Shaya has also supported the training of minority students and junior faculty, under the NIH minority supplement mechanism.”
During the summer she can be found mentoring younger underserved students through the UMB Bioscience Summer Program. “Last summer a ninth-grade girl from a very disadvantaged social setting asked me at the end of her rotation: ‘can you help me with my application to college?’” Shaya recalled. “That request was my best reward.”
It’s just one of many interprofessional education (IPE) programs Shaya is active in, on and off the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) campus.
Last spring Shaya organized an IPE program at UMB focused on training students to counter the opioid epidemic and administer naloxone. It attracted students from all seven UMB schools and the physician assistant program in Anne Arundel County.
With doctoral degrees from the Sorbonne University in Paris, and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, a fellowship in health economics from the University of Manchester, England, and a MPH in chemistry from the American University of Beirut, Shaya embraces IPE.
Said Jay Magaziner, PhD, MS Hyg, chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health in the School of Medicine, “Her training in various disciplines and various cultures position her especially well for embracing and understanding the nuances of interprofessional education.”
Shaya, who has worked with Magaziner to develop a PharmD/MPH dual degree, says practices vary widely across continents. For example in Lebanon, it is common to seek health advice directly from the neighborhood pharmacist. Nursing is key in prenatal care in England.
“The advantage of understanding the nuances of interprofessional education is that I have no preconceived idea about the limitations or ceiling of teaching to a specific audience: students will rise to the occasion,” Shaya said. “As well, by encouraging them to learn side by side, they will better be able to practice side by side.”
Her collaborative efforts also extend to the University of Maryland Center of Excellence in Regulatory Science and Innovation (M-CERSI), which includes UMB’s sister campus in College Park. Co-director James Polli, PhD, RPh, says Shaya’s M-CERSI workshops have attracted record crowds and received excellent student reviews.
Shaya’s courses at UMB — Medication Safety, Drug Abuse in the Community, and Formulary Management — are highly sought after and often referenced by graduates as some of the more influential in their choice of careers. Many students have been awarded prestigious research and training grants under her mentorship. The number of PharmD students seeking research electives and experiential rotations has increased many-fold since she became vice chair for academic affairs.
Attracting over $1.3 million annually in grants and contracts, Shaya’s current research involves opioid and other substance use prevention programs.
“She understands the evolving science of learning and the needs of diverse types of learners and applies that in her career,” said Huda Abu-Saad Huijer, RN, PhD, FEANS, FAAN, dean of the American University of Beirut’s Hariri School of Nursing. “It is remarkable that she excels at teaching and mentoring, all the while keeping a very vibrant fully funded research program and an extremely active agenda with local, national, and international service commitments.”
Added Kevin Frick, PhD, vice dean for education, Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, “As an educator, leader, and professor, I appreciate the timeless value that educators, scholars, and leaders such as Dr. Shaya bring to an institution. Fadia also walks the walk, teaching by example and approaching education as a lifelong passion that she pursues, and that her students emulate.”