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Faculty & Staff Honors

Faculty & Staff Honors

North Texas Names New Associate Deans, Sets Plans for the Future

Under the leadership of Dean Dennis L. Thombs, PhD, FAAHB, the University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC) School of Public Health has plans to strengthen programs, build deeper community partnerships and enhance academic quality. To help support those goals, two new Associate Deans have recently been appointed.


[Photo: Dr. Emily Spence-Almaguer]

Dr. Emily Spence-Almaguer has been named to the newly-developed position of Associate Dean for Community Engagement and Health Equity, where she will serve as the primary School of Public Health representative to community organizations and partners interested in or engaged with faculty, staff, students or School infrastructure. She will also establish and monitor School objectives related to faculty and student community service; community-based learning experiences for students, including MPH practice experiences; community-based research and evaluation services; and public health workforce training for the North Texas region, strengthening UNTHSC’s capacity for community-engaged work.

Also joining the UNTHSC School of Public Health Executive Team is Dr. Tracey Barnett, who will serve as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. In this role, she will provide leadership to enhance the quality of academic programs and revise curricula in line with recently updated Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) accreditation criteria.

Tracey Barnett Associate Dean of Academic Affairs School of Public Health

[Photo: Dr. Tracey Barnett]

Dr. Spence-Almaguer has been with UNTHSC since 2012, as Associate Professor of Behavioral and Community Health and Director, Community Outreach Core, for the Texas Center for Health Disparities. She has worked extensively in the local community on research and interventions related to intimate partner violence, sexual violence and stalking, and was instrumental in developing a 2013 study on the victimization experiences and health challenges of homeless women in Fort Worth, Texas, in partnership with the Tarrant County Homeless Coalition, Salvation Army and other agencies. She has extensive experience in the development, administration and evaluation of social service programs. Dr. Spence-Almaguer holds a PhD in Social Welfare from Florida International University.

Dr. Barnett joins UNTHSC from the University of Florida, Gainesville, where she most recently served as Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology, College of Public Health and Health Professions and College of Medicine, and as Director, Social and Behavioral Sciences Concentration, for the PhD in Public Health program. She is trained as a medical sociologist and has experience in behavioral/social epidemiology and health services research. Dr. Barnett’s research on tobacco and alternative tobacco use has been supported by the National Cancer Institute, U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the American Cancer Society. She holds a PhD in Medical and Applied Sociology from Western Michigan University and also served a postdoctoral Health Services Research Fellowship through the Rehabilitation Outcomes Research Center/South Georgia Veterans Health System, Florida.

Over the last year, Dean Thombs has met with community leaders and stakeholders, advisory boards, alumni, students, faculty and staff, university leadership, employers and industry colleagues, to share ideas and build plans for the School’s future development.

“It’s an exciting time to be in public health, and we are pleased to welcome the two new Associate Deans as we move into 2017,” he said. “We have many opportunities ahead, and many ways we can impact quality education and outcomes for students, the community and our research partners. As we continue to build our ties locally, we also seek to expand the national and global reach of the School.”