TTUHSC El Paso Assistant Dean for Student Affairs Named a 2023 Piper Professor

Thwe Htay, M.D., FACP, assistant dean for student affairs and professor in the Department of Medical Education at the Foster School of Medicine, has been named a 2023 Piper Professor by the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation.

Dr. Htay is one of only 10 college professors in Texas selected for the award, which recognizes superior teaching at the college level. As a 2023 Piper Professor, Dr. Htay will receive a $5,000 honorarium from the foundation.

Dr. Htay has taught medical students and internal medicine residents at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso for more than seven years and played a key role in developing licensing test questions for future physicians. Before arriving at TTUHSC El Paso, Dr. Htay was a faculty member at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, where she taught medical students and residents and mentored junior faculty for 10 years. She also served as a clinical faculty member of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at Odessa.

Dr. Htay served on the board of the Texas chapter of the American College of Physicians, representing the far northwest region of Texas. As a board member, she advocated for professionals and students and participated in strategic planning, organized events and facilitated knowledge exchange.

She furthered her community engagement by serving on the United States Medical Licensing Examination Clinical Skills and Communications Test Materials Development Committee in 2021. As a member of the committee, overseen by the National Board of Medical Examiners, Dr. Htay collaborated with physicians nationwide to develop and review licensing test questions for future physicians.

Her impact at TTUHSC El Paso has been significant. At the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, she led the transition to distance education for medical skills training, prioritizing safety and effective learning. This shift ensured uninterrupted medical education during the pandemic and highlighted the university’s adaptability and commitment to quality education.

“This recognition amplifies the value of my teaching philosophy and the impact I strive to make in medical education,” said Dr. Htay. “It’s important for me to promote a culture of educational excellence and continuous improvement in teaching quality, motivating both students and faculty to strive for greatness.”

As assistant dean for student affairs, Dr. Htay supports medical students from enrollment to the residency transition, focusing on their academic success, well-being, career readiness and optimization of residency matches.

“I firmly believe a comprehensive and balanced approach to medical education empowers our students to excel not only academically, but also emotionally and professionally,” Dr. Htay said.

Dr. Htay received the Distinguished Teaching Award from the Texas Tech University System’s Chancellor’s Council in 2020. It is one of the highest honors a professor can receive within the TTU System.

The Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation, established by principal donors Randall Gordon Piper and his wife, Minnie Stevens Piper, in 1950, supports charitable, scientific and educational activities.

Nominations for the Piper Professor Award, created in 1958, are by invitation only. To be eligible, candidates must be nominated through the college or university president’s office.

Dr. Htay attended medical school at the Institute of Medicine 1 Yangon in Yangon, Myanmar, and completed her internal medicine residency at TTUHSC at Odessa.