Neuropsychologist receives University of Houston's highest faculty honor

April 27th, 2012
H. Julia Hannay, the John and Rebecca Moores Professor of Psychology, has earned the University of Houston 2012 Ester Farfel Award, a symbol of overall career excellence and the highest honor UH bestows on a faculty member. Credit: Courtesy of the University of Houston
H. Julia Hannay, the John and Rebecca Moores Professor of Psychology, has earned the University of Houston (UH) 2012 Ester Farfel Award, a symbol of overall career excellence and the highest honor UH bestows on a faculty member. The annual award carries a cash prize of $10,000.

"The Farfel Award is a high honor recognizing the many roles that we may have as professionals, as mentors, teachers, scholar/researchers, clinicians and administrators reaching out to the local, national and international communities to different degrees in our varied careers," Hannay said. "The UH has afforded me the opportunity to strive for excellence in those roles in the multicultural environment that is so important to our future."

Hannay is the fifth female to receive the award since it began in 1979. Hannay is a clinical neuropsychologist and also a pioneer in the field of experimental neuropsychology, deriving paradigms for studying cerebral specialization and assessing cognitive functions in normally developing children and adults and in clinical populations, such as spina bifida, stroke and traumatic brain injury. She continues to work on issues pertaining to assessment of acute status in brain injury and long-term outcome hoping to spend time on rehabilitation research. "Dr. Hannay is a household name in our field. She has been one of the leaders of our field for the past three decades and has achieved all of the major successes – being elected president of the International Neuropsychological Society, leading the landmark workshop that established training credentials in our field (the Houston Conference in 1997) and contributing to the book that is the 'bible' in our field," said Daniel Tranel, a professor in the department of neurology at the University of Iowa. Hannay is also a fellow of the American Psychological Association.

Hannay recognizes mentoring as one of her greatest professional achievements, having chaired many master's theses and doctoral dissertations in the years that she has been at UH. "Dr. Hannay's program development and mentoring students stand out as two of her greatest legacies," said Linda Ewing-Cobbs, a UH graduate and professor in the department of pediatrics and director of the Dan L. Duncan Children's Neurodevelopmental Clinic in the Children's Learning Institute at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. "The highly nationally ranked clinical neuropsychology track of the clinical psychology program at the UH has benefited greatly from this legacy."

Hannay is associate chair of the department of psychology and has been adjunct professor at the Baylor College of Medicine with privileges at Ben Taub General Hospital in the department of neurosurgery since 1988.

"Dr. Hannay directed the prestigious clinical neuropsychology training program at UH from 1987- 2010, widely identified as a model for specialty training in psychology," said Jack M. Fletcher, Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished Professor of Psychology. "Dr. Hannay's efforts at teaching and training could have reduced her research productivity, but she has not compromised in her pursuit of excellence. Dr. Hannay has brought major recognition to research and training at UH."

One of Hannay's former program students, Kimberly Andrews Epsy, now vice president for research and dean of the graduate school at the University of Oregon, said, "Julia is an outstanding scholar – the true 'triple threat' – an outstanding researcher, teacher and someone who is passionately engaged in the local, national and international communities.

"Julia recognized where clinical training trends were going, established relationships all across the Texas Medical Center for partnerships in research and training, and focused on scientific research as the base. Her international standing and dogged determination made these connections possible. Today, the UH program is world recognized as the premier program in clinical neuropsychological training. I am honored to have been a student in the program, and the excellent training I received is the basis for my own scientific accomplishments."

Provided by University of Houston

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