Meet Our Dean


Brigham C. Willis, MD, MEd, FAAP

Founding Dean

School of Medicine
The University of Texas at Tyler

Welcome to the UT Tyler School of Medicine!

On behalf of the faculty, staff, and students, I want to thank you for your interest in the UT Tyler School of Medicine. We are here for a mission: to embed the medical school within the community of East Texas, recruit students from the community to serve the community, develop research endeavors that address the specific health issues of our East Texas family and expand access to the highest level of health care available. We are here for a vision: to grow our medical school to continue to reduce the health disparities in our region and improve the quality of life for everyone. We are here for East Texas.

The UT Tyler School of Medicine is guided every day by our values: community, perseverance, respect, excellence, service, and creativity. We are a family. Students, faculty, and staff who resonate with these values and want to be a part of growing something unique and purpose driven will thrive here.

If you want to join our mission of serving East Texas and are looking for an educational experience that will make you the best mission-driven physician you can be, we would love to meet with you! We look forward to working with you as you consider your future as a physician.


Brigham C. Willis, MD, MEd, FAAP
Founding Dean
School of Medicine
The University of Texas at Tyler




In February of 2020, the UT System announced we would launch the first medical school in East Texas, followed by a monumental announcement that the East Texas Medical Center Foundation committed $80 million toward the medical school — making it the largest single donation to establish a medical school in the history of Texas. Our new medical school focuses on meeting the health challenges of our region and recruiting students who come from and want to remain in East Texas. Not long after, the R.W. Fair Foundation pledged $4 million to cover the full tuition cost for the first cohort of medical school students, so these future medical students know East Texas supports them 100%.

The University of Texas at Tyler School of Medicine is where your future in medicine can begin. You will learn skills in patient care and community health with this comprehensive education. We have much work to do. Join us, and be part of the future of healthcare here in East Texas.

Kirk A. Calhoun, MD, FACP


The University of Texas at Tyler

Chairman of the Board
UT Health East Texas


The new School of Medicine at The University of Texas at Tyler is the seventh medical school in the UT System and the first in Northeast Texas, offering aspiring doctors a chance to train and practice in an area where health disparities are some of the highest in the United States. In order to elevate the health status of East Texas, we must address the physician shortage in our region, as well as improve access to quality primary and specialty care. The UT Tyler School of Medicine is being built specifically to help the growing healthcare needs of East Texans.

With a strong focus on family practice, rural family medicine and population health, medical students at the UT Tyler School of Medicine will have the opportunity to engage with the community in population and preventive health, working with the most vulnerable communities to improve health goals. 

Our goal is to attract high-caliber students and residents to East Texas across multiple specialties and provide them with career opportunities to remain a part of the East Texas community. Having a residency program at the site of a medical school provides an option for some residents to stay in East Texas, continue their established physician-patient relationships and build rapport in the community. Your education and your career can start here at The University of Texas at Tyler School of Medicine.

Julie V. Philley, MD

Executive Vice President

Health Affairs

Vice Provost
The University of Texas at Tyler

Meet Our Team

Executive Leadership


Kirk A. Calhoun, MD, FACP


The University of Texas at Tyler

Chairman of the Board
UT Health East Texas


Julie V. Philley, MD

Executive Vice President

Health Affairs

Vice Provost
The University of Texas at Tyler


Brigham C. Willis, MD, MEd, FAAP

Founding Dean

The University of Texas at Tyler School of Medicine

Longtime educator, scholar, and leader in academic medicine, “Brig” earned his medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine and then completed his residency at Children’s Hospital and Research Center, Oakland. Dr. Willis finished his training in a fellowship in pediatric critical care medicine fellowship at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, later serving as the Associate Fellowship Director for Pediatric Critical Care Medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern. Prior to his recent move to Tyler, Dr. Willis served as a professor of pediatrics and the senior associate dean of medical education at the University of California, Riverside School of Medicine.



Elza Mylona, PhD, MBA

Vice Dean, Faculty and Academic Affairs

Founding Chair, Department of Medical Education
The University of Texas at Tyler School of Medicine


Torry Tucker, PhD

Associate Dean, Research

The University of Texas at Tyler School of Medicine


Dr. Torry A. Tucker serves as the Associate Dean for Research in the UT Tyler School of Medicine.  He is also an Associate Professor of Cellular and Molecular Biology. Dr. Tucker was trained as a cell biologist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  His training focused on cell types responsible for lung disease progression, specifically cystic fibrosis. He came to the University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler as a postdoctoral fellow in 2007 and joined the faculty in 2009. At UTHSCT, Dr. Tucker has focused on understanding the role of pleural mesothelial cells and lung fibroblasts in lung injury progression.  He has developed several novel animal models which are critical to understanding disease etiology and evaluating diverse treatment strategies.  His current research investigates the causes of pleural scarring and subsequent fibrosis. He also studies pathways involved in the development and progression of interstitial lung diseases such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. 


Emmanuel Elueze, MD, PhD, MPA(HCA), FACP

Associate Dean, GME & DIO

The University of Texas at Tyler School of Medicine

Dr. Emmanuel Elueze obtained his MD degree from University of Ibadan Medical School, Nigeria and PhD in Pharmacology from University of London, United Kingdom. Completed residency in Internal Medicine, from St. Luke’s Medical Center (Case Western Reserve University), Cleveland Ohio. He is a Primary Care Internal Medicine doctor with Board certification in Internal Medicine, Addiction Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Care Medicine. He also has a certification in Pain Management.


Dr. Elueze joined The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler in 2011, as the founding program director of the Internal Medicine residency program at Longview and also served as Chair of the Department of Medicine from 2014 to 2018. He was appointed Professor of Medicine in 2014. He received the UT Regents Outstanding teaching Award in 2014 and is a member of the UT Kenneth Shine Academic of Healthcare Educators. He is currently the Designated Institutional officer and Vice President for Medical Education and Professional Development, with oversight over Graduate Medical Education, Undergraduate Medical Education and Continuing Medical Education.


Steven Cox, MD

Associate Dean, Clinical Affairs

The University of Texas at Tyler School of Medicine

Dr. Cox is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and has been treating patients at UT Health North Campus Tyler for more than 15 years. He specializes in a wide range of laparoscopic surgeries, including breast cancer surgery and malignancies of the gastrointestinal tract. Most importantly, he is committed to providing state-of-the-art surgical care.



Sue Cox, MD

Associate Dean Accreditation, Strategy and Quality Improvement

The University of Texas at Tyler School of Medicine

A nationally recognized leader in medical education, Dr. Cox previously served as planning dean and now is the associate dean for accreditation, strategy and quality improvement. An obstetrician-gynecologist by training, Dr. Cox has shaped medical education for 30 years and currently serves as executive vice dean of academics and chair of the Department of Medical Education at Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin. The lead designer of curriculum for Dell Med, Dr. Cox co-chaired the  accreditation steering committee.

Last year, she received the 2019 Association of American Medical Colleges Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Award, recognizing faculty for distinguished contributions to medical education nationwide. Dr. Cox has received many awards for leadership, distinguished teaching and clinical work, including being listed among the Best Doctors in America.

Dr. Cox is known for emphasizing leadership skills, collaboration, innovation, problem-solving and cross-disciplinary teamwork with a focus on value-based healthcare.



Gisele Armond Abron, PhD

Associate Dean, Admissions

The University of Texas at Tyler School of Medicine

Gisele Armond Abron has been appointed associate dean of admissions and assistant professor for the School of Medicine at the University of Texas at Tyler Health Science Center, effective May 23.  She joined the university in 2020 as university registrar in the enrollment management division.


A native of North Carolina, Dr. Abron holds a bachelor’s degree in English from North Carolina State University, a master’s degree in technology education from North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University and an educational specialist degree in educational leadership from Liberty University. She earned a Ph.D. in leadership studies from North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University in 2019.


Dr. Abron is responsible for overseeing the processes of communication, application, selection, financial aid, and matriculation of students into the M.D. and combined programs for the School of Medicine at the University of Texas at Tyler Health Science Center.



Crystal Bryce, PhD

Associate Dean, Student Affairs

The University of Texas at Tyler School of Medicine

Dr. Bryce received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology, Master’s Degree in Educational Psychology, and PhD in Family and Human Development from Arizona State University. Prior to joining UT Tyler School of Medicine, she served as faculty member at Arizona State University, where she worked with undergraduate students within the classroom and as the Director of Undergraduate Student Affairs within her department.

She also has extensive experience conducting and publishing research that focuses on individual and contextual factors that influence well-being, hope, and academic outcomes, and advanced statistical approaches to examining salivary biomarkers.

Dr. Bryce is excited to work with and support medical students as they navigate medical school.


Carolyn Morales, PhD

Associate Dean, Belonging and Community Engagement

The University of Texas at Tyler School of Medicine


Rebeca Racataian Gavan, MD

Assistant Dean, Clinical Competence & Integration

Director, TOPS
The University of Texas at Tyler School of Medicine


Kathleen Jones, MD

Assistant Dean, Scientific Foundations

The University of Texas at Tyler School of Medicine

Kathleen Jones, MD, is the assistant dean of scientific foundations at UT Tyler HSC School of Medicine. Kathleen is a longtime educator with significant experience in teaching medical students, residents, and other healthcare professionals and has a strong interest in curriculum development and implementation. She received her undergraduate degree from Texas A&M University (biochemistry) and earned her medical degree from Texas A&M College of Medicine. She completed her pathology residency training at Scott & White Memorial Hospital, where she practiced as a board-certified surgical pathologist for over 20 years. She has held many teaching and administrative roles throughout her career and is very excited to be here in Tyler. She is honored to help train the next generation of great physicians for East Texas!


Gary Beck Dallaghan, PhD

Assistant Dean, Evaluation & Assessment

The University of Texas at Tyler School of Medicine

Gary L. Beck Dallaghan, Ph.D., is the assistant dean for evaluation and assessment and professor of medical education at the University of Texas at Tyler School of Medicine.  Dr. Beck Dallaghan collaborates with faculty and staff to develop program evaluations and assessment strategies for the medical students.


Dr. Beck Dallaghan has nearly three decades of experience in medical education. For over 20 years, he was at the University of Nebraska College of Medicine, completing a masters in mathematics and doctorate in educational psychology. He served as their assistant dean for medical education for five years. In 2018, he joined the University of North Carolina School of Medicine as director of educational scholarship. 


Nationally, he is actively involved in several medical education organizations, including the Alliance for Clinical Education, Association of American Medical Colleges, and Council on Medical Student Education in Pediatrics.  


Jeffrey M. Pearl, MD

Assistant Dean, Structure & Simulation

The University of Texas at Tyler School of Medicine

Faculty and Staff


Jarett Berry, MD

Professor and Chair, Department of Medicine

The University of Texas at Tyler School of Medicine

christina guthrie

Christiana Guthrie, MPA

Director of Academic Affairs

The University of Texas at Tyler School of Medicine

Christiana Guthrie’s background in healthcare management has prepared her to be a leader in a higher education setting and taught her the importance of professionalism, leadership, and ethical standards. All these aspects are truly important to Christiana, not just personally, but as skills to be practiced and honed daily in her position as Director of Academic Affairs. Additionally, she loves meeting and working with people and believes her 14 years of experience in patient care allows her to communicate with and relate to people efficiently.

As Director of Academic Affairs, Christiana assists with planning, implementing, and advancing strategic priorities for the Office of Academic and supports efforts to streamline office operations. Christiana also leads the Office of Faculty Affairs efforts in promoting data-driven and holistic initiatives to improve faculty recruitment and development.

Christiana earned her Bachelor of Applied Arts from Stephen F. Austin State University. She then earned her Master of Public Administration with a concentration in Health Care Administration from the University of Texas at Tyler.


Jaema Krier, MSHRD

Director of Faculty Affairs

The University of Texas at Tyler School of Medicine

Jaema Krier received her BS in Mathematics from UT Tyler and taught high school before beginning her career at UT Tyler in 2009. She started with the University as part of a NASA-funded Earth science education program for students in grades K-12 (GLOBE). This position had her assisting teachers/trainers in 112 countries and across the U.S. by hosting trainings and serving as a Research Support Specialist. When the grant ended, she transitioned to the University Academy, the university’s K-12 charter school, at the start of their second year in operation. Her initial role was as PEIMS Coordinator, collecting and compiling all student and staff related data for reporting to the Texas Education Agency (TEA).  The following year she was promoted to Director of Administration where she served for the next 8.5 years.  This role involved overseeing District/Business Office operations including Governance, PEIMS, Finance, Personnel, Food Service, Transportation, and many other functions related to reporting and compliance under the direction of the charter’s Superintendent.  She had the pleasure of helping the charter expand from grades 3-7 to K-12 and assisted with graduating the first four senior classes.  Jaema recently earned her MS in Human Resource Development from UT Tyler in 2020 and is excited to put the knowledge and skills she has accumulated over the years to use with the School of Medicine as the Director of Faculty Affairs.

In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her husband on their small ranch where they have raised registered Texas Longhorns for over a decade. They have a son and daughter-in law and love spending time with them when they can. 


Andrea Cooley, DO, FACOS

Medical Director, Simulation

Director of Clerkships
Assistant Professor of Surgery
The University of Texas at Tyler School of Medicine

Andrea Cooley, DO, FACOS, is a board-certified cardiothoracic surgeon, who believes in making patients and their families a part of the healthcare team. “Having surgery is a very big thing, so it’s important to have open communication with the patient and the family. Making sure everyone understands exactly what to expect can take some uncertainty off the plate.”

Dr. Cooley strives to educate her patients throughout the entire process. “I think one of my strongest traits is being able to communicate well with people regardless of their medical background, so they can really understand the plan and feel comfortable.”

Dr. Cooley earned her bachelor of arts in sports medicine from DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, and her doctor of osteopathic medicine from AT Still University of Health Sciences in Kirksville, Missouri.


Jeffrey L. Levin, MD, MSPH, DrPH, FACOEM, FACP

Director for Population Health and System Science

The University of Texas at Tyler School of Medicine

Dr. Jeffrey Levin is Professor and past-Chair of the Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler (UTHSCT).  He is board-certified in both internal medicine and occupational medicine. Dr. Levin is also founding and former Director of the Occupational Medicine Residency Program at Tyler, and former Medical Director of the Texas Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (TIOSH®).

He holds the Jesse H. Jones Distinguished Professorship of Occupational Health Sciences and was Center Director for the NIOSH Southwest Center for Agricultural Health, Injury Prevention, and Education from 2002-2019. Dr. Levin retired from his position as Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, UTHSCT, in August of 2020. He is Provost Emeritus.  He is also Vice-Chair for Occupational and Environmental Medicine for the American Board of Preventive Medicine. 

His research background has focused on occupational respiratory diseases and occupational health in agriculture and commercial fishing, with particular attention to vulnerable populations. As a native Texan having spent many formative years along the U.S.-Mexico border and in Central Mexico, he is fluent in Spanish.


Wesley Lockhart

Operational Director, Simulation

The University of Texas at Tyler School of Medicine


Pamela Lucchesi, PhD, FAHA

Director of Faculty Development

The University of Texas at Tyler School of Medicine


Amanda Midgett

Director of Special Projects

The University of Texas at Tyler School of Medicine

Passionate for systems, logistics, strategy, and operations, Amanda Midgett is right at home as the Director of Special Projects for the UT Tyler School of Medicine. Originally from Southwest Michigan, Amanda has worn numerous hats in the event management industry, beginning as a production assistant for touring country music artists. She spent many years traveling the country, executing events for corporations such as Hilton Worldwide, Mitsubishi, Toyota, and Samsung.

She received her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Middle Tennessee State University and master's in Industrial Management from The University of Texas at Tyler. Amanda is analytical, open-minded, and a dedicated supporter of the team. Her greatest strength is remaining calm under pressure and greatest weakness is chips and salsa.


Michelle Salge

Executive Assistant 
Office of the Dean

The University of Texas at Tyler School of Medicine


Sarah Buchanan

Manager, Marketing & Communications

The University of Texas at Tyler School of Medicine

Undergraduate Medical Education 


Takova Wallace-Gay, PharmD, BCACP, TTS

Associate Professor and Director, Interprofessional Education

The University of Texas at Tyler School of Medicine

Takova Wallace-Gay is an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine for the Tyler School of Medicine (TSOM) and the Department of Clinical Sciences with the Fisch College of Pharmacy (FCOP) at The University of Texas at Tyler.  Dr. Wallace-Gay is also the Director of the Interprofessional Education Curriculum for the TSOM. She currently serves as core faculty for the SOM and coordinates pharmacology. She also coordinates the endocrine module and teaches various cardiology and health literacy topics for the FCOP.  Additionally, she maintains a practice site within the Family Medicine Clinic at UT Health North Campus in Tyler where she accepts fourth year pharmacy students and co-precepts Family Medicine residents.


She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Tuskegee University then a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Auburn University in 2014. After graduation from pharmacy school, she completed her 2-year residency training with the Central Alabama Veterans’ Affairs Healthcare System in Montgomery, AL and Columbus Regional Midtown Medical Center (now Piedmont Health) in Columbus, GA.  She is a Board-Certified Ambulatory Care Pharmacist and certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist.


Her professional interests include primary care with a focus in diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and patient education.  Her current research interests include pharmacist involvement in cardiovascular risk reduction, health literacy, improving health outcomes in underserved populations and interprofessional education.


Dr. Wallace-Gay maintains professional memberships in the American College of Clinical Pharmacy, American Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists, Texas Pharmacy Association (TPA) and serves as the local Student National Pharmaceutical Association Advisor.  She was the 2020 TPA Bowl of Hygeia Awardee and was awarded the Distinguished Young Alumnus Award from Auburn University College of Pharmacy in 2021.



Michelle Mwazae

Sr. Program Coordinator Phase 1

The University of Texas at Tyler School of Medicine


Karen Lewis, PhD, MAEd, CHSE

Director of SP Program & Clinical Skills

The University of Texas at Tyler School of Medicine


Megan Pazos

Clerkship Curriculum Sr. Coordinator

The University of Texas at Tyler School of Medicine

Bylaws of

The Faculty

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