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Dr. Janice Knebl

One of the most respected members at HSC, Dr. Knebl received national recognition in October when she was named the American Osteopathic Foundation Physician of the Year. A 32-year member of the HSC, Dr. Knebl is a leader in treatment, research and education related to Alzheimer’s and dementia. She is an active member of the Texas Alzheimer's Research and Care Corsortium that is working to improve early diagnosis, treatment and prevention. When she isn't working, you might find her around the corner from the HSC at one of her favorite haunts, Piola Italian Restaurant, or at home cozying up with reruns of, that’s right, "The Golden Girls."

 

Q&A
Where does winning the 2020 Physican of the Year award rank in your career?
The AOF Physician of the Year Award 2020 was truly a huge surprise and honor. This award is very special to me since I was nominated by many of my fellow osteopathic physicians and colleagues nationally, and also from my patients. Receiving national recognition is very humbling when I think about all of the other deserving osteopathic physicians across the country. The award is also so very special since it recognizes my contributions as an osteopathic physician and clinician. I have been so very fortunate to have been given the opportunity by the osteopathic profession to attend an osteopathic medical school and become an osteopathic physician. I have been very blessed by God to have an energy level and ability to learn and serve patients. It has been my true joy and passion to care for older adults as a physician. This award recognizes what I have truly loved doing since my graduation from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1982.

What is your favorite aspect of your job?
I love caring for older adults. It is a true privilege to be the physician partner with older adults who have such wisdom and life experiences to share. I truly have received more from my older patients than I have been able to provide. Being an osteopathic physician, my focus is on function, maintenance of highest level of independence and quality of life. I also enjoy going anywhere that older adults may be residing as I am portable. I also enjoy working with the interprofessional team of health care practitioners that are involved in all of these sites of care. My other love is being involved in the education of future health care professionals and assisting them in the development of the knowledge and skills to be able to take care of the older populations. Maybe for selfish reasons, by training them to be ready to care for an aging Texas (and America), I will be a beneficiary as I am now in my pre-Medicare year.

What employee benefit or activity would you like to see added to UNT World?
Caregiver support materials and education for those employees caring for an aging parent or family member. We have developed a dementia caregiver education program for persons with dementia that we could add to a menu of options to support our UNT System team members, including faculty, staff and students.

What is your proudest work moment?
I actually have two: Receiving the Dallas Southwest Osteopathic Physicians Endowed Chair in Clinical Geriatrics, which was the first endowed Chair in Geriatrics in the Osteopathic Profession; and the UNT System Regent’s Professor designation which recognized academic achievement and service.

What fact about you might surprise your colleagues?
I have an alter ego -- Roseanne Rossannadanna (played by Gilda Radner) from Saturday Night Live

WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE...
Book?: Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
Movie?: The Spanish Maine (old movie with pirates and a dashing young actor at the time, Paul Henreid)
Inspirational Hero?: Mother Theresa
Place to visit?: County Mayo, Ireland
Song?: My Way, by Frank Sinatra
Celebrity?: Lucille Ball
Hobby?: Golf
Charitable cause?: Meals On Wheels and Catholic Charities
 

UNT database administrator Luis Angulo and his family

Luis Angulo has proudly served the UNT System for 13 years. He works for Budget and Planning, supporting all UNT System financial systems. Chief among his responsibilities is assuring the accuracy and consistency of all UNT System financial reporting data.

 

Q&A
What is your favorite aspect of your job ?
I love UNT because people care about me personally and professionally. Everybody at UNT has always been more than welcoming and they go out of their way to always help each other. We work in an awesome collaborative environment, and there is a genuine spirit of cooperation. Professionally, I love that UNT has always empowered me to do my job. I can confidently say that I have made long-lasting friendships here at UNT.
 
What employee benefit or activity would you like to see added to UNT World? 
I would love for UNT to provide free access to the UNT Rec Center for all employees and their families.
 
What is your proudest work moment? 
There are many. If I must pick one, it is to work alongside a great group of professionals who care about their jobs and always do their best. I am proud to be part of such a great group of people that really go above and beyond, and really care about their work.
 
What is your proudest non-work moment? 
Seeing my family adjust and grow here in North Texas. There have been challenges along the way, but we always come together as a family and push through no matter the challenge.

What fact about you might surprise your colleagues? 
I do not think this is a surprise to anybody, but I am a big Star Wars fan. I even have a very cool lightsaber right next to my desk.

WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE...

Movie?: Inception/The Prestige
TV show?: Breaking Bad
Restaurant?: Babe's Chicken
Celebrity?: Dirk Nowitzki and Dan Marino
Charitable cause: United Through Hope -- It's a local nonprofit that helps children with disabilities, and provides different opportunities for kids to develop social skills.

November kicks off the fall and holiday season, which means it’s time to turn our minds toward gratitude and also having some fun. We encourage you to take a peek at our new Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Calendar of Holidays & Observances to learn more about various holidays celebrated by our many cultures, heritages and belief systems. We are a richly diverse nation with so much to celebrate together, and especially during difficult times like these. 

Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving on Nov. 26 with turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing/stuffing, green beans, pecan pie and the like. How do you celebrate this national holiday? We’d love to hear about your traditions and inspirations for Thanksgiving. Email us to share: edi@untystem.edu.

Did you know a Thanksgiving holiday is also celebrated in Canada, Liberia, Brazil and Santa Lucia (to name a few)? Different holiday traditions abound across the country, but also the globe.

Here in the U.S., we enjoy a smorgasbord of favorite and celebratory holiday dishes as diverse as our backgrounds, from Eastern European fried latkes and braised purple cabbage, to Italian antipasto and manicotti, to Persian basmati stuffing and labneh salad – the list goes on.

The holiday season is a great time to begin your Equity, Diversity & Inclusion journey by learning more about other cultures and celebrations. Also, remember that the In the Green Well-being program is also a good place to start your wellness journey (something we all might especially need as we begin our holiday feasting). We’ve provide plentiful wellness tips and resources, plus virtual workouts you can do at home.

Faculty & Staff Spotlight: Patrick Pluscht

Patrick Pluscht joined UNT World from the University of Alabama System in 1997 to help Dr. Philip Turner (retired) start distance education at UNT. Since then, Pluscht has served in various leadership positions at the university, on the boards of professional organizations and on the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board advisory committee related to learning technology. At UNT, he currently serves on a small, but mighty, team known as DSI Growth that identifies and promotes programs ready to grow online.

 

Q&A
What is your favorite aspect of your job ?
I’ve always enjoyed opportunities to connect people and ideas across an organization to accomplish outcomes that otherwise wouldn’t be possible. My current supervisor in DSI Growth is convinced that I’m friends with most people on the UNT campus, which can be partially attributed to my longevity at UNT and my native extroversion. But it’s also a reflection of my passion for being a connector. I’m a strong believer in “We’re better together” and that makes my current role promoting online enrollment growth a really good fit.
 
What employee benefit or activity would you like to see added to UNT World? 
I’d like to see more mentoring opportunities for staff across UNT World. I’m amplifying this idea from Dr. Adam Fein, UNT Vice President for Digital Strategy & Innovation, who is exploring mentoring possibilities for our division with the recognition that we have robust mentoring programs for faculty and students at UNT, but not for our staff.
 
What is your proudest work moment? 
Awards and recognition are really nice, but my proudest moments have been related to creating experiences where individuals can share their stories with community members – whether to challenge them, enlighten them or inspire them.
 
What is your proudest non-work moment? 
My proudest non-work moments are related to my three children. Lydia, Caroline and Julian each have academic, athletic and creative accomplishments they’ve worked hard to achieve, but what makes me most proud is when I witness them being kind and generous and standing up for social justice and for those without a voice. It gives me hope for the future.

What fact about you might surprise your colleagues? 
I’m kind of an open book, but maybe not everyone knows I am an amateur magician, I shot coaches’ film for the Alabama Crimson Tide Football program under Gene Stallings in the early 1990s, and I have fond memories of skydiving and scuba diving while at the University of Alabama.

WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE...

Place to visit?: San Francisco Bay Area or most anywhere in Europe

Hobbies?: Collecting vinyl records (since high school) and taking sunset photos

Thing to do?: Attend live music shows or festivals with friends

 University of North Texas System Chancellor Lesa Roe on Friday named Sheraine Gilliam-Holmes as the UNT System’s new Vice Chancellor for Organizational Effectiveness & Chief Human Capital Officer.

 Gilliam-Holmes will begin her new position on Jan. 2, 2021.

 An accomplished human resources leader with more than 15 years of experience, Gilliam-Holmes spent the last two years at Austin Peay State University as Executive Director & Chief Human Resources Officer, and   previously served in HR leadership positions for the City University of New York (CUNY) System from 2012 to 2018.

Following a national search, Gilliam-Holmes was offered this senior leadership position based on her rich higher education experience in human resources, as well as her strong track record for fostering faculty and staff development, and modernizing HR processes. UNT System Vice Chancellor & Chief Financial Officer Dan Tenney will continue to serve as Interim Chief Human Capital Officer through Jan. 1, 2021.

“We are excited for Sheraine Gilliam-Holmes to bring her expertise in human resources strategy to North Texas and, through her leadership, enrich employee relations, talent management, learning and development, benefits administration and human resources technology,” Chancellor Roe said. “Sheraine is a proven human resources leader with relevant higher education experience working for one of the nation’s largest university systems, as well as on a campus with more than 10,000 students. She understands what we need in a ‘people culture,’ and is very customer-focused, proactive and innovative – making her a perfect fit for leading our centralized UNT System HR team. I would also like to thank Dan Tenney for serving as Interim Chief Human Capital Officer during our search.”

In her role at the UNT System, Gilliam-Holmes will oversee human resources for more than 10,000 faculty and staff at the UNT System’s three campuses, as well as with UNT System Administration. She is a certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and a member of the National Board of Directors for the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR).

HR has launched a new Compensation eForm, the Staff Job Classification/Reclassification Request Form. This form is a tool to ensure an efficient and consistent staff classification/reclassification process.  

This will replace the Position Information Questionnaire (PIQ, UNT), the Position Summary Form (HSC) and current classification/reclassification documents at UNT Dallas and UNT System. New position and reclassification guidelines and timelines may vary by institution, particularly for filled positions. Please contact your campus or System HR team and review applicable institutional policies to determine eligibility for the classification/reclassification process.

The form will be completed when requesting a new staff position or when requesting the reclassification of an existing staff position. You can access the form and process information: hr.untsystem.edu/classificationreclassification. The form will capture components of the position necessary for determining the appropriate job title and salary grade.

 

HR, in partnership with ITSS, launched several upgrades to the ePAR system in October. This new functionality will improve the job reclassification process and enhance several other existing processes:

  • New reclassification functionality – HR Compensation will review the requested job title and salary, and provide confirmation to the request or make recommendations for changes; department heads will then select a final recommended salary to move the request forward in the approval process
  • Vacant position changes for faculty – Initiators will now be able to make vacant position changes (faculty only) beyond the current fiscal year
  • Worklist – The approval worklist has been cleaned up and, going forward, it will clear once transactions are completed
  • Ability to see canceled ePARs – Initiators will now be able to view ePARs that may have been canceled by payroll processing
  • Payroll HOLD process for vacant positions -- Vacant position ePAR transactions will no longer be placed on hold while Payroll is processing
  • Termination Warnings – A new warning message will be displayed and recorded when the Last Physical Date is later than the termination effective date

Note: Make sure all Time & Labor data is entered and approved, and exceptions are cleared so as to not cause any delays if a lump sum vacation payout is needed

The stress of financial issues can take a serious toll on anyone's well-being. That's particularly true right now as all of us are trying to manage increasingly stressful times that, for many, have faced the impact of added financial burden. We can help. Here are a few helpful insights and tips for handling financial stress.

It’s important to know you are not alone and that there are resources available to help. As a UNT World employee, you can seek financial advice from your EAP and our retirement savings plan vendors for free. 

  • Your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) includes free financial advice and counseling on a range of financial topics or issues from financial experts.
  • Our retirement savings plan vendors (AIG/Fidelity/TIAA/Voya) offer all employees one free financial advisement session if you need help assessing where to save, how to save, investing, as well as strategies for handling financial emergencies.

Your In the Green financial well-being program is also here to help you cope with stress through virtual meditation, stress management webinars and other resources. You’ll also find financial education webinars and videos there to help you enhance your financial wellness.

Community resources are available if you are struggling financially.  Find help through your local resources at 211.org.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic (long-lasting) health condition that affects how your body turns food into energy.

Most of the food you eat is broken down into sugar (also called glucose) and released into your bloodstream. When your blood sugar goes up, it signals your pancreas to release insulin. Insulin acts like a key to let the blood sugar into your body’s cells for use as energy.

There are many forms of diabetes including prediabetes.

According to the CDC – approximately 88 million American adults — more than 1 in 3 — have prediabetes. Of those with prediabetes, more than 84% don’t know they have it. With prediabetes, the cells in your body don’t respond normally to insulin causing the pancreas to make more insulin to try to get cells to respond. Eventually, your pancreas can’t keep up and your blood sugar rises, setting the stage for prediabetes that can lead to type 2 diabetes.

Know the Signs & Symptoms

Prediabetes puts you at greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. You can have prediabetes for years with no clear symptoms, so it often goes undetected until serious health problems such as type 2 diabetes show up. A simple blood test can determine if you have prediabetes, so it’s important to talk to your doctor if you are 45 years or older and have any of the following risk factors:

  • Overweight
  • A parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes
  • Are physically active less than three times a week
  • Have gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) or giving birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds
  • Have polycystic ovary syndrome

Your employee benefits can help you with diabetes self-management, education and support, as well as provide resources through our well-being program In the Green. There are ways to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, such as staying active and reducing your body weight. Sign up for sessions to learn more about the two free weight-management programs being offered -- Real Appeal on Nov. 4; and Naturally Slim on Nov. 12. Maintaining regular physical activity requires at least 150 minutes a week -- just 30 minutes a day, five days a week -- of brisk walking or a similar activity. It's easy to fit in a home workout with virtual classes offered through the UNT Rec CenterThe good news is if you have prediabetes, it can be reversed. Check out this video.

Did you know?: The diabetic drug supply changed as of Sept. 1

Learn more about how to get the OneTouch glucometer and OneTouch test strips at no cost to participants

HealthSelect of Texas or HealthSelect Out-of-State participants now pay nothing for diabetic supplies such as certain brands of test stripes, lancets and lancing devices under the HealthSelect Prescription Drug Program (PDP) administered by OptumRX when they use an in-network pharmacy and present their prescription drug ID card.  

Consumer Directed HealthSelect participants can get lancets, lancing devices, syringes, pen needles and OneTouch test strips at no cost after they meet their annual deductible.

Join the Free Glucose Meter Program

The Free Glucose Meter Program lets HealthSelect of Texas and HealthSelect Out-of State participants get a certain OneTouch Verio glucometer at no cost when they order it through LifeScan (the manufacturer of One Touch products). Once their provider determines which glucometer they should use, participants can then:

  • Contact the LifeScan Service Center at (866) 355-9962 or visit the website at www.onetouch.orderpoints.com.
  • Enter the Brochure Code: 594PRX100
  • LifeScan will deliver the glucometer to their address.

To get the OneTouch glucometer at no cost, participants must order through LifeScan. If they prefer to get their glucometer at a retail pharmacy, they will need a valid prescription from their doctor. They will be responsible for the applicable copay/coinsurance.

Items covered at in-network pharmacies with a copay/coinsurance

The HealthSelect PDP benefit may cover other diabetic supplies at in-network pharmacies with a copay or coinsurance. After meeting their annual deductible, participants will pay the applicable copay/coinsurance depending on the tier status of the item they are purchasing. They can call OptumRx Customer Care at (855) 828-9834 (TTY: 711) or visit healthselectrx.com to find out more about the cost of a particular item.

The pharmacy benefit covers the following items with a copay/coinsurance: Insulin, diabetic oral agents, certain glucometers, certain test strips, alcohol wipes and swabs, glucagon emergency kits and syringes and pen needles.

Coverage of diabetic supplies and equipment under the HealthSelect medical plans administered by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) remains unchanged, so participants can continue to receive covered diabetic supplies and equipment through their medical benefits if they prefer.

To learn more about the HealthSelect PDP’s diabetic supply coverage change, encourage your employees to read these "Frequently Asked Questions" or call OptumRx Customer Care toll-free at (855) 828-9834 (TTY: 711).

Getting your eyes examined is especially important for those living with diabetes as it could increase your risk of eye complication over time. Get a clear view of your benefits by using your Superior Vision plan for an annual exam of $15 for each covered member.

Caring for your feet while living with diabetes can be challenging so check out these tips and resources from your Employee Assistance Program on foot protection and self-care. 

Feeling overwhelmed and not sure how to begin making a lifestyle change, contact a BCBSTX representative to help manage your care with a dedicated team wait for you at (800) 252-8039 (TTY:711) between 8 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. CT Monday - Friday, and ask to speak with a clinician about the Care Management Program. Check out these tips and resources available both in English or Spanish from the National Diabetes Prevention Program.  

Dr. Iftekhar Amin

Over his 10 years at UNT Dallas, Dr. Iftekhar Amin has seen the university's rapid growth while teaching Applied Gerontology and Human Services Management and Leadership (HSML) courses. He works closely with organizations that serve the Greater Dallas geriatric population. When he's not teaching and working in the community, the husband of UNT Dallas Associate Professor of Sociology Dr. Syeda Jesmin, and the father of one daughter, enjoys gardening and growing vegetables.

 

Q&A
What is your favorite aspect of your job ?
At UNT Dallas, I have the privilege to positively influence students coming from disadvantaged backgrounds. It is highly rewarding to see our minority and first-generation college students with their families on graduation day, and see them grow professionally.
 
What employee benefit or activity would you like to see added to UNT World? 
More opportunity to learn and more professional training. 
 
What is your proudest work moment? 
In 2008, I got my first job as assistant professor at University of Louisiana at Monroe. I was awarded the Endowed Professorship of Gerontology for three years and later was appointed as a member of the Louisiana Governor’s Encore Commission. This afforded me opportunities to engage in research, while gaining exposure to the major aging-related agencies in the region. I am proud that I have ties with most aging-related agencies in the DFW area as well, and routinely receive invitations to serve on their boards.
 
What is your proudest non-work moment? 
Limited in-person social interaction has created the opportunity for me to connect with friends and family members from different parts of the world.

WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE...
Movie?: The Godfather and Forrest Gump

Places to visit?:Guadalajara, Mexico; Turrialba, Costa Rica; Dhaka, Bangladesh; Bern, Switzerland

Hobbies?: Gardening, traveling, cooking and watching movies