March 15, 2018

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Pop health expert, biology prof, emergency med physician join faculty

Medical Center leadership is proud to announce the following additions to its faculty and leadership staff.

Charles Chima, Dr.P.H.


Dr. Charles Chima has joined the Medical Center faculty as an assistant professor of population health science in the John D. Bower School of Population Health.

Chima trained as a physician at the University of Nigeria and worked in primary care for two years. He obtained a Master of Science in epidemiology from the University of London and subsequently obtained a Doctor of Public Health degree in health services research and global health and further training in health informatics at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

Chima is a population health scientist who seeks innovative ways to improve health outcomes and reduce waste in health care using the population health approach. He has led large-scale chronic disease population health initiatives in Houston, Texas, and provided advisory services as a consultant to state governments in Nigeria on primary care reform. He was also an HRSA primary care research fellow at the Family and Community Medicine Department, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas.

An inductee of the Delta Omega Honor Society in Public Health, Chima’s work has been recognized internationally, including an award from the Swedish Society of Medicine for a study on delayed effects of in-utero and infantile food deprivation on risk of chronic diseases later in life. He is the principal investigator for a randomized clinical trial to address diabetes distress through behavioral coaching.


Bettye Sue Hennington, Ph.D.


Dr. Bettye Sue Hennington, a retired professor of biology at Tougaloo College, has joined the Medical Center faculty as a professor of cell and molecular biology in the School of Medicine.

After receiving her B.S. in biology/chemistry in 1974 and her M.Ed. in special/gifted education in 1983 from Delta State University, Hennington earned her Ph.D. in biochemistry at UMMC in 1995. She had a postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. Jane Reckelhoff in the Department of Physiology at UMMC from 1995-98.

Hennington has the majority of her professional career in education. She served as an educator in biology, chemistry and physics at St. Joseph’s High School from 1976-84; as an educator in biology and chemistry at Clinton High School from 1985-89; as an instructor in biochemistry for minority medical students at UMMC from 1989-93; as an instructor in biology and chemistry at East Central Community College from 1998-2002; and as an assistant professor of biology from 2002-05, an associate professor of biology from 2005-09, and a professor of biology from 2009-14 at Tougaloo College. She served as a contract grant writer for the UMMC Office of Research and Sponsored Programs from 2014-16.

The recipient of numerous scholastic honors, Hennington served as a liaison for NIH-RIMI Grant and Renovation Activities for a decade, has been a sponsor for the Beta Beta Beta Undergraduate Honor Society for 15 years and has served on the President’s Council on National Transportation Center of Excellence, Department of Homeland Security. Her research with undergraduates brought collaborations with UMMC faculty and was supported by grants from NIH-NCMHD, HHMI, NSF and USM-INBRE. Her research support during the last five years has exceeded $3 million in sponsored projects.


Emily M. Tarver, M.D.


Dr. Emily M. Tarver, an emergency  medicine physician at Presbyterian Hospital, Albuquerque, New Mexico, has joined the Medical Center faculty as an assistant professor of emergency medicine.

After receiving her B.A. from Millsaps College in 2000, Tarver earned her M.D. in 2005 at UMMC, where she had an emergency medicine residency from 2005-09 and was chief resident in emergency medicine from 2008-09.

She joined Twin Cities Hospital, Niceville, Florida, in 2009 as an emergency medicine physician before serving as an emergency medicine physician at Sacrd Heart Hospital, Pensacola, Florida, from 2012-13. She had been at Presbyterian Hospital since 2013.