CHS Names Hall of Fame Inductee, Alumni Award Winners

New undergrad award also created

By Ryan Clark
CHS Communications Director

LEXINGTON, Ky. — One is a Chief of Staff at a university, while another is a researcher and assistant professor, and the third is a Director of Operational Performance. All are exemplary representatives of the College of Health Sciences — and all are now award winners.

CHS would like to announce Stacy Fritz, PhD, PT, FAPTA, as the latest CHS Hall of Fame inductee. Also, Shelby Baez, PhD, ATC, has been named this year’s Young Alumni Award winner.

A new award, the CHS Undergraduate Alumni Achievement Award, has also been created this year to honor specific undergraduate alumni who have demonstrated excellence in their field. The inaugural recipient is Thomas Corbett, MHA, Director of Operational Performance at MUSC Community Physicians (MCP) in South Carolina.

Fritz, a native of Columbia, S.C., and professor at the University of South Carolina (USC) in the Arnold School of Public Health and Chief of Staff for the president, graduated in 1997 with a Health Sciences bachelor’s degree and a Master of Science in Physical Therapy dual degree. With an unwavering dedication to the field, Fritz has become a nationally recognized figure as a PT faculty, administrator, researcher and leader.

Currently serving as a professor at the University of South Carolina (USC) in the Arnold School of Public Health since 2004, Fritz transitioned from serving as a DPT Program Director at USC from 2012-2021, to her current role as Chief of Staff for USC’s President.

Fritz’s national recognition began with her clinically relevant research on gait speed as a crucial indicator for health and function, termed the “sixth vital sign.” With over 70 peer-reviewed publications cited over 6,800 times, nearly 140 research presentations, and prestigious awards, including being named a Catherine Worthingham Fellow of the American Physical Therapy Association in late 2023, Fritz exemplifies dedication and service to her profession.

She also recently agreed to serve as a member on the UK Physical Therapy Program Advisory Board.

“My professional degree in PT was meaningful as it defined who I was as a professional,” Fritz said. “That scope has grown over the years, but it gave me that first opportunity to explore my career and provide for myself and future family.

“I think the strongest memory I have was when I was accepted in the PT program,” she continued. “That solidified my next step on my path. From there, I was able to build knowledge and relationships that have lasted my lifetime. When I became a DPT program director, I had the privilege to send out those letters to newly accepted students — this honor was not lost.”

Baez, a native of Fayetteville, N.C., and assistant professor in Exercise and Sport Science, as well as Director of the Psychology of Sport Injury Laboratory MOTION Science Institute at UNC-Chapel Hill, graduated in 2016 and 2019 with degrees in Athletic Training and the Rehabilitation and Health Sciences PhD Program.

Baez is currently in her fifth year as an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and serves as the Director of the Psychology of Sport Injury Laboratory MOTION Science Institute. Baez’s scholarly achievements are underscored by her impressive grant support, totaling over $1.43 million, and a prolific publication record, with over 40 peer-reviewed manuscripts, nearly 70 abstracts at national scientific meetings, and more than 30 invited presentations. She also serves as a mentor to doctoral, graduate and undergraduate students, leaving an indelible mark on their academic and professional growth.

“Both of my CHS degrees are extremely meaningful to me,” Baez said. “I was able to learn how to become a great clinician because of the MSAT program, and a great researcher because of the RHB program. I know that I would not be where I am at today if it were not for the faculty and staff in CHS taking the time to mentor me throughout both of those programs. When I heard I’d won the Young Alumni Award, I was shocked and extremely happy. CHS means so much to me, and it is extremely humbling to be recognized by a place that laid the foundation for the success of my career.”

Corbett, a Louisville native, graduated in 2018 with a degree in Clinical Leadership and Management. He has played a pivotal role in guiding CLM students, offering mentorship and providing invaluable support in navigating post-graduation opportunities.

He went on to earn a Master of Health Administration and a certificate in Improving Healthcare Value from the UK College of Public Health in 2020. His administrative fellowship at the Medical University of South Carolina marked the beginning of a series of promotions where he excelled as the Business Coordinator for System Finance, leading initiatives resulting in substantial cost reductions.

In subsequent roles as a senior financial analyst and project manager, Corbett integrated financial management with data analytics, identifying numerous opportunities for improvement. His strategic approach extended beyond the city of Charleston, into the rural regions of South Carolina, managing the planning of a novel model of a rural health clinic network addressing the needs of underserved in SC.

Recently promoted to the Director of Operational Performance for MUSC Community Physicians, Corbett continues to integrate financial acumen with a focus on analytics.

“I am honored and grateful to receive this award from my alma mater,” he said. “My education here was a life-changing journey that exposed me to the diverse and dynamic aspects of healthcare. I learned from the best mentors, leaders, teachers and peers in the field, who taught me the leadership skills and the knowledge needed to succeed in this sector — and to enjoy doing it!

“I also cherished the moments I spent with my classmates, who became my friends and collaborators,” he continued. “I am thankful for the network and the community that I have built here, and I am committed to giving back to the students who are in positions similar to mine.”

“We in the College of Health Sciences are so proud to honor these amazing alumni,” said CHS Dean Scott Lephart. “We celebrate the kinds of creativity, resiliency, leadership and altruism that each of these impressive former students displays. They are wonderful role models for our current students, and I can think of no one better to represent CHS.”

The College of Health Sciences will be hosting an induction ceremony and awards reception on Monday, March 25.  Click here to register for the event.