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Dr. Irene Pintado

COLUMBUS, Miss.-- Discovery drives Dr. Irene Pintado to pursue excellence every day.

Pintado looks at each Mississippi University for Women student as an individual with unique talents and gifts. Her goal is to create an atmosphere in which each student thrives.

Pintado takes the same approach with research projects. Whether she is working on projects that impact the community or The W, Pintado has demonstrated excellence in professional and scholarly endeavors.

Pintado’s versatility and dedication were recognized recently when she received the Kossen Faculty Excellence Award. Drs. Connie ('64) and Tom Kossen established the Kossen Faculty Excellence Award endowment. Every year the endowment funds a $5,000 award to recognize an outstanding faculty member.

“I was surprised and honored,” said Pintado, who has been at The W since the fall of 2007. “I am grateful to have colleagues that nominated me for the award and more importantly who support me in the job of teaching every day.” 

Pintado served as the chronic disease prevention coordinator, tobacco prevention and control coordinator for the Lee County Health Department in Fort Meyers, Florida, prior to coming to The W. She said the longer she teaches she realizes she must let students discover more for themselves, particularly as it applies to research. Pintado believes students often will learn more from their mistakes than from any preemptive correction she offers. As a result, she is focused on creating an atmosphere in which students can grow in confidence as they explore new concepts, discover new abilities, cultivate strengths and learn from their mistakes without the fear that making a mistake means that they fail a class or an assignment. 

Pintado is involved with numerous research projects that are impacting students. She has been working as principal investigator on a Center for Disease Control (CDC) project designed to observe mask use at institutions of higher education. Several graduate and undergraduate students worked with her on the project during the Spring 2021 term. Pintado also is working on a survey to understand student knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and behaviors about mask use, vaccination and COVID-19 testing and demographics and implementation of the Healthy Minds Survey at The W that will give Master of Public Health (MPH) students the opportunity to gain experience.

Dr. Mark Bean, professor and chair of The W’s Department of Health and Kinesiology (H&K), said Pintado added rigor and relevance to the curriculum when she arrived on campus in the fall of 2007. He said she has played a vital role in enhancing the Master of Science in Health Education program by helping students to understand complex concepts in a way that is easily understood and applicable.

Pintado became the coordinator of the health education program in 2009 and oversaw all aspects of the program, including curriculum development, marketing and assessment. In 2018, Pintado developed and submitted the proposal to change the M.S. of Health Education to a MPH in Health Promotion and Health Education. Bean said the revision strengthened the program academically and made it much more appealing to students considering an advanced degree in Public Health.

“Currently, she is working toward national accreditation for the program,” Bean said. “Under her leadership, the graduate programs in health education (M.S. and MPH) have maintained between 35 and 40 students each year. Working collaboratively with colleagues in the department, she has generated external funding for programs that have benefited the university and community. These include Let’s Clear the Air, Cancer Beat It and Stay Dry! These public health programs provided needed community services and gave W public health students hands-on learning opportunities.”

Pintado also holds the Master Certified Health Education Specialists (MCHES) certification, which is the highest certification level in her field, and has been chair of the Institutional Review Board since the fall of 2018. She recently submitted a proposal to restructure the IRB process. Bean said Pintado has used her experience to serve the community and university in numerous ways. He said he worked with her on the development and implementation of The W’s most recent Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP). He also asked her to serve as the chair of the assessment sub-committee because of her outstanding research design and statistical analysis capabilities.

“There is no question Dr. Pintado is an outstanding representative of the Kossen Faculty Excellence Award,” Bean said. “Since her arrival at The W, I have worked with her on numerous projects inside and outside of the department. I have sought her counsel many times and see her as a colleague with a broad intellect and wide-ranging abilities. She has been devoted to The W and the Department of H&K, and has never failed to contribute to the advancement of the department, college and university in meaningful ways. She has been asked to take on important responsibilities that affect the entire campus and has consistently performed above expectations. It has been an honor to serve with her as a fellow faculty member for the past 13 years.”


May 6, 2021
Contact: Adam Minichino
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