Professional News

The Provost’s 2023 Outstanding Teaching Awards: Ima Ebong

Ima Ebong
A colorectal cancer survivor, Ima Ebong, M.D., hopes her story will help those disproportionately affected by the disease. Arden Barnes | UK Photo

Each Thursday, UKNow is highlighting one of the winners of the University of Kentucky’s 2022-23 Outstanding Teaching Awards, given by the Office for Faculty Advancement with the Office of the Provost.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 1, 2023) — Ima Ebong, M.D., assistant professor of neurology and clinical neurophysiology, is one of 10 winners to receive the University of Kentucky’s 2022-23 Outstanding Teaching Awards.

These awards identify and recognize individuals who demonstrate special dedication to student achievement and who are successful in their teaching. Recipients were selected via nomination and reviewed by a selection committee based in the UK Provost’s Office for Faculty Advancement and the Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching.

“This award is a testament to the excellent teachers who have molded me over the years — from the brilliant teachers who inspired me in my formative years in the Bahamas, to my college, graduate school and medical school professors, to my attending physicians in residency and fellowship and now my colleagues and mentors who encourage me to continue learning every day in order to inspire the next generation of physicians. This award is in honor of them,” said Ebong.

The Bahaman native earned her bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering and master’s in bioengineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. After working for the Bahamas Ministry of Health, she decided to become a physician and earned her medical degree from the UK College of Medicine. As a student at UK, Ebong started the University of Kentucky Medical Education Development (UKMED) program designed specifically to recruit prospective medical students from underrepresented backgrounds.

After her time at UK’s College of Medicine as a student, she completed her residency and fellowship at the Jackson Memorial Hospital/University of Miami Department of Neurology. In 2018, she returned to Lexington where she holds an appointment as an assistant professor of neurology and clinical neurophysiology in the UK College of Medicine. She also serves as an advisor to the College of Medicine’s pipeline program that she helped create during her time as a student.

As a member of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN), Ebong was selected to participate in the AAN’s Diversity Leadership Program in 2019. The program aims to identify, mentor and engage AAN members from underrepresented minority groups for leadership development. Ebong has been actively involved in health care diversity efforts for many years and currently serves as the director of diversity and inclusion for UK’s Department of Neurology.

In recognition of her work, Ebong has received several awards. In 2020, she was named one of “1,000 Inspiring Black Scientists in America” by Cell Mentor and published by The Community of Scholars. She is the recipient of two Academy of Medical Education Excellence in Medical Education Awards from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine (2020 and 2021).  She was awarded the University of Kentucky Martin Luther King Living Legacy Catalyst Award and was the inaugural recipient of the University of Kentucky College of Medicine Diversity and Inclusion Pillar Award (Faculty).

Additionally, Ebong was elected for membership into Alpha Omega Alpha (AΩA) Honor Medical Society, one of the highest honors in the field of medicine, signifying a lasting commitment to professionalism, leadership, scholarship, research, and community service. 

This year’s Outstanding Teaching Awards were given to seven faculty and three graduate teaching assistants. Each winner received an award certificate, a commemorative engraved gift and a cash award in recognition of their teaching excellence.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.