Meet the Candidates for Board of Directors

Term: 2023-2026  |  Open Positions: 4  |  Candidates: 8

Rachel Menegaz

Candidate Statement: AAA has been my primary professional society since 2010, and has provided me with countless career development and networking opportunities. AAA invested in me as an early career anatomist, shaping my commitment to pay that support forward by supporting trainees. Through my experience as a mentor to undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral trainees, I have seen how society programming and funding opportunities can facilitate both recruitment and retention of a more diverse group of early career researchers. 

With the move to a standalone annual meeting in 2023, AAA has new opportunities to engage with members and the general public. Efforts to be welcoming and inclusive of new members and trainees at meetings are more important than ever. As a member of the Board of Directors, I would like to support initiatives to promote speaker diversity (in terms of career stages, geographical regions, and background) in the annual meeting and in AAA-sponsored programs and workshops throughout the year. I hope to help AAA capitalize on the society’s strong online presence to ensure that the sense of community continues beyond annual meeting and that members feel supported in their teaching, research, and professional development goals throughout the year.

In recent years, AAA has taken intentional steps to be more professionally inclusive of anatomy as a multidisciplinary field with members in education, basic sciences, clinical sciences, and the general public. I hope to be able to assist these continuing efforts through initiatives guided by member input to provide support where it is most needed. As a AAA committee member, I recognize the importance of communication (both top-down from leadership and among committees) and training in order to advance the AAA’s strategic goals and effectively utilize the time and efforts of our volunteers. I also value a society that is willing to be transparent with members on issues regarding the function and strategic plan of the organization. I have benefited enormously through my professional involvement with the AAA, and hope that through my service I can help the organization invest in programs that will ensure the impact and longevity of the AAA.

Current Position/Institution: Assistant Professor, Department of Physiology and Anatomy, University of North Texas Health Science CenterPh.D. Institution: Pathobiology (Integrative Anatomy), University of Missouri – Columbia, 2013

Earlier Positions: Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical and Applied Sciences, Indiana University School of Dentistry (2015-2017); Postdoctoral Research and Teaching Associate, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Brown University (2013-2015)

Teaching: [Current] systems-based gross anatomy, neuroanatomy, and embryology (medical and graduate students); advanced clinical anatomy (medical students); grant writing (graduate students); professional development workshops (graduate and undergraduate students); [Former] systems-based gross anatomy, neuroanatomy, histology, and embryology (dental students); advanced head and neck anatomy (dental residents); clinical anatomy (physical therapy, occupational therapy, and physician assistant students); clinical neuroanatomy (physical therapy and physician assistant students)

AAA Committee/Roles: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee (2022-present); Committee for Early Career Anatomists (2018-2021)

Other Professional Activities: Assistant Editor, The Anatomical Record (2022-present); Student Awards Committee member, American Association of Biological Anthropologists (2016-2019); Graduate Advisor, Structural Anatomy and Rehabilitation Sciences MS/PhD, UNTHSC (2019-present); Director, Summer Opportunities in Anatomy Research (SOAR) undergraduate internship program, UNTHSC (2018-present); Director, Texas Academy of Biomedical Sciences Outreach Program, UNTHSC (2018-present).

Awards: Basmajian Award, AAA (2022); Innovations Program Grant, AAA (2018); Valubility of the Year, UNTHSC campus award, nominated for excellence in teaching (2018); Anthropological Anatomy Award, AAA and American Association of Biological Anthropologists (2013); Young Investigator Award , American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (2012); Mildred Trotter Prize for bone biology, American Association of Biological Anthropologists (2008)

Research Interest: I am a functional morphologist interested in how biomechanical loading contributes to musculoskeletal growth and homeostasis in both healthy and pathological states. My research has used experimental models to explore how dietary composition affects craniofacial ontogeny and phenotypic plasticity in the context of mammalian evolution. My current lab group is largely focused on understanding how the craniofacial phenotype develops in a mouse model of osteogenesis imperfecta (brittle bone disease). We use high-resolution CT imaging and CE-CT, geometric morphometrics, finite element analysis (FEA), and histological approaches to quantify the development, structure, and performance of bone, muscle, and cartilage.

Other Professional Memberships Currently Maintained: Society for Craniofacial Genetics and Developmental Biology (SCGBD), Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB), American Association of Biological Anthropologists (AABA)

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