Contact Information

The Department of Faculty & Academic Development provides advising & personalized services, training, and programs that support the personal, professional and organizational roles and relationships of our trainees and faculty through the various stages of their careers.

Phone: 713-792-8061
Fax: 713-563-3071

Mailing address:
Faculty & Academic Development 
MD Anderson Cancer Center
PO Box 301407 Unit 1726
Houston, TX 77230-1402

Download Career Advice Policy (doc).

Advising & Personalized Services
Various members of the staff are available for advising by request. Members of our staff have extensive experience in the following areas, and can put you in contact with appropriate resources as needed:

Meet the Staff

Janis Apted Yadiny, M.L.S. ( is associate vice president of Faculty & Academic Development. She has an MLS from McGill University and over 25 years of experience in information access and management, organizational, professional and faculty development, and strategic and planned change in academic, international and corporate institutions. Mrs. Yadiny's previous positions have been with the University of Michigan, the Houston Academy of Medicine - Texas Medical Center Library, McGill University, Royal Society of Medicine in England and the World Health Organization in Switzerland and Tunisia.

Walter F. Baile, M.D. ( is Professor of Behavioral Science and Psychiatry and Director of the Interpersonal Communication And Relationship Enhancement (I*CARE) program in Faculty & Academic Development. In addition to be a practicing psychiatrist, he heads up the I*CARE educational effort within the Division of Academic Affairs. This consists of the development and dissemination of programs promoting competency in clinician patient communication, conflict resolution and mentoring. Specific activities directed toward this goal include a video based website, a lecture series for fellows on Professionalism and Communication skills and hands on workshops for faculty, fellows and oncology staff. He has been involved on a national level in NCI funded programs in teaching communication skills (Oncotalk and Oncotalk Teach) and the International level, training physicians and other staff in communication skills notably in Italy, Germany and Portugal. He has presented and published widely in the area of clinician patient communication. Video presentations on his I*CARE website received 2010 "People's Telly Award" in three categories: education, training and the highest honor which is the silver People's Telly Award. Dr. Baile is also recipient of the 2010 Lynn Payer award given for Outstanding Contributions to the Literature on the Theory, Practice and Teaching of Effective Health Care Communication and Related Skills by the American Association of Communication in Healthcare and co-recipient of the 2011 John P. McGovern Award for Excellence in Biomedical Communication presented by American Medical Writers Association.

Warren L. Holleman, Ph.D. ( is Professor of Behavioral Science and Director of the Faculty Health & Well-Being Program in Faculty & Academic Development. He and Katrina Allen Wright develop programs that promote the health, well-being, and work-life balance of faculty. These include traditional educational programs such as Grand Rounds lectures, departmental presentations, and workshops and as well as nontraditional endeavors that promote communication, social support, and healthy lifestyles. These include mindfulness training, Tai Chi, yoga, faculty art, happy hours, support groups, and panel discussions on work-life balance. Dr. Holleman also collaborates with other faculty to conduct research on faculty stress, burnout, and well-being.

Michelle Castillo
( is a Program Coordinator in Faculty & Academic Development where she staffs the faculty leadership programs. She joined MD Anderson in late 2008 and then came to us from the Department of General Internal Medicine in March 2015. Prior to joining MD Anderson, she worked as a paralegal.

Tracy Costello, Ph.D. ( is Program Manager of the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs and Development.  In her role, she manages and develops programs that enhance, support and promote the postdoctoral experience at MD Anderson; and  provides strategic oversight of the Postdoctoral Association and the Postdoctoral Association Executive Committee. She also currently serves on the Board of Directors of the National Postdoctoral Association and on postdoc fellowship study sections for the National Science Foundation. Dr. Costello earned her PhD in Biostatistics and Biomathematics from the University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in Houston.  Following her postdoctoral fellowships in Epidemiology and Health Disparities Research, she remained at MD Anderson as a senior statistical analyst until 2010 and then took a position with Exagen Diagnostics as a senior statistical geneticist before returning to MD Anderson in her current role.

Catherine D. Kirkwood, M.P.H. (, Project Director for the Interpersonal Communication And Relationship Enhancement (I*CARE) program has 35 years of success in the development of educational programs for health care professionals in the Texas Medical Center. She is the former Clinical Education Director for the University of Texas AIDS Education & Training Center (AIDS ETC) for Texas and Oklahoma and Education Manager for The UT MD Anderson Cancer Center's Complementary/Integrative Medicine Education Resources (CIMER) program/Web site She was the Project Director for the International Health and Medical Media (FREDDIE) Award winning program "Important Conversations: Talking with Patients About Complementary Therapies." and the Telly Award winning program "Crossroads" which received two bronze awards in the categories of "Education" and "Training" and the highest award, the Silver People's Telly Award. She is also joint recipient (Walter F. Baile, M.D.) of the John P. McGovern Award for Excellence in Biomedical Communication.

Victoria McDonnell, Dr.P.H. (, Project Director, has nearly 20 years success in higher education, academic health and private industry. She was Director of Marketing and Client Relations at a Houston-based technology company that develops video games for health. While at Baylor College of Medicine she was the Houston-site project manager of an NIH-funded Type 2 diabetes prevention trial and is skilled in focus group development, moderation, facilitation and analyses. Her work at Baylor College of Medicine and as a qualitative research consultant is published in peer-reviewed journals. She is a Certified Practitioner of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator® Step I and Step II instruments. She earned her master's degree in nutrition from Pennsylvania State University and her doctorate in public health from The University of Texas Health Science Center School of Public Health.

Veronica Paniagua, C.A.P. (, is Program Coordinator supporting the Office of Career & Entrepreneurship Advancement (CEA) and the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs & Development (OPAD) in the Department of Faculty & Academic Development. She coordinates the administrative and logistical support needed for the delivery of CEA and OPAD programs and events, while assisting the Department of Faculty & Academic Development with various projects and duties. Veronica has been with MD Anderson Cancer Center for 8 years, including four years as a Sr. Administrative Assistant in the Department of Cardiology.  She holds a certificate of Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) and has been in the administrative healthcare field for more than 15 years, allowing her to develop a diverse background working with faculty, medical personnel, administration, and trainees.

JR Porter, M.S., IDD ( Project Director for Faculty & Academic Development, joined MD Anderson Cancer Center early in 2001 and worked in the Performance Improvement Department until 20008. He went to work for Baylor College of Medicine on a federal contract developing educational materials for physicians and consumers based on comparative effectiveness research. He returned to MD Anderson Cancer Center in March of 2013. Mr. Porter earned his Master of Science degree from Lamar University and has recently been certified as an Instructional Designer/Developer.

Janice Simon, M.A., CPO® ( is a project director in Faculty & Academic Development  where she assists faculty and staff as an in-house professional organizer. She has been at MD Anderson since early 2000. Prior to working at MD Anderson, Ms. Simon worked at a school district as a media coordinator and as a newspaper journalist. She earned her Master of Arts degree from the University of Houston-Clear Lake.

Brenda Slawson, C.A.P-O.M. (, Program Manager in Faculty & Academic Development, has worked at MD Anderson Cancer Center since 2007. In April 2011, she joined us from the department of Pathology where she served as a senior administrative assistant.

Christopher Taylor,
( Project Director of the Office of Career & Entrepreneurship Advancement (CEA) in  the Faculty & Academic Development Department, develops programs and services to support the education and preparation of researchers and clinicians in the areas of career development and entrepreneurship.  Chris is in charge of the development and launch of CEA's career development offerings, including curriculum tailored to help researchers and clinicians explore a broad range of career options and create a strategic plan to reach their long-term career goals. He is also responsible for the launch of MD Anderson's Entrepreneurship Academy and its cornerstone program, the Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Regional Program, that supports innovators and entrepreneurs in their efforts to commercialize their technologies.  In addition, he oversees the Bio-Innovation Odyssey Fellowship Program that he helped to develop and launch in 2016.  Chris has been a successful entrepreneur in the financial services and hospitality industries and has held several leadership positions in industry and academia. He brings over 17 years of multidimensional experience in strategic planning, business consulting, change management, financial planning, entrepreneurship, and leadership development.  He joined MD Anderson in August 2013.

Robert Tillman, Ph.D. (, Associate Director of Faculty & Academic Career Enhancement, brings a decade of experience in the professional development of students, fellows and faculty. He was most recently Director of Faculty Professional Development at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City. He held prior positions directing the Science Alliance at the New York Academy of Sciences providing career development for students and postdocs at over 25 academic institutions focused on the greater New York City metropolitan area, and at NYU School of Medicine overseeing the development of the postdoctoral program. He received his Ph.D. in Immunology from Washington University in St. Louis, MO.
Twitter: @rtillman   ||   LinkedIn:

Deborah Watkins ( is the Senior Administrative Assistant in the Department of Faculty & Academic Development supporting the I*CARE and Faculty Health & Well-Being programs.  She has worked at MDACC for 25 years in a variety of roles in several departments including, the Division of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Medical Staff Office, Department of Pathology, Department of Behavioral Science, Department of Conference Services and Academic Support Services.  Before joining Faculty & Academic Development she served for six years as Senior Administrative Assistant and eight years as Program Coordinator, in the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology.  She is highly skilled in program coordination, and has coordinated numerous faculty recruitment searches, conferences, workshops and lectures both internally and externally including the Blaffer Lecture Series, Friday Seminar Series and Genes & Development Program.  

Katrina Allen Wright, M.B.A. ( Project Director for Faculty Health & Well-Being, holds a masters degree in business administration from Amberton University. Following work in the oil and gas industry, she transitioned to the institution for an opportunity to make more meaningful differences in the lives of people impacted by cancer. For two years and in the absence of a director, she designed and developed programs for faculty members that highlight their professional and personal lives. She now works with Warren L. Holleman, Ph.D., Professor of Behavioral Science and Director of the Faculty Health & Well-Being Program. Their goal is to promote more fulfilling and professional and personal lives for faculty member