Fort Worth, Texas – The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth is thrilled to announce that Tonychris Nnaka, PhD, MPH, RN, CPH, associate dean for research in the HSC College of Nursing, was named one of the recipients of the Dallas College 2023 Distinguished Alumni Award. 

Nnaka is an experienced nurse leader and health disparities researcher with expertise in cardiovascular disease management and digital therapeutics. He gained his research training at The University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing under the National Institute of Nursing Research T-32 Precision Health Training in Self-Management of Multiple Chronic Conditions and at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College under the National Institute on Drug Abuse T-32 Science of Co-Occurring Disorders.

He graduated from Dallas College with an Associate Degree in Science and served as the president and vice president of the college’s Student Government Association.

His professional journey is marked by a transition from serving as a frontline nurse to health care policy and academic leadership. He previously served as a policy advisor to Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson on data-driven health decision-making, health disparities and COVID-19 responses.

“Tonychris Nnaka is the perfect winner of the Dallas College Distinguished Alumni Award,” said Cindy Weston, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, CHSE, FAANP, dean of the HSC College of Nursing. “His contributions and achievements in nursing reflect the values of what our profession stands for. We are proud to have Dr. Nnaka on our College of Nursing leadership team, where he will set an example of servant leadership to the newest generation of health care professionals.”

The Dallas College 2023 Distinguished Alumni Award honors outstanding alumni who exemplify Dallas College’s tradition of excellence through service and accomplishments. Nnaka was formally recognized Thursday during the Dallas College 2023 Distinguished Alumni Awards Event, where he was celebrated by his peers, faculty and the larger Dallas College community. 

The UNT System Board of Regents approved the creation of the HSC College of Nursing in February to help address the shortage of nurses in Texas. In August, it approved the college’s first two degree offerings: a Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) and a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in Nursing Practice Innovation, pending approval by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The college’s first students are expected to start classes in fall 2024.

For more information about HSC’s new College of Nursing, visit

About HSC

The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth is located in the heart of the Fort Worth Cultural District. HSC trains the health care providers, public health workforce and scientists of the future in an interprofessional ecosystem. In HSC’s six schools, students learn to work in teams and to develop an innovative mindset that prepares them for a rapidly changing health landscape. HSC Health, the clinical enterprise of the Health Science Center, provides patient-centered care to people across Tarrant County. HSC’s research enterprise provides a foundation to expand the frontiers of scientific discovery to improve health and well-being.

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