Salinas, an associate professor in the infectious diseases section of the OU College of Medicine, has devoted more than 25 years toward treating and studying infectious diseases. In addition to her teaching duties, she serves as epidemiologist for OU Health University of Oklahoma Medical Center and as chief quality officer at OU Health. Through these roles, Salinas has led much of the hospital system’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Throughout her career, but most visibly over the last year, Dr. Salinas has demonstrated extraordinary leadership and tireless commitment to protecting the health of her fellow Oklahomans,” said OU President Joseph Harroz Jr. “We are incredibly grateful that she is part of the OU academic health system. She is truly deserving of this honor.”
The OU ring was adopted in 2000 through a student initiative to create a symbol that would capture the true essence of the university’s history and tradition. The OU ring honors graduating seniors and alumni from all classes, highlights students’ commitment to higher education and recognizes the heritage of the OU community. At each Ring Ceremony since the tradition began, an honorary ring has been presented to distinguished members of the OU family in honor of their longtime service to the university. Honorary ring recipients are nominated by the members of the Student Alumni Board and ultimately selected by the university president.
In her role as an epidemiologist, Salinas has provided guidance in numerous areas over the course of the pandemic, including adjusting hospital visitor policies in response to COVID-19 infection trends, ensuring the availability of negative airflow rooms and isolation rooms, maintaining adequate personal protective equipment for health care providers, and working in tandem with other hospital epidemiologists across the Oklahoma City metro.
OU’s Chief COVID Officer Dr. Dale Bratzler, who has worked closely with Salinas over the past two years in her role as chief quality officer for OU Health, praised Salinas for her efforts during the pandemic.
“Dr. Salinas’ knowledge of infectious diseases and epidemiology, along with her tireless work ethic, made her the ideal person to drive COVID-19 policy for the hospital system,” Bratzler said. “She has helped us work through challenging circumstances and is always available to serve – literally, you can call her day or night, weekends and while on vacation. She has completely dedicated her career to the university and our health system.”
During the pandemic, Salinas has served the community and the hospital system in numerous other capacities, including as director of the OU Health Incident Command Center and as a COVID-19 infection control consultant for both the Oklahoma City Thunder and OU Athletics.
With several other colleagues, Salinas was an author on a research publication in the Journal of Emergency Management about their design of a tabletop exercise to assist higher education institutions prepare their COVID-19 response. Previous tabletop exercises have been published in preparation for influenza pandemics, but this is the first known tabletop exercise for COVID-19.
As a professor in the College of Medicine for more than 20 years, Salinas has provided invaluable education to OU medical students and trainees, most recently through her inpatient work at OU Health in infectious diseases and general internal medicine. She regularly lectures on topics related to infectious diseases and is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine.
“Dr. Salinas is a wonderful, highly educated, highly experienced and astute clinician who will go out of her way to help a patient or a colleague,” said Dr. Lynn Mitchell, associate dean of the OU College of Medicine and chief medical officer for OU Health Physicians. “If it were my turn to be the team captain, she would be my first pick to join me on my team. She is so talented in a quiet, professional way – a true clinician’s clinician.”
Salinas earned her bachelor of science from the University of Santa Clara in 1976, her associate degree in nursing from Santa Barbara City College in 1982 and her doctor of medicine from American University of the Caribbean in 1995. She then completed her residency and fellowship with the OU College of Medicine.
For additional information about the Ring Ceremony or for accommodations, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (405) 325-1701.
About the University of Oklahoma
Founded in 1890, the University of Oklahoma is a public research university located in Norman, Oklahoma. OU serves the educational, cultural, economic and health care needs of the state, region and nation. For more information visit www.ou.edu.