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Higher Education
University of Texas Medical Branch
News Release
Monday, October 10, 2011

2011 President’s Cabinet Awards recipients announced
Six programs to benefit Galveston area 

GALVESTON — Nine University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston faculty and staff and one medical student have earned six President’s Cabinet awards — totaling nearly $200,000 — for their novel programs to advance the university’s patient care, educational and biomedical research missions.

This year’s winning programs include a sculpture honoring organ donors, as well as instruction for economically disadvantaged citizens with diabetes to help them manage daily testing of their blood glucose levels.

The 2011 awards were given to:

“Check healthy wristband”
Robert Trevino, Lorena Serenil and Joshalyn Toliver (Community Health Program)

People living with diabetes are constantly challenged to monitor their blood glucose levels regularly. The UTMB Community Health Program will teach economically disadvantaged participants the skills they need to manage testing as part of their daily routine. Identification bracelets imprinted with basic blood glucose ranges also will be distributed. Because testing supplies are typically a hidden cost of disease management, the program will provide free supplies and list resources for obtaining more at little or no cost.  

“A team approach to improving the health of the community”
Dr. Angela Shepherd and Diana Browning (Ambulatory Operations)

UTMB’s Family Medicine Clinic on Stewart Road in Galveston will train medical assistants to provide a higher level of patient service. Acting as a communication bridge between patients and staff, these “health coaches” will work collaboratively with physicians, nurses and other health care professionals to coordinate care for patients through one-on-one interaction and follow-up support.

“Development of a joint venture between UTMB and Galveston College to train clinical research coordinators”
Dr. William J. Calhoun (Internal Medicine)

Clinical and translational research at UTMB depends upon a vital member of the research team: the clinical research coordinator. To increase the availability of well-trained coordinators, a joint venture between the university and Galveston College will support the development of a one-year curriculum and course to prepare candidates to pass one of two national certification examinations. Scholarships for prospective students will be available through the program.

“Wall of heroes Organ donor memorial/recognition”
Jaymee Mayo (Transplant Services)

A metal tree sculpture will be installed at UTMB to recognize organ donors. Donors from the past five years will be honored by name on individual leaves of the tree. The names and dates of donors also will be displayed on a digital frame next to the sculpture. It is hoped that this memorial will encourage potential organ donors while remembering those who have given the gift of life.

“Community hands at St. Vincent’s Student Clinic”
David Darrow, fourth-year medical student, and Dr. Walter J. Meyer III (Psychiatry/Behavioral Science)

To lower the absenteeism rate and improve the management and coordination of patients at St. Vincent’s Clinic in Galveston, this program will create a community health worker position. The health worker will be trained to effectively coordinate treatment for patients and, with the help of UTMB medical students, facilitate basic disease management classes. A member from the community will be selected for the position to minimize social and cultural barriers. St. Vincent’s is a UTMB student-run free clinic that provides care to the uninsured and underserved citizens of Galveston County.

“Sight to the blind”
Dr. Gibran Khurshid (Ophthalmology)

Diabetic retinopathy, the most common irreversible cause of blindness, is a prevalent condition in the community. To optimize ophthalmic care to Galveston County residents, a President’s Cabinet award will equip the St. Vincent’s Eye Clinic with the tools and medicines needed to treat the diabetic eye disease free to economically disadvantaged patients.

Annual contributions from President’s Cabinet members — $500 for junior members (40 and under), at least $1,000 for individuals and $5,000 for corporations, foundations and other organizations — are pooled to make the awards possible. President’s Cabinet members have contributed more than $5 million since 1993. More than 90 awards have been given to innovative community programs over the last 17 years.

The President’s Cabinet was established 18 years ago to provide financial resources that advance the mission of UTMB, home of the state’s oldest schools of medicine, nursing and health professions. The cabinet’s more than 300 members include community and business leaders from the Houston/Galveston area, UTMB faculty and staff, and alumni from across the state and nation. Through their gifts to the university, President’s Cabinet awards provide seed money to launch initiatives designed to improve the quality of life in the community and beyond.

For more information about the President’s Cabinet or how to join, contact Marie Marczak, UTMB director of annual giving, at 409-772-5151 or, or visit the organization’s website at

Remembering Jim Guidry

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