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Higher Education
University of Texas Medical Branch
News Release
Wednesday, October 18, 2017

2017 President’s Cabinet Awards
Projects include health screenings, heart failure kits and a hepatitis C program

GALVESTON, Texas – Twenty-six University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston faculty, staff and students recently received UTMB President’s Cabinet awards for projects that promote outreach, education and improved patient care. The 11 funded projects total more than $243,000.

The President’s Cabinet provides financial support that advance UTMB’s mission to improve health. The contributions of the cabinet’s 380-plus members, which include university friends, community and business leaders from the Houston-Galveston area, and UTMB faculty members, staff and alumni, have provided more than $5 million in seed grants to more than 130 developing programs. For information on the President’s Cabinet, visit

Award winners this year include:

Heart Failure Kit: Impacting Readmissions through Home Monitoring

Dennis Santa Ana

Adult Patient Care Services

This project will teach heart failure patients about the signs and symptoms that signal a worsening of their condition and also will include post-discharge home visits. Weighing scales and blood pressure machines will be provided to newly-diagnosed Galveston County heart failure patients who have been identified as high-risk for re-admission or are under the care of the UTMB Cardiology Heart Failure Team.

Safe Kangaroo Care with our Innovative Gown

Souby George and Tracey Santiago

Women Infant and Children

Kangaroo Care is a form of developmental care that benefits all newborns, especially those in the neonatal intensive care unit. However, current patient hospital gowns are not designed for skin-to-skin contact or allow for privacy or proper securing of the infant. This project is to produce a gown so that all new mothers at UTMB can provide safe and modest skin-to-skin contact with their baby hours after birth.

Forensic Nursing Team

Nellie Loewen and Christine Wade

Emergency Department

This project will use its funding to buy Secure Digital Forensic Imaging Camera system, an Arrowhead Forensics Portable Light Source and to train staff on the use and care of the equipment. Together, these tools will allow for the magnification of accurate and detailed body images that can be used by physicians to determine the most appropriate treatment for victims of assault or as evidence in a court of law.

Beds for Babies:  Improving Newborn Health and Safety for UTMB Patients

Matthew Johnson and Dr. Joan Richardson

Health System Administration

Beds for Babies is to ensure that new mothers receive fundamental education and their newborns have a safe and comfortable place to sleep. Baby boxes, outfitted with firm mattresses and fitted sheets are designed to provide maximum security while guarding against the risks of newborns sleeping with adults. Video-based educational materials will be provided to new parents at UTMB and baby boxes will be filled with supplemental information on proper sleeping practices and newborn supplies.

Healthy Living on a Budget

Keegan Collins, Kelly Drago and Barbara A. Slusher

Physician Assistant Studies

First developed in 2015, this interprofessional community outreach program provides the medically underserved access to preventive health screening and counseling on healthy lifestyle choices while also providing UTMB students the opportunity to interact with and counsel patients. Health screenings performed at food distribution sites throughout Galveston include blood pressure, body mass index, point-of-care cholesterol and blood glucose screenings.

PocketPath: Providing an Innovative Tool for Each Clinician

Drs. Adam Booth, Barbara Bryant, Judy Trieu and Chris Zahner


In efforts to reduce the number of inappropriate blood product orders by clinicians, the PocketPath mobile application was created by three UTMB residents to provide guidelines and suggestions regarding the utilization of blood products and services at the bedside. Year one of the project will focus on launching, promoting and assessing the platform, and year two will focus on expanding the application.

UTMB Tough and Tiny Program

Dr. Kanika Bowen-Jallow


An after school program involving parents will identify obese children between 2 to 11 years old. Two one-hour sessions per month will allow parents to meet with physicians and UTMB students, eat a healthy dinner and learn about nutrition, diet and exercise while their children participate in fitness activities and group play organized by a certified instructor.

St. Vincent’s CHCP:  Coordinated Hepatitis C Program

Dr. Robert Beach, Paul Bui, Sarah Butler, Transon Vu Nguyen and Kendrick White

Internal Medicine

The St. Vincent’s Student Run Clinic will address chronic hepatitis C in vulnerable populations by establishing a support group and hepatitis clinic in Galveston. Project funds will be for laboratory testing, addressing barriers and providing social support and behavioral counseling to promote sustained cure and quality of life.

Early Prevention of Addictive Behaviors for Galveston Teens

Stefani Garcia, Dr. Norma Perez, and Jonathan Teran

School of Medicine

In order to determine what high school students already know about the health risks of cigarette smoking and alcohol abuse, a survey will be created and administered at Ball High, La Marque and Texas City high schools. Survey results will be presented to the community and at health fairs focused on preventing addictive behaviors will be held at each school.

Expanding the Reach of the UTMB Health MakerHealth Space

Dr. David Marshall

Hospital Administration

The UTMB MakerNurse Program and MakerHealth Space have provided faculty, staff and students the creative ability to make their ideas for new health devices a reality. To celebrate and showcase the outstanding innovations spawned from these labs, a Galveston Maker Week event will be created and will include Mini-Maker Fairs at the UTMB Galveston Campus and the Galveston Children’s Museum. 

Language Services Alignment and ServiceHub Implementation

Manuel Higginbotham and Martha Livanec

Patient Services

To better provide and integrate language access services at all UTMB locations, a Language Access Plan will be created. It aims to provide new and accurate data to leadership, improve response times of interpreters, reduce recidivism by allowing patients to fully understand their plan of care, and improve UTMB’s compliance with regulatory entities. Technology components of the plan will include dispatching and translation software, and assistive and video remote interpreting devices as mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Remembering Jim Guidry M3 Global Medical Missions

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