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For over a century, the University of Texas Medical Branch has dedicated its efforts toward improving the health of society - in Texas and beyond. Today the SHP offers baccalaureate degrees in Clinical Laboratory Sciences and Respiratory Care, master's degrees in Clinical Laboratory Sciences, Occupational Therapy, Health Professions, Nutrition & Metabolism and Physician Assistant Studies, and a professional doctorate in Physical Therapy. In addition to designing and implementing innovative ways to deliver instruction to students at distant locations, the school continuously explores opportunities to expand its program offerings and interprofessional learning.

Take The First Step - For more information about getting your education at UTMB, please contact the SHP Office of Academic and Student Affairs by phone at 409.772.3030 or by email at

Health Professions News

2017 Causeway FunD Run

UTMB Health School of Health Professions Causway Fund Run 2017. Saturday, March 4. Providing scholarships for the students of UTMB's School of Health Professions. Schedule of events. 6:45 am Registration and Check in. 7:45 am Kids 1K Run Walk and 1K Wheelchair Race. 8:05 am 5K Wheelchair Race. 8:15 am 5K Fund Run Walk. 9:30 am Award Ceremony. For info and registertarion, visit or call the hotline at 409-772-3006.

This year's run is scheduled for Saturday, March 4, 2017. The Causeway FunD Run/Walk is the premiere fundraiser of student scholarships for the school.

One of only two events that allow running and walking enthusiasts to negotiate the causeway, the SHP FunD Run awards the top runners of each age division, recognizes outstanding teams at the end of the race with special awards and is family friendly.

In partnership with fitTRIrun / FTR Race Management - a local multi-sport performance gear store and race management timing company - this fifth annual event will start with a children's 1K at 7:45 a.m. followed by a 5K wheelchair race at 8:05 a.m. The 5K run begins at 8:15 a.m. with the 5K walk immediately following the runners.

The 5K course is USA Track and Field certified and starts in the parking lot of the Galveston County Daily News Building, 8522 Teichman Road, Galveston. Participants will proceed up the southbound lanes of the causeway, turn around at the acme of the bridge, and head back to the starting line.

Read More: 2017 Causeway FunD Run

Dr. Doug Paddon-Jones Appointed as Distingished Professor

Dr. Doug Paddon-Jones

Congratulations to Dr. Doug Paddon-Jones, PhD for his recent appointment to the Sheridan Lorenz Distinguished Professorship in Aging and Health by the Sealy Center on Aging.

Dr. Paddon-Jones has been a UTMB faculty member since 2003 and is a professor with the SHP Nutrition and Metabolism department, director of the Physical Activity and Functional Recovery Translational Research Lab for the Center for Recovery, Physical Activity and Nutrition (CeRPAN), and Sealy Center on Aging Senior Fellow.

His research activities focus on the regulation of muscle metabolism, mass, and function in healthy and at-risk populations. In 2016, Dr. Paddon-Jones has been quoted by TIME magazine, MSN Lifestyle, Men's Health magazine, and others about protein consumption and deficiency.

Successful PhD Dissertation Defenses

Dr. Muneeza Esani and Dr. Zakoyya Lewis-Powell

Congratulations to two newly appointed PhD candidates that successfuly defended their dissertations in Fall 2016.

Muneeza Esani, assistant professor in the Clinical Laboratory Science department will be getting her PhD in Clinical Science with the Department of Preventive Medicine and Community Health at UTMB.

Esani's dissertation work was on Predictors and Outcomes of Pica,' which was supervised by Dr. Yong-Fang Kuo and was defended on November 30, 2016. Pica is a poorly understood eating disorder of chewing non-nutritional substances such as ice, dirt, corn starch, paint etc. Her study found that iron deficiency was the strongest predictor of pica in adults and children. Psychiatric disorders such as Autism Spectrum disorder, mood disorder and anxiety disorder were also strong predictors of pica. Pica is a public health concern due to significant outcomes such as hospitalizations, gastrointestinal disorders and infections, lead poisoning and fluid and electrolyte imbalances. It is important to screen patients for pica using laboratory tests such as hemoglobin and red cell distribution width which are predictors of pica

Zakoyya Lewis-Powell, PhD Candidate in the Division of Rehabilitation Sciences, defended her dissertation on December 2, 2016.

Lewis-Powell's dissertaion, "TAME health: Testing Activity Monitors' Effect on Health", was a 12-week, pragmatic, comparative effectiveness intervention. The study compared a basic pedometer and the Jawbone UP24 monitor to increase physical activity, decrease cardiovascular risk, increase motivation, and improve overall health among inactive, overweight and obese adults aged 55 to 74 years of age. The intervention took place within two UTMB primary care clinics in an effort to evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of implementing the intervention within practice. The study found that the UP24 participants increased their physical activity by 11 minutes per day and were significantly more motivated to exercise after 12 weeks. There were no differences in cardiovascular risk but study participants and primary care stakeholders found the study the study feasible and flexible.

Dr. Ken Ottenbacher Receives Prestigious Golden Key Award

Dr. Kenneth Ottenbacher

The 2016 Gold Key Award recipient is Kenneth J. Ottenbacher, PhD, OTR, FACRM, University of Texas Medical Branch.

Kenneth J. Ottenbacher holds the Russell Shearn Moody Distinguished Chair in Neurological Rehabilitation at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB). He is Professor and Director of the Division of Rehabilitation Sciences in the School of Health Professions. He is also Director of the Center for Recovery, Physical Activity and Nutrition, and Associate Director for the Sealy Center on Aging. Dr. Ottenbacher received his PhD from the University of Missouri-Columbia and is a licensed occupational therapist.

Dr. Ottenbacher began his academic career at the University of Wisconsin - Madison working through the ranks from assistant professor to professor. He went to the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1990 serving as Associate Dean for Research and Academic Affairs in the School of Health Related Professions, Professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy, Professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, and Associate Director of the Center for Functional Assessment Research in the Uniform Data System for Medical Rehabilitation. In 1995, he joined UTMB as Professor and Vice Dean of the School of Allied Health Sciences. He has received numerous awards for his research and service including fellow status in the American Occupational Therapy Association, the American Academy of Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine, the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine, and the Gerontological Society of America.

Dr. Ottenbacher's research interests include rehabilitation outcomes with a focus on functional assessment, disability and frailty in older adults using large datasets. He has published more than 300 articles in refereed journals. Dr. Ottenbacher's research has been supported by continuous federal funding since 1984. He is currently the principal investigator or project leader on seven grants including four from the National Institutes of Health, two from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research, and one from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Source: American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine

2016 President's Cabinet Awards

Twenty-one UTMB faculty, staff and students recently received UTMB President's Cabinet awards for projects that promote outreach, education and improved patient care in the community. The nine funded projects total more than $200,000 and were presented during a banquet on Sept. 9 at The San Luis Resort in Galveston.

The President's Cabinet provides financial resources that advance UTMB's mission to improve health. The contributions of the cabinet's 400-plus members, which include university friends, community and business leaders from the Houston-Galveston area, and UTMB faculty members, staff and alumni, provide seed money to launch initiatives designed to improve the quality of life in the community and beyond. For information on the President's Cabinet, visit

2016 SHP President's Cabinet Award Recipients

Cognitive Rehabilitation for Cancer Survivors
Theresa Smith, PhD, and Karen Ratcliff

A program to offer cancer patients in Galveston County a series of group sessions to provide attention and memory strategies, compensation techniques, planning and organization, problem solving skills and cognitive training. UTMB occupational therapy students will run the classes and gain experience in developing, implementing and measuring cognitive rehabilitation outcomes.

HOPE Initiative: Mindfulness at St. Vincent's Clinic
Karen Aranha, PhD, Jacob Moran, Elizabeth Wright and Alison Kelly

The Student Healer Association, an interprofessional student organization at UTMB, plans to teach mindfulness meditation techniques for the management of stress, chronic pain and various life changes to occupational therapy and psychiatry patients at St. Vincent's Clinic.

Source: UTMB Impact

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