President’s Cabinet Awards 

For more than 30 years, the President's Cabinet has provided a vehicle for UTMB and the community to work together to support these promising initiatives to improve health and well-being.


Download application here.
Proposals must be received by 4:30 PM, Friday, May 10, 2024.

For more information all 409-772-5151 or email

  • A Heart for Service

    David Wise, PT, PhD
    Eric Gully
    Ryan Collins
    James Chaney
    Carolyn Utsey, PT, PhD
    Department of Physical Therapy

    To help address the health needs of a significant population of people who do not have access to medical services, this project established free physical therapy services through the volunteer efforts of UTMB students and clinicians. President’s Cabinet funding allowed for the establishment of a student-run physical therapy program under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist at the St. Vincent’s clinic. Free, competent physical therapy services were provided to the underserved population of Galveston while also providing students the ability to gain hands-on experience with vary diagnoses, equipment, and treatment techniques. Funds were used to purchase physical therapy equipment for this project.

  • A Team Approach to Improving the Health of the Community

    Angela Shepherd, MD
    Diana Browning
    Ambulatory Operations

    The Family Medicine Clinic on Stewart Road will provide training for medical assistants in order to provide a higher level of service to patients. Serving as a communication bridge between patients and staff, these "health coaches" will work collaboratively with physicians, nurses and other health care professionals to provide a medical home and care coordination for patients through one-on-one interaction and follow-up support

  • AHEC Community Health Worker (CHW) Training Program

    Mary Wainwright
    Leslie Hargrove
    Division of Community Outreach

    The Area Health Education Center (AHEC) headquartered at UTMB trained community members to educate and support people in their own neighborhoods about healthier lifestyles in a culturally and linguistically competent manner. This cadre of community health workers (CHWs) helped clients throughout Galveston County navigate the health care system. President’s Cabinet funds supported the training component and purchased outreach kits for community-based interventions and education programs. Kits contained a stethoscope, blood pressure monitor, glucose monitor, general supplies and educational aids. Overall this well-trained CHW workforce was called upon to assist organizations in Galveston County to expand delivery of health care and follow-up with patients.

  • An Evidenced-Based, Nurse-Led Family Life and Sexual Health Education Intervention for Fifth-Graders in Galveston County

    Dr. Tammy Cupit
    Dora Kuntz
    Nursing Service

    In an effort to educate students about the high rates of teen births and sexually transmitted diseases in Galveston County, this two-phased project is aimed at providing evidence-based, nurse-led family life and sexual health education for select fifth-graders in Galveston County. UTMB nurse clinicians and nursing students will teach the Family Life and Sexual Health (FLASH) curriculum to a select group of students who have parental consent to participate in the program. FLASH includes units on family, self-esteem, gender roles, puberty, pregnancy and much more.

  • An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure:  The St. Vincent's/Luke Society Preventive Dental Health Clinic Collaboration

    Anthony Nguyen, School of Medicine Student
    Jaspreet Sodhi, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences Student
    Jay Truitt, MD, PhD, PharmD
    Barbara Slusher, MSW, PA-C, DFAAPA
    Physician Assistant Studies

    In 2014, the President's Cabinet supported the creation of St. Vincent's Dental Clinic for basic dental services to Galveston's indigent, uninsured and under insured populations.  Since the program's inception, the clinic has modestly addressed the need for end-stage dental services by treating oral infections through tooth extractions and antibiotics.  This new project will expand current services by establishing a new preventive dental health clinic that will offer oral health education, dental exams and cleanings, fluoride varnish and seal applications for adults and children.  The goal is to prevent new tooth/oral infections, reduce dental decay, decrease the need for antibiotics and improve overall health.

  • Be a Hero-Hire a Hero: A Collaboration for Transitioning Veterans into the UTMB Clinical Workforce

    Ruth Ann Marr
    UTMB Healthcare Systems Staffing Leadership
    Healthcare Systems Staffing

    This partnership between the “Be a Hero-Hire a Hero” organization and UTMB will promote the recruitment of high qualified military veterans prior to discharge for clinical and continuing education opportunities and career growth in the UTMB School of Nursing. In addition to funding on-site seminars and promotion of the program at military bases nationwide, this award will also provide a portion of short-term supplemental housing costs to support the transition from military to civilian housing for qualifying veterans.

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

    Matthew S. Johnson, Administrative Fellow
    C. Joan Richardson, MD
    Health Systems Administration

    Beds for Babies is a two-fold program designed to ensure that new mothers receive fundamental education and that newborns have a safe and comfortable place to sleep in their home. 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. To promote the distribution of “community baby boxes” and video-based educational materials to new mothers at UTMB, this program will fill the boxes with supplemental information on proper sleeping practices and newborn starter supplies for parents. Participants will be tracked and surveyed throughout the program.

  • Books to Bedside Project

    Chandler Rainey
    School of Medicine

    Hospital libraries play a successful role in patient rehabilitation. This effort will establish a permanent fully-stocked library at John Sealy Hospital which will be accessible to patients, families and staff. Maneuverable book carts will allow volunteers to deliver a variety of reading levels and subjects with ease and efficiency to bed-ridden patients and clinical waiting areas. Plans to increase and sustain library inventory include an annual book drive and the installation of a permanent book drop outside the library entrance.

  • Breaking the Silence

    Cheryl L. Kaplan
    Marie Schwartz
    Institute for Medical Humanities

    In an attempt to give domestic violence a voice, Cheryl Kaplan created “Breaking the Silence” as a traveling production with art, music, theater and intellectual discussion to engage audiences in the truth and consequences of domestic violence. A total of 10, 90-minute performances were held throughout Galveston County to dispel myths, provide factual information and empower people to learn how to get out of a dangerous situation. The purpose of he traveling production was to reduce the incidence of domestic violence at the local level by educating audience members about free resources and providing information on the legal and social necessities to return back to an independent life. The production culminated with the donation of a “comment wall” to the Galveston Resource and Crisis Center for their educational use and to perpetuate the important messages shared by audience members during these 10 productions.

  • Building Long-Term Academic Success Through Ongoing Fun Fitness (BLASTOFF) Program

    Karen Ratcliff, PhD, OTR
    Claudia Hilton, PhD, OTR, MBA, FAOTA
    Occupational Therapy

    Studies have shown that physical activity during school time can increase attention and memory and reduce inappropriate behavior, resulting in improved academic performance. In an effort to assist academically low-performing students at Odyssey Academy in Galveston, the UTMB Occupational Therapy Department will create a sustainable motor lab program called BLASTOFF and work with students in the school's reading intervention program five days per week for 20 minutes per session. The BLASTOFF lab will be equipped with dance software, a gaming system, gross motor skills equipment, motor coordination and fitness gams and more.

  • Burn Survivors' Journeys: Real Stories of Challenges, Strength and Triumph

    Amy Barrera-Kovach
    Dr. Michelle Sierpina
    Blocker Burn Unit and OLLI

    This collaboration between burn survivors and members of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) writing group will facilitate the creation, publication and distribution of an anthology of 20 to 25 short stories outlining the recovery process in an effort to offer hope and inspiration to other survivors. These stories of resilience and challenges will outline the struggles, vulnerability, gratitude and healing process of each survivor and will be distributed to patients admitted to the UTMB Blocker Burn Unit.

  • Cancer Connection: From Diagnosis to Treatment

    Cheron J. Hillmon, LMSW
    Community Health

    In an effort to support patients with cancer at UTMB, Chemo Care bags will be given to patients at the beginning of their chemo or radiation therapy. These bags will contain educational and treatment materials and comfort items such as lip balm, lotion, blankets, journals, socks and ginger candies. Each bag will be specially packed by people who have gone through similar treatments and know what items would be of most value. The goal is to provide first-time patients with much-needed items and allow them to pack other comfort itmes for subsequent appointments.  This award will provide funding for 600 bags over a two-year period.

  • Cancer Survivorship and Wellness Program

    Lyuba Levine, MD
    Victor S. Sierpina, MD
    Gerald T. Cleveland, MA

    Advances in medicine have led to a paradigm shift in how a diagnosis of cancer is perceived. The number of survivors is constantly increasing, however most have some degree of impairment in every aspect of life including fatigue, depression and the residual effects of treatment. This comprehensive program will serve as an integrative center for the care of cancer patients from the time of diagnosis through remission and the first year of cancer survivorship. After an initial evaluation, a targeted plan of care will be formulated specifically for each participant to include exercise, diet and mind-body and stress management therapies.

  • Cardiac Anomaly Screening for Athletes (CASA)

    Cintia Roman
    Tamer Dafashy
    OB/Gyn Perinatal Research and School of Medicine

    Sudden cardiac death is a recurrent tragedy in sporting events and athletic training. The American Academy of Pediatrics estimates that more than 2,000 people under the age of 25 die from sudden cardiac arrest each year. With a goal to increase awareness of the importance of cardiac screening prior to any strenuous activity, free heart screenings will be available two Saturdays this October at St. Vincent’s Clinic for young athletes in Galveston County. Using a mobile echo machine, UTMB students will work closely with skilled cardiologists to examine and screen high school students. In year two, the program will be expanded to include other young athletes attending Galveston College and Texas A&M Galveston.

  • Centering Pregnancy Visits at Ball High School

    Dr. Tuere Coulter
    Dr. Juliet McKee
    Department of Family Medicine

    This program expands the present outreach program at Galveston’s Ball High School Teen Health Clinic for pregnant teenagers. It will provide emotional support and encourage participants to have routine prenatal care while also educating them about healthier lifestyles. Integrating the program into the existing maternity clinic will create an atmosphere of support, education and growth to help teens face the challenges of pregnancy while achieving their educational and life goals.

  • Check Healthy Wristband

    Robert Trevino
    Lorena Serenil
    Joshalyn Toliver
    Community Health Program

    Diabetics confront many challenges in their daily lives, including how and when to test their blood glucose levels. The UTMB Community Health Program will teach economically disadvantaged participants the skills they need to manage testing as an integral part of their daily routine. Additionally, ID bracelets imprinted with basic blood glucose ranges will be distributed. Since testing supplies are a hidden cost of disease management, this program will provide a limited amount of free testing supplies and list resources for obtaining supplies at little or no cost.

  • Code Zen: A Stress Reduction Intervention for Healthcare Professionals

    Aisen Chacin, PhD
    Jacqueline Meyer, PhD, CNE, RN-BC
    Charlene Nieten, MSN, RN, CCRN
    TDCJ Hospital Galveston

    Code Zen is a designated private space within the hospital for staff to retreat to when experiencing challenging, emotional, or stressful work-related situations. In response to staff burnout –especially in the wake of the COVID19 pandemic – President’s Cabinet funds will allow the creation of three additional spaces on the Galveston campus (TDCJ, Jennie Sealy and John Sealy). Each private area will be outfitted with mindfulness tools and calming resources (diffuser, essential oils, music, plants, chimes) to help staff reconnect and practice mindfulness and in turn create a care environment that better supports patients.

  • Cognitive Rehabilitation for Cancer Survivors

    Dr. Theresa Smith
    Karen Ratcliff
    School of Health Professions - Occupational Therapy

    Cancer is a prevalent disease in our society and has a profound impact on a person’s ability to participate in everyday activities and commonly results in mild cognitive impairment. Since cognitive deficits are not currently being addressed in local cancer support groups, this program aims to close this gap by offering a series of group sessions to provide attention and memory strategies, compensation techniques, planning and organization, problem solving skills, and cognitive training. Master’s level students in the UTMB occupational therapy program will run the classes and gain valuable experience in developing, implementing and measuring cognitive rehabilitation outcomes.

  • Community Hands at St. Vincent's Student Clinic

    David Darrow
    Walter J. Meyer, III, MD
    Psychiatry/Behavioral Science

    In an effort to lower the no-show rate and improve the management and coordination of patients at St. Vincent's Clinic, this program will create a Community Health Worker position. The CHW will be trained to effectively coordinate and follow patients and, with the help of medical students, facilitate basic health disease management classes. A member of the community will be chosen for this position in order to minimize social and cultural barriers, which will allow root-cause analysis on lack of follow-up to easily take place.

  • Community Service Learning

    Sandra Riegle, PhD
    Alexandra Nolen, PhD, MPH 
    Institute for Medical Humanities

    It has been recognized that barriers imposed by cultural, language and income are not taught in the classroom but are essential components needed to treat diverse populations in order to provide real and effective health care and treatment. Through this service learning project, classroom modules were developed and implemented by faculty who then mentored students on-site during service missions. Students learned how society shapes healthcare and became more aware of the barriers patients face in improving their health and what can be done to break down those barriers.

Awards by Year