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

  • Moving from What's the Matter?  to What Matters Most to You?

    Dr. Meredith Masel
    Oliver Center for Patient Safety

    Shared-decision making enables patients and their providers to make health care decisions together, taking into account the best scientific evidence available and the patient’s values and preferences. To develop an infrastructure for shared-decision making at UTMB, this program will train advocates, create a library containing shared-decision making information and solicit community input to better align patients’ values and lifestyles with their health care.

  • Pain, Pain Go Away:  Reducing the Perception of Pain in Children with Comfort for Kids

    Stephanie Kemmerling, MSN, FNP-C

    The pain associated with medical procedures can cause significant stress and anxiety for child and their families. Studies show that distractions are considered an effective, safe and low-cost method to reduce pain and anxiety during medical procedures. Because UTMB's outpatient pediatric clinics lack resources to provide distraction techniques for children, President's Cabinet funds will provide for the creation of 25 specialized portable pediatric care kits that will include age-appropriate toys, an iPad loaded with specialized comfort applications and an external vibratory buzzing device. These kits will be distributed to clinics based on the severity of the medical procedures that take place, including immunizations, venipuncture, cryotherapy, biopsies, etc.


  • Parent-Based Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program

    Dr. Cara Pennel
    Dr. Juliet McKee
    Naiomi Jamal
    Preventive Medicine and Community Health

    Data from the 2014 Galveston Youth Risk Student Survey indicated that 44.7% of the student respondents in grades 9-12 reported being sexually active. While research shows that parents have the most influence on teens regarding their decisions about sex, parents report being uncomfortable talking to their school-aged children about sex. To increase parent-adolescent communication regarding sexual health, this project will develop and implement a parent-based teen pregnancy prevention program. Classes will be held for parents of children, ages 11-16, with UTMB residents and students overseeing and facilitating each session. Topics will cover teen pregnancy, communication, parental values and teen support. Educational materials will be provided and skills will be taught through group discussions, presentations, videos, role playing and take-home exercises.

  • Partnering with the Galveston Community to Inspire the Future Biomedical and Health Careers Workforce

    Clifford W. Houston, PhD
    Office of Educational Outreach

    UTMB is dependent on the Galveston Community to contribute toward the development of its future workforce. To foster this future workforce, a biomedical and health sciences career summer immersion experience will be provided on the UTMB campus and will target under-represented minority and/or economically disadvantaged high school students from Galveston County. A web-based health careers experience will be developed and implemented on a broader scope targeting high school students and teachers nationwide. Both experiences are designed to advance an appreciation for the biomedical and health sciences to promote career choices to include research, medicine, nursing and all fields within the health sciences.

  • Patient Driven Self-Management Data in the EMR: Blood Glucose Capture

    Mara Wilson
    Dr. Mark Kirshbaum
    Stark Diabetes Clinic

    Through the implementation of an electronic interface that includes software and cable for data downloads, diabetic patients will have the ability to upload their glucose meter data to caregivers at Stark Diabetes Clinic and receive feedback and care suggestions through their MyChart account or by phone. By partnering with patients in this manner, caregivers can interact with them outside of the clinic setting and free up schedules for appointments needed by other patients.

  • Patient Navigation - Improving Outcomes and Reducing Barriers to Care

    Deana M. Gehring
    Cancer Center

    Patient navigation has become critical to the success of UTMB’s breast cancer programs. These navigators assist patients with overcoming socioeconomic obstacles, maneuvering the health care system, coordinating diagnostic follow-up, investigating financial resources and providing continuity of services. In order to provide navigation services for uninsured and medically underserved women, the UTMB Cancer Center will extend this program to satellite clinics and allow for the creation and administration of a comprehensive patient database to manage demographic, clinical, coding and billing information.

  • Perinatal Hospice at UTMB

    Cara Geary, MD, PhD
    Kathy Ozenberger
    Eva Blight

    Established in 2010, the Perinatal Hospice and Palliative Care Program has served as a support system for parents whose baby has received a terminal diagnosis. President Cabinet funds will allow this program to be expanded to 14 obstetric clinics, the emergency department, and the UTMB inpatient obstetric department. Coordinated efforts relating to staff education, family counseling, community support groups and special care packages for mothers and families are the central elements of this outstanding project.

  • PocketPath:  Providing an Innovative Tool for Each Clinician

    Adam Booth, MD
    Barbara Bryant, MD
    Judy Trieu, MD, MPH
    Chris Zahner, MD

    The ongoing shortage of blood supply in the United States continues to remain a critical issue particularly when an increase in the number of blood components are being wasted through inappropriate transfusions. With a goal to reduce the number of inappropriate blood product orders by clinicians, the PocketPath mobile application was created by three UTMB residents in an effort 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, while year two will focus on expanding the application to create two-way communication between clinicians and pathology residents in order to facilitate questions not available via the application.

  • Practice of Medicine Year 3 Expanded Pilot Project

    Judith L. Rowen, MD, Associate Professor
    Hans M. von Marensdorff, MD
    Department of Pediatrics

    The Practice of Medicine Year 3 (POM3) course has been in existence since the 2006-07 academic year. This project expanded the course and provided third-year medical students with a “safe” place to reflect and grow as professionals. The course provided a venue for presenting “orphan topics”- such as understanding how patients pay for health care, how a patient’s culture influences medical decision-making, how to address the issues of patient safety, and much more. Faculty served as facilitators/mentors and assign advanced readings and reflective essays for each session. The project included two Austin-based groups and seven Galveston-based groups who met monthly in a longitudinal small group format.

  • Preventive Medicine:  Shumsky Therapeutic Pillows

    Gisele A. Lombard
    Transplant Services

    Hospital-acquired pneumonia is the second-most common infection originating in U.S. hospitals. The most effective therapies to prevent its occurrence are deep breathing and intentional coughing exercises. Through the program, the UTMB Transplant Council will provide organ-specific therapeutic pillows to post-operative transplant recipients to facilitate these exercises. Each pillow is designed for the respective shape of the transplanted organ and features an anatomical diagram for patient education.

  • Project ACCESS (A Cared for Child is Everyone's Success Story)

    Kwabena Sarpong, MD, FAAP
    Tiffany Moffett, CPNP
    Department of Pediatrics

    Several years ago, UTMB partnered with the Children’s Advocacy Center of Brazoria County to provide medical care to abused children in that area. This successful partnership provided exams to children in the southern county areas, yet data showed that children in the northern counties were not having their medical needs met. To address this problem, Project ACCESS expanded this partnership into the Pearland, Manvel and Alvin communities and created a safe and child-friendly medical suite to care for abused children.

  • Providing Dental Run Services at St. Vincent's Student Run Clinic

    Tyler Bliss
    Tracy Cable
    Taylor Surles
    Jacqueline Posada
    Dr. William Glenn
    Dr. Roger Throndson
    Dr. Vic Sierpina
    Family Medicine

    Research shows that Galveston County is lacking in dental care options for the indigent, uninsured and underinsured. To serve this population, this project will provide non-urgent basic dental services such as tooth extraction, drainage of periodontal abscesses, and treatment of gum and mouth infections at the St. Vincent’s Clinic. This award supports the initial investment for the purchase of supplies, instruments and equipment to be installed in a dedicated area of the clinic. The continuity of the clinic will then be provided through the existing St. Vincent’s budget and leadership.

  • Providing Exercise Programs for Person's with Parkinson's Disease in Galveston County

    Ann L. Charness, PT, MS PhDc
    Physical Therapy

    There are nearly one million people living with Parkinson's Disease in the United States. Treatment predominantly consisted of medication and/or surgery, but researchers are favoring the positive effects of exercise in slowing down the progression of the disease. This project will provide free community-based therapeutic exercise groups for people with Parkinson's in Galveston County. Under the supervision of the UTMB Physical Therapy Department, students and practitioners will operate weekly classes from November to June with the goal to improve the walking, functional mobility and balance capabilities of participants in order to reduce the risk for falls.

  • Public Vaccine Education Campaign: Enhancing Our Community’s Understanding of the Importance of Vaccines and the Diseases They Prevent

    Richard Rupp, MD
    Bridget Hawkins, PhD
    Sealy Center for Vaccine Development

    Anti-vaccination campaigns and misinformation about the safety and efficacy of vaccines have led to a decline in the immunization rates in many states over the past five years. To increase the rates of immunization in Galveston County, an extensive educational campaign using podcasts, videos, newspaper and magazine articles, a public website and a customized Facebook page will be launched. Community presentations and special interactive quiz and advertisement slides will be displayed just prior to movie previews in local cinemas in an effort to reach a larger and diverse audience.

  • PC Award 3 - 900x400 - 150dpi

    Pulmonary Rehabilitation Clinic at St. Vincent's House

    N. Miles Farr, MD, MPH
    Daneen Nastars, DHSc, RRT, RRT-ACCS
    Melissa Yanes, MS, RRT-ACCS
    Internal Medicine - General Medicine

    A six-week pulmonary rehabilitation program for uninsured populations diagnosed with chronic lung disease and/or shortness of breath issues will be established at the St. Vincent's House. Under the direction of UTMB Respiratory Care faculty, students will work with patients to follow individualized treatment plans and measure outcomes. The program will collaborate with the American Lung Association, the American Thoracic Society Pulmonary Rehabilitation Chapter and the UTMB Pulmonary Department to ensure patients are meeting the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Pulmonary Rehabilitation guidelines. A smoking cessation component will also be part of the clinic.

  • Reach Out and Read: Mitigating the Effects of Toxic Stress Through Relational Health and Promoting Early Childhood Literacy

    Angela Attaway, RN, MSN
    Syed K. Kazmi, MD
    Priscila E. Martinez, MD
    Maria Nguyen, MD, FAAP
    Roxanna J. Sanchez, RN, MSN

    Community-Based Clinic - Pediatrics, Alvin

    Currently the UTMB Pediatric and Adult Primary Care Clinic in Alvin is an official site for the national Reach Out and Read program.  The clinic will use this award to expand the scope and reach children at birth rather than waiting until 6 months of age. Children will be gifted with age-appropriate and language-appropriate books during their check-up visits. Each provider is trained to teach parents how to develop emotional relational health and promote preschool literacy by reading aloud to their children. President Cabinet funds will enable the purchase of new books for the next two years and introduce the benefits of childhood literacy to a great number of at-risk patients earlier in life. The goal is to develop safe, stable and nurturing relationships for children in a community that is susceptible to the untoward effects of toxic stress.

  • Reaching into the Community: A Student-Led Hand Therapy Initiative

    April Cowan, OTD, OTR, CHT
    Loree Pryor, OTD, OTR
    Occupational Therapy

    Currently occupational therapy faculty and students participate in several clinics at St. Vincent’s. As the clinics grow, an apparent need for hand-therapy services has developed, and the OT team is receiving 5 to 8 referrals each semester. When an individual injures an upper extremity or hand, their ability to engage in daily activities is severely limited. This clinic is designed to fill a gap in specialized therapy services for the uninsured and underinsured and provide a valuable clinical learning experience for UTMB students. Patients will regain proper functions of the hand – strength and dexterity – with the goal to return work and perform daily activities independently. In turn, students will gain specialized therapy skills that are sought after by clinical fieldwork sites and employers.

  • Realizing UTMB's Institutional Vision through 100 Kitchen Gardens and Door-to-Door Compost

    Victor Sierpina, MD
    Anna Fields, School of Medicine Student
    Mercedez Hernandez, School of Medicine Student
    Jessica Stauber, School of Medicine Student
    Daniel White, School of Medicine Student
    Family Medicine

    Food insecurity is an unreliable access to affordable and nutritious food.  Rates of food insecurity in Galveston exceed national and state averages.  A partnership between UTMB, the UTMB Greenies Gardening Club and Seeding Galveston will work with at-risk residents to build and maintain backyard and neighborhood gardens.  The program will also establish a compost pick-up program designed to generate a cost-effective alternative to conventional garden fertilizer.

  • Religion, Medicine and Culture:  Making Life and Death Decisions

    Harold J. Vanderpool, PhD, ThM
    Institute for Medical Humanities

    The influences and implications of end-of-life decisions can be deeply religious, spiritual and cultural; therefore, a one-size-fits-all approach is not effective or reasonable. This program was designed to offer UTMB employees, students, patients and families with planning strategies that considered religious, spiritual and cultural influences relating to life and death decisions. The practical intervention consisted of information and public education about existing legal and ethical options for advanced care planning and end-of-life decision making through a series of public lectures and film screenings designed to educate the UTMB and Galveston community about bridging common cultural divides.

  • Respite Care for Geriatric Patients - UTMB Geriatrics and St. Vincent's House

    Melissa Lockhart, PhD, APRN, GNP
    Erin Hommel, MD
    Andrea Wirt, MSN, GNP
    Internal Medicine - Geriatrics

    Caregiver burden is significant for families of geriatric patients. Following the success of a 2019 collaboration between the UTMB Geriatrics Department and the St. Vincent’s House Clinic, this project seeks to expand free respite care to all UTMB campuses. By providing more than 1,340 hours of free respite services, this program seeks to reduce caregiver stress, anxiety, and depression. Based on referrals from UTMB providers and social workers, contracted service providers from three local licensed in-home agencies will be dispatched to urban and rural geriatric patient homes to assist and/or relieve caregivers. Caregivers participating in Galveston, Brazoria and Harris counties will have the option to choose half-day or full-day periods.

Awards by Year