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.

  • Sealy Center on Aging-Senior Seaside Club

    Rev. Helen W. Appelberg, DMin.
    Sealy Center on Aging

    In an effort to establish a supportive and collaborative environment designed to motivate seniors to become active partners with UTMB, the Sealy Center on Aging has created the Senior Seaside Club.  Galveston seniors (age 65 and older), UTMB faculty, staff and students will engage in educational, social and recreational activities designed to build a sense of community.  Activities include learning dinners with presentations related to health and wellness; “By the Sea” senior beach walks; a three-day conference for seniors, their families and caregivers; renewal of the “House Call” program; and expansion of the “Friends of the ACE Unit” volunteer program.  The overall goal of this program is to lay a foundation and create the momentum for seniors to become active partners with UTMB to build a stronger and better future.

  • Shaping Healthy Families: Screening, Treating, Educating and Preventing Childhood and Adolescent Obesity and Dyslipidemia in Galveston County

    Erin Kearney
    Ann Ross
    Elizabeth Ginn
    Martha Norris

    Childhood and adolescent obesity are among the most important public health problems in the United States. Obesity during adolescence increases the risk of disease and premature death during adulthood. In order to combat obesity rates among Galveston County children and adolescents, this program will partner with the Teen Health Center, Inc. to identify children aged 10 or older who are overweight or obese and provide family counseling, weight loss education and nutritional skills in addition to screens for dyslipidemia. Patients will be tracked over a two-year period.

  • Shop 'til You Drop Your Blood Sugar

    Rebecca Castro
    Diana Hearn, RN
    Community Health

    People with diabetes face difficult decisions each day; one of the most important decisions involves diet modification, including how to shop for and prepare nutritious foods. The Community Health Program at UTMB will select up to 60 people to participate in this educational program to learn how to identify healthy foods at the grocery store, stay within their budget, and prepare these foods in a healthy manner at home. Progress will be measured by tracking Hemoglobin A1C levels with a goal to decrease each participant's A1C by 1.0 over a 6-month period.

  • Sight to the Blind

    Gibran Khurshid, MD

    The most common irreversible cause of blindness, diabetic retinopathy, is a prevalent condition in our community. To optimize ophthalmic care to Galveston County residents, this award will outfit the St. Vincent's Eye Clinic with the tools and medicine necessary to treat the disease or perform surgery at no cost to economically disadvantaged patients.

  • Sleep Apnea at the St. Vincent’s Nurse Managed Health Clinic

    Margaret Resto
    School of Nursing

    While a majority of St. Vincent’s patients qualify for free or discounted sleep apnea evaluations, they are unable to afford the equipment and supplies to treat the disorder. This program will identify uninsured or economically disadvantaged patients diagnosed with sleep apnea and outfit them with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines and related supplies. Nurse managers will make home visits to set up and demonstrate the equipment and patients will be monitored and evaluated regularly to measure results.

  • SMART Heart Partners - Starting Early to Build Healthy Adult Hearts

    Abe DeAnda, Jr., MD, FACS, FAHA
    Elizabeth Turner
    Department of Surgery & SMART Family Literacy Program

    The UTMB Family Medicine Department will partner with the SMART Family Literacy program and purchase 9,000 books to create a permanent curriculum library and distribute another 9,000 age-appropriate books to Galveston County children. The books will concentrate on nutrition, heart-healthy lifestyles, science and math. In-school sessions and family literacy events will be held to distribute books, healthy snacks and conduct hands-on STEM activities. UTMB Family Medicine Faculty will serve as guest readers and second-year pediatric residents will assist to gain more experiences with children while observing their developmental stages and differences.

  • St. Vincent’s Care Transition Clinic

    Miles Farr, MD
    Jacob Moran, student MD/PhD Program
    Abhijit Rao, student MD/PhD Program
    Office of the Provost

    St. Vincent’s House Clinic will partner with UTMB Care Management to establish a Care Transition Clinic (CTC) to serve uninsured patients upon discharge from hospital. The CTC will see patients within one week after discharge to triage and help obtaining follow up care via St. Vincent’s and UTMB. Additionally, a Hospital to Home (H2H) team—led by a UTMB social worker and staffed by UTMB students— will be created to connect with patients prior to discharge to review care plans, identify barriers to adherence of plans and report findings directly to the CTC.

  • St. Vincent’s H.O.P.E Garden

    Blair H. Brown, MS, RD, LD, CNSC
    Crystal C. Douglas, PhD
    Chris Messenger, PhD, RD, LD, CNSC
    Nutrition and Metabolism

    Noting an increase in the volume of food distributed by the St. Vincent’s Clinic food pantry throughout the pandemic, graduate students in the School of Health Professions Nutrition and Metabolism department plan to restore and augment the clinic’s HOPE Garden to provide a source of fresh fruit and vegetables. This project will reinforce and expand the ability of St. Vincent’s House to provide food and comprehensive nutrition education for Galveston’s vulnerable population.

  • St. Vincent's CHCP:  Coordinated Hepatitis C Program

    Robert Beach, MD
    Paul Bui, School of Medicine Student
    Sarah Butler, School of Health Professions Student
    Transon Vu Nguyen, School of Medicine Student
    Kendrick White, School of Medicine Student
    Internal Medicine

    Hepatitis C is a viral infection acquired from various sources including contaminated blood or blood products. 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. Student volunteers will utilize patient assistance programs offered by pharmaceutical companies to provide free medications to persons without health insurance. Protocols will also be established for treating patients while barriers to successful treatment will be identified and addressed (i.e. lack of transportation, alcohol consumption, etc.). Project funds will be used for laboratory testing, addressing barriers and providing social support and behavioral counseling to promote sustained cure and quality of life.

  • St. Vincent's Preventive Heart Failure Program: Expansion Project

    Frederick Ditmars (MS3 student)
    N. Miles Farr, MD, MPH
    John Sealy School of Medicine

    This project builds upon a 2021 award and will implement evidence-based screening and treatment protocols for hypertension, type II diabetes melliltus, coronary artery disease and early stage heart failure. An interprofessional team of students will identify high-risk patients and provide them with social and medical services. To complement the program, an AI-assisted bedside ultrasound machine will be purchased and used to screen for early-stage heart failure and more health maintenance equipment (glucometers, blood pressure cuffs, etc.) will be added to inventory./p>

  • St. Vincent's PUSH for Prevention: Partnership with UTMB to Screen for HIV

    Dr. Premal Patel
    John Davis, PhD student
    Manasa Kanukurthy, School of Medicine Student
    Naim Mekdessi, School of Medicine Student
    Zhihao Zhu, School of Medicine Student
    Internal Medicine

    Currently, St. Vincent's Clinic does not have the necessary infrastructure or resources to screen patients for HIV/AIDS according to the guidelines of the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). Because of these limitations, the decision to order HIV testing is often based on patient requests and clinical intuition. The development of a pilot HIV screening program at St. Vincent's will improve adherence to USPSTF guidelines, provide linkage to care for a vulnerable populations likely to be at high-risk for transmissions and serve as a platform for incorporating comprehensive preventive medical care and establish population health monitoring.

  • St. Vincent's SCAN - A Project to Store, Convert, Archive and Navigate Old Medical Records

    Joseanne Smathers
    Jacob Moran, GSBS Graduate Assistant
    Justine Sheu, MS4 Student
    School of Medicine

    The medical clinics at the St. Vincent’s House Clinic in Galveston are undergoing significant changes including adjustments to clinical space and the implementation of a new Electronic Medical Record system. These changes resulted in the need to relocate old paper medical records. Temporarily placed in plastic containers on the property, these records need to be digitized for long-term storage and efficient navigation. By purchasing scanning equipment, establishing a temporary manager of records, and providing incentives to student volunteers this project seeks to complete digitization of paper charts by September 2021.

  • St. Vincent's Women's Wellness (WoW) Program

    Martha T. Garcia (MS3 student)
    Ayeesha Mohammed (MS4 student)
    Jacob Moran (MD/PhD student)
    Otto Pantoja, MD
    Nathan Smith (MS4 student)
    Lucy Villarreal, MD
    Jerome Yaklic, MD, MBA
    Obstetrics and Gynecology

    A recent survey of females in the St. Vincent’s community revealed a strong need for breast and cervical cancer screenings and family planning services. This award will help revitalize the St. Vincent’s Gynecology Clinic with new equipment, instruments, supplies, the creation of a robust training curriculum and revised operating procedures for women’s health screening. The goal is to increase screening rates for cervical cancer, breast cancer and intimate partner violence by 30%.

  • Students Educating Students: K-12 Activities for Public Health and Pandemic Preparedness

    Cara Pennel, DrPH, MPH
    Science Education

    A recent survey administered by the UTMB Office of Educational Outreach to area students in grades 6-12 revealed a lack of age-appropriate information regarding COVID-19 and ways to stay safe. To help address this need, UTMB Graduate School of Biomedical Research students will design public health and basic science materials and activities that are scientifically accurate and age-appropriate for elementary, middle, and high school levels. A series of free professional development workshops will be held to recruit Galveston County teachers, provide training, and obtain educator feedback. Teachers who implement the materials will be given a small stipend and all necessary supplies and provisions, including pre-post tests to determine student comprehension.

  • Students Together for Service

    Rimma Osipov
    Christine Horstmeyer
    School of Medicine, School of Nursing, School of Health Professions and Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

    Lack of coordination between student-led patient care initiatives can cause patients to be lost to follow-up and therefore decrease service effectiveness. Students Together for Service will establish a coordinating board for the UTMB student service organizations and integrate the work of St. Vincent’s Clinic, Frontera de Salud, S.I.G.H.T. and the student service associations of the School of Medicine, School of Nursing, School of Health Professions and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. This consolidated effort will avoid redundancy of services, bring greater efficiency to the allocation of materials and volunteers and enrich educational opportunities for students from all four schools.

  • The BAMBI/School of Nursing Collaborative Project

    Jaquelyn Svoboda
    School of Nursing

    The Baby and Mother Bonding Initiative (BAMBI) at UTMB offers pregnant offenders the opportunity to live with their babies after delivery, rather than sending them away to family or foster care. Typically, mothers in this program have had inadequate breastfeeding education and resources and therefore have low rates of breastfeeding. This School of Nursing initiative seeks to improve maternal bonding through student-led educational sessions that will improve the offender mother’s knowledge of prenatal health and infant care. Nursing students will be paired with mothers to provide support during labor, delivery and postpartum and assist with the facilitation of bonding and breastfeeding.

  • The Care Closet

    Rebecca Castro, LCSW
    Savannah Parks, MEd, LBSW
    Health Resource Center

    Unexpected health crises often mean patients and their families are unprepared for hospital stays, and many find themselves in need of food, clothing, personal hygiene products and laundry services.  Through the creation of The Care Closet at the John Sealy Annex, patients will have access to such items and will be provided with information and referrals to community resources.  Two adjoining rooms will be dedicated within the hospital for laundry services and food storage.  The project will be sustained through partnerships with the Galveston County Food Bank and the Salvation Army of Galveston County.

  • The CHFC3 Project: Development of a Comprehensive Care Clinic for Heart Failure

    John W. Davis, MS2 Student
    Loree Pryor, OTD, OTR
    Internal Medicine / PMPH / Occupational Therapy

    To better educate uninsured patients about heart failure (HF), its complications and how best to manage the condition, this project will support the infrastructure of a comprehensive care clinic at St. Vincent’s House Clinic in Galveston. Post-discharge HF patients will be provided bi-weekly interprofessional services (medical, respiratory, nutrition, occupational therapy, etc.) by supervised UTMB students who will also monitor vitals, confirm medication adherence, discuss diet, and engage in supervised exercise. This project provides comprehensive care for heart failure patients as well as substantive practice experience for students across multiple education programs.


  • The Gift of Life: Building & Sustaining Capacity for Eye Care at St. Vincent's House

    Mona Singh, MD, MPA, PGY4
    Lance Lyons, MD, PGY3
    Jed Assam, MD, PGY2
    Misha Syed, MD, MEHP
    Mary Schmitz Brown
    Ophthalmology and Visual Science

    Building on the success of a 2011 President's Cabinet Award that provided hundreds of patients in the greater Galveston area with sight-saving diabetic retinopathy treatment and follow-up exams, this new award will expand vision services to a large economically disadvantaged population that depend upon the St. Vincent's Eye Clinic for their complete eye care. Award funds will be used to upgrade and purchase new equipment, broaden services, supply patients with quality eyeglass prescriptions, provide testing modalities and treatment avenues for patients with glaucoma and develop charity cataract surgery services.


  • The Long Journey Home – Caring for Loved Ones with Dementia/Alzheimer's – Bringing the Message Home

    Oma Morey, PhD
    Office of Educational Development

    Without a cure or prevention, it is estimated over 14 million Americans will be diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease by 2050. To increase the awareness about the trials and tribulations of caring for a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer's, this project weaves the personal stories of several caregivers into a theatrical production to humanize their feelings of guilt, frustration, anger and angst. In addition to eight community presentations, a DVD and teaching guide will be developed for use by other health care and community organizations.

Awards by Year