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

  • Response to Deadly Behavior ALERRT Training (Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training)

    Ryan Erwin
    UTMB Police Department

    In the event of an active shooter, this project will increase the training and communication efforts of police officers with the UTMB Police Department, the Galveston Police Department, the Port of Galveston Police Department, the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office and the University of Houston-Clear Lake Police. Instead of using paintball guns, special simulation equipment will be purchased to provide more enhanced and realistic training scenarios. Quarterly sessions will be conducted among these multiple law enforcement agencies.

  • Safe Kangaroo Care with our Innovative Gown

    Souby George, MSN, RNC-MNN
    Tracey Santiago, MSN, RNC-OB
    Women Infant and Children

    Kangaroo Care is a form of developmental care that benefits all newborns, especially those in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The more an infant is exposed to skin-to-skin care, the more likely the infant will experience positive outcomes. Current patient hospital gowns do not facilitate skin-to-skin care or allow for privacy or proper securing of the infant. This project seeks to create a new gown so that all new mothers at UTMB can provide safe and modest skin-to-skin contact with their child within the first few hours of giving birth. Staff will also be trained and certified in Kangaroo Care in order to teach proper positioning and care of the infant during their hospital stay.

  • Save a Life Tour:  A Program to Increase Drunk and Distracted Driving Awareness in Galveston County Young Drivers

    Dr. John Fraser
    Dr. William Mileski
    Surgery/Trauma Services

    Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death in adolescent and young adult drivers. To lower the incidences of drunk and distracted driving, the Save a Life Tour will feature day-long programs at five local schools through high-impact demonstrations and video. Students also will participate in driving simulators that mimic the effects of alcoholic beverage consumption and/or texting while driving. Computer survey kiosks will record students’ knowledge and attitudes about impaired driving before and after the presentations.

  • Saving Sight: The Expansion of Eye Care at St. Vincent’s House

    Jed Assam, MD
    Karima Khimani, MD (PGY-4)
    Misha Syed, MD

    A 2019 President’s Cabinet Award revitalized ophthalmology service at St. Vincent’s House Clinic and as a result patient volume has increased four-fold in the past year. To help manage growth and create a fully- equipped glaucoma diagnostic service center, this expansion will allow for the purchase of a human field analyzer, a handheld fundus camera and a slit lamp. These additional diagnostic tools and screening equipment will open more exam lanes and provide quality ophthalmic services to Galveston’s underserved community.


  • PC Award 8 - 900x400 - 150dpi

    Saving Sight: The Expansion of Eye Care at St. Vincent's House

    Ardalan Sharifi, MD (PGY-3 Resident)
    Matthew Yang, MD (PGY-3 Chief Resident)

    Due to the success of two previous President's Cabinet Awards (2019 and 2021), this project will significantly expand the reach of St. Vincent's House to treat vision-threatening issues such as diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and glaucoma for Galveston's most vulnerable population. More diagnostic tools will be purchased to open more exam lanes and additional screening equipment will support the continued growth in patient volume in order to continue providing the highest standard of eye care.

  • SCHIP and Children’s Medicaid Enrollment Project

    Jessica Allen, Student
    Kyler Elwell, Student
    School of Medicine

    With a majority of Galveston’s public school children qualifying for the State Children Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) or Children’s Medicaid, there has always been a substantial demand for children’s healthcare coverage in our area. However, low enrollment in these programs results from many factors: inaccessible bureaucracies, intricate forms, detailed documentation, extended time lapses between application and enrollment, and rapid expiration of coverage. Recognizing the importance of this growing problem, UTMB medical students Jessica Allen and Kyler Elwell, created this project to organize county-wide outreach efforts utilizing UTMB students, faculty and staff who worked with families and helped them complete complicated applications and educate them on the enrollment process and policy maintenance. This two-year project coordinated three county-wide outreach visits per year, created a working-relationship with the Galveston Independent School District to train district employees and disseminate information to families, and established a website to facilitate access to information on state and federal health insurance and related resources.

  • School-based Depression Education, Screening and Treatment Program

    John F. (Fred) Thomas, PhD
    Community Health Services

    The overlying goal of this project was to improve adolescent mental health in the Galveston community through psycho-education, screening and provision of culturally sensitive, evidence-based services. Three prevention strategies were incorporated into a single program and was implemented on a racially mixed and economically diverse sample of Ball High school students. Students were taught how to recognize signs of depression in themselves and others.  Additionally, students were screened to assess depressive symptoms; those with clinically significant scores were encouraged to utilize the services available through the Teen Health Centers located at Ball High School and Central Middle School. Participants were also directed to a project-based website that was monitored by an experienced clinician who reviewed all responses and wrote a detailed, personalized assessment. Assessments were emailed to the student and were offered the option of talking anonymously with a licensed clinician regarding “feelings-related” issues. Questionnaire responses that suggested significant problems were addressed by urging students to seek immediate assistance at one of the two Teen Health Clinics.

  • 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.

  • PC Award 6 - 900x400 - 150dp

    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.

  • PC Award 7 - 900x400 - 150dpi

    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.

  • PC Award 4 - 900x400 - 150dpi

    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%.

Awards by Year