School of Health Professions. Two students study in front of a tree.


Working together to work wonders by educating tomorrow's healers through groundbreaking research and excellent patient care.

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

New Faculty Appointments

Dr. Blake Rasmussen

Congratulations to Blake Rasmussen, PhD. Dr. Rasmussen has been appointed Associate Dean for Research in the School of Health Professions (SHP). He is also the Chair of the Department of Nutrition & Metabolism, Associate Director of the Center for Recovery, Physical Activity & Nutrition and the Sue Ann Hill Professor of Health Aging.

As part of his role as associate dean, Dr. Rasmussen will be establishing an advisory committee who will develop a strategic vision for short and long range research initiatives with SHP. He will also facilitate team science and strong collaborations across SHP, UTMB and other institutions and gather organizational and institutional support for major research initiatives.

Dr. Frank Ward

Congratulations to Dr. Frank Ward, EdD. Dr. Ward has been appointed Interim Assistant Dean of Academic and Student Affairs in the School of Health Professions (SHP). He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Respiratory Care.

Dr. Ward received his EdD in Higher Education Administration from George Washington University, his MSA in Management/ Administration from Central Michigan University and is BS in Medical Science from the University of Nebraska. Dr. Ward has a clinical background having practiced as a physician assistant, an administrative background as a hospital administrator, and has been involved in higher education for the last 20 years.

Dr. Eddie Salazar

Congratulations to Eddie Salazar, PhD. Dr. Salazar has been appointed Interim Chair in the Department of Clinical Laboratory Science in the School of Health Professions (SHP). He is currently the Program Director of the Doctorate in Clinical Laboratory Science and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences.

Dr. Salazar earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Texas Tech University and Master of Science degree in Instructional Technology from the University of Houston-Clear Lake. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Clinical Laboratory Sciences from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. Dr. Salazar's efforts have been funded by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, Department of Labor, and Academy of Master Teachers.

Faculty Acknowledgments

Dr. Carolyn Utsey

Congratulations to Professor Carolyn Utsey, PhD, PT (Physical Therapy) for being approved unanimously by the Academy of Master Teachers (AMT) Advocacy Selection Committee as the UTMB nominee for the 2018 Minnie Stevens Piper Award. The official award selection will be made in May 2018.

Dr. Claudia Hilton Dr. Dana Wild

Congratulations to Associate Professors Dr. Claudia Hilton (Occupational Therapy) and Dr. Dana Wild (Physical Therapy). They were inducted into the Academy of Master Teachers (AMT) on October 17, 2017. The AMT celebrated their 10th anniversary this year as an interprofessional community serving UTMB through promotion of educational excellence.

Daneen Nastars

Congratulations to Assistant Professor Daneen Nastars, MSc, RRT-ACCS (Respiratory Care) for receiving the 2017 Charles W. Serby COPD Research Fellowship Award for her research titled, "Race/Ethnicity and Thirty-Day Readmission in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease." Nastars was presented the award from the American Respiratory Care Foundation (ARCF) at the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) Congress on October 4, 2017 in Indianapolis, IN.

Dr. Claudia Hilton Dr. Diane Collins Dr. Doug Paddon-Jones

Congratulations to Dr. Claudia Hilton (PI), Dr. Diane Collins, and Dr. Doug Paddon-Jones for receiving a grant from the Texas Society of Allied Health Professionals. Their study, the Effect of Sustained Exercise on Physiological and Behavioral Factors among Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders, will initiate a collaborative arrangement with an area school to study the use of a regular physically challenging exercise program for helping students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) improve various physical and cognitive aspects.

Further congratulations goes to Dr. Doug Paddon-Jones for receiving a renewal of his R01 grant, "Preserving muscle mass and function in bedridden older adults" from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The goal of his study is to reduce the negative consequences of physical inactivity and promote rehabilitation in aging muscle.

Dr. Tim Reistetter

Congratulations to Dr. Tim Reistetter, PhD, OTR, FAOTA (Occupational Therapy). Dr. Reistetter was awarded the Roster of Merit from the Texas Occupational Therapy Association (TOTA) during their TOTA Mountain Central Conference on November 18, 2017 in Austin, TX.

Student Accomplishments

Dr. Elizabeth Protas and Dr. Vicki Freeman pose with various award recipients.

Congratulations to all of our recipients of the SHP Dean's Academic and Competitive Scholarship Award. Nita Amin and Makaela Mirano, Clinical Laboratory Sciences, Nicole Bardaji and Allyson Cook-Lindsay, Physical Therapy, Jennifer Cleveland, Nutrition & Metabolism, Reagan Davis and Nikita Engineer, Physician Assistant Studies, Christina Carrion and Rachel Perry, Occupational Therapy, and Justin Horsley and Soraya Toghani, Respiratory Care. All of the recipients are pictured above with former dean Dr. Elizabeth Protas and interim dean, Dr. Vicki Freeman.

Read More: Congratulations Michael Chamberlain & Colleen McKenna!

SHP Welcomes New Interim Dean Dr. Vicki Freeman

Dr. Vicki Freeman

Dr. Vicki S. Freeman has been appointed Interim Dean for the School of Health Professions, effective September 18, 2017 by Dr. Danny Jacobs, Executive Vice President and Provost.

Dr. Freeman is currently the Associate Dean of Faculty Development in SHP and tenured Professor in the Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences. She also holds faculty appointments in the School of Medicine and Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Dr. Freeman is a University of Texas Distinguished Teaching Professor, a Minnie Stevens Piper Professor and received a UT System Regents' Outstanding Teaching Award in 2014.

Dr. Freeman leads UTMB's Clinical Laboratory Sciences program, one of the largest and most dynamic in the country. In 2016, she established the Doctorate in Clinical Laboratory Sciences degree program, the second of its kind in the nation. Dr. Freeman's efforts have been funded by the Departments of Education, Labor, and Health Services through the American International Health Alliance Twinning Partnership Program.

Dr. Freeman received her Doctor of Philosophy degree in Community and Human Resources and Master of Arts degree in Adult Education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She earned a Bachelor of arts degree in Biochemistry and a Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology from the University of Texas at Austin.

2018 Causeway FunD Run

UTMB Health School of Health Professions Causway Fund Run 2018. Saturday, March 3. 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 3, 2018. 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.

More Info: 2018 Causeway FunD Run

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