Faculty Spotlight

August 2019

Rachel Deer

Rachel Deer, PhD

Assistant Professor
Division of Rehabilitation Sciences

Web Biography

Dr. Rachel Deer is an assistant professor in the Division of Rehabilitation Sciences at UTMB. She joined the division in September 2017 after completing her post-doctoral fellowship in the Sealy Center on Aging and doctoral training at Texas A&M University.

Dr. Deer's research focuses on improving healthcare outcomes of older adults with pragmatic and effective interventions. She recently completed a pre-pilot clinical trial (PACE) examining the feasibility and effect size of targeted nutritional, exercise, and pharmacological interventions to accelerate recovery of strength and physical function in geriatric patients after hospitalization. Her ongoing follow-up clinical trial (GRAMS) examines the efficacy of two promising new treatment strategies identified in the pre-pilot study: testosterone and whey protein. The primary outcome of this Phase I double-blind placebo controlled randomized clinical trial is the recovery of physical function as measured by the Short Physical Performance Battery. Secondary outcomes of interest are changes in lean mass, muscle strength, and hospital readmissions.

Dr. Deer is also particularly interested in the translation and implementation of research findings into clinical practice. Recently, she was involved in a mission critical project related to nutritional optimization of hospitalized adults. The aim of the malnutrition initiative project was to enhance the screening, diagnosis, and treatment of malnutrition at UTMB hospital in Galveston. Over the past year, the team revamped the nursing nutrition screen, added an objective diagnostic tool to the dietician workflow, and streamlined the diagnosis and care plan to frontline providers. The new tools have recently been integrated into hospital work flows and research is ongoing to evaluate the implementation of these new tools on in-hospital and post-discharge outcomes.

Rachel Deer stands in front of her research poster.