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SHP News

School of Health Professions News

Date Updated: 21-MAY-2021

2021 Student & Alumni Accomplishments

Nov 23, 2021, 14:35 PM by UTMB School of Health Professions

The COVID-19 pandemic has been unable to slow down students and alumni of the School of Health Professions as they have been very active in 2021.

While the following is a small list of acknowledgement of their accomplishments within the past year, the School of Health Professions would like to thank each and every person who has been instrumental in the continuation of student success, innovative education, high impact research and quality clinical experiences that provide healthcare professionals the ability to advance the future of healthcare.

Congratulations to...

The UTMB Coalition of Occupational Therapy Advocates for Diversity has been established with Doctorate of Occupational Therapy (OTD) cohorts class of 2022, 2023, and 2024. This organization was established to fill a need for equitable health outcomes. COTAD is the world's preeminent occupational therapy organization doing work in justice, equity, diversity, inclusion (JEDI), anti-racism and anti-oppression, we are a network of OT practitioners, students, and educators working to make health equity a priority at all levels of healthcare.


New Publication:

Deer RR, Hosein E, Mera A, Howe K, Goodlett S, Robertson N, Volpi E. Dietary Intake Patterns of Community-Dwelling Older Adults after Acute Hospitalization. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2021 Aug 19;. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 34410002

(Bolded names are/were SHP MS/DI students.)


Amy Boyd and Adama Brooks on receiving their Doctorate of Occupational Therapy (OTD) at commencement last week. Amy and Adama are also new faculty members in the Department of Occupational Therapy.


On Friday, August 13, 2021 at 10:00 am the School of Health Professions is holding commencement at Moody Gardens.

We will be awarding Bachelor’s Degrees in Clinical Laboratory Sciences and Respiratory Care; Master’s Degrees in Clinical Laboratory Sciences, Health Professions, Nutrition & Metabolism and Transfusion Medicine; and Doctorate Degrees in Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Clinical Laboratory Sciences.

Dr. Ben Raimer, Interim President, will be conferring degrees and our 2021 distinguished alumna commencement speaker is Dr. Wendy Katzman. Dr. Katzman graduated from the School of Health Professions with a Bachelor of Science degree in physical therapy in 1973.


Ursula Christopherson, OTR, Rehabilitation Sciences PhD student, who was promoted to the rank of Major in the United States Army on July 9th.


Jason Bentley, Rehabilitation Sciences PhD student who successfully presented his dissertation defense.


The Occupational Therapy Class of 2022 who collaborated with the Galveston Island Beach Patrol, Respiratory Therapy, and BreatheFit in a functional breathing class at Stewart Beach.


Erin Westby, 2019 Specialist in Blood Banking (SBB) grad and 2020 Master of Science in Transfusion Medicine (MSTM) grad, will receive the 2021 Dr. Matthew Gottlieb Rising Star Award from South Central Association of Blood Banks on June 11, 2021. This award is given to honor the memory of Dr. Gottlieb for his many years of contributions to South Central and to the blood banking profession. Recipients of the Rising Star Award are individuals who have been members of South Central for more than one, but less than five years, and have shown exceptional dedication and made significant contributions to the Association in a limited period of time.

Monica Kalvelage, 2017 Master of Science in Transfusion Medicine (MSTM) grad and COO of LifeShare Blood Centers, will receive the 2021 Administrative Award and will provide the Award Lecture for the South Central Association of Blood Banks Annual Meeting in Orlando on June 11, 2021.


Ursela Christopherson, OTR, PhD Candidate in Rehabilitation Sciences had a publication accepted by the Journal of Cancer Survivorship. Title: “Use of active video games with or without videoconferencing on health outcomes in adolescent and young adult cancer survivors: a systematic review.”


Hanna Harvey and Grace Chang , two second year Occupational Therapy students who were awarded the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship for their program entitled Evergreen (Wellness and Fall Prevention Course). This is a prestigious award given annually throughout the United States and I believe the first time for the OT Program at UTMB.


Alexandria Wilson (Doctor of Physical Therapy Class of 2022) has been selected into the Paul Ambrose Scholars Program. She is one of 40 students selected this year to attend a national student leadership symposium, a component of the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research Training professional organization. As part of her participation in this program, she will be involved in developing and implementing an IPE community based project. Allie is an outstanding student and an active leader in several UTMB community service initiatives including the St. Vincent’s IPE PAL program and in our St. Vincent’s PT clinic. Dr. Ryan Pontiff is Allie’s faculty mentor for the scholar program. Dr. Pontiff is a former Paul Ambrose Scholar and an active participant in the interprofessional leadership development program. We are excited to see the positive impact that will result from Allie’s participation in the scholar program and the mentorship provided by Dr. Pontiff.


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