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DEAN’S MESSAGE Dear friends,

Passion, progress, impact — these are just a few of the elements that allow our School of Nursing to grow and influence the future of nursing every day. It is the passion and commitment of our faculty, staff, students and generous partners like you who help us create tremendous progress. Through advancements in our curriculum, technology and resources, we are able to initiate positive changes that impact our communities both locally and globally. This issue of Tribute highlights many of these achievements and recognizes the inspiring individuals who help make them possible. Whether they are working to increase access to care for families; developing international partnerships that build relationships and understanding across borders; or teaching children how the environment affects the health of their communities; our School of Nursing faculty, staff and students are making a difference in countless lives around the world. With each of our varied and diverse initiatives, our school’s focus and mission remain steadfast — to lead the transformation of health care toward making lives better. I hope this issue of Tribute ignites as much pride in our School of Nursing in you as it does in me and that it inspires you to pursue new opportunities to connect with us. Your involvement is key to our continued growth and success. Thank you for your friendship, generosity and support that make our mission to make lives better possible every day.

Eileen T. Breslin | Ph.D., RN, FAAN Dean and Professor Dr. Patty L. Hawken Nursing Endowed Professor School of Nursing The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

MAKING LIVES BETTER THROUGH EDUCATION Dean Breslin (far left) congratulates (left to right) Ph.D. students Shanna Fraser, M.S.N., RN, CNS BC, and Marisol Breton Leija, B.S.N., RNC, and doctor of nursing practice (D.N.P) student Christine Nicholas, M.S.N. Not pictured is D.N.P. student Patricia Hodson, M.S.N., M.H.A., RN. The students each received a $10,000, twoyear scholarship from the Jonas Center for Nursing and Veterans Healthcare. The Jonas Scholars Program offers financial support and leadership opportunities for doctoral-level (Ph.D. and D.N.P.) education through the Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholar Program and the Jonas Veterans Healthcare Scholars Program. Grants prepare doctoral students to address the needs of future patients including veteran-specific health care needs. The program combines students’ doctoral studies with leadership opportunities at the state and national levels. The Jonas Center will support approximately 300 scholars nationally this year.

6 BUILDING BRIDGES ACROSS THE BORDER Nursing faculty collaborate to improve profession



8 CONNECTING KIDS TO CONSERVATION Nurses tap the arts to teach teens about conservation, health

10 MOBILE HEALTH FOR BRAIN HEALTH Nurse combines tradition with technology to save lives




Student-led clinic serves patients from across the world

16 FINDING BALANCE, SUCCESS Students gain new skills, confidence through center

18 RIPPLE EFFECT Nursing scholarship focuses on personalizing patient care


18 School of Nursing Office of the Dean, School of Nursing 7703 Floyd Curl Drive San Antonio, TX 78229-3900 210-567-5313






ON THE COVER U.S. Air Force Master Sergeant Cherita Johnson (pictured with her 2-year-old son, Tatum) balances being a full-time, single mom with military service and a full-time academic load. When the rigors of academia and the everyday challenges of her personal life begin to feel overwhelming, Johnson said she is grateful to be able to call on the resources offered by the Student Success Center in the School of Nursing. See story, page 16. (COVER PHOTO BY LESTER ROSEBROCK, CREATIVE MEDIA SERVICES.)






School of Nursing | The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio TRIBUTE


Accolades DAVID BYRD, PH.D., is the new associate dean for admissions and student services in the School of Nursing. He will lead the school’s enrollment management, admissions procedures and provide student development and support. Prior to joining the UT Health Science Center, Dr. Byrd was assistant dean for undergraduate academic affairs for the College of Education and Human Development at Texas A&M University in College Station. He holds a Ph.D. in higher education administration, an M.S. in agricultural education and a B.A. in history from Texas A&M University. An expert in diversity and race issues and university minority recruitment and retention, Dr. Byrd serves on the boards of numerous national diversity organizations and initiatives, is an award-winning researcher who frequently presents at national conferences and is widely published. See more about Dr. Byrd in related story, page 16.

THOMAS GIANDINOTO, M.B.A., has joined the School of Nursing as the associate dean of finance and administration. He provides strategic financial and business planning and business support in line with the School of Nursing’s growth, goals and mission. He is responsible for managing the administrative processes and financial assets and providing guidance and recommendations to departments within the school. Prior to joining the UT Health Science Center, Giandinoto worked at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. He was an associate dean and chief financial officer for the School of Law and executive director, business affairs, for the Department of Neurology. There he gained extensive financial experience and was the organizational lead for finance, analytics, information systems, human resources, accounting, facilities and clinical practice. Giandinoto earned his B.S.B.A. in finance and economics from Creighton University in Omaha, Neb. and holds an M.B.A. from the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis.

JULIE NOVAK, D.N.SC., RN, CPNP, FAANP, FAAN, received the Nancy Sharp Cutting Edge Award from the American Association of Nurse Practictioners (AANP) this past summer in Nashville, Tenn. The Sharp Award is the AANP’s highest honor. Dr. Novak was recognized for her leadership in innovative health care services, technologies and advocacy that advance nurse practitioner practice and patient care. The award recognizes a nurse practitioner who demonstrates leadership and advocacy on behalf of his/her peers and patients. A national leader in pediatric and family health nursing, Dr. Novak is often referred to as a pioneer in nurse-managed clinics. She is also the recipient of the UT Health Science Center’s 2015 Presidential Clinical Excellence Award.

NORMA MARTINEZ ROGERS PH.D., RN, FAAN, professor of nursing, was appointed to a second three-year term as a commissioner for the Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC). MACPAC is a non-partisan, federal agency charged with providing policy and data analysis to Congress on Medicaid and CHIP. The commissioners make recommendations to Congress, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the states on a wide range of issues affecting these programs.

LINDA PORTER-WENZLAFF, PH.D., M.S.N., RN, was one of eight educators from the UT Health Science Center San Antonio honored as a recipient of the 2014 Regent’s Outstanding Teaching Award from The University of Texas System. This prestigious honor recognizes leadership, service and passion for teaching. Dr. Porter-Wenzlaff is a Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Department of Health Restoration and Care Systems Management in the School of Nursing. She is the co-developer and coordinator for the Master’s Degree in Nursing Education Program. She has taught and coordinated graduate and undergraduate theory and clinical courses on a variety of topics.

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ENDOWMENT CELEBRATES GOMEZ'S SERVICE, COMMITMENT After 41 years of distinguished service to the School of Nursing, Rudy Gomez, M.B.A., CHC, associate dean for finance and administration, retired in Rudy Gomez, November M.B.A., CHC 2014. Hired in 1973, Gomez served in numerous positions under four deans and experienced four decades of growth within the school. Colleagues fondly recall him saying “grow with the flow,” which reflects his exceptional adaptability, determination and dynamism in the face of constant change. Gomez was a founding member of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Business Officers of Nursing Schools (BONUS), an organization formed in 1987 to enhance the skills of and network opportunities for administrative management staff in the nation’s nursing schools. At the annual BONUS meeting in April 2013, he received the Jerry Otzman Founders Award for his exemplary contributions. To celebrate Gomez's excellence and contributions to state-of-theart technology enhancements in the School of Nursing, Dean Emerita Patty Hawken, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, and current Dean Eileen Breslin, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, along with Dr. Breslin’s husband, Bill Israel, Ph.D., established the Rudy Gomez Nursing Technology Endowment. This endowment will provide funding to secure the latest, innovative technology resources to enhance student education outcomes and will pay tribute to Gomez’s legacy of excellence for generations to come. To support this endowment, contact Gwen Notestine, director of development, at 210-567-5313 or

Diversity Hannele Saunders (left), a doctoral student from the University of Finland Kuopio, used an innovative tool developed by Dr. Kathleen Stevens of the School of Nursing to collect research data for her dissertation. Evidence-based practice is the application by health care providers of a combination of best research evidence, clinical expertise and patient preferences to arrive at the most effective clinical care.



nsuring patient safety isn’t just a priority for health care professionals in America. It is a serious health issue worldwide. Estimates show that in developed countries, as many as 1 in 10 patients is harmed while receiving hospital care. One determined student in particular from Finland, an education exchange program with the School of Nursing and an innovative tool, developed by a UT Health Science Center San Antonio School of Nursing faculty member, are playing a significant role in ensuring patient safety occurs globally. Hannele Saunders travels regularly from Helsinki to the University of Eastern Finland Kuopio where she is pursuing her doctoral degree in the Department of Nursing Science. A 20year nurse veteran, Saunders is an advanced practice nurse at the Helsinki University Central Hospital System. Saunders’ passion for the nursing profession and ensuring safe patient care fueled her choice to continue her nursing education. “Best patient outcomes are achieved when the caregiver provides and implements evidence-based practice care in their daily routine,” Saunders said. “It is important to first determine how ready nurses are to implement best practices so that patient care is based on proven evidence of the best processes.” Saunders dedication to impacting patient care led her to choose her dissertation topic — “Finnish nurses’ readiness for evidencebased practice at university hospitals in Finland.” Before she could begin collecting data for her dissertation however, Saunders reviewed several international research instruments used for measuring evidence-based practice. One tool in particular stood out — The Steven’s EBP Readiness Inventory (ERI) — a mechanism developed in 2006 by the UT Health Science Center School of Nursing’s own Kathleen Stevens, Ed.D., RN, FAAN, professor in the Department of Health Restoration and Care Systems Management, and founder of the university’s Center for Advancing Clinical Excellence (ACE) in the School of Nursing. Dr. Stevens developed

the Stevens ERI to measure the readiness of nurses to employ evidence-based practice where they work. What Saunders learned next was even more exciting. Her Ph.D. studies supervisor Katri Vehviläinen-Julkunen, Ph.D., RN, RM, FEANS, informed her that the University of Eastern Finland Kuopio, where Saunders was studying, had recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreement with the UT Health Science Center. The MOU would enable and fund Saunders to travel to San Antonio as an exchange student and to study under Dr. Stevens’ tutelage. Saunders reached out to Dr. Stevens and gained permission to use the Steven’s ERI instrument. Saunders then translated the ERI into the Finnish language and at the end of 2014, she used the translated version to help collect data from practicing nurses, including clinical nurses, nurse managers and nurse administrators at university hospitals in Finland. Saunders has begun analyzing her data at ACE in the School of Nursing at the UT Health Science Center. The MOU exchange program allows Saunders a seven-week stay in San Antonio where she is involved in one-on-one contact with experts that advances international collaboration regarding research data and conclusions. At ACE, Saunders meets with Dr. Stevens and faculty regularly to plan collaborative work on articles she is writing for publication in international journals. She dissects data she has collected from Finnish nurses and data that Dr. Stevens and her team have gathered from American nurses. They plan to publish international articles based on the two data sets. Several phases of research will culminate in a randomized control study that will involve educational interventions to improve Finnish nurses’ preparedness for evidence-based practice and will determine if the interventions are working to improve nurses’ readiness. Dr. Stevens hopes Saunders’ work becomes widely published. “Hannele is a catalyst for making this happen,” Dr. Stevens said. “Her nursing research could go global.” Saunders said she is grateful for her time at ACE. “Dr. Stevens has been a wonderful mentor and role model,” she said. “I am so thankful for Dr. Vehviläinen-Julkunen, my Ph.D. studies supervisor back in Finland, for facilitating the connection with Dr. Stevens and the MOU,” she said. Dr. Stevens is in turn grateful for Saunders and other students like her for advancing the future of evidence-based practice research. “A highly treasured part of working with Hannele is to hear her voice and perspective as a clinician,” Dr. Stevens said. “Her dedication to evidence-based practice and her passion to enhance the nursing workforce and to address patient safety and quality is evident in her work every day. Hannele’s nation invested in her as an evidence-based practice leader. Because of their vision for the future of nursing, we will all gain a great deal from our partnership and help impact lives for the better.” S ee related story about ACE, page 14. Source: The World Health Organization

School of Nursing | The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio TRIBUTE


Lark Ford, M.S.N., RN (left), observes Saundra Esparza Davila and Perla Hernandez Cortes perform a respiratory assessment in the Center for Simulation Innovation.

BUILDING BRIDGES ACROSS the BORDER Nursing faculty collaborate to improve profession



mpact on global health is part of the UT Health Science Center San Antonio School of Nursing’s mission, and one particular grant is helping the school deliver its mission across the border in Mexico. The Salud: Nuevas Fronteras initiative is a partnership with the Mexicans and Americans Thinking Together (MATT) Foundation, Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León (UANL) and the UT Health Science Center San Antonio School of Nursing. Supported by a three-year-$600,000 grant from the MATT Foundation, this initiative seeks to elevate nursing as a respected profession in Mexico; align nursing curriculums in the United States and Mexico; prepare nursing faculty between the participating schools; and advance public policy to ensure quality and consistent nursing practice across Mexico. “There is a growing need for qualified nurses to staff the Mexican health care system,” said Aracely Garcia-Granados, executive director of MATT, a bi-national organization with a mission to open dialogue between the United States and Mexico.

“With an increase in our aging population and statistics that show a nursing shortage in both Mexico and the United States, nurses will be in demand and the quality of their education is important to the health of our citizens. One of the measurements of being a first-world, second-world or third-world country is the level of health care offered and the education provided.” Garcia-Granados said. Since nursing education in the United States is vastly different than in Mexico, the chairman of MATT’s board of directors, Alonso Ancira proposed the Salud: Nuevas Fronteras initiative as a pilot program that eventually could standardize nursing education between the two countries, allowing nurses to cross the border and work in either country and more importantly provide the best care in an ever-growing world population of similarities instead of differences. In fact, health professionals on both sides of the border are dealing with similar health problems and similar populations. With a curriculum alignment and sharing of best practices with UANL and the School of Nursing, this initiative will impact future graduates who in turn will impact the local community and eventually create a ripple effect throughout Mexico; ultimately, changing the health care landscape for the better.

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Diversity LEFT School of Nursing and Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León faculty members are pictured (from left to right). They are: Linda Porter-Wenzlaff, Ph.D., RN, LPC, M.S.N., M.A., CENP, NEA-BC, CNE, SSBB, NCC; Marily Daniela Amaro Hinojosa; Janis Rice, M.S.N., RN, CNS-CC; Yazmin Alejandra Ledezma Lopez; Sandra Paloma Esparza Davila; Reyna Torres Obregon, Rosa Guadalupe Castillo Zacarias; Karen Lizeth Rodriguez Garza, Sandra Patricia Platas Avendano; Perla Lizeth Hernandez Cortes; Herlinda Zamora, M.S.N., RN; and Patricia Kay Avant, Ph.D., RN, FAAN.

“The Salud: Nuevas Fronteras initiative demonstrates the power of philanthropic partnerships,” said Gwen Nostestine, director of development for the School of Nursing. “The MATT Foundation’s visionary support for the project influences the future of nursing education on an international level. We are honored to serve as the stewards of the MATT Foundation’s investment in this exciting project.” Structured as a collaboration and study abroad program, Salud: Nuevas Fronteras began in the summer of 2014 with a review, analysis and comparison of the baccalaureate nursing curriculum at UANL by members of both nursing faculties and the selection of eight UANL faculty members as the program’s initial participants. As part of the initiative, these eight MATT scholars agreed to complete 12 semester hours of graduate coursework and 180 hours of clinical work during four, three-week semesters on the San Antonio campus of the UT Health Science Center School of Nursing. Since that time, a new baccalaureate curriculum has been proposed for UANL and is being reviewed by the university; and the eight MATT scholars have completed two of the three-week semesters. “The partnership with UANL energizes our faculty,” said Eileen Breslin, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, dean of UT Health Science Center School of Nursing. “There is a vibrancy and passion for nursing inherent in the eight faculty from Mexico. The dialogue is valuable as we learn to teach and mentor diverse students.” Considered the future leaders of UANL, the MATT scholars come from various nursing areas and after completing only the first three-week semester in the fall of 2014, they began forming a cohesive bond, says Linda Porter-Wenzlaff, Ph.D., RN, the track coordinator for the master’s degree in nursing education at the School of Nursing. “While they each have different areas of expertise and focus, this experience is giving them a chance to talk about what they would like to see their school evolve toward,” said Dr. Porter-Wenzlaff, who wrote the course curriculum and serves as the initiative’s lead professor in San Antonio. “We talked a lot about 20 years from now and 30 years from now and it was fun to see them grab a hold of something and say, ‘We can do this.’ I’m anxious for them to come back and report on their progress.” Besides graduate courses in population health, theories of education, clinical applications and curriculum, the MATT scholars are expected to write curriculum for UANL which they will implement, and each is paired with a faculty mentor from the School of Nursing whose specialty is the same as their own such as critical care, obstetrics/maternal/child, acute care and medical/ surgical. While they attend classes, they also spend time with their mentors in clinical conferences, skills labs, simulations and patient interviews and physicals. With two scholars each, the four faculty mentors include Janis Rice, M.S.N, RN, clinical associate professor, critical care; Lark Ford, M.S.N., RN, clinical assistant professor, adult medical/surgical and critical care; Herlinda Zamora, M.S.N.,

RN, clinical assistant professor, adult medical/surgical and community health; and Bertha Flores, Ph.D., assistant professor, maternal child health. “From a teaching perspective, this is a lot of fun,” Dr. PorterWenzlaff said. “It is a good reminder that people are people everywhere. Students are students and patients are patients. Plus, the evidence which we have created in the United States when insisting on higher quality and standardized practice really can impact systems which are not using those pieces of information or strategies now.” The eight scholars will take on more responsibility each semester in San Antonio from writing and building curriculum to teaching it and receiving feedback from students. Tasked with completing 30 hours of class time and 60 hours of clinical work in a three-week period, plus homework, reading, application assignments, viewing supplemental materials and learning to bridge the language gap, this elite eight has their work cut out for them, but they are motivated by their own passion for their chosen field. At 23, Sandra Patricia Platas, is a clinical nursing instructor at UANL. With a bachelor’s degree in nursing, she hopes the MATT initiative will provide her with the tools she needs to become a better teacher, nurse and leader. “I hope Salud: Nuevas Fronteras helps us build a strong foundation for our profession in Mexico,” Platas said, “with better prepared professors who have a sense of changing, improving and guiding students to be thinkers and independent nurses with skills they need to make an impact on our society.” With a doctorate degree in nursing, Perla Lizeth Hernández Cortés teaches research and nursing theory at UANL. She has discovered that the health issues nurses face in San Antonio are similar to those faced in Mexico, but nurses in the UT Health Science Center School of Nursing not only provide care; they serve as a counselor as well. She feels the simulation lab where students take on responsibilities for their learning instead of being passive learners, is an important key to the advancement of nursing education. “Nurses in the United States are very independent,” Cortés said. “Students are taught to be critical thinkers and this is why there are more dedicated nurses in the United States who can analyze situations and make decisions. “I hope that nurses in Mexico will be recognized one day as critical thinkers who can make decisions based on research, evidence and continuous learning; and I hope we can serve a healthy population where the nurse is the principal actor in health promotion.” The future of nursing in Mexico is in good hands if it is up to these eight MATT scholars whose passion for making a difference in their country’s health is apparent in their commitment to the Salud: Nuevas Fronteras program. With its initial success, this initiative could fulfill the School of Nursing’s global health mission one country at a time.

School of Nursing | The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio TRIBUTE


Graduate student, Meaghan Mugleston, RN, and Adelita Cantu, Ph.D., RN, are pictured at San Anto Cultural Arts where they helped teach neighborhood teens about the link between and benefits of conservation and community health.

CONNECTING KIDS to CONSERVATION Nurses tap the arts to teach teens about conservation, health By MELISSA MIRELES


his past June, the UT Health Science Center San Antonio School of Nursing partnered with San Anto Cultural Arts to teach teenagers climate change dangers through video production. Adelita Cantu, Ph.D., RN, assistant professor, received funding from the school’s Nursing Advisory Council (NAC), which in turn made this partnership and learning opportunity possible. The free Eco Film Camp for West Side youth took place June 16 – 21, 2014 at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. Fifteen teens participated in the camp to learn about climate changes and their risks to vulnerable populations in the community. Through San Anto Cultural Arts, students took this knowledge and created Public Service Announcements (PSAs) on related topics.

Using an interprofessional approach, undergraduate and graduate nursing students, Leobardo Benavides, Chelsea Marcos, Meaghan Mugleston, Mohiuddin Rasel, Bianca San Miguel, Christina Schect and medical student, Blessing Amune each managed and taught Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) curriculum modules designed for kids on climate change. These modules included activities and experiments and ranged in themes from reducing carbon footprints to understanding weather changes. Graduate nursing student, Meaghan Mugleston, organized the curriculum portion of the camp. “I really enjoyed working with the teens,” Mugleston said. “Tying in creative elements with learning makes a big difference for youth. We were able to take scientific information and make a creative product that grabbed their attention. You could see the pride they had when filming their projects.” The lessons were put in context for the teens by field trips to the Witte Museum, Espada Acequia and OCI Solar Power where students learned about the impacts of drought on the food chain, water conservation and alternate forms of energy. The camp also received positive local media attention.

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Discovery LEFT Students visit the OCI Solar Power plant as part of the Eco Film Camp. BELOW, LEFT West Side youth used various media and technology to collect scientific data on climate changes and the risks of those changes to vulnerable populations in the community. They each used their research to create and produce informational video public-service announcements for the community.

Throughout the week, San Anto Cultural Arts staff educated the teens on the skills of filmmaking so they could begin filming their own PSAs. The PSAs were shown to parents, friends and community members at a red-carpet, community screening event held at the historic Guadalupe Theater on July 12. The community screening event was facilitated by Harvey Mireles, executive director, and Samantha Lopez, program director of San Anto Cultural Arts. Dr. Cantu also spoke to the group to explain the details and goals of the camp. The students introduced their own PSAs to the audience before each was screened. The PSAs focused on the importance of people doing their part in terms of conservation, recycling and reducing carbon footprints. At the closing of the event, Samantha Lopez, presented the film “Who Rules the Earth” by Paul Steinberg and animated by students at Cal Arts. “What initially attracted me to the film was that it carried a heavy activism component as well as information on saving the planet through making change,” Lopez said. “The film was not only animated, but each scene showcased a different animator yet kept the story going. This style of filmmaking encourages individuality.” Pre- and post-tests were completed by all students. “The camp not only improved knowledge of the environment, but helped to build interpersonal, team-building and communication skills, which are all important skills for developing teenagers,” Dr. Cantu said. “This partnership was an excellent example of community service learning for our students and a win-win for all.” Lopez added that by working with the Health Science Center, the San Anto Cultural Arts Center (SACA) was able to give youth the opportunity to learn about preserving the environment while expressing their thoughts through media. “This was a unique and valuable experience made possible by the generosity of the sponsors and all involved,” Lopez said.

The Eco Film Camp partnership between the School of Nursing and San Anto Cultural Arts allowed teens to learn about the dangers of climate change. Pictured (left to right) are: graduate student Meaghan Mugleston, Dr. Adelita Cantu, San Anto Cultural Arts Executive Director Harvey Mireles, and San Anto Cultural Arts Program Director Samantha Lopez.

PARTNERING WITH SAN ANTO CULTURAL ARTS Founded in 1993, with the mission to foster human and community development through community-based arts, San Anto Cultural Arts (SACA) has been a staple in the San Antonio art community for 20 years. With an inventory consisting of 49 murals, SACA are the creators and curators of the West Side Mural District, a public art gallery that documents the history and culture of the community. SACA publishes the El Placazo Community Newspaper and offers other arts and culturally based activities such as photography, multimedia and journalism workshops. SACA creates public art and publishes their newspapers through a process that involves the community at every level. Targeting inner-city youth, they offer regular sessions during off-school time providing advanced arts instruction and empowering youth to gain confidence and self-efficacy through the creation of dynamic public art pieces. SACA also engages adult and senior community members through volunteer and mentor opportunities.

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Nurse combines tradition with technology to save lives


Carole White, Ph.D., M.Sc.N (right), monitors the blood pressure of stroke patient Robert Benavides who is participating in a study she is leading at the UT Health Science Center.


“You’re slurring your words.” “Why are you walking crooked?” What’s wrong with your mouth?” These weren’t the responses Robert Benavides usually received when he walked into the office each morning. Normally it was a simple “Good morning,” or “Hey, Robert!” This time however, he got strange looks from his co-workers at the commercial air conditioning repair and installation company where he works. And when they insisted he go see a doctor, Benavides was confused. He felt fine. He hadn’t notice any changes in his appearance or mannerisms. But he listened and visited his doctor the next day. What he heard next shocked him. “You had a stroke,” his doctor informed him. That explained his drooping lip, the unusual slurring of his speech and his veering to the right when he thought he was walking in a straight line. Benavides still couldn’t believe it. An MRI (magnetic resonance image) confirmed a small area of damage in his brain. “I guess I was lucky,” Benavides said. “It could have been a lot worse. I don’t want it to happen again though.” Nearly 800,000 Americans suffer a stroke each year. Stroke is the second-leading cause of death worldwide after heart disease. Researchers are finding that strokes are occurring more often in Hispanics and at a younger age. The prevalence of risk factors including obesity, diabetes,

hypertension, lack of insurance and poor access to health care in this group contributes to the higher rate. A stroke can occur with no warning and no symptoms as in Benavides’ case. For stroke survivors, the effects such as paralysis, and vision and memory loss, can be devastating. Unbeknownst to Benavides, his blood pressure had been elevated for several months and contributed to his stroke. NOVEL APPROACH TO PREVENTION Stroke can be prevented through blood pressure control and improved lifestyle changes including maintaining a healthy diet, weight and participating in regular exercise. Researchers in the School of Nursing at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio are taking a novel approach to stroke prevention by combining traditional tools with new technology. They’re incorporating texting, Bluetooth and applications for mobile devices to help stroke survivors control their risk factors and prevent subsequent strokes from occurring. Carole White, Ph.D., M.Sc.N., a faculty member in the Department of Health Restoration and Care Systems Management, is leading research at the UT Health Science Center that focuses on monitoring and managing healthy blood pressure levels. She engages patients in designing and implementing healthy habits that impact their well-being and ultimately prevent a stroke from reoccurring.

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Discovery Patients use a traditional monitor and a unique app to record their blood pressure daily. A simple touch of a button transfers the data via Bluetooth to a patient’s electronic files and alerts health care professionals if readings are dangerously high.

• Studies show that 80 percent of strokes can be prevented.* • May is National Stroke Awareness Month * Source: The National Stroke Prevention Association

Her study, “Mobile Health for Brain Health,” is the first study of its kind conducted in the city. Dr. White implemented several phases of the study including focus groups with stroke survivors and their families and a survey of 60 participants, all stroke survivors, aged 36 to 82, from Bexar and surrounding counties. The goal is to understand how stroke survivors manage their risk factors. This past spring, 11 of the participants were provided with a blood pressure monitor they took home with them and instructions on how to take their readings twice a day for a period of five weeks. In addition to recording blood pressure, the monitor was programmed to transfer the data with a simple touch of a button to a patient’s mobile phone. From there, it was transmitted via a unique application called the Vital BP Study app (application for mobile devices) to Dr. White’s patient information electronic files and monitoring system. ALGORITHM FOR SUCCESS Dr. White worked directly with a computer programmer at Virtual Health Check, which is part of Chronic Care Management Inc., to design and develop an algorithm for an app specifically for her study. When a patient’s blood pressure readings recorded a systolic pressure of higher than 160 and a diastolic of more than 90 for at least one week, the app alerted Dr. White and her team, including neurologist and UT Health Science Center stroke expert, Lee Birnbaum, M.D., so they could follow up with the patient regarding adjustments that would need to be made to the patient’s health care, medications, diet or exercise regimen. When a patient’s readings were consistently normal, the patient would receive text messages of encouragement and praise for a job well done. Benavides, from San Antonio, was among the study participants. “This program taught me a lot and made life so much easier,” Benavides said. “Having a monitor at home and knowing exactly how to use it was convenient so I stayed true to taking my pressure regularly. Before I’d skip a lot because I had to make a trip and go out of my way to the grocery store or the pharmacy to find a machine. It was hard to get there sometimes and the machines didn’t always work.” Benavides said he also felt safer knowing that his data was delivered through a secure connection via his phone directly to Dr. White and her team who would offer guidance immediately when his readings were abnormal.

EMPOWERING PATIENTS “Information is everything,” Benavides said. “It can make a difference in helping you or it can kill you if you don’t have it.” Benavides, who has lived with diabetes since he was 35, said that knowing his numbers allows him to make the right choices daily. “It lets me know whether I can have that tortilla or not and reminds me to get walking for exercise.” In addition to the technology and tools, patients received information about stroke and its prevention, basic guidelines on healthy diet and exercise and one-on-one counseling sessions with Dr. White at the beginning and end of the study. Patients also provided feedback through surveys on the efficacy of the program and its tools, allowing Dr. White to evaluate and improve the program. Patient feedback is invaluable, Dr. White said, to advancing best practices for stroke prevention. She plans to collaborate with nurses in stroke clinics throughout San Antonio to implement this program. “What we’ve learned is that most stroke survivors, even those aged 65 and older, regardless of socioeconomic status, own and operate a mobile phone. With free WIFI so common and available nowadays, this program is convenient and works well for a wide population,” Dr. White said.

EXCELLENCE IN RESEARCH CAROLE WHITE, PH.D., M.SC.N. Dr. White has studied stroke and has worked with patients at the UT Health Science Center for more than 10 years. Prior to joining the faculty of the School of Nursing in 2010, she was on the team that in 2003 initiated a secondary stroke prevention study in the Department of Neurology at the Health Science Center. This study was the first of its kind in the world at that time and was funded by $37 million from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke of the National Institutes of Health, which was the largest single research grant in the university’s history.

CHANGING BEHAVIOR TO SAVE LIVES “I’ve witnessed how stroke can change people’s lives. They lose their physical abilities and sadly many lose their jobs. This is what drives me. It’s rewarding to see patients thriving and to include them in being a part of preventing this devastating disease.” Benavides, who has since recovered from disabilities he suffered after his stroke, agrees. “It was nice to be so involved in something like this, he said. “I think everyone, whether or not they’ve had a stroke, should have this kind of help. If I’d known what I know now, I might not have had a stroke. It can save a lot of lives.” For more information about Dr. White’s stroke research at the Health Science Center, call 210-567-5831 or email For information about supporting stroke research in the School of Nursing, contact Gwen Notestine, director of development, at 210-567-5313 or at Source: The American Heart Association

School of Nursing | The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio TRIBUTE


Nursing student Joanna Elshazly assists a patient at the San Antonio Refugee Clinic.


Dal Ezekiel Gajmer was 22 when he fled his home in Bhutan, a tiny country in the Himalayas, nestled between China and India. Political unrest and attempts by the government to enforce a single dominant religion and culture there in the early 1990s erupted in conflict and widespread violence among the citizens and Bhutanese Army. Gajmer feared for his life. He, along with more than 100,000 men, women and children, quickly escaped and found shelter nearly 400 miles away in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal. His struggle was long from over, however, as Gajmer never imagined he would live another 21 years in the camp. He missed his family and the comforts of home. But patience, courage and faith fueled Gajmer’s hope for his future and he soon found love at the camp. In 2000 he got married and he and his wife, Mangali, later had a son, Pratik. Still, Gajmer worried about the health and well-being of his new family. Adequate medical facilities and resources were limited in the refugee camps and Mangali suffered from a kidney disorder caused by medications she was administered at the camp. In 2012, Gajmer and his family’s outlook changed for the better when their application for asylum and resettlement in the United States was approved. What was 12 TRIBUTE School of Nursing | The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

even more encouraging was that the Gajmer family landed in San Antonio, considered to be among the nation’s meccas for top-notch health care and biomedical research. Gajmer was confident he would find quality health care in San Antonio for his family. And he did, thanks to an initiative led by the School of Nursing at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. The San Antonio Refugee Clinic is a partnership among the Schools of Nursing, Medicine and Dentistry and Saint Francis Episcopal Church on Bluemel Drive near the South Texas Medical Center. The clinic is located in the heart of the refugee neighborhood. The Church provides facilities for clinic space and student-run operations, which cater to the growing and diverse refugee population in San Antonio. Julie Novak, D.N.Sc., RN, CPNP, FAANP, FAAN, vice dean and executive director of the UT Nursing Clinical Enterprise (UTNCE), is the School of Nursing liaison to the clinic and provides support through a federal contract. Ruth Berggren, M.D., director of the Center for Medical Humanities & Ethics at the UT Health Science Center, currently provides support for clinic vaccines and medications through a grant from the Kronkosky Charitable Foundation. With approximately 5,000 immigrant refugees arriving annually from across the globe in San Antonio, the interprofessional team recognized a need for enhanced care for this population and the opportunity to provide


ABOVE Nursing, medical and dentistry students aid patients at the student-led San Antonio Refugee Clinic. LEFT Dr. Julie Novak (center), vice dean and executive director of UTNCE, and Rev. Cristopher Robinson, rector of Saint Francis Episcopal Church, are pictured with nursing student Dominique Kilcrease, who is one of the many UT Health Science Center student volunteers at the San Antonio Refugee Clinic where they collaborate on providing health care resources to the refugee community.

students with leadership opportunities, a hands-on learning laboratory and an understanding of how to sustain clinics for vulnerable populations. The student-led clinic serves more than 500 refugees yearly from throughout the world, including from Burma, Nepal, Iraq, Rwanda, Liberia and other regions. Faculty, residents and students from the schools of nursing, medicine and dentistry provide care to patients of all ages and conduct surveys and focus groups with patients to learn how to better serve them and their families. The Rev. Cristopher Robinson, rector of Saint Francis, said the clinic is welcomed and much-needed in the community. “It’s heart-wrenching to see refugees separated from their way of life, family and culture,” Rev. Robinson said. “They just want to succeed like any of us. Most of them spend years overcoming trauma, adjusting to American culture, rebuilding careers and creating a new life for themselves in the United States,” he said. “Our partnership with the UT Health Science Center allows us to help refugees in an environment where they know they are safe and in good hands. Having an interdisciplinary team of health care providers working together in the best interest of this vulnerable population is a blessing. This arrangement is like nothing I’ve seen anywhere else. It’s definitely a model for the rest of the world,” he said Although he is nearly 8,000 miles from Bhutan, Gajmer said he feels safe and at home when he’s at the clinic where he serves as a translator to help facilitate communication between doctors and patients. More importantly, he said, is that his own family has access to quality, affordable and compassionate health care. “We recently discovered that my 12-year-old son, Pratik, has high blood pressure. We are fortunate that we can come to this clinic where he can be monitored and treated,” Gajmer said. “I feel like we have an extended family at the clinic that really cares about us.”

Volunteering at the refugee clinic is one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had. It is an education far beyond the classroom that has opened up my eyes to the incredible accomplishments made when our schools and community organizations collaborate. This experience is preparing me for my career serving our nation’s growing and diverse underserved communities.” —JOANNA ELSHAZLY is a student nurse leader at the San Antonio Refugee Clinic. She will earn her B.S.N. from the UT Health Science Center School of Nursing in December 2015.

CARING FOR A DIVERSE COMMUNITY In 2013 the Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program awarded Dr. Novak and the UTNCE $5.1 million over five years to increase access to and expand primary care services through the UTNCE. This nurse-managed clinic expansion, approved under the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), enhanced program and team growth in the Student Health Center, Employee Health and Wellness Clinic, AVANCE Head Start, and Healy-Murphy Alternative High School and Daycare Center Clinics. Subsequently, Dr. Novak sought and received approval from CMS to include the refugee clinic in the DSRIP-supported clinic expansion. In January 2014, Dr. Novak secured and expanded space at Saint Francis to allow further growth of programs and services. Andrew Muck, M.D., associate clinical professor, serves as the clinic’s medical director. Moshtagh Farokhi, D.D.S., M.P.H., clinical assistant professor of comprehensive dentistry, oversees dental health care services with her students. Drs. Muck and Farokhi are faculty members at the UT Health Science Center. Ruth Grubesic, RN, Dr.P.H., a community health nursing professor, completed her Peace Corps experience in Nepal. Dr. Grubesic’s fluency in Nepalese is invaluable as one of the clinic’s largest patient cohorts comes from Nepal.

ADVANCING SERVICE • Expansion of clinic hours and addition of services; • Purchase of supplies and funding for translation support and consulting services; • Clinic services for more than 500 refugees each year; • Health care services offered including primary care for adults and dental screenings. Mental health and nutrition services will be added based upon patient focus-group responses; • Numerous Health Science Center faculty and residents volunteering yearly; and • More than 100 Health Science Center students from the schools of nursing, medicine and dentistry volunteering yearly.

School of Nursing | The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio TRIBUTE


in response to the major role that ineffective care-team communications plays in death from adverse medical events (errors). Developed in the mid-1990s by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Patient Safety Program and rolled out by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in 2006, TeamSTEPPS is an evidence-based organizational intervention specifically focused on interprofessional team performance to improve patient safety. The same evidence from airline industry safety is used in the principles included in TeamSTEPPS. The TeamSTEPPS Master Training (train-the-trainer) program is led by Dr. Stevens, professor in the Department of Health Restoration and Care Systems Management. This program is offered through the School of Nursing's Center for Advancing Clinical Practice (ACE), which was founded by Dr. Stevens and is now led by Darpan Patel, Ph.D., ABOVE TeamSTEPPS® assistant professor for research in the School training engages participants in of Nursing. TeamSTEPPS resonates with the collaborating on center’s focus on providing resources to health communication styles care professionals who dedicate their lives to to accomplish a task. achieving quality and safety in health care. LEFT Exercises demonstrate to trainees The TeamSTEPPS workshops are conducted the importance of jointly by Dr. Stevens and a host of UT Health teamwork and success, Science Center faculty and clinical partner Master even in situations in which resources may Trainers. “Health professionals are adopting be limited. the mantra — improving our work is our work — flagging their crucial role in ensuring that patients are safeguarded from errors from the time they arrive in a ® hospital through resolution of their health issue,” Dr. Stevens said. “Research shows that many errors, up to 80 percent, are due to miscommunication among the health care team.” Dr. Stevens said their goal as quality improvement professionals is to equip current and future health care professionals with standardized communication skills and strategies that guard against these mistakes so that patients are not harmed by the care that is meant to heal. Dr. Stevens said the DSRIP funding provides for supplies, facilities and staff to continue and grow the training and By NATALIE A. GUTIERREZ implementation support. The program has Master Trained more than 400 individuals magine taking a sick loved one to the hospital and then receiving locally and nationwide, almost 100 of which are Health Science news he’s passed away, not because of the illness you brought him Center faculty members and students and professionals from health in for, but because of a preventable mishap that occurred during care facilities and clinics throughout the city. The two-day-long his treatment. Master Training Workshop is complemented by pre- and postSadly, this frightening scenario occurs more often in the United workshop activities to support full implementation of TeamSTEPPS States than one might think. A recent study* reported that as many as initiatives in the individual trainee’s own facility. Master Training 440,000 people die each year from preventable medical errors. That certification is available twice a year through the DSRIP program. estimate ranks death by medical error higher on the list of leading Frank Puga, Ph.D., assistant professor of research with ACE causes of death than diabetes, Alzheimer’s and other disorders besides and a TeamSTEPPS Master Trainer certified through Dr. Stevens’ cancer and heart disease. program, joins Dr. Stevens in the training and study of the impact Faculty and students in the School of Nursing at the UT Health of this patient safety initiative. Science Center San Antonio are on a mission to reverse this deadly “Our workshops are comprehensive because we draw from the trend. And, thanks to funding provided by the Delivery System rich and varied experiences of our interdisciplinary team of clinicians, Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program, they are making rapid educators and researchers in the health care field,” Dr. Puga said. advances in their efforts. “They understand the patient-provider dynamic.” A $1.5 million portion of the DSRIP funding received by the School In partnership with the School of Medicine and UT Medicine of Nursing (2012 – 2016) was awarded to Kathleen Stevens, Ed.D., (the faculty practice of the School of Medicine), faculty physicians, RN, FAAN, to provide an innovative improvement program called residents and nurses put TeamSTEPPS training into practice in TeamSTEPPS® (Team Strategies and Tools to Enhance Performance and clinics at the Medical Arts & Research Center, where patients are Patient Safety) to faculty, students and affiliated clinical partners at the seen. In addition, patients provide valuable feedback via surveys UT Health Science Center San Antonio. TeamSTEPPS was developed regarding the care they receive, which allows administrators to

TeamSTEPPS up to patient safety


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WHAT IS DSRIP? Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) programs are a component of the evolving Medicaid delivery system reform landscape. DSRIP initiatives are part of federal waiver programs and provide states with significant funding that can be used to support hospitals and other health care providers in changing how they offer care to Medicaid beneficiaries. States receiving DSRIP funding include California, Texas, New Jersey, Kansas, Massachusetts and New York. DSRIP pool payments are incentive payments to hospitals and other providers that develop programs or strategies to enhance access to health care, increase the quality of care, the cost-effectiveness of care provided and the health of the patients and families served. Sources: The Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission

make changes in processes that enhance patient safety and care. “Given the DoD roots of TeamSTEPPS, it provides a perfect bridge for building collaboration with our military colleagues through our Health Science Center’s new Military Health Institute being led by Dr. Byron Hepburn.” Dr. Stevens eagerly notes that the Health Science Center has the capacity to set a national precedent by TeamSTEPPS to train 100 percent of faculty and students in the schools of nursing, medicine, dentistry and health professions as well as all graduatelevel students. “It is a worthy goal,” Dr. Stevens said. “Education for safe care is among our UT Health Science Center’s highest priorities and it is also a mounting national movement. The DSRIP funding enables us to meet the challenge of assuring our workforce is capable of transforming health care safety through high-performing teams to benefit patients and families.” For more information about the TeamSTEPPS program, contact the ACE at 210-567-1480 or email To make a gift to support TeamSTEPPS training programs, contact Gwen Notestine at 210-567-5313 or *

DNP students participated in the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s (AACN) annual Student Policy Summit held in Washington, DC, last spring. Pictured are (back row, L – R) Kimberly Smith and John Ntagha, (front row L – R) Margorie Lieck, Dr. Eileen Breslin, Geraldine “Polly” Bednash, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, former executive director of the AACN, Tanya Nasha Garner and Daniel Flores.

STUDENTS GIVE VOICE TO NURSING NEEDS NATIONALLY This past spring, School of Nursing Dean Eileen Breslin, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, invited doctor of nursing practice (DNP) students Daniel Flores, Tanya Nasha Garner, John Ntagha, Margorie Lieck and Kimberly Smith, to attend the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) annual Student Policy Summit conference held in Washington, D.C. This three-day conference allows students to become immersed in program sessions focused on the federal policy process and nursing’s role in professional advocacy. During their time there, visits to Capitol Hill were arranged and students were able to visit offices for the state in which they are enrolled with the goal of helping the dean and AACN representatives carry a key message supporting nursing education and research. The AACN offers this opportunity as a commitment to developing future generations of policy and advocacy leaders for the nursing profession. Student Tanya Nasha Garner reflected on her experience at the summit. “Being able to witness firsthand how nursing can impact legislation was an experience I will remember for the rest of my life. Completing the Theories and Research in Leadership Quality, Safety and Evidence Base and the Healthcare Analysis and Advocacy —Deborah Kendall-Gallagher, Ph.D., J.D., RN courses provided relevant Assistant Professor information and prepared me for what I was about to experience on Capitol Hill,” she said. During the summit, keynote speakers discussed nursing advocacy and understanding the advocacy role, as well as provided guidance on what to expect while visiting with legislatures. DNP students were able to meet with staffers from the offices of Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz. Students provided information on Title VIII funding to the staffers and explained the importance of continued funding to address the nursing shortage. Since the five students came from very diverse work backgrounds, each relayed how the funding has impacted the patient populations in each of their own work environments. “It was an amazing experience and wonderful to know that what I’m doing here makes a difference in Washington, D.C.,” Garner said. “It has provided me the assertiveness, confidence and knowledge when analyzing the federal health care environment.

“Teaching DNP students how to analyze complex policy problems at all levels of government provides them with the foundation to develop practical, evidence-based solutions.”

Published in the Journal of Patient Safety School of Nursing | The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio TRIBUTE






econd- and third-degree burns, broken bones and shrapnel wounds. U.S. Air Force Master Sergeant Cherita Johnson thought what she’d seen and learned while caring for wounded soldiers in Afghanistan had equipped her with the skills needed to face the challenges of life and the career she’d pursue as a civilian nurse when she returned to the United States. “Nursing is my calling. My mom was a nurse for 30 years. It’s in my DNA,” Johnson, 33, said. But when her son, Tatum, was born in 2013, Johnson gained a new perspective and pride in her profession as a caregiver. Her aspirations grew as did her responsibilities. “My dream is twofold — to be the best mom and the best nurse I can be. I want to be a positive example to my son in everything I do in life and career. But it’s definitely hard to juggle it all at the same time,” she said. Johnson, a single mom, enrolled in the School of Nursing undergraduate degree program at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio in the fall of 2014. But she soon found the rigors of coursework, class schedules, homework, job and responsibilities as a single parent to her 2-year-old son conflicting. “I was worried that I wasn’t going to pass some of my courses,” Johnson said. “I didn’t want to jeopardize my nursing degree but I wasn’t sure how to manage everything I had on my plate. It was stressful.” Fortunately for Johnson, the Health Science Center’s School of Nursing offers the Student Success Center dedicated to providing study resources, mentoring and tutoring services free to all nursing

students. Johnson signed up for resources the center offered and gained new time-management and organizational skills and testing strategies. David Byrd, Ph.D., and Vanessa Meling, Ed.D., in the Office of Admissions and Student Services in the School of Nursing, oversee the program, which was initiated with funding from the Office of the Dean. “Our School of Nursing leadership understands well that helping students succeed in their coursework translates into higher retention and graduation rates and into outstanding and accomplished nurses who will later contribute their talents and skills to our communities,” Dr. Meling said. “It has a domino effect on society and health care.” Dr. Byrd said the center could play a role in alleviating the national nursing shortage. With the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010, more than 32 million Americans are gaining access to health care services, including those provided by registered nurses (RNs) and advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) reported that national nursing school enrollment isn’t growing fast enough to meet the projected demand for RN and APRN services. “This center provides nationally recognized resources for nursing students that supplement and enhance the outstanding curriculum programs our school offers,” Dr. Byrd said. “In addition, the center helps meet our nation’s demand for doctorate-level prepared nurses as it helps keep students on track for success in their doctoral studies.” Students who seek assistance through the center have access to peer mentors, personal tutors and supplemental instruction (SI) leaders. Tutors and SI leaders are nursing students who are subject-matter experts in various courses such as pathophysiology, pharmacotherapeutics and disease management. Peer mentors work

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PREVIOUS PAGE Nursing student Cherita Johnson cherishes time with her 2-year-old son, Tatum, while balancing the rigors of coursework and life. ABOVE Fourth-year nursing student, Allyson Puckett, leads a study session. RIGHT Nursing student Adam Rick, an SI Leader, assists students in learning how to master course content and study skills.

with first-year nursing students to provide them with one-onone guidance through new student orientation and the students’ first semester. Students can be paired with a personal tutor who will assist them in improving subject-matter knowledge and academic skills. Supplementary content learning, led by an SI leader, is also available to students. SI leaders are specially trained and meet regularly with center administrators and School of Nursing faculty members to plan lessons and improve on their group-facilitation methods. Fourth-year nursing student Allyson Puckett, who will earn her B.S.N., this spring, takes pride in being an SI leader. “It’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever done and the easiest decision I’ve ever made,” she said. “My work load is challenging, but it’s rewarding to be able to help other students when they are feeling overwhelmed. I’ve walked in their shoes. The nursing school has given me a great education. I feel good about being able to give back.” In addition to coursework, students also can seek advising from staff members in the center. “Sometimes all a student needs is encouragement and reinforcement,” Dr. Meling said. “Assistance comes in many forms and we’re proud of all we offer.” Johnson is taking advantage of the supplementary sessions and tutoring twice a week.“Not only am I learning how to manage my academic load, I’m also learning how to balance school with my personal life. It’s given me more confidence,” Johnson said. “The best part is that my son is seeing me succeed not just as his mom, but as a student and a nurse.” For more information about the Student Success Center in the School of Nursing, contact Dr. David Byrd, associate dean, at 210-567-5837 or or Dr. Vanessa Meling, director of academic enhancement in the School of Nursing, at 210-567-5851 or To donate to and support needed resources in the center, contact Gwen Notestine, director of development in the School of Nursing, at 210-567-5313 or at

David Byrd, Ph.D.

Vanessa Meling, Ed.D.

STUDENT SUCCESS CENTER LEADERSHIP Building off of the foundation for student support of the Juntos Podemos mentorship program, and thanks to the pioneering efforts of Norma Martinez Rogers, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, the Student Success Center opened its doors in the School of Nursing this past fall. Dr. Martinez Rogers, professor in the Department of Family and Community Health Systems, has committed herself to eliminating health disparities among vulnerable populations. She founded the Juntos Podemos program for nursing students to assist with retention. The School of Nursing has committed to institutionalizing this foundational work through the Student Success Center and welcomes Drs. Byrd and Meling who are leading the new center. David Byrd, Ph.D., is associate dean for admissions and student services in the School of Nursing. Prior to joining the UT Health Science Center in 2014, he was assistant dean for undergraduate academic affairs for the College of Education and Human Development at Texas A&M University in College Station. He holds a Ph.D. in higher education administration, an M.S. in agricultural education and a B.A. in history, all from Texas A&M University in College Station. Vanessa Meling, Ed.D., is the director for academic enhancement in the Student Success Center in the School of Nursing. Prior to joining the UT Health Science Center in 2014, she was assistant dean for student success at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio. She holds an Ed.D. in educational leadership and higher education from Texas A&M University–Kingsville, an M.B.A. from The University of Texas at Tyler and a B.S. in business administration from LeTourneau University in Longview.

School of Nursing | The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio TRIBUTE



(Left to right) Elizabeth and Rick Rosenblum teach their daughters, Avery, and Ryan, about the importance of philanthropy through involvement and personal connection.

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T Amanda Curtis (left), a student in the accelerated nursing program, explains to Ryan and Avery Rosenblum the basics of breathing techniques that nurses practice on newborns.



aking a difference in one person’s life with a kind word or a smile may not seem like much, but when you are a patient dealing with chronic pain and an endless number of doctor visits, that smile or kind word means everything. In today’s health care environment, these small acts of kindness are often carried out by nurses, which is why the benefactors of the latest scholarship for students in the School of Nursing want recipients to remember the importance of making that human connection. The Judith and Marven Rosenblum Endowed Memorial Scholarship in Nursing was established for single parents who are enrolled as undergraduate or graduate students in the School of Nursing. Eligible applicants must earn a G.P.A. of 3.0 or higher and write a personal written statement of their interest and motivation for pursuing nursing as a career. Rick and Elizabeth Rosenblum pledged $100,000 to ensure that the distribution from the endowment would make a substantial impact on scholarship recipients. With an additional year of investment, the scholarship will be available in 2016. The scholarship is named for Rick’s parents. “Both of my parents struggled with health issues; my mom, really her whole life, and my dad for a number of years,” Rick explained. His father passed away in 2000 at the age of 59 and mother in 2013 at the age of 68. “My mom especially, loved her doctor interactions and her nurse interactions. She loved the social aspect of it. In fact, it was a big part of her social network.” With the establishment of the scholarship, Rick and Elizabeth hope to help students fulfill a lifelong dream of a nursing degree; reinforce the importance of providing personal care to each patient seen; leave a legacy that will continue and create a ripple effect for years to come; and in turn honor the nurses and caregivers who helped Judith and Marven in their health struggles. “My mom would love the idea that her name is associated with helping people help people and that’s the ripple effect I hope this scholarship achieves,” Rick said. “I want the gift to work over time, and I want it to touch as many people, as it can possibly touch.”

Rick Rosenblum (pictured left) said he and his wife, Elizabeth, are proud to model philanthropy for their children (pictured left to right) Avery, Ryan and Evan.

With three children, two daughters, Avery, 13, and Ryan, 11, and a son, Evan, 20, in college, the pair also want to model philanthropy through personal connections; providing more than just monetary value but being personally invested as well. “Like a lot of people, we talk to our kids about giving back to the community, and our kids understand to a certain extent, but we knew we could do better on making a connection,” Rick said. “It was really important for us to have all three of our children witness and participate in this scholarship and that’s going to be on a continuous basis. This will be their connection to their grandparents.” Married for 37 years, Judith and Marven were born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and had one child, Rick. Marven joined the U.S. Army before establishing himself in the men’s clothing business, moving to Dallas in 1977 to open a men’s clothing store that grew to 15 stores across the state of Texas. The couple retired to south Florida in 1997 where they lived out their lives. “My mom’s personality was big, fun and gracious, and I want the scholarship recipients to know that about her. She was very loyal to her friends as well,” Rick says. “My dad was hard working, conscientious, and much more serious. He had a wry sense of humor, though, and was very playful at the same time.” With a bright smile on her face, Judith struggled most of her life with her health rallying through rheumatoid arthritis, gastrointestinal issues, breast cancer and chronic pain. With frequent and often daily trips to medical offices, her social circle became the health care providers she sought for help. “It is important to remember the human element when giving care,” Rick said. “Often, there is a methodical processing of patients and really getting to personalized care in a truly caring way is sometimes missing, I think. I really want the people who seek this scholarship to take that role. My mom valued that social interaction. It strengthened her when she felt like her caregiver cared about her.” With the establishment of the Judith and Marven Rosenblum Endowed Memorial Scholarship in Nursing, Rick and Elizabeth hope future nurses continue to provide a personal touch to patient care so all patients feel valued. To make a gift to the School of Nursing, contact Gwen Notestine at 210-567-5313 or at

School of Nursing | The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio TRIBUTE


HONOR ROLL OF DONORS Barbara Banker Biomedical Development Corporation Michael and Irene Black Eileen Breslin and William Israel Jo Ann Crow Cecil and Virginia Davis John Franklin Patty Hawken William and Mary Henrich Ronald and Karen Herrmann Betty Howard Michael and Endowment Carol Huebner Support Brenda Jackson David and Thomas and Ginger Baer Kay Jackson Family and Friends Herbert and of Jennifer Joan Kelleher Herin-Selvester Mission Pharmacal Gary Baldwin Company Barbara Banker Gregg and Sydney Polly Davenport Muenster Family and Friends Victoria Paparelli of Margret Thomas and Jane “Bobbe” Gaskin Cheever Powell Kelley and Katherine Pat Frost Schwesinger Rudy and Barbara Gregg Siegel Gomez Phyllis Siegel Family and Friends Paul and Marie of Rudy Gomez Smith Lucille Hamill Richard Usatine Veronica Keller and Janna Lesser Gladys Lynch Marilyn Weber William Barbara Wulfe Montgomery Family and Friends Foundation Leadership of Mary Faye Support Montgomery **Foundation gifts Friends of the of $100,000+ Nursing Alumni The Rita and Scholarship Alex Hillman Ronald Reed Rick and Elizabeth Foundation Methodist Rosenblum Healthcare Robert Shelby Ministries Barry and Carol Mexicans and Swartz Americans Family and Thinking Together Friends of Carol Foundation Ann Swartz Dean’s Family and Friends of Jill Excellence Earle Waddy Fund Gus Belitzer President’s Marian Borrell Council Ruth Bowen Anonymous Judith Brinckerhoff Kay Avant Judy Casey David and Patricia Cordier Ginger Baer

Planned Gifts Estate of Anonymous Kristine Arlitt Anne Fishburne Briscoe Rebecca GarciaMichels Barbara Greene Lucille Hamill Carol Huebner Judith Hutcherson Gladys Lynch Mary Pena Philip and Jean Piccione Susan Rovira Shirley Sterling

Janet Cruz Lilia DeBenedetto Jeanette Divine Carrol Doolen Sharon DuMenil Janice Green Kathleen Harr Frances Kelley Gemma Kennedy Lettie Lee Patricia Livingston Colleen Malady Marie McDermott Shirley Menard Carolyn Mueller Laurie Nix Gay Pfaff Jimmy Pierce Jane Cheever Powell Linda Robertshaw Jacqueline Rock Therese Shoffner Sandra Weeks Barbara Wroblewski

Janie CantyMitchell John Casias Angelina Castillo Austin Castillo Pedro Cerisola Sharon Chatham Mark Clark Tanya Clark James and Lisa Cleveland Kathryn Close Josefina Cochetti Frederick Coonan Larry Cooper Candace Curlee Ilene Decker Holly DiLeo Joan Duncan Eilan Hotel & Spa Glenn Ermer Christine Evans Odette Farias Frances Flores Flowerama Flying Saucer Peggy Francis Living John Franklin Endowment Alicia Gallegos Scholarship Patricia Gamboa Sam and Kay Richard Garza Bashara Melanie Gohn Mike and Louise Heinz Gunga Beldon Susan Gutlove Sharon Chatham Gabriela Guzman Francisco and Graciela Cigarroa Joanne Hilliard House of Pho The Ford Karen Huffman Foundation Darlene Gilcreast Tonia Jackson Jewish Communal John Gilcreast Fund Janet Jeannin Micah Johnson James Lukose Philippine Nurses Richard Kendrick Association of San Marcia and Otto Koehler Antonio, Inc. Foundation Lewis and Nancy La Fonda Oak Hills Thorne Danet Lapiz Bluhm Budalur Thyagarajan Benjamin Larsen Mary Walker Tony Lawrence Women’s Overseas Janna Lesser Service League Camilla Lieber Barbara Wulfe Amy Lindsey Luce Ristorante Friends of Roberta Luedke the School Donna Lutka of Nursing Marissa Lynton Claudia Acosta Chantel Rose Ayala Maldonado Laura Banks-Reed Elaine Marshall Carol Barrera Robert Massey John Bartonico Lindsay McCurdy Karen Boyle Nancy McGowan Eileen Breslin Minnie Mendez David Byrd Jason Mergl Patience Cain Jacqueline Mickley

Thank you Linda Miller Louise Mireles Chris and Melissa Mireles Mission Possible 360, Inc. Claire Mitchell Michelle Mitchell Allen and Karen Mueller Anthia Murray Gwen Notestine Julie Novak Oak Hills Lanes Jana Orsinger Joni Paciocco Maria Padilla Timothy Paisley Heather Pearcy Diana Pirzada Public Alliance Stephen Ray Kathleen Reeves Anthony Rhymer Janis Rice Percy Richard Sharon Richie Jacqueline Rock Marian Rodgers Sonia Rogers Run Wild Sports Cindy Russel Deanna Savo Heidi Schreckenbach Corrine Sherman Isabell Stoltz Mady Stovall Sunshine Distributors, Inc. Julia Thompson Jose Trevino John Turner Chinasa Ugoala Richard Valdez

20 TRIBUTE School of Nursing | The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio


Rose Marie Vickery Holly Wicklas Your Fitness 365 Herlinda Zamora Laura Zischke

Irwin and Betty Helford Carol Huebner Bebe Inkley Charles Jackson Wesley Jennings Nursing Gregory and Leigh Advisory Ann King Council Sandy Klein Betty Andrews L.D. Ormsby Kay Avant Charitable Estela Avery Foundation, Inc. Ginger Baer Earline Lagueruela Raul Barocio Nancy Loeffler Louise Beldon Martha Lozano Michael and Janey Marmion Irene Black Richard Mathews Carolina Canales Sandra McKinney Janie CantyLupita Medina Mitchell Methodist Rita Carlson Healthcare Rick Carter Ministries Lynnea Castillo Donald Moye Phyllis Chelette Karen Mueller Christus Gregg Muenster HomeCare NIX Hospitals Graciela Cigarroa System, LLC Helen Coronado Amparo Ortiz Jo Ann Crow Victoria Paparelli Ilene Decker James Patterson Holly DiLeo Jimmy Earl Pierce Robin Ford Dillard Jane Cheever Kenneth Powell Donoughue Ann Richardson Mary Edwards Cathy Ritter Amelia Fernandez Cecile Robichaud Tenchita Flores Maria Cristina John Franklin Rodriguez Beverley Freeman Berta Rodriguez Frost National Lorena Rodriguez Bank Norma Martinez Paula Gray Rogers Walton Gregory San Antonio Barbara Haley Medical Betty Halff Foundation Patty Hawken Lillian Sanchez

Joanie Schwartz Katherine Schwesinger Andrea Smith Marie Smith Ann Stevens Carol Swartz Wendy Tillotson University Health System Maria Wellisch WellMed Medical Management, Inc. Julie Wisdom Wild Barbara Wulfe Herlinda Zamora

Alumni Membership Christina Agyin Betty Andrews Carol Andrews Joyce Batcheller Donna Bruns Betsy Buckner Patience Cain Denine Carneglia Sharon Chatham Josefina Cochetti Jennifer Cude Sylvia CurielThompson Shaun Danney Gloria Davis Dawn Dieterich Priti Doshi Joan Duncan Odette Farias Victoria Flores Alexandra Gillespie Jerry Gonzales Janice Green Carol Growney Linda Grumbles Sandra Hagendorf

Development Jan. 1 – Dec. 31, 2014 Jacqueline Hawthorne Carol Huebner Patricia Huff Karen Huffman Brenda Jackson Tonia Jackson Dana Keith Deborah Leopold Noe Leos Amy Lindsey Kimberly Madden Judy Maltas Robert Massey Shirley Menard Claire Mitchell

Judy Moczygemba Miriam Moerbe Michael Moon Donald Moye Marilynn MujezinovicWomack Jimmy Earl Pierce Katherine Pierce Marykutty Prasad Margaret Presley Kathleen Reeves Janis Rice Loren Rice Salimah Sadruddin Kathleen Salvemini

Katherine Schwesinger Nancy Smith Elaine Staton Karen Svetz Nanette Tisdale Jane Tustin Janet Tweedle Esperanza Uriegas Kirsten Verkamp Cynthia Voorhees Mary Walker Stephani Walsh Karen Webb Robbin Winchester

Your Legacy, Our Future Education and community service were important to Lucille Hamill, a retired postal worker. But as a military widow, her passion was to help veterans. Upon her death at the age of 93, Hamill had been a longtime member of the Gold Star Wives of America Inc. and had logged more than 25,000 hours of volunteer service at the Audie L. Murphy VA Hospital of the South Texas Veterans Health Care System and the Frank Tejeda Outpatient Clinics of the VA. Throughout her years of service, she witnessed the positive impact nurses had on military veterans in the hospitals in which she served, and she was inspired. Understanding that education was the key to producing compassionate and skilled nurses for the future, Hamill decided to create a gift through her estate plan in support of nursing students at the UT Health Science Center School of Nursing. With assistance from the Health Science Center’s gift planning team, Hamill’s gift created an endowment to provide flexible support for critical needs. The Lucille E. Hamill Endowment for Nursing Excellence will fund research, educational opportunities, financial assistance and other professional and community initiatives at the discretion of the dean of the School of Nursing in perpetuity. To fund the endowment, Hamill named the Health Science Center School of Nursing as a remainder beneficiary of a retirement plan.

(Left to right) Francisco Cigarroa, M.D., former chancellor of The University of Texas System, Nancy Loeffler, Nursing Advisory Council chair, and UT Health Science Center President William Henrich, M.D., MACP, celebrate the success of the 2014 Nursing Advisory Council Spring Luncheon. Dr. Cigarroa was the luncheon’s featured speaker.

NURSING ADVISORY COUNCIL LEADERS LAUDED The faculty, staff and students of the School of Nursing and the community congratulate and thank Nancy B. Loeffler as she completes her tenure as chair of the Nursing Advisory Council (NAC). Loeffler’s exceptional vision and leadership have allowed the NAC to evolve and advance exponentially over the last two academic years. Under her guidance, the NAC experienced two record-breaking spring luncheon events that led to the awarding of more than $100,000 in research grants and scholarships. In addition, she led the development of a new strategic plan and paved a pathway to success for the coming years. Loeffler will pass the torch to Estela Avery, who will be welcomed on Sept. 1 as the NAC’s new incoming chair. The School of Nursing is grateful for the achievements built by the NAC’s past advisers and looks forward to continued success under Avery.

After her passing, Hamill’s extraordinary generosity and investment in the future of nursing was revealed with her gift of almost $1.7 million. Hamill's vision to broadly support the School of Nursing will make lives better in our community and beyond.


Your gifts will create a healthier future for generations to come. Estate gifts can provide for: • Education of the next generation or health care professionals • Innovative educational environment • Compassionate care and community health initiatives Perhaps you would like to create a scholarship fund for deserving students, or create a permanent tribute to honor a loved one with an endowment in his or her name. We are here to help you with sample language for specific goals. Two of the most frequently used gift types are a bequest in your will or making the UT Health Science Center San Antonio the beneficiary of an insurance policy or retirement plan.

Please feel free to contact Director of Development Gwen Notestine at 210-567-5313 or email for assistance, or visit The best way to give depends on your own personal situation and should be discussed with your professional adviser. School of Nursing | The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio TRIBUTE





EXAMPLE Alumna Kathryn Tart, Ed.D., is the founding dean of the University of Houston Victoria School of Nursing.




I am very passionate about nursing because I can see the difference our profession is making.”


he serves as a state grass-roots liaison for Texas, was appointed to the governmental affairs committee for the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, has spent the past seven years as the founding dean of the University of Houston Victoria School of Nursing and completed her master’s degree in nursing from the UT Health Science Center San Antonio School of Nursing 28 years ago. For Kathryn Tart, Ed.D., all her roles in nursing have the same common core, patient care, which she believes should be at the heart of every nursing career. “I still feel like I am very involved in patient care as a dean,” Tart said. “I may not be with the patient, but being involved is what being a nursing dean is all about. If I didn’t have that deep-seated love for caring for patients and making sure that they have the best possible outcome across their life span from birth to death, then I wouldn’t have a good understanding of what I’m doing. If you don’t have that vision of what it is that nursing can do for our community, state and nation, then it doesn’t, to me, seem holistic. “I think I am an optimistic kind of person and I am very passionate about nursing because I can see the difference our profession is making. As a dean, I must make sure that students have what they need in order to take care of patients, be nurse leaders, productive in their careers and feel proud of their nursing education. Looking for those opportunities and having a vision for the future to support and advocate for students, the faculty and the profession are what’s important to me today. I think it is thrilling, but again, in the end it is all about the patient.”

22 TRIBUTE School of Nursing | The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio





Alumna Sharon Richie, Ph.D., M.S.N. (standing center), shares her knowledge and experience with students in the School of Nursing at Norwich University in Northfield, Vt., where she is director and associate professor for both undergraduate and graduate studies.


rom Germany and the United Arab Emirates to Fort Sam Houston and the Pentagon, her career has taken her around the world and across the United States, and it all began with a 99-cent toy she had to have at the age of 5 — a nurse’s kit. Sharon I. Richie, Ph.D., retired colonel in the U.S. Army, from the Tasker Street housing projects in Philadelphia, shined shoes in order to purchase that kit and immediately began bandaging her brothers’ make-believe broken arms and legs. Every decision she made from that point was based on becoming a nurse, including joining the Army when her financial aid was reduced while working on a bachelor’s degree in nursing. The Army paid for her education and she became a nurse. While proudly serving in the Army for 26 years, she completed her master’s degree in nursing at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio School of Nursing, and was selected for early promotion to the ranks of major, lieutenant colonel and colonel. Today, at 65, Dr. Richie is the director and associate professor for both undergraduate and graduate studies at Norwich University’s School of Nursing in Vermont where she has been for almost two years. With nearly two centuries of military tradition, Norwich is the perfect match for her. In a note written to one of her mentors, former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, she said, “I think I have my final assignment.” This assignment, so to speak, is Dr. Richie’s first foray into academia and she is enjoying her interaction with students and fellow faculty alike. The one-on-one with students gives her the opportunity to pay it forward as a mentor and role model, honoring those who guided her. “Nursing is different than it was when I started in 1971,” she said. “To be leaders, my students must earn a master’s degree and a doctorate degree in nursing, and I want them to plan their next steps.” With a wide array of nursing experience and a specialty in psychiatric nursing, Dr. Richie certainly has set an incredible example of leadership to share with her students. Following her military career, she worked as an independent consultant; provided post-traumatic stress disorder care for homeless veterans; conducted oral-history interviews of military nurses, physicians and medics who had served in Iraq or Afghanistan; ran a weekly online support group for female veterans; and published a quarterly column titled, Lean on Me. She also co-authored a book, “Angel Walk: Nurses at War in Iraq and Afghanistan,” and is working on a second edition. Dr. Richie, indeed, has a pretty impressive resume, and it all began with a trip to the store, a 99-cent toy and a dream.

To be leaders, my students must earn a master’s degree and a doctorate degree in nursing, and I want them to plan their next steps.”

School of Nursing | The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio TRIBUTE





EXAMPLE Alumna Lena Rippstein, Ph.D., GNP, is the founding director of the undergraduate nursing program and assistant professor of nursing at Schreiner University in Kerrville.

I like the nurse practitioner role because it is a combination of nursing and medicine and a more holistic approach to health care, which is what nursing should be.”




Being a nurse was something Lena Rippstein always knew she wanted to do. Even as a little girl, she honed her skills using her dolls, pets, mother and grandmother as patients. In fact, her grandmother nicknamed her “my little nurse.” When the time came for this Corpus Christi native to begin her nursing journey, she chose the UT Health Science Center San Antonio School of Nursing as her first stop earning a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in nursing from there. Today, Lena Rippstein, Ph.D., GNP, is the founding director of the undergraduate nursing program and assistant professor of nursing at Schreiner University in Kerrville, where she designed and implemented the university’s bachelor’s degree in nursing six years ago. Of course, that’s just her day job. On the weekends, Dr. Rippstein continues to see patients in Kerrville and San Antonio as a gerontological nurse practitioner, making house calls and visiting long-term care facilities. “It’s all about balance,” Dr. Rippstein says when explaining how she manages both teaching and maintaining her practice. “I like the nurse practitioner role because it is a combination of nursing and medicine and a more holistic approach to health care, which is what nursing should be. You look at the whole person with patient-centered care, the social, the family dynamic; it’s the whole picture.” The greatest part of her job these days though is the relationships she forms with the nursing students and their families. Graduation day is both “emotional and fabulous,” she says. With her patient-centered values firmly implanted in the nursing program, Dr. Rippstein believes that through her students she is now impacting more patients than she ever did before. “I teach students to remember the human side of their jobs. Patients, no matter what condition they are in when you meet them, were once your age and led productive lives and raised families and went through the same things you are going through. Take the time to get to know the patient.” Not one to rest on her accomplishments, Dr. Rippstein hopes to add a master’s degree in nursing, a nurse practitioner’s program and a doctor of nursing practice at Schreiner for future students.

24 TRIBUTE School of Nursing | The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

Dedication LEFT For the first time, School of Nursing graduate Shelby Green (center), and her parents, Jerry and Angie Green (left to right), reunited with the man who helped their daughter survive a devastating birth defect — Dr. John Calhoon, professor and chair of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery in the UT Health Science Center’s School of Medicine. BELOW Shelby Green was 1 year old when she was diagnosed with a heart defect that would require surgery.

HEARTFELT HEALING 2013 nursing alumna reunites with surgeon who saved her By MELISSA MIRELES


erry and Angie Green were in a state of shock when they took their 1-year-old daughter, Shelby, in for her annual exam. Doctors discovered a hole in her heart. Stationed in Madrid, Spain, the Air Force immediately put the Greens’ on a plane to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio where Mark Hoyer, M.D., chief of cardiology at Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center at Lackland, was waiting to see her. Dr. Hoyer diagnosed Shelby with ventricular septal defect (VSD), a condition that creates a hole in the wall that separates the heart’s lower chambers (septum) and allows blood to pass from the left to the right side of the heart. He made immediate arrangements for a highly recommended cardiac surgeon, John Calhoon, M.D., to perform open-heart surgery. The Greens met Dr. Calhoon the day of the surgery. Still numb and exhausted from traveling, the Greens sat hopeful in the waiting room at University Hospital, the teaching hospital of the School of Medicine at the UT Health Science Center. When the threehour surgery was completed, the Greens were relieved to hear that all had gone well. Dr. Calhoon would need to see Shelby in six weeks. Jerry recalls asking what they needed to do next. Dr. Calhoon responded by simply saying, “Walk out like you never walked in.” And that is exactly what they did. Shelby remained in the intensive care unit for a few days and after her six-week checkup, the family hopped on a plane back to Madrid and never looked back. Nineteen years later, Shelby would find herself in proximity to Dr. Calhoon again. After graduating from Vista Ridge High School in Cedar Park, Texas, where she was an athlete and state-level swimmer, she applied to the UT Health Science Center School of Nursing and began the program in January 2012. Shelby said she knew she wanted to pursue nursing as young as age 12.

“Because of my own experience with heart problems and because some of my family members had been treated for various illnesses, I felt like I had been exposed to the medical world my whole life,” Shelby said. She also had gained hands-on experience during her junior and senior years of high school through a health sciences program offered at a nearby hospital. The program provided her health care training and mentoring. After graduating in 2013, Shelby was hired on with Seton Medical Center Williamson in Round Rock, Texas. She recently completed the Seton residency program and works as a cardiac nurse. Although she did not exactly plan on specializing in cardiac nursing, she finds it very rewarding. “When my patients are recovering from open-heart surgery, they often notice the scar on my chest and it helps them relate to me. They are able to see I am fine and that heart problems are not a death sentence, but just a lifestyle change,” she said. In February, the Greens finally had the occasion they had waited so long for. “We are really excited for the opportunity and looking forward to meeting Dr. Calhoon to thank him,” Jerry said. “It’s hard to know what to say to him. How do you relay the impact he’s had? It changed our whole life; not just for our family, but for others Shelby has influenced too. How do you say that?” During their brief visit with Dr. Calhoon, they were able to share that Shelby had fully recovered, was living a normal life and was pursuing her passion in cardiac nursing. “Meeting a former patient like Shelby and seeing what a fine young lady and professional she has become is a very rewarding thing for any surgeon,” Dr. Calhoon said. “Nothing is more satisfying than feeling like your efforts went to a good cause. To think that Shelby is now able to contribute to medicine and society because of the fine work her parents did and the role our team played in her recovery is most gratifying.”

School of Nursing | The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio TRIBUTE



Christian Doll, M.H.A., RN ’11 President, School of Nursing Alumni Association

To become a member of the SON Alumni Association, please visit makelivesbetter.uthscsa. edu/sonmembership. For information about joining the Board of Directors, contact Melissa Mireles at 210-567-5534 or For information about giving opportunities and on how to include the School of Nursing in your estate plans, contact Gwen Notestine at 210-567-5313 or

It has been an exciting year for the School of Nursing (SON) Alumni Association. Last April, we invited our alumni to become members of the Alumni Association and now have close to 150 members. Membership is important as it supports alumni events and scholarships for students. Last May, we held a spring mixer at the Flying Saucer. Graduates from the Class of 1973 through the Class of 2013 attended. It was a nice way for our alumni and their guests to meet and reconnect with fellow classmates. We had a great turnout and it was a fun evening for all. The alumni association will host another spring mixer this May. Email invites will be sent to area alumni soon. Despite a very rainy, Saturday morning in November, we had another successful 5K Turkey Trot Fun Run/Walk. Alumni, faculty, staff, students and members of the community showed their support by raising funds to benefit the SON Alumni Association Endowment Fund. With more than 100 registrants, another $3,000 was added to the fund to benefit scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students. An integral part of the alumni association is to support nursing students with professional development opportunities, mentoring and other forms of engagement with alumni. This past February, the alumni association partnered with the Student Success Center to host the inaugural series event “Converse with a Nurse.” Justin Brooks ‘07, Nicole Gallegos ‘11, and Shelby Green ‘13 served on our alumni panel and provided students with information about their specific specialties, what led them to that path, and the pros and cons of their positions. A question-and-answer session followed the presentations. The next “Converse with a Nurse” session will be held in the fall. Alumni interested in speaking to current students should contact Melissa Mireles at 210-567-5534 or email When the board meets in May, a plan will be developed for our alumni to serve as mentors to current students. Several members of the alumni association have expressed an interest in serving as mentors. Our next task is to work on a mentor directory where students will be able to reach out to alumni directly. This will be my final letter to you as president of the SON Alumni Association, as my tenure as president comes to a close. It has been a pleasure to lead this effort over the past two years. I am thrilled with the accomplishments of the alumni association and the board. Odette Farias, will serve as president beginning January 2016. I will remain involved and look forward to seeing you at upcoming alumni events!

President, School of Nursing Alumni Association THANK YOU TO OUR 2014 TURKEY TROT SPONSORS!


Alumni board member Odette Farias, M.S.N., ACNP (left), congratulates 2015 Nursing Alumni Association Scholarship recipient Lucille Monaco who is enrolled in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program in the School of Nursing. Monaco received the award at this year’s scholarship reception. 26 TRIBUTE School of Nursing | The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio



Natalie A. Gutierrez, M.A. Director of Communications, Office of Institutional Advancement PRODUCTION MANAGER

Join the Alumni Association Get involved, network and support your alma mater. Invest in the future of nursing! • 210-567-5534

UPCOMING EVENTS Friday, May 8 Alumni Spring Mixer Thursday, June 4 Lifetime Member Dinner with Dean Breslin Saturday, Nov. 14 5K Turkey Trot Fun Run/Walk For upcoming Lifelong Learning conferences and events, visit: Fall 2014 RN Refresher Course — see website for course information and start date —


The School of Nursing’s Office of Admissions and Student Services (OASS) hosts two career fairs each year to bring employers to campus to meet with juniors and seniors. Held in the fall and spring, the career fairs are a great way for alumni to recruit top talent for their organizations. The career fairs offer three sponsorship levels (Gold, Silver and Bronze) for employers that are interested in setting up exhibit space and meeting with students. Each sponsorship level provides unique benefits to employers. If you are interested in finding out more about sponsorship opportunities, please contact the OASS at 210-567-5805 or 877-235-0341.

Special thanks to our Gold Sponsors for the spring 2015 Career Fair.

Melissa Mireles, M.A. Alumni Coordinator and Development Officer, School of Nursing CREATIVE DIRECTION AND PRINT PRODUCTION MANAGEMENT

Jennifer Bittle Creative Director of Communications CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Salwa Choucair, Natalie A. Gutierrez and Melissa Mireles DESIGN AND PRODUCTION

Causality: Brand Marketing for Good Causes SENIOR DIRECTOR OF MARKETING

Kris Enders Doyle Office of Institutional Advancement Photos provided by Creative Media Services and printing provided by UT Print, UT Health Science Center San Antonio. © The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, 2015. All rights reserved. UTHSCSA-School-of-Nursing/260467756667

ON THE BACK COVER Lark Ford, M.S.N., RN (right), mentors Yazmin Ledezma Lopez (left) and Perla Hernandez Cortes (center) who are nursing faculty members visiting from the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León. Ford is demonstrating in the school’s Center for Simulation Innovation techniques in airway management for the respiratory care of patients. (BACK COVER PHOTO BY LESTER ROSEBROCK, CREATIVE MEDIA SERVICES)

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Ours is a story of learning.

Ours is a story of hope. Compassion and joy. Commitment, vision and inspiration. We engage our minds and talents, and give from our hearts, to help and heal. We touch the lives of thousands, to serve those in need, here and around the world. And, through it all, we work to make lives better. Thank you for all you do to make our story so remarkable. You’re the reason we’re able to write the next chapter.

Tribute/School of Nursing 2015  

The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio School of Nursing alumni magazine

Tribute/School of Nursing 2015  

The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio School of Nursing alumni magazine