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News december/january


“Jock Doc” rocks hot sports spots


o doubt about it: hanging with Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Ashton Eaton in exotic locales like Istanbul and Barcelona is pretty cool.

Hanging out with Olympic decathlon champ Ashton Easton

Advice to Stephen Saenz (TCOM ’17) from proud pop Paul: “Maintain a healthy lifestyle and continue exercising. You have to find time for your mind to relax while burning that study candle at both ends.”

“I really have to pinch myself,” laughs Paul Saenz, DO (TCOM ’86). He went on the road with America’s elite athletes in 2012 as part of the medical staff for two prestigious teams: USA Track and Field at the World Indoor Championships and U.S. Olympic Basketball. Dr. Saenz also is in his 16th season as team physician with the San Antonio Spurs. “Last year, we were just 5.2 seconds away from our fifth NBA championship,” he sighs. “At this high stage of professional sports, the past couple of years have been gratifying, and we’re all glad there were no serious injuries on either side. But winning would have been very cool.”




TCOM: Teaming up with the Spurs 

Health Professions: Students on the Move 

GSBS: Clint Black performs at Bass Hall 

Public Health: Mosaic

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the Date Notes

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2012 U.S. Olympic Basketball team at Barcelona’s National Palace (Saenz is on bottom row, second from left)

Spotlight on... Ashley Gentry As a student, Ashley Gentry (PA ’12) was drawn to UNTHSC by the friendly atmosphere and open-door policy of the faculty. She returned this fall as an instructor in the Physician Assistant Studies Program.

How were your first months as an instructor? For the most part, it’s been an easy transition. It’s nice to know the faculty already has a sense of my capabilities. I also feel I have an immediate rapport with the students. I sat where they sat not too long ago.

The biggest difference between being a student and faculty? I was joking with Chris Cooper (Vice Chairman of the PAS Program) because I forgot that the location for grading student OSCEs this morning had been changed. He told me, “Don’t worry; they have to wait on you now.” And I said something to the effect, “Yeah, good thing I won’t get docked 10 points.”

What are your best memories as a student? I was a student ambassador. I spent a lot of time talking to students about what we are about here and answering questions about how to cope with life as a PA student. I really enjoyed it.

What year was the most challenging? Well, my third year was difficult. In the fall, during clinical rotation, I gave birth to my daughter. So it was pretty tiring, and I was getting by without much sleep. I just had to be OK with doing what I could do. But I only missed one rotation, so it wasn’t a big step back.

How will the Affordable Care Act impact physician assistants’ role in medicine? We are becoming a huge part of the future of health care. We’ll have an important role in extending the physician’s ability to manage this large quantity of patients who now will have health insurance. I’m really excited!


Physical Therapy students put initiative into “Kid’s Initiative”

(Left to right) Meena Krishnan (SHP ’14), Jemma Rose (SHP ’14), Roseann Luna (SHP ’14), Vicki Kowalewski (SHP ’15), Jonathan Nix (SHP ’14,) Niva Austin, Rebecca Martel and Abolaji Ogundele (all SHP ’15).

The students are enthusiastic, and it’s great to have the community involvement.” — Wendy Walling


he prospect of early-morning exercise with four dozen or so 3rd-, 4thand 5th-graders might sound a bit off-putting to some. But if you’re a member of Kid’s Initiative, you’re not just into the mayhem: You’re aiding and abetting it.

The program plants two seeds of thought with children attending North High Mount Elementary, the Title I school neighboring UNTHSC’s campus: physical fitness as a key element of health, and awareness of UNT Health Science Center as a solution for healthier communities.

“We have fun with the kids, and it’s contagious,” enthuses Roseann Luna, (SHP ’14). Meena Krishnan (SHP ’14) agrees, adding that “they’re really well behaved and look forward to every Tuesday, which charges all of us up, too.” Wendy Walling, High Mount’s PE teacher, praises the Kid’s Initiative volunteers. “We’ve been so grateful for all their help with morning exercise and events such as Field Day, Family Fitness Night and fund raising for our school,” she says. “We hope that our collaboration continues for years and that, together, we can put an end to issues like childhood diabetes.”


Clint Black wows Bass Hall audience The vibe was definitely all-country at Fort Worth’s elegant Bass Performance Hall on Nov. 7, 2013, as music legend Clint Black took the stage for an intimate acoustic concert benefiting UNTHSC. More than 2,000 fans greeted the country music legend. Presented by Chase JPMorgan, the concert celebrated the Health Science Center’s 40-year partnership with the Fort Worth community and the 20th anniversary of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS). Proceeds support UNTHSC researchers and enhance educational opportunities for students. GSBS “Living and Future Legends” (below and opposite) graced the evening’s print program.

Living Legends


John Aschenbrenner, PhD Adjunct Associate Professor, Cell Biology and Anatomy Long-time educator who has taught more than 5,000 students.

Robert Kaman, JD, PhD Former Associate Dean and Adjunct Professor Instrumental in developing programs to promote underrepresented minorities in biomedical workforce.

H. Fred Downey, PhD Emeritus Regents Professor, Integrative Physiology Internationally recognized for research on coronary circulation and cardioprotection.

Andras Lacko, PhD Professor, Molecular Biology and Immunology Innovative researcher exploring new ways to target cancer.

Arthur Eisenberg, PhD Chairman and Professor, Forensic and Investigative Genetics Internationally recognized expert in identifying human remains.

Peter Raven, PhD Professor, Integrative Physiology Expert in the physiology of exercising and aging.

Michael Forster, PhD Regents Professor, Vice Chair, Pharmacology and Neuroscience Expert in age-associated brain dysfunction.

Thomas Yorio, PhD Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs; Professor, Pharmacology and Neuroscience; GSBS Founding Dean Internationally recognized researcher studying glaucoma.

“Evening with a Legend” benefits UNTHSC, celebrates GSBS 20th anniversary

future Legends Bruce Budowle, PhD

Steve Mifflin, PhD

Professor, Forensic and Investigative Genetics, Executive Director of the Institute of Applied Genetics Renowned expert in development and use of forensic DNA typing, identification of victims from mass disasters, and efforts in counter bioterrorism.

Chair and Professor, Integrative Physiology Internationally renowned researcher studying how the brain regulates blood pressure in pathological states such as hypertension and sleep apnea.

Abbot Clark, PhD

Professor, Cell Biology and Anatomy Educator with focus on outreach programs for K-12 teachers and students.

Professor, Cell Biology and Anatomy, Director of the North Texas Eye Research Institute Researcher studying cellular and molecular mechanisms of ocular diseases. Anuja Ghorpade, PhD

Chair and Professor, Cell Biology and Anatomy A leading UNTHSC researcher studying HIV-1 infection of the brain. Eric B. Gonzales, PhD, (GSBS ’05)

Assistant Professor, Pharmacology and Neuroscience Researcher focused on understanding how dietary supplements can improve pain management in disorders such as fibromyalgia and arthritis. Patricia Gwirtz, PhD

Rustin Reeves, PhD (GSBS ’94)

Rhonda Roby, PhD, MPH

Associate Professor, Forensic and Investigative Genetics Internationally recognized forensic geneticist known for identifying the remains of 9/11 victims, Branch Davidians, the Russian royal family and many other high-profile cases. Ann Schreihofer, PhD

Professor, Integrative Physiology Researcher studying why obesity and sleep apnea lead to high blood pressure with the goal of providing better treatments.

Assistant Dean for Specialized Master’s Programs; Professor, Integrative Physiology Educator focusing on improving students’ analytical and critical-thinking skills.

Jerry Simecka, PhD

Johnny He, PhD

Meharvan “Sonny” Singh, PhD

Associate Dean for Graduate Education and Research; Professor, Cell Biology and Anatomy Researcher investigating how HIV and Hepatitis C can trigger AIDS, liver cancer and other diseases.

Chair and Professor, Pharmacology and Neuroscience; Director of the Institute for Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease Research Nationally recognized researcher studying the role of hormones in the aging brain.

Harlan Jones, PhD (GSBS ’96)

Professor, Molecular Biology and Immunology Researcher investigating how the immune response contributes to walking pneumonia.

Assistant Dean for Recruitment and Outreach; Assistant Professor, Molecular Biology and Immunology Researcher investigating stress as a risk factor for cancer and other diseases.

Jamboor Vishwanatha, PhD

Robert T. Mallet, PhD

Shaohua Yang, MD, PhD (GSBS ’00)

Regents Professor, Integrative Physiology Researcher and educator developing treatments to help the heart and brain recover from cardiac arrest and stroke.

Associate Professor, Pharmacology and Neuroscience Researcher studying how energy metabolism can be manipulated to treat brain diseases.

Dean, Graduate School of Biomedical Science; Professor, Molecular Biology and Immunology Educator who has studied prostate and breast cancer for more than 20 years.


SPH m saic Zeshan Chisty, MPH Epidemiology CDC/CSTE Applied Epidemiology Fellow, Hawaii State Department of Health “At UNTHSC, I had the opportunity to learn about the theoretical and applied aspects of epidemiology and public health. This foundation was essential to my acceptance into the CDC/CSTE Applied Epidemiology Fellowship. I continue to apply classroom concepts and theories in my current position as the health care-associated infections collaborative coordinator.”

Neneh Wurie, MPH, CPH Community Health Medical Case Manager, Project Access Tarrant County-Catholic Charities of Fort Worth “UNTHSC paved my way as a public health practitioner, utilizing program evaluation and assessment skills. In my current role with Project Access Tarrant County, I advocate and coordinate patient care to streamline the process to affordable health services and engage in grassroots efforts to identify solutions for healthier communities in Fort Worth.”

Branden Flowers, MHA MHA Senior Consultant, Kaiser Permanente, Northern California Region “The knowledge and experience I gained as a student at UNTHSC have been crucial to my success as a health care consultant. The MHA program’s real-world, practical approach allowed for a smooth transition into the rapidly changing field of health care administration.”

Sangeeta Shenoy, MBBS, MPH, CPH Health Management & Policy Clinical Research Administrative Coordinator, Department of Cell BiologyUNT Health Science Center “As a medical doctor from India, I was lucky to begin my career in health management and policy at UNTHSC. The guidance of great mentors and faculty nurtured my skills for leadership, communication, strategic orientation, performance measurement, organizational awareness and professionalism. This earned me an accreditation fellowship at Wichita Falls’ local health department and my job today.”

Jared Bench, MPH, CPH Health Management & Policy Provider Engagement Consultant, Humana Inc. “My experience at the UNTHSC School of Public Health was characterized by a rigorous curriculum and meaningful collaboration among a diverse population of students and professors. My education has undoubtedly allowed me to further my career related to health care delivery and managed care organizations.”

Mallory Johnson, MHA MHA Manager, Region 10 Health Partnership, JPS Health Network “Earning my MHA at UNTHSC gave me the opportunity to establish myself within the North Texas health care network and across the state while still in school. I have been with JPS for almost three years now, working on the 1115 Medicaid Waiver. I look forward to seeing the health improvements within our community and across the state over the next few years.”

Lt. Allen Applegate, DrPH, MPH, CPH Program Analyst / Planning Team Lead, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration For Children and Families, Office of Human Services Emergency Preparedness Response “At UNTHSC, I gained the management and leadership skills required to be an officer in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps as a Planning Team Lead. I use these skills daily in my role to build collaborative and lasting relationships with organizations that share my agency’s vision, formulate innovative solutions to complex challenges, and leverage ever-shrinking resources to achieve program goals and objectives. 6


save dates

Conferences TOMA Midwinter Jan. 31 – Feb. 2 Westin Park Central, Dallas TAPA Spring Feb. 20 – 23 Westin La Cantera, San Antonio TPHA – 90th Annual Education March 24 - 26 Omni Hotel, Corpus Christi

Class Notes Bruce M. Weaver (TCOM ’04) Deer Island, Fla. Currently practicing with my father in Tavares, Fla., in his practice: CareFirst Family Practice.

Ken Bernal (TCOM ’86) Rowlett, Texas I am currently practicing in Rowlett. Besides practicing medicine, I am very involved with Boy Scouts and music. Married to my wife, Susan, of 27 years; my son, Josh, is currently at UNT studying pre-med.

Patrick Hanford (TCOM ’83)

Countdown to Cowtown! Friday through Sunday, Feb. 21 – 23, 2014 Register for Fort Worth’s signature fundraising event benefiting the Cowtown C.A.L.F. (Children’s Activities for Life & Fitness) Program to promote and educate children about the importance of creating a healthy lifestyle through physical fitness and nutrition.

ON Campus Events

Lubbock Sharon and I live in Lubbock, and our two children, who were infants when in school, are now grown, married and all happy. We love the school and support TCOM. Class of 1983 is the best!

Joseph V. Davis III (TCOM ’82) Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. Recently named American Osteopathic Association (AOA) 2013 Mentor of the Year. Vascular surgeon working at Arrowhead Community Surgical Medical Group.

Shawn Parsley (TCOM ’94) Fort Worth

Research Appreciation Day March 21 High Reliability Organizing March 28 – 30 North Texas Health Forum April 10 & 11 Contact us at

Texas Health Physician’s Group new president in Fort Worth while remaining in practice part-time at Lake Worth Family Medicine.

We’d love to hear from alumni at all our schools – send your class notes to


Alumni Relations EAD 815 3500 Camp Bowie Boulevard Fort Worth, TX 76107

Renewed alumni commitment, outreach are hallmarks of 2014

Support student education, scholarships

ast year, we created the TCOM Alumni Newsletter, a colorful four-pager designed to bring alumni together by depicting today’s campus life. Readers responded, telling us they especially like student/graduate profiles and features on university happenings.

Student scholarship support is a proud tradition at UNTHSC as students are transformed into tomorrow’s health care leaders. Depending on the program, the average UNTHSC graduate leaves school owing between $22,590 and $129,875.


With this all-university double issue, we’re taking another step forward. Twice a year (December/ January and July/August), we’ll bring you alluniversity news, features and profiles to connect you with lively student and alumni activities. Your opinion matters: Drop us a line, and let us know how we’re doing. UNTHSC Alumni Relations

A contribution to the UNTHSC annual giving campaign helps ease the financial burden. The Alumni Association is committed to awarding $2,000 scholarships in August 2014 to 25 students of all schools. Will you consider making a gift of $25 or more to help a student follow in your footsteps? Checks may be made to Alumni Annual Giving and mailed to UNTHSC Alumni Relations – EAD 810, 3500 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth, Texas 76107.

Take the Alumni Newsletter Readership Survey and tell us what you think about the first all-school newsletter!

UNT Health Science Center Alumni Newsletter - December 2013 / January 2014  
UNT Health Science Center Alumni Newsletter - December 2013 / January 2014  

The UNT Health Science Center (UNTHSC) Alumni Newsletter spotlights relevant people, places, events and academic activities happening in and...