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Fall 2013


INSIDE: Helping kids control their asthma A 3-year-old speaks for the first time Discovering how to help homeless women Getting ahead of childhood obesity

What is public health? Today, 97 percent of U.S. health expenditures pay for the diagnosis and treatment of illnesses despite the fact that some 70 percent of disease is preventable. Faculty researchers, students and staff at UNT Health Science Center work every day to find preventive solutions to some of the most critical public health issues affecting the Fort Worth community and beyond. While physicians and other health care professionals concentrate on diagnosing and treating individual patients, public health professionals focus on keeping groups of people healthy. Because of public health research, education campaigns and policies: • Smallpox and polio have been eliminated in this country. • Deaths from automobile accidents dropped dramatically. • Fewer people smoke tobacco. • Workplaces are safer. • Deaths from heart disease and stroke are declining.

Our School of Public Health, for example, is working on:

Public health and its role in prevention is becoming more important than ever. “The message is becoming increasingly clear that we cannot afford our current health care system,” said Richard Kurz, PhD, Dean of the UNT Health Science Center School of Public Health. “To fix this, we must have fewer sick people, and we must deal with those who get sick in more effective and efficient ways. That’s the mission of the School of Public Health and our graduates.”

• Improving management of pulmonary diseases such as asthma and tuberculosis. • Reducing alcohol abuse, especially among college-age adults. • Using education and other means to detect breast cancer at earlier stages in African American women. Ultimately, these efforts will save dollars— and lives—helping all of us in the community live healthier lives together.

Public health focuses on promoting health, preventing disease and managing the health of communities as a whole and defined populations. ~ American College of Preventive Medicine 2

INSIDE 2 | What is public health? 8 | Helping a child speak 10 | Homeless women in Fort Worth 11 | Solution for a pelvic floor disorder 12 | Helping kids control asthma

Partnering to improve health UNTHSC’s Public Health and Prevention Council includes community leaders who support public health and partner with faculty members. They help educate the public, provide input and take positive actions to make our community healthier.

a t m a ke




Medical Access


18 | Treating children around the world 20 | Students empower change 22 | Fighting TB resurgence 24 | Type 2 diabetes in kids of Mexican descent


30 | Continuing his sister's work at age 95 32 | Williams named UNTHSC president



16 | Overriding your genetic code

25 | Training rural physicians to protect public health

y lt h


o ct

th rs



Interested in attending a council meeting or learning more? Contact the civic council coordinator at or 817-735-2246.

14 | Fostering teen fitness

Lifestyle and Behavior


33 | Recognizing physical therapy student mentors 34 | Alumni news

Fall 2013



Rx: Read a book to prep youngsters for school UNT Health is “prescribing” reading for young patients from their two-month checkup through age 5. The Department of Pediatrics participates in the national Reach Out and Read program, a network of medical providers who promote early reading by giving new books to children and advice to parents about the importance of reading aloud.

The program’s research shows that Reach Out and Read families read together more often, their children enter kindergarten better prepared to succeed and they outscore their peers on vocabulary tests. “We have made many connections within the community to provide books to our patients,” said Lauren Dobbs, PAC, the program’s leader. “Children who are at grade level with their reading skills by the third grade are at decreased risk for becoming high school dropouts and for future criminal activity.” Several partners assist with the program: Target, Red Oak Books, Reach Out and Read, Fort Worth Library, Rainwater Foundation, Junior League of Fort Worth and Friends of the Library.

UNIQUE THERAPY HELPS EASE STOMACH DISORDER UNT Health Surgeon Joseph E. Ronaghan, MD, is the only Fort Worth physician who offers a therapy for patients suffering from certain types of gastroparesis, a chronic disorder in which food passes too slowly through the stomach. The therapy uses mild electrical pulses to stimulate the stomach. "For some people, this condition results in serious nausea and vomiting that cannot be


adequately controlled with standard medical therapy and can lead to potentially life-threatening complications such as dehydration and malnutrition,” Ronaghan said. Gastroparesis is often associated with diabetes. Signs and symptoms include nausea,

5.4M patients in U.S.

heartburn, vomiting of undigested food, early feeling of fullness when eating, weight loss, abdominal bloating, erratic blood sugar levels, lack of appetite, gastroesophageal reflux and spasms of the stomach wall. For more information or to determine if you could be a candidate for the treatment, contact the UNT Health Surgery Department at 817-735-0525.


The promise of personalized medicine Myron Jacobson, PhD, Dean of the recently opened UNT System School of Pharmacy, told the Fort Worth Business Press that within the next five years it will be possible to prevent certain genetically based cancers with medication. Discussing actress Angelina Jolie’s choice of a preventive mastectomy after learning she carries the BRCA breast cancer gene, Jacobson said, “We will be preventing BRCA breast cancers in five years. That’s the promise of personalized medicine. DNA technology has opened that door.” Jacobson predicted that within a few years babies with defective BRCA genes will be given medication to prevent breast cancer. Prevention measures also are likely for those at genetic risk for melanoma, and ovarian, prostate, testicular and pancreatic cancers, he said. New drugs and screening tests targeting these diseases are being developed. The story was published June 3 in the Fort Worth Business Press.

Check out an ESPN video that revisits the actions of Thunderbird 9, Air Force Maj. Michael Carletti (TCOM ’06), after an accident on the last lap of a nationwide race at Daytona International Speedway earlier this year.

Healthy portions, healthy diet! Use a smaller plate when serving food for yourself and your family. Studies show we feel the need to fill our plates completely, so if you use a smaller dinner plate, you will consume fewer calories. Choose a portion of lean meat the size of your fist, and then fill the rest of your plate with green, red or orange vegetables. Frank Filipetto, DO, Chairman, Assoc. Professor Family Medicine

Therapy dogs provide “paws” in the day Lewis Library’s Reference Office became the “Ruff”erence room in June when six therapy dogs dropped in for a noontime de-stressor. More than 200 students, faculty and staff petted and played with the dogs. The pilot program is part of a growing movement among academic libraries and graduate health science libraries to offer more support services. In addition to helping reduce work or study tension, the dogs’ visit was educational. Students increasingly will encounter companion and service animals while in school and as they begin their careers.

Watch it online at Fall 2013


Farmers market open to public Locally grown produce and other farm products are now available in the Cultural District. Cowtown Farmers Market brings its wares to the UNTHSC campus, near the Camp Bowie Boulevard and Clifton Street intersection, 3 p.m.-7 p.m. Thursdays. It’s the first project of the newly formed UNTHSC Earth Club, through which students, staff and faculty support community efforts to improve Lanny Lancarte II, owner and executive chef of Lanny's Alta Cocina, shops at farmers market. health. “We saw a need, voiced especially by students, for more fresh food choices,” said Alisa Rich, PhD, MPH, Assistant Professor, Environmental and Occupational Health, the club’s faculty lead organizer. “A diet rich in vegetables and fruits reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer and digestive problems, and helps control blood sugar."

UNTHSC gifts for a healthier community Several UNTHSC departments and employees are giving $20,000 per year for three years to Fort Worth Bike Sharing, a network of bike stations that allows patrons to ride bicycles throughout downtown Fort Worth, the Cultural District, Near Southside and TCU campus for a small fee. Information is available at Another $25,000 went to Meals on Wheels of Tarrant County – a gift that combines employee donations and funds granted to UNTHSC. Meals on Wheels partners with the Health Science Center’s SAGE program, which pairs senior mentors with medical, physician assistant, physical therapy and pharmacy students. “Our clients love the program,” said Lynell Bond, Director of Case Management for Meals on Wheels. “They feel very special, and the students have identified some senior health issues." 6

Library Courtyard makes a splash in Cultural District neighborhood The two-acre commons fronting Montgomery Street between Modlin and Mattison avenues features drought-tolerant landscaping with 100 trees and a water feature adjustable to climate conditions. To make way for the courtyard, which forms a plaza in front of the Gibson D. Lewis Health Science Library, obsolete buildings were demolished and much of the debris recycled.

Stem cells may be key to stroke recovery Stroke victims have only about three hours to get to a hospital and receive essential blood-clot dissolving drugs to promote survival and offer a greater chance for recovery. Sadly, only a fraction of stroke victims seek and receive treatment within that time, making stroke one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. and the leading cause of serious, long-term disability among those who survive. Kunlin Jin, MD, PhD, Professor of Pharmacology and Neuroscience, and his research team are replacing dead brain cells with stem cells in damaged areas of the brain of older subjects

who have experienced a stroke. These stem cells release growth factors and generate new neurons that can migrate into damaged areas of the brain, helping rebuild injured tissue and stimulating brain recovery. "Motor function has significantly improved in our research," said Jin, who received a $1 million, five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health to help investigate his theories. “Our hope is that stem cells may open a new avenue for the treatment of strokes and other brain diseases," said Jin.

Daniel Clearfield, DO, UNT Health sports medicine physician, has been chosen to serve a twoweek rotation at the United States Olympic Training Center from Nov. 11 to 26.

Dispose of unwanted medication safely Deposit cast-off and expired drugs in a “take-back” box at the UNTHSC Police Department, 3600 Mattison Ave. Improperly disposed medications may poison children, contaminate the water supply or fall into abusers’ hands. Other drop boxes are in Fort Worth Police facilities at 350 W. Belknap St., 1000 Nashville St. and 3525 Marquita Drive.

5K to benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs This year’s DO Dash on Oct. 12 will be family friendly – whether you participate in the 5K, Kids 1-Mile Fun Run, health fair or the silent auction. The event benefits the Boys and Girls Club of Fort Worth Panther Branch while demonstrating osteopathic medicine’s emphasis on disease prevention. Visit for information and to register.

Fall 2013


Helping a child speak

Charlie Lain and Sharon Gustowski, DO, MPH

Sharon Gustowski, DO (’01), MPH (’01), is helping a 3-year-old to speak for the first time. Charlie Lain suffers from childhood apraxia. He knows what he wants to say but it’s difficult for him to put sounds and words together to form a sentence. 8

Charlie had been treated by doctors and therapists for almost two years when his mother, Jill Lain, took him to see Gustowski, a UNT Health osteopathic manipulative medicine physician. Gustowski used osteopathic manipulative treatments (OMT) to gently guide his muscles and bones into their proper place to reduce and eliminate muscle and joint restrictions. She performed OMT on his head, jaw and neck to help him better control the muscles he uses to plan sounds and words. For the first time in Charlie's life, he is able to communicate basic wants and needs with his family vocally. Jill Lain credits his intensive speech therapy program, in addition to Gustowski's treatments, for his improvement.

She said of Gustowski: "She has a passion for children, and she is vested in Charlie's care. Dr. Gustowski expects excellence from her medical students, and she is modeling for them how to care for young children." Said Gustowski: "The body has an amazing ability to heal itself, and children especially demonstrate this because they grow and change so quickly. OMT can help remove obstacles that prevent muscles and bones from functioning properly. “It's been fun working with Charlie, to see where his body needs a little help, and especially to see his progress. He is a bright, kind young man with a loving and supportive family, and that support is a very valuable part of the healing process."

Signs of apraxia in a very young child: • Does not coo or babble • First words are late • Speaks only a few different consonant and vowel sounds • Has problems combining sounds • May show long pauses between sounds • Simplifies words by replacing difficult sounds with easier ones • May have problems eating

For more information about apraxia, visit:

Gustowski’s OMT treatments have improved Charlie's ability to speak. Here, his mother, Jill Lain, reads a story during treatment.

Fall 2013


photo: B.J. Lacasse

Homeless women in Fort Worth often

victims of violence, abuse Not only have they lost their shelter, their income and their dignity – but homeless Fort Worth women also lose protection from violence and abuse. UNT Health Science Center students discovered this in the first study to explore the health consequences of homelessness in women. For two semesters, Emily Spence-Almaguer, MSW, PhD, School of Public Health Associate Professor of Behavioral and Community Health, worked with UNTHSC students to identify the victimization experiences and health challenges of homeless women in Fort Worth’s East Lancaster area.

risks include theft and violence With the Tarrant County Homeless Coalition, and the Salvation Army, Presbyterian Night Shelter and Day Resource Center for the Homeless – Spence-Almaguer and 10 students conducted 150 faceto-face interviews with women. The average participant was female, 43 years old and homeless for just more than two years. Data showed the health and safety risks included theft, threats, physical and sexual violence, stalking and verbal abuse, psychological trauma and injuries resulting in physical disability and chronic pain. More than 60 percent of participants reported they faced these threats in the prior 12 months while homeless. One in


“Treat us with respect. Just because we are homeless, and we have been broken down so low, doesn’t mean we aren’t human.” ~Fort Worth homeless woman six said she had sought medical treatment for these injuries. Prior research conducted with Tarrant County’s homeless showed that violence and victimization were concerns, but no previous studies had explored the issues and women’s health consequences in this way. Recommendations from survey participants included opening a women’s-only shelter; expanding

current shelters to bring more women in from the streets; focusing on permanent housing placement, job training, education and life skills; strengthening networks for counseling and support programs, including increased substance abuse and mental health services; and empowering women to take control of their own safety through self-defense and other protection programs.

Women's health:

Solution for a pelvic floor disorder Deborah Boyce is a nurse, and she knew something was wrong when she experienced pelvic pain and incontinence. A quick trip to her doctor led to a referral to Andy Vu, DO, MHA, a specialist in urogynecology, female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery for UNT Health. His diagnosis? Prolapsed bladder, an uncomfortable but often treatable malady. The biggest risk factors for the condition are age and past pregnancy. Others are chronic coughing, constipation and obesity. The front wall of the vagina that supports the bladder can weaken, loosen with age or be damaged by bodily stress such as childbirth. If it deteriorates enough, the bladder can descend into the vagina, triggering urinary difficulties and discomfort. Vu and Boyce decided that an abdominal prolapse repair called a sacrocolpopexy was the best option for her because it is a more durable surgery and arguably the gold standard remedy for vaginal prolapse. This surgery requires only small incisions and is performed with the surgeon controlling robotic arms. This minimally invasive

procedure allows patients to recover quickly. Since the surgery, Boyce said she feels 100 percent improved and is symptom-free. "I love Dr. Vu,” Boyce said. “He's wonderful, caring and compassionate. He has made a huge difference in my everyday life, and I would recommend him in a heartbeat." Said Vu: "I want to help patients make an educated decision. Since there are so many surgical and non-surgical options, I try to spend a lot of time explaining the patient's problem and helping her choose the best option for her situation."

Symptoms of a prolapsed bladder • Pelvic discomfort • Tissue protruding from the vagina • Difficulty urinating • Incomplete voiding

• Stress incontinence • Frequent bladder infections • Painful intercourse • Low-back pain

Fall 2013


Helping kids control their

asthma Six-year-old Jackson is struggling with reading. Not surprising. He missed 17 days of school last year due to asthma. He’s not alone. Tarrant County children are more than twice as likely to suffer from asthma as those outside the county. David Sterling, PhD, Professor and Chair of

the UNTHSC Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, is teaming with the Health Science Center’s Professional and Continuing Education (PACE) department to pilot a children’s asthma management program in two east Fort Worth schools this fall.

David Sterling, PhD


Toyya Goodrich, DO, Assistant Professor, Pediatrics, shows a patient how to use an inhaler.

“Asthma is a growing national problem, contributing to more than 14 million lost school days a year across the U.S.,” Sterling said. “It’s been well documented that children with asthma are absent more often, and excessive school absences are a strong predictor of disrupted learning and premature dropout rates.” Pharmaceutical companies GlaxoSmithKline and Boehringer Ingelheim are funding the project, in which the UNTHSC’s School of Public Health, PACE and the Fort Worth Independent School District will work with the schoolbased clinics at Eastern Hills Elementary and Forest Oak Middle schools to improve

the way children’s asthma is managed in school and at home. Sterling said asthma is the most common chronic childhood illness and the most prevalent cause of childhood disability. Of Tarrant County children ages 0-14, about 75,500 have asthma. This new initiative will educate schoolbased health care providers, teachers and community-based primary care clinicians, as well as young patients, their parents and caregivers. The group hopes the pilot will grow into a self-sustaining program that can be rolled out throughout Fort Worth and other communities.

17.2% of

Tarrant County children have


Asthma basics Symptoms: • wheezing • chest tightness • shortness of breath • coughing, often at night or early morning Prevalence: • More than 25 million in the U.S. • About 7 million are children Cause: Asthmatics’ inflamed airways are swollen and very sensitive. When the airways react to inhaled substances, the muscles around them tighten. This narrows airways, restricting air flow into the lungs. Cells in the airways may produce excess mucus, further narrowing airways. –from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute website,

Fall 2013


UNTHSC and Cook Children’s Northside Neighborhood Clinic foster FitTeens UNTHSC students coach families on healthy lifestyles.

Their pedometers continue to count their steps as they bound into the room at Cook Children’s Northside Neighborhood Clinic, followed by proud parents. They are participants in FitTeens, a motivational and family-based weight management program for kids ages 9 to 15, led primarily by UNT Health Science Center students. 14

One teenager proudly shows her pedometer. “I walked 3,246 steps this week!” she exclaimed. “I could have walked more, but I was sick for two days.” FitTeens is designed to teach weight management skills in a compact, eight-week program with a strong online component. The website includes educational games and social networking support. The program is a collaboration of Heather Kitzman-Ulrich, PhD, Assistant Professor,

“The program brings the children who are at risk of living unhealthy lives to students who care about them. In the little time I had with one child I could see the wonder in his eyes.” ~ Heinz Schwarzkopf (TCOM ’16)

Rachael Waverka, School of Public Health student, records a FitTeens participant’s weight.

UNTHSC School of Public Health Behavioral and Community Health Department, and Cook Children’s Health Care System. Two to four student volunteers from the School of Public Health and the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine facilitate the sessions. “The overall goal of FIT is to provide health promotion to highneed families in a cost-effective and sustainable way in their own community, which increases their retention as well as our ability to reach these families,” said Kitzman-Ulrich. Her project co-leader is Don Wilson, MD, Pediatric Endocrinologist at Cook Children’s Medical Center.

Irwin Mendoza, School of Public Health student, talks health with a youngster.

“I have been interested in the growing problem of high cholesterol in children for a long time, and I realized that we need to jump in there and start early,” Wilson said. “But I needed help with the outreach pieces.” Said Kitzman-Ulrich: “Lowerincome families often struggle with transportation, multiple jobs and child care, and they have difficulty traveling to participate in programs that are of long duration. By creating a short program and delivering it in the community – we are better able to reach the most high-need families.” Wilson pointed out using UNTHSC students as facilitators

makes this a win-win program for all. “Students bring their knowledge and enthusiasm – and they find out what it’s really like in the real world,” he said. “These are bright young people, and they make this model sustainable.” Said student Irwin Mendoza, School of Public Health Epidemiology student: “I enjoyed the ability to work intimately with the families. It made it easier to get to know them individually, which helps the program. And the kids have really enjoyed the program. It’s helped them make healthier food choices and increase their level of physical activity.”

Fall 2013


We have more control over our health than we think It’s possible to override your genetic code The way we live our lives

“The dogma of the past says

and the choices we make about

that our genes are the determinants

what we eat, how we exercize

for our lives, a school of thought

and interact with others, the

called Gene Determinism,” Lee said.

environment we’re in – even the

“Now we know the majority of genes

way we think or feel – affects

constantly change function based on

our genes.

these signals. We are exposed to a

That gives us a lot of power over our health. Scientists have learned

This explains why identical twins, who have identical DNA,

“off” switches that allow us to

can have different personalities,

impact our health to a great

behaviors, body fat levels and states

extent. So a person born with

of health. As their environments,

a genetic predisposition for

social relationships, jobs, education, cultural activities,

alcoholism isn’t necessarily

lifestyles, habits

doomed to this fate.

and other

“Gene function can be


turned on or off based on


‘signals’ from how we live our

their genetic

lives and the environment we


are in,” said Jenny Lee, PhD,


MPH, Assistant Professor of

“If you can

Behavioral and Community

modify these

Health and Family Medicine

signals from your

for the UNT Health Science

lifestyles and living conditions,

Center’s School of Public

you can help change the gene

Health and the Texas College of

activity,” Lee said. "We as health

Osteopathic Medicine.

professionals need to encourage

Genes are controlled by a

positive and healthful signals to

network of proteins called

enhance wellness and prevent

the epigenome.


What affects the epigenome? We do.


of signals.”

that genes have “on” and

cancer, heart disease or

Jenny Lee, PhD, MPH

constantly flowing, dynamic stream

Lee has developed a program for enhancing holistic health and wellness by helping people improve their lifestyles and living conditions to maximize their genetic potential. The GoodNEWS program focuses on seven health and wellness dimensions:

Physical Eating well and being physically active.

is spreading The Health Science Center’s School of Public Health will launch a series of public sessions discussing how we can apply each of the GoodNEWS principles to better our own lives


in Summer 2014.

Learning to cope well and manage stress to maintain a healthy outlook.

Mobilizing for Action through

In addition, Tarrant County’s Planning and Partnerships (MAPP) program will include


GoodNEWS in its programming.

Interacting well and appreciating time with others through active living.

MAPP’s goal is to improve community health and is facilitated by Tarrant County


Public Health.

Maintaining a healthy and loving spirituality.

Environmental Appreciating and protecting the conditions we live in.

Intellectual Understanding the value of being active in learning new skills and information.

“If our lifestyle is positive and healthy, it generates a gene environment that allows the control signals to work on gene expression more positively.” ~Jenny Lee, PhD, MPH

Occupational Developing good job skills for supporting a productive life and finding meaningful ways to occupy ourselves. Fall 2013


Students find children’s needs are the same worldwide Work in Africa strengthens student clinical skills The mothers arrive on foot, carrying 4- and 5-year-olds on their backs. The children, severely disabled by birth defects or malarial brain damage, cannot walk. Many can’t sit upright. “Some can’t even hold up their heads,” said Candace Henson, DPT (’13). This spring, she served a clinical rotation in a village in Malawi, one of the world’s poorest countries. She faced a roomful of 60 mothers and wailing children crowded on the floor. “The kids were crying because villagers tell children that if they misbehave, white people – like me – will come and take them away.” Henson knew what to do. Calling on her training in UNTHSC’s Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, she ramped up her cultural competency

and professionalism under pressure – and started helping. “Like children everywhere, they were soothed with singing and rocking on bouncy balls. Then we could start therapy.” Henson is among several UNTHSC students and faculty preceptors to serve recent rotations in Africa. In addition to the Physical Therapy rotation, Lisa Tshuma, PA-C, MPAS, MPA, established the Physician Assistant Studies Program clinical-service elective practicum in the West Africa nation of Ghana; and the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine regularly offers elective rotations in Malawi under the direction of John Podgore, DO, MPH, Professor of Pediatrics. Henson calls the mothers heroic. “They often have to hold the children on their lap to feed them. Their culture views disabled children as a stigma, so Rotations abroad put students in husbands usually abandon interprofessional collaborations, the family." preparing them to provide health But with the help of care in underserved areas at home. the UNTHSC students serving with Henson, ~ Journal of Physician mothers left the clinic Assistant Education better able to care for


their children. They learned to do therapy with their child; they were given locally crafted “corner chairs” to bolster the child so they no longer have to hold them for feeding, as well as special pillows that help a child learn to hold his head up. Said Henson, “We empowered them to help their families.”

Candace Henson, DPT (’13), treats a Malawian child.

“The most highly sought-after medical students are demanding a chance for international experience such as our Africa rotation.”

Photo: Stevie Mann/ILRI

~ John Podgore, DO, MPH

International gain John Podgore, DO, MPH, with 10 years’ service in Africa, on what students gain from international experience:

John Podgore, DO, MPH (‘01), examines children with malaria in Malawi, Africa.

• Work in impoverished countries makes them better equipped to handle whatever comes up in any underserved area, at home or abroad. • When you don’t have CAT scans, MRIs and other tests that often are unnecessary, you use the skill of physical diagnosis.

Henson treated children at a village clinic.

Podgore invited the UNTHSC Physical Therapy Program to do elective clinical rotations with his medical elective program in Malawi, and students started their first overseas elective in March. “It was a great success,” he says. As an infectious-disease physician treating severely ill children in Malawi, he wanted to provide physical therapy to the many survivors of severe malaria and meningitis.

Fall 2013


Artwork on the school’s walls inspires students.

Dunbar students found areas of their neighborhood they’d like to improve.

I’m gonna make a change …


Students empower change in two of Fort Worth’s communities Marcy Paul’s School of Public Health (SPH) students came faceto-face with community issues when they helped Dunbar High School students determine the healthy and unhealthy aspects of their school and walked the streets of the Morningside neighborhood. Paul, SPH instructor, asked her students to work with Dunbar students for four weeks to assess what makes for a healthy school community. They asked Dunbar students to photograph and explain what they considered both healthy and unhealthy in their school


environment and what actions could be taken for change. The project, called “PhotoVoice,” resulted in a moving PowerPoint capturing elements including food options in the cafeteria, graffiti, littering, sagging pants – and the school’s overall pride and importance to its Stop Six community. Dunbar students themselves were inspired by what they found. Local attorney and UNTHSC student Christine Cardinal (MPH ’13) heard one Dunbar student singing Michael Jackson’s Man in the Mirror while finishing a PowerPoint slide on

“The library is a healthy place because it is a quiet area to study. The librarian helps me find books so that I can complete projects. I want to be a physician assistant, and I can find books about health and medicine here. Having more books on the topic of medicine would be helpful to students.” ~ Claribel, Dunbar student

Marcy Paul, Instructor, School of Public Health

offensive graffiti painted in the girls’ restroom: “I'm gonna make a change, for once in my life, it's gonna feel real good, gonna make a difference, gonna make it right.”

Said Paul: “The authenticity of the student’s voices was crucial to this process. It was powerful. We heard. They care about their school.” Next, Dunbar administrators, along with the Healthy Moms -

Healthy Babies - Healthy Community (H3) civic council, will act on the findings. Another group of Paul’s students, challenged by the Rainwater Foundation-funded Morningside Children’s Foundation Partnership (MCP), identified assets and challenges to health and well being in the Morningside neighborhood. The SPH students walked throughout the neighborhood, photographing their findings, which included assets Pangaea Community Arts Center, Southside Community Center, Hillside Recreation Center and 56 churches. They also discovered the area has only one supermarket, day care center and bank. Most restaurants in the area offer only fast food. Students presented their results to the MCP Executive Team, which is using their work to build consensus for change.

“Our school is in a rough area – when I see these signs they give me hope, reminding me that I don’t have to give up. These signs tell me that I need to go to class to get an education because people from other schools look down on us. These signs give me motivation to prove these people wrong and to become a success.” ~ Fartun, Dunbar student Fall 2013


'TB ANYWHERE Alum Patrick Moonan helps CDC fight tuberculosis resurgence Acting globally is the best defense against the U.S. resurgence of tuberculosis (TB), and a School of Public Health graduate is helping Moonan lead the charge. “The world is interconnected,” said Patrick Moonan, (DrPH, SPH ’05). “To control tuberculosis in the U.S., you have to improve conditions overseas.” That’s why Moonan, Senior Epidemiologist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), spends a third of his time traveling the world.

“History has shown we must remain vigilant and advocate for resources to keep these programs.” ~Patrick Moonan He works in the Division of TB Elimination, International Research and Programs Branch, conducting clinical and epidemiologic studies worldwide, including in Botswana, Republic of Georgia, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Peru, Tajikistan and Ukraine. And he partners with agencies, including the World Health Organization, to mentor up to 25 physicians in India each year.


A t l a n t i c O c e a n

P a c i f i c O c e a n

Proportion of Multidrug-Resistance among Reported TB Cases

I n d i a n O c e a n

>6% 3%-6% <3% No Data

Proportion of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis among new cases, 1994–2010. Source: CDC

“Tuberculosis is an illness of the poor. It takes tremendous resources to control. You can’t do this by sitting in an office, or by using a phone or email,” Moonan said. “You do this by rolling up your sleeves and going into the field.” He learned this from his mentor, renowned TB physician Stephen Weis, DO, Professor, Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, when he worked at the Tarrant County Public Health Department. TB treatment is complicated and usually requires six months with multiple medications. To ensure patients take their medication, WHO recommends a third party watch them take each dose, which requires

enormous resources. When done poorly it can create drug-resistant TB, more deadly and costly to treat. In January, Moonan will lead the largest survey of antituberculosis drug resistance undertaken in India, sampling more than 10,000 patients in a country estimated to have more patients with drug-resistant TB than any other. Tuberculosis was largely contained in the U.S., but returned in the early 1990s as funding dwindled for TB prevention efforts.

IS TB EVERYWHERE' ~Patrick Moonan

Photo: NIAID_Flickr

About a third of the world's population is thought to be infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, but only a small fraction of people get the disease.

School of Public Health students Erin Kader, Michelle Lo and Lindsay Therrian

Students, professors help combat TB in India At the invitation of the National Tuberculosis Institute (NTI) and the World Health Organization (WHO), two UNT Health Science Center School of Public Health professors and three of their recently graduated students visited India this summer to recommend ways for the country to better manage tuberculosis. India has the largest number of tuberculosis patients in the world. In return, May 2013 MPH graduates Lindsay Therrian, Erin Kader and Michelle Lo learned lessons you don’t find in textbooks, assisted by School of Public Health faculty members Thad Miller, DrPH (’07), MPH (’03), and Erin Carlson, PhD. Therrian said Indian physicians see 90 to 100 patients a day, often during rolling electrical blackouts

and with unpredictable disruptions, even chasing a monkey out a window during one clinic meeting. Lo says a lack of proper nutrition and stigma about the disease are challenges. “Charts and statistics don’t tell us about the people who can’t bear the side effects of medications because of lack of food in their stomachs, that many in India travel long distances for treatment when there are clinics nearby for fear their family and neighbors will

“This experience taught me about the importance of understanding the people most affected by the policies we form, programs we implement and treatments we administer.” ~ Michelle Lo

Erin Carlson, PhD, reviews laboratory data with officials from India’s tuberculosis control program.

discriminate against them for having the disease, or that some physicians will change their treatment to alleviate side effects but may, in turn, render the medication ineffective,” she said. India, population 1.3 billion, sees more than 2.3 million cases of tuberculosis each year. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provided technical and financial support for the assignment. Alumnus Patrick Moonan served as the group’s CDC liaison.

Fall 2013


Type 2 diabetes Risk factors in children of Mexican descent

Kim Fulda, DrPH, Primary Care Research Center Associate Director, and Program Coordinator Randi Proffitt Leyva evaluate a child.


Children of Mexican descent seem to be particularly prone to obesity and diabetes. To better care for them, researchers at the UNT Health Science Center want to know if risk factors for Type 2 diabetes in youngsters of Mexican descent differ between those living in Mexico and those in North Texas. UNTHSC has teamed up with the Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México (UAEM) to evaluate psychosocial, familial and environmental factors in children aged 10 to 14 of Mexican descent. Data gathered from kids in North Texas will be compared with data collected from kids in Toluca, Mexico. The study includes a two-hour evaluation session during which researchers collect blood pressure, height, weight, waist and hip circumference, body mass “We hope to identify indices, glucose levels and a differences between lipid profile. Researchers also children of Mexican collect information about family descent in the U.S. structure, smoking status, body changes, diet and indications of and children in depression, factors which often Mexico.” accompany obesity in adults. ~Kim Fulda, DrPH Principal Investigator of the Fort Worth location is Kim Fulda, DrPH, Associate Director of the Primary Care Research Center. She works closely with Roxana ValdésRamos, DSc, from the UAEM. Evaluations of 150 young people in Mexico have been completed. The Fort Worth team is finishing evaluations of young Mexican American volunteers, then the data will be compared. “We hope to discover any protective differences in either location,” explained Valdés-Ramos. “Perhaps children of Mexican descent in the U.S. have different stressors or diets that protect them or make them more vulnerable to obesity and Type 2 diabetes.”

Training rural physicians to treat patients and protect public health




Imagine yourself in a rural setting where you’re the only doctor. A patient’s flu-like symptoms are getting worse, fast. But it’s not flu season. And he has had several mosquito bites. Tests confirm your fears: He has the West Nile virus. Your first priority is to help him survive a potentially lethal illness. But you also have another obligation. The town has no public health department. It’s up to you to persuade the town council to take the action that could prevent more West Nile cases. If you were trained in public health, you’d be prepared for this leadership role. An important part of public health is preventing disease through the organized efforts of communities and individuals.

UNTHSC’s first Rural Medicine DO-MPH students are Reid Golden, Andrew Saverine, Jessi McGehee, Hannah Jayroe and Jessica Nu.

“In rural areas the physician is highly regarded and is in a position to address community needs. This is why our new dual degree is a perfect fit.” ~John Bowling, DO That’s why the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Rural Scholars program and School of Public Health now offer a dual degree in medicine and public health tailored specifically for rural scholars. The dual DO/Master of Public Health degree debuts this fall. Students will graduate as osteopathic physicians

who also are equipped to lead their community’s public health initiatives. John Bowling, DO, Professor and Assistant Dean of Rural Medical Education, says students are able to complete both degrees in four years. “I’m not aware of any other rural-medicine programs that include the Master of Public Health,” Bowling said. The Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine and School of Public Health developed the curriculum with a $917,000 federal grant, including student stipends, from the Health Resources and Services Administration. Among this fall’s class of 12 second-year rural-medicine students, five have chosen the dual DO/MPH degree.

Fall 2013


available online

synergy 2013 Research Annual Report


View it here:

Leaders honored

at White Coat ceremony


Registration closes Sept. 24 for the second annual student-run Tee Off F.O.R.E. TCOM tournament, 7 a.m. on Sept. 28 at Fort Worth’s Rockwood Golf Course.

To register, visit

39th Commencement: 600 new providers and scientists

On July 20, 350 new medical, physician assistant and physical therapy students donned their first white coats in a ceremony at Fort Worth’s Will Rogers Memorial Center. The ceremony also honored: Walter Rainwater, Fort Worth civic leader and member of the UNTHSC Foundation Board of Directors, who was awarded the Mary E. Luibel Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his longstanding and generous contributions to the community and commitment to the belief that "service to others is life's highest calling." Thomas Yorio, PhD, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, received UNTHSC’s Founders' Medal, in recognition of his "significant contributions to health care and to the osteopathic medical profession."


Student addresses UN commission on women’s rights Shortly before she graduated this May with a master of public health degree, Kun-Ying (Helena) Sung and a University of Taiwan professor spoke on preventing violence against women at the United Nations’ 57th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women. They presented intervention examples from Texas and Taiwan. The presentation noted the success of “Batterer Intervention Programs” in both countries, but suggested that more comprehensive strategies are needed to prevent violence against women.

UNTHSC analyzes data for clients from throughout the world, thanks to the BEST Center, founded by School of Public Health Professor and Biostatistics Chair Sharon Homan, PhD. Last fall, Homan created a Biostatistics and Evaluation Services and Training Center, called “BEST” within the SPH, to serve as a data analytics resource for researchers and public health practitioners, agencies and health departments. The center participates in 15 to 20 paid and nonpaid research and evaluation projects each semester, including funded contracts with the Texas Health Institute and the Tarrant County Community Supervision and Corrections Department.

TCOM students providing free screenings for hepatitis.

Students honored for serving community Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine students are in the top third of a nationwide program for recognizing community service. TOUCH (Translating Osteopathic Understanding into Community Health), sponsored by the Council of Osteopathic Student Government Presidents, recognizes students serving at least 50 hours beyond their school requirement. TCOM requires 40 hours during a student’s first two years. But in the 12 months ending in March, 56 TCOM students worked more than 50 additional hours and were named TOUCH Silver Award winners. Twenty-one students worked more than 100 additional hours, earning the Gold Award. Platinum Award winner Blair Cushing (TCOM ’15) contributed 277 hours of community service.

Undergraduate students in the Joint Admission Medical Program were on campus this summer to shadow primarycare physicians, prep for medical school entrance exams and learn about the med school experience. If they continue to meet program requirements, they will have a guaranteed place at a Texas medical school.

Fall 2013


A stretch for drivers and the desk-bound If you sit behind a desk or behind the wheel a lot during the day, here is a good stretch to help your posture. Every 15 minutes that your body is bent forward, take time to do the “W” exercise. Just hold your arms up to make a “W” and push arms out to stretch. Charles Nichols, PT, DPT Assistant Professor Physical Therapy Program

UNTHSC helps alleviate PT shortage As the population ages, physical therapists are in greater demand. UNTHSC’s Physical Therapy program is helping meet this need, and this spring it received initial accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Physical Therapy Education. The first 29 students graduated in May and are eligible to take the Texas state licensing exam.

North Texans to benefit from area’s first pharmacy college The new UNT System College of Pharmacy, which grants a Doctor of Pharmacy degree, earned pre-candidate status from the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education this summer. It is North Texas’ first pharmacy school and the first in Texas located on a health science center campus.


The first class of about 80 students will be trained to work in health care teams to reduce preventable harm from medication errors and interactions. The pre-candidate status is the first of three steps leading to full accreditation.

UNTHSC helps Fort Worth quicken response to West Nile virus UNTHSC this summer helped Fort Worth battle West Nile virus in one of the first partnerships of its kind teaming city officials and the local health department with university researchers. Joon Lee, PhD, Assistant Professor, School of Public Health (SPH), led the collection of mosquitoes from throughout Fort Worth, testing them at both the Tarrant County Public Health

and UNTHSC labs, assessing risk for West Nile exposure and recommending ways to combat the spread of the disease. SPH students assisted. Last year, Texas led the nation in West Nile virus reports. In Tarrant County 259 cases and 11 deaths were reported.

Joon Lee, PhD, with collection equipment.

UNTHSC work supports new state laws Substance abuse: The Texas Legislature recently enacted HB 3015, an outgrowth of the 2012 North Texas Health Forum cosponsored by the UNTHSC School of Public Health and Tarrant County Challenge Inc. That forum on alcohol abuse inspired action to change a 1947 law that had precluded insurance companies from liability for accidents involving intoxication or substance abuse.

The old law unintentionally inhibited medical providers, who feared loss of reimbursement, from screening patients for intoxication or alcohol dependence. Many patients who might have benefited from screenings and referrals didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t receive them, even though most insurance plans cover addiction treatment. State Rep. Geanie Morrison (R-Victoria) introduced the bill.

Prostitution: As a result of UNTHSC's work showing that prostitute diversion programs succeed, the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition and Texas Public Policy Foundation supported a new law, SB 484, which extends prostitution diversion initiatives to many Texas cities. Instrumental to the passage were UNTHSCâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Martha Felini, PhD, Associate Professor, and Raquel Qualls-Hampton, PhD, Assistant Professor, both of Obstetrics & Gynecology. Sen. John Whitmire (D-Houston) sponsored the bill; Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas) co-sponsored.

Fall 2013


Continuing his sister’s work at age 95

Scholarship recipients Francesca Fong, Physician Assistant Studies, and Jarod Hall, Physical Therapy, joined David Boren, brother and executor of Ruby Dean’s estate, in dance class.

Ruby Dean believed in helping others and left an estate gift to create scholarships for physician assistant and physical therapy students.

If you needed help, Ruby Dean (1922-2010) was there – especially if you were a young person seeking a college education. Now, with an assist from her brother, she’s still helping people. Four of them are UNTHSC students. David Boren, executor of his sister’s estate, is fulfilling her wish to establish scholarships at 10 organizations across the state. As a result, an $800,000 gift has created a scholarship fund to benefit physician assistant and physical therapy students at the UNT Health Science Center. The desire to assist runs in the family. “I like helping,” Boren said simply. “I don’t think there’s anything I could do that would be of more help. I want to encourage the program any way I can.”


Boren is perfect for the role. At 95 he still has energy to spare. He works out three times a week and is an enthusiastic clogger and ballroom dancer. He’s building on his sister’s life mission. A native of Henderson, Texas, she was working for a law firm when she married geologist David Dean and moved to Fort Worth. “She was comfortable financially, and she liked to help people,” Boren said. “She helped my daughters go to RN school.” “People are what meant the most to her,” added Janice Bostick, who

has worked for the Dean family oil business since 1972. “She did a lot of good deeds, but she wouldn’t take credit for it,” Bostick said of Ruby Dean’s adamant refusal to allow a university where she’d made a generous gift to name a building in her honor. “She was small and petite – but very strong.” No doubt she’d be pleased that her brother is helping others in her name.

“I like helping, I don’t think there’s anything I could do that would be of more help. I want to encourage the program any way I can.” ~David Boren

Fall 2013


“I've had the pleasure of getting to know Michael Williams over the last two years and am truly delighted that someone with his character and reputation now holds the reins. I’ve been one of several outspoken alumni regarding TCOM but feel confident that Mike will do his best to support the osteopathic school and all the other schools on campus and will help UNTHSC get to the next level.” ~ David E. Garza (TCOM ’89), Williams with students (clockwise from lower left): Niva Austin, Physical Therapy; Brian Wang, Biomedical Sciences; Amanda Sunny, Public Health; Jon Ponder, Physician Assistant Studies; Ethan Wheeler, Pharmacy; and Eric Friedrich, Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine.

UNTHSC Board of Visitors



After a seven-month nationwide search process, Fort Worth native and TCOM ’81 alumnus Michael Williams, DO, MD, MBA, has been named permanent President of UNTHSC. He’s the sixth president in the institution’s 43-year history and the first alumnus to lead the organization. UNT System Chancellor Lee Jackson made the announcement July 12. “Under the leadership of Dr. Williams, we now have the opportunity to focus on our highest priorities and enhance our visibility and reputation around work being done in the fields where we are


strongest: aging and memory loss diseases, primary care and preventive medicine, and DNA and applied genetics.” “Dr. Williams’ knowledge, experience and Fort Worth roots uniquely qualify him to take the UNT Health Science Center to even new heights, contributing to the overall health and prosperity of our city,” said Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price. “The UNT Health Science Center is one of Fort Worth’s crown jewels, and we’re excited about what the future holds as this organization takes advantage of new opportunities to expand medical education and research.”

Robert Earley, President and CEO of JPS Health Network, said: “With his experience as a physician and hospital administrator and his willingness to be open to discussions, Dr. Williams will strengthen the important relationship between our two institutions and our dedication to provide not only health care but also research and medical training. I stand ready to assist him in any way I can for the betterment of UNTHSC, JPS and our community. I think a great deal of Mike and want him to do well. Our county and region will see the benefits of his success.”


From one mentor to others Chris Morrissey died two years ago at age 23 before he could achieve his dream to become a physical therapist with a doctorate from the UNT Health Science Center. But there wasn’t much else Morrissey didn’t achieve, and his legacy lives on in the Chris Morrissey Award for physical therapy students who share his love of mentoring. Leadership came easily to Morrissey, a Big Brother who once took his girlfriend on a date to the Boys and Girls Clubs. He left an indelible imprint on those around him, said Sheila Kellagher, PT, owner of TruCare Solutions and a member of the UNTHSC Foundation board. “Being a PT, you can spot a future PT,” Kellagher told students gathered this summer to honor the scholarship’s first recipient. “I knew he would be an excellent PT. He would have been your friend – encouraging you and appreciating your encouragement of him.” Morrissey graduated with honors from the University of Arkansas. He had been a star quarterback, "but I remember him telling me, ‘Mom, I want to use my brains in college,’ ” said his mother, Mickie Metcalf. “And that’s what he did.” He was eager to begin physical therapy studies in the UNTHSC School of Health Professions. “Chris was a powerful force. He felt this program embraced the student completely,” said Kellagher, a program adviser. She knows, because Morrissey was engaged to her daughter. Kellagher established the scholarship to help actualize Morrissey’s dream and as a way, even in death from an aneurysm, for him to influence UNTHSC’s Physical Therapy Program and the PT profession.

Sheila Kellagher, PT, congratulates Oscar Perez Jr., the first Morrissey Award recipient.

Kellagher asked the students at the award ceremony to “remember how privileged you are to be in the halls of this program.” The first scholarship recipient, Oscar Perez Jr., said that won’t be a problem for him. “I feel blessed to receive this scholarship,” he said. “I have something to represent now, more than I did already. This honor won’t be taken lightly.”

“If Chris were here, he’d tell you to apply yourself and dig deep. Take care of your body, mind and spirit. Be there for others and your family. Seek opportunities to care and share your talents and values with others. Be a lifelong learner. Have fun in life.” ~ Sheila Kellagher, PT Fall 2013


{SAVE THE DATE { October 11 & 12, 2013

Alumni Homecoming Weekend


All schools! All years are invited!

Alumni Homecoming_SaveDate_8.875x4.25.indd 1

7/3/2013 11:47:17 AM

Graduates from the TCOM, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, School of Public Health and School of Health Professions – all graduation years – are invited to celebrate the anniversary of the classes of 1983, 1993 and 2003 at a family-friendly Homecoming celebration Oct. 11-12. • • • •

Picnic and reception DO Dash 5K and Kids’ 1-Mile Run Continuing education Much more

Stay tuned for more information via mail, email and Facebook: UNTHSCAlumni

Visit for more info, updates and registration.

UNTHSC retirees are alumni, too

VISITING THE AOA CONFERENCE? STOP BY! The UNTHSC Alumni Association will host a booth and reception for TCOM graduates at the American Osteopathic Association Osteopathic Medical Conference & Exposition in Las Vegas Sept. 30-Oct. 4. Visit Booth 521 to learn more about UNT Health, Career Services, PACE continuing education, Department of Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine, the ROME rural medicine program, physician assistants and the Institute for Aging and Alzheimer's Disease. Don’t miss the TCOM Alumni Reception Oct. 2 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Mandalay Bay Hotel, South Convention Center. For information email or contact Leslie Casey, Assistant Director for Alumni Relations, 817.735.2443.


The UNTHSC Retiree Association voted in June to become part of the Alumni Association to improve efficiency, eliminate annual dues for retirees and enhance retiree activities. Now called the Faculty and Staff Alumni, membership is automatic when employees retire. Among other benefits, Leslie Casey members receive: • Representation on the Alumni Board • Invitations to numerous campus events • News about volunteer opportunities Members maintain access to the Lewis Library and Founders Activity Center, as well as the opportunity to participate in campus tours and oral history projects. “The goal is for retirees to feel more like part of the UNTHSC family,” said Leslie Casey, Assistant Director, Alumni Relations. “We are excited about welcoming our new Alumni Association members!”



The UNT Health Science Center is nationally ranked for primary care, rural medicine, family medicine, physician assistant studies and public health by U.S. News & World Report. The UNT Health Science Center, located on 33 acres in Fort Worth’s Cultural District, is exclusively a graduate-level university focusing on the life sciences. It is home to: • Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine • Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences • School of Public Health • School of Health Professions • Physician Assistant Studies • Physical Therapy • UNT System College of Pharmacy • UNT Health, our faculty physician group, one of the largest multi-specialty physician practices in Tarrant County

Art direction and design: Carl Bluemel is published for the UNT Health Science Center community and friends by the Marketing and Communications Department. Executive Editor: Jean Tips Managing Editor: Cari Hyden

Production Manager: Amy Buresh Schnelle Contributors: Dana Benton Russell Sally Crocker Betsy Friauf Rebecca Lucas-Gregg Brian Melton • Photography: Jeremy Enlow ( Tommy Hawkes UNT Health Science Center 3500 Camp Bowie Blvd. Fort Worth, TX 76107 817.735.5190 Copyright © 2013, All rights reserved.

Fall 2013


An Evening with a Legend

Join us for an evening celebrating more than 40 years of partnership with the Fort Worth community. Where: Bass Performance Hall When: Evening of Thursday, November 7, 2013 Chairs: Ben and Lori Loughry

Save the Date

N OV E M B E R 7 2013

Honorary chairs: Sen. Jane Nelson Rep. Charlie Geren Judge B. Glen Whitley Mayor Betsy Price


Solutions Magazine - Fall 2013  
Solutions Magazine - Fall 2013  

Solutions magazine tells the stories of how the UNT Health Science Center is creating solutions for healthier communities. (Formerly titled...