Gov. Rick Perry has appointed Elizabeth “Betty” Protas, dean of UTMB's School of Health Professions, to the Statewide Health Coordinating Council.

The 17-member council evaluates long-term local, regional and statewide health needs to develop workforce goals for health professionals. The group creates a new state health plan every five years and is charged with overseeing its implementation.

Protas is the George T. Bryan distinguished professor and a member of UTMB’s strategic executive council. She serves on committees for the Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center and the Institute for Translational Sciences.

She came to UTMB in 2002 as chairwoman of the Department of Physical Therapy. In 2006, she was named interim dean of the School of Allied Health Sciences, and on Sept. 11, 2008, as Hurricane Ike was little more than a day away, she was named dean of a school that, under her leadership, would be renamed — the UTMB School of Health Professions.

Protas has led UTMB’s School of Health Professions to new levels of achievement in many areas, most recently, in fall 2011, introducing five new master’s degree programs and establishing a new UTMB Department of Nutrition and Metabolism.

Protas also has established the Jeannette Winfree Professorship, overseen a 52.4 percent increase in enrollment at UTMB’s School of Health Professions, implemented a dual enrollment Master’s/Ph.D. program in both occupational therapy and physical therapy and established the Dean’s Scholars Award to provide full tuition and fees for top SOHP students.
Protas was nominated for the Statewide Health Coordinating Council by UTMB’s Senior Vice President for Health Policy and Legislative Affairs Dr. Ben Raimer. State Senator Mike Jackson approved the nomination. Protas’s term on the Statewide Health Coordinating Council expires in August 2017.