Diana Browning, chief ambulatory operations officer, Terri Gately. director, Clinical Operations OB-Gyn, Bonnie Benkula, associate vice president for Ambulatory Operations, Marjorie Kovacevich, business manager, Victory Lakes and Casey Peterson. associate vice president, Clinic Operations.
Bonnie Benkula, associate vice president  for Ambulatory Operations in the UTMB Health System, is the recipient of the 2012 Athena Leadership Award of the Bay Area. She received the award at a ceremony  ceremony held  at the Marina Plaza South Shore Harbour Resort & Conference Center, presented by the League City Chamber of Commerce.
Founded nearly 30 years ago, ATHENA International is a women’s leadership organization that supports, develops and honors women leaders through the programs it administers.  ATHENA’s flagship program, the ATHENA Leadership Award® Program, has honored over 6000 women leaders from hundreds of cities and eight countries since its inception in 1982. The award’s rich history, international scope and emphasis on mentorship make this award unique and amongst the most prestigious leadership awards one can receive.

Front row:  Sonya Gomez, Maureen Brami Back row: Jessica Lee, Azalia Almaguer, Rachel Nginyi, Julie Rodriguez
Melanie Loving, assistant to the Vice Dean, Academic Affairs in the School of Medicine writes, "I just spent seven days in the hospital on 8C and the nurses were wonderful. They went above and beyond their jobs. They didn’t know who I was in the beginning or where I worked.  The care and compassion they give to all their patients should be recognized by UTMB. The day and night shift know what working together to work wonders means.They work together as a team and they all get along very well. Those nurses and PCT’s could be used as an example of what great care and compassion is all about.

A 5-year $5.4m grant has been awarded to Profectus BioSciences and theGalveston National Laboratory (GNL) at UTMB to support the development of a Vesicular Stomatitis virus-vectored vaccine for Ebola and Marburg Viruses.

The grant, awarded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), will help develop the trivalent vaccine to protect against infection with all major strains of Ebola and Marburg viruses, the two members of the filovirus family of hemorrhagic fever viruses.

As part of the development Profectus will design and develop the lyophilized trivalent vaccine, while the GNL will conduct the studies at biosafety level 4 (BSL4) to demonstrate protection against the Ebola and Marburg viruses.

GNL investigator and UTMB professor Tom Geisbert said proving the potential of this vaccine would be an amazing step forward in combating these deadly filoviruses.

"The unique resources of the GNL's BSL4 lab provide the confines to test the Profectus candidate vaccine safely and effectively and we look forward to carrying out the task that NIH has set for us," Geisbert said.

Dr. Robert Ullrich, interim director of theUTMB Cancer Center, was at theInternational Agency on Cancer Research (IARC) in Lyon France as part of an international initiative to define how environmental factors increase the risk of human cancer and develop approaches to cancer prevention.
Factors previously identified by IARC as agents that can increase cancer risks include a variety of chemicals, physical agents, and biological agents to which people are exposed as a result of occupational exposures and lifestyle factors.
The IARC is part of the World Health Organization (WHO). Previously,Ullrich participated in IARC initiatives on cancer risk in humans associated with exposure to radiation, including sunlight and tanning beds. The cancer risks as a result of the use of tanning beds were first identified as part of this IARC initiative under the leadership of Ullrich.  He is recognized internationally as an expert on the cancer risks effects of radiation exposures.

Shanuntel Cooley helps Cypress Schubert, a kindergarten student at Oppe Elementary, get fitted for his helmet by Sharon Croisant.
The Institute for Translational Research and the Department of Preventive Medicine and Community Health brought a Texas Medical Association (TMA) program Hard Hats for Little Heads to the City of Galveston’s third EducationFEST Celebration. EducationFest is an all day event that recognizes educational opportunities and achievements in the city of Galveston.

The bike helmet give-away was organized by Michele Cravey and UTMB volunteers Amit Kumar, Marilyn Petty and Rachel Mathers. They spent  the day fitting children for free bicycle helmets. Kathy Tiernan, chair of the City of Galveston Families, Children and Youth Board and director of Health Outcomes, UTMB Health Policy and Legislative Affairs said that the event was a big success with over 550 participants attending. 

Thanks to Dr. Larry Sowers, chair of the Department of Pharmacology, and Dr. Cliff Houston, associate vice- president for Educational Outreach, for their participated in the event and educated the public about research training opportunities for youth at UTMB, and to the UTMB Office of Health Policy and Legislative Affairs for its help in promoting the festival.


Carla Kantara is the April Excellence in Professionalism award winner.  She was nominated for her "exemplary professionalism, as she has been involved in numerous charity events throughout UTMB and Galveston county. Carla contributes to others through tutoring, judging science fairs, or advising. She consistently gives her time to help students of all levels, K-12 thru higher Ed, succeed in their studies. Carla is an asset to everyone she meets both in a professional and personal setting. It is my pleasure to nominate Carla for you Excellence in Professionalism award.




More than 40 UTMB employees recently participated in the March of Dimes Walk raising $7,000 and exceeding their goal for 2012. Congratulations to all who participated!