Friends and Colleagues,

Greetings from the Office of Health Policy & Legislative Affairs at the University of Texas Medical Branch. FY2019 was another banner year for UTMB’s education, research, and patient care initiatives. UTMB once again experienced incredible growth in 2019. Here are just a few statistics to bring you up to date:

  • Adoption of mission specific hospital formula, worth $306 million.
  • Increase of approximately $10.5 million for FY20/21 in the Health Related Institution (HRI) formulas.
  • Supplemental Appropriations of $190 million to cover Correctional Managed Care (CMC) FY18/19 shortfall and an increase of approximately $169.9 million for FY20/21.
  • Opening of the UTMB Clear Lake Campus (see image to the right).
  • The total number of students enrolled at UTMB increased by nearly forty percent from fall 2009 to fall 2019, with current enrollment at almost 3,400.
  • Patient volumes continued to increase during the 2019 fiscal year, with more than 1.2 million outpatient encounters, nearly 6,400 births and more than 88,000 Emergency Department visits.
  • Staff growth to nearly 13,200 employees.
  • Additionally, UTMB had a $2.25 billion annual budget, a $40 million increase from FY2017, the majority of which came from net patient care..

Our reach is far and wide and continues to expand. We look forward to furthering our level of accomplishments and wish the same for you and yours.


Ben G. Raimer, MD FAAP
Senior Vice President
Office of Health Policy & Legislative Affairs
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Clear Lake Campus


Capital Trip 16x9
Austin May2019
Capital 2019
Legislative Trip 16x9 Featured

Legislative Affairs (LA) staff work with elected state officials, their staff, and state agencies to promote UTMB’s issues and achieve legislative, appropriations, and regulatory actions that support UTMB’s clinical, research and academic services. HPLA Austin staff, Lauren Sheer and Ryan Micks, stay abreast of and analyze appropriations, statutory, and regulatory issues relevant to UTMB; draft bills, amendments, and supportive materials  to respond to legislative actions; in conjunction with the HPLA team, help develop formal legislative presentations and materials; and in conjunction with the Senior Vice President for Health Policy & Legislative Affairs, provide ongoing education about UTMB’s services and needs for the Governor’s Office, for legislators and their staff, for key committees and agencies (e.g. Legislative Budget Board, House Appropriations Committee, Senate Finance Committee, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, and Texas Health and Human Services Commission), and for other organizations with complementary interests, including UT System, other higher education institutions and systems, and health professions and hospital organizations. Legislative Affairs staff also keep UTMB leadership, faculty, staff and students abreast of legislative and leadership actions pertinent to UTMB. The Legislative Affairs Office also serves as the communication point for legislators wanting help from UTMB for their constituents, coordinating internal work at UTMB to appropriately address individual student, patient, and others’ concerns and requests.  

Prior to the 86th Legislative Session:

  • Provided ongoing communication with legislative members and staff, Governor’s Office, and relevant agencies on UTMB’s school based mental health services, correctional health care, women’s health and other issues related to UTMB.
  • Coordinated and/or assisted with UTMB faculty and staff participation in formal interim committees and activities, including children’s mental health, adverse childhood experiences, school safety and correctional care.
  • Coordinated site visits for legislative staff to UTMB’s main campus (which included tours of the Galveston National Lab, Hospital Galveston and Jennie Sealy).
  • Coordinated UTMB’s preparation for the 86th Legislative Session by guiding UTMB’s participation in fall legislative hearings and monitoring legislative issues and activities pertinent to UTMB, organizing and leading visits to UTMB by legislators and staff, helping prepare UTMB’s session materials and submissions, analyzing and tracking pre-filed bills, coordinating with other education and health institutions, agencies and organizations on shared issues.

During 86th Legislative Session:

  • Coordinated all of UTMB’s appropriations and legislative work, including monitoring all relevant hearings and analyzing all bills and amendments, pursuing additional amendments where needed. Primary substantive areas of appropriations work included general appropriations, a mission specific formula for UTMB’s health care system, formula funding for health related institutions, correctional health care appropriations, and Medicaid and mental health care funding. Primary substantive areas of statutory work included legislation related to correctional health care, human resources, mental health care and women’s and maternal health care. Legislative Affairs staff would like to thank all UTMB staff who helped analyze legislation and provided advice on impact and needed changes. 
  • Maintained regular communication with UT System, other health related institutions, state agencies such as the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, Health and Human Services Commission, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Correctional Managed Health Care Committee, and other education and health care organizations.

Post 86th Legislative Session:

  • Provided general updates to the UTMB community on the impact of the session.
  • Maintained open and regular communications with legislative and executive branch offices, expressing appreciation for their help, keeping them apprised during UTMB implementation of actions passed during the session, and working with other state agencies charged with implementing changes that affect UTMB. 


The Office of Federal Relations (OFR) works with federal officials, congressional members and their staff to secure support and educate them on UTMB Health needs and priorities. Led by Mr. Douglas Matthews, the area works closely with UT System to position UTMB toward optimization of grant opportunities funded by the federal government.

  • Coordinated/participated in campus visits for Washington, DC federal officials which included Congressional Members and their staff.
  • Assisted with Immigration Cases (J-1 and H-1B Specialty Workers Visas) for several UTMB Students and Employees in collaboration with UTMB Legal Affairs – International Office
  • Represented UTMB in Government Relations Division with the Association of American Medical College (AAMC) at its Annual Meeting and Quarterly Meetings.
  • Communicated regularly (i.e. via email and telephone) with U.S. Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, and Congressman Randy Weber’s Office staff members on federal legislation expressing UTMB’s position and impact.
  • Contacted Washington, DC officials advocating more funds for NIH funding since UTMB annually receives over $100 million in research dollars.
  • Participated in AAMC telephone conference calls which provided updates on current issues and proposed legislation of U.S. Congress that could impact medical schools and hospitals.
  • Worked closely with local nonprofit organizations such as Old Central Cultural Center, Galveston Sustainable Communities Alliance, Odyssey Academy Charter School Board and the  Legislative Black Caucus.
  • Helped promote/coordinate annual Galveston Juneteenth activities by securing the participation of federal, state and local elected officials. OFR worked closely with Old Central Cultural Center Board.  
  • Assisted/played host to campus visits by government officials including State Representative Senfronia Thompson, Jefferson County Commissioner Everett “Bo” Alfred, State Representative Joe Deshotel’s Chief of Staff Jacquelyn Savoy, Jay Guerrero, Regional Director for U.S. Senator John Cornyn, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and Galveston County Commissioner Stephen Holmes.     


Texas AHEC East
UTMB Primary Care

County Affairs: The Office of County Affairs (CA) works to improve relationships with regional county government officials and county healthcare administrators, helping to strengthen UTMB’s presence throughout the region. CA maintains relationships with local county governments (county judges, county commissioners, law enforcement, district attorneys, and hospital districts). County Contracts: Counties and hospital districts across the state have access to primary, specialty and tertiary care for their eligible indigent residents by contracting with UTMB. Dedicated UTMB staff, led by Sandra Davis, coordinate the patients’ care, obtain treatment authorizations and provide the referring physicians information about the patients’ treatment.

  • Assisted with providing services to county indigent residents including a total of 5,681 referrals for specialty care.
  • Facilitated the successful renewal of 25 contracts between UTMB Health and local county and hospital district indigent health care programs.
  • Received 219 requests for one-time agreements between UTMB and non-contracted county partners.
  • Hosted the annual UTMB Health Updates meeting on October 14, 2018 with representatives from eleven counties and hospital districts in attendance with an additional two representatives participating via teleconference.
  • Attended the Texas Indigent Health Care Association Annual Conference in Corpus Christi, TX on October 10 – 12, 2018.
  • Launched the Clinic Support Center in July 2019 in partnership with UTMB Ambulatory Operations and Community & Population Health.
  • In mid-2019, the Office of County Affairs was transitioned out of the Health Policy & Legislative Affairs department. They moved to Community & Population Health under Craig Kovacevich. 


Community Engagement (CE), directed by Becky Trout, is responsible for educating the public regarding health policy, medical care, individual health and health literacy. CE staff collaborates with individuals and organizations, both internal and external to the university, to assist UTMB in better serving the community.

  • Worked closely with area chambers of commerce to build community relationships. Chamber events in which UTMB played a major role included:
    • League City Regional Chamber of Commerce Coffees with the President – monthly coffees held at UTMB’s League City Campus spotlighting cutting research and/or clinical services provided by UTMB
    • Clear Lake Area Chamber’s Spring Fling Golf Tournament that attracts over 200 golfers annually
    • A joint chamber ribbon-cutting for UTMB’s new Clear Lake Campus that included Galveston, League City, Friendswood, Texas City-La Marque, Clear Lake chambers of commerce
    • Continued sponsorship of Celebrating Women, the annual women’s conference of the Galveston Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • Another successful season of Health Policy Dialogues, a lecture series co-sponsored by Health Policy & Legislative Affairs, the Office of the President and the student chapters of the American Medical Association and the Texas Medical Association, included 10 lectures with topics ranging from the role of medical providers in the Holocaust, to the importance of routine screening for HIV and the role of UTMB’s new biocontainment unit in the treatment of the world’s most dangerous diseases
  • The State Employee Charitable Campaign raised over $512,000 from UTMB employees in support of hundreds of local, state, national and worldwide charities
  • UTMB took part in a variety of community events under the coordination of the Community Engagement, including the Garand Kids Festival, Galveston Island Shrimp Festival, Grow 360 Wellness Fair, Keels and Wheels, League City Lions Club Music Festival, and numerous back-to-school events for Galveston County school districts
Clear Lake Campus


OLLI Galveston
Elissa Trip

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, OLLI at UTMB Health, provides year-round, college-level courses, educational experiences, and a variety of fitness activities for a diverse population of those 55 and over from Galveston County and far beyond. One of 124 OLLIs in the United States funded by the Bernard Osher Foundation, OLLI began as UTMB’s Academy for Lifelong Learning in 2002. Led by Dr. Michelle Sierpina, Team OLLI continues to expand both the quality and quantity of the institute’s programs.  This year OLLI courses and seminars are held in Galveston and in Angleton.

  • Summer School 2019 launched nearly 20 seminars at UTMB OLLI Angleton.  New members have already begun joining for the coming year.  A generous President’s Cabinet grant will supplement infrastructure costs of OLLI Angleton over the next two years.
  • Houston/Galveston Area Agency on Aging previously had no presence on Galveston Island.  Through a partnership with OLLI, AAA now provides monthly workshops and individual consultations with community members at both OLLI Galveston and OLLI Angleton.
  • Partnering with UTMB healthcare departments, OLLI hosted Senior Health and Fitness Day in May and Standing Together, a falls prevention and awareness event in September—both open to the entire community.
  • OLLI continues to host the CDC innovation PreventT2, a diabetes prevention program at both OLLI Galveston and OLLI Angleton.
  • OLLI members have been invited to participate in three national studies on healthy and/or successful aging:  Texas State University and University of Pennsylvania, Harvard University, and an Osher colleague’s study from Illinois State.  In each case only a select number of OLLI locations are included.
  • AARP Smart Driver ™ training is offered in OLLI Galveston and OLLI Angleton, in both locations, this is the only AARP training available locally.
  • OLLI Galveston offers American Red Cross CPR and first aid training, while OLLI Angleton offers American Heart Association CPR, first aid, healthcare provider BLS and more.
  • Master’s degree and registered dietician students from UTMB’s Graduate School of Metabolism and Nutrition interned at OLLI for 120 – 160 hours per semester.
  • Month-long medical student electives from Family Medicine and Geriatrics and resident physician rotations introduced UTMB physicians, residents, fellows, and students in other health professions to active, vital OLLI members who model healthy lifestyle choices. True intergenerational learning opportunities allowed both students and OLLI members to exchange knowledge and life experiences.  These multiple rotations and electives afford future healthcare professionals Inter-Professional Educational experiences week after week throughout the year.
  • OLLI’s four free weekly fitness sessions, open to the public with no OLLI membership required, served over 150 attendees each week. Even those on walkers or electric carts benefited from these sessions that offered improved health conditioning and crucially important socialization.
  • In addition to dozens of eight-week academic and fitness sessions each spring and fall semester, OLLI summer school 2019 included nearly 90 seminars and outdoor activities partnering with community organizations including Texas Agri-Life Extension, Galveston Symphony Orchestra, Galveston Art Center, Texas A&M University Coastal and Marine Resources and summer, Lafitte Society, Galveston Island State Park and Friends of GISP, NOAA, Texas A&M University, AARP, American Red Cross, Turtle Restoration Project, Alzheimer’s Association, and numerous colleagues within UTMB Health.
  • OLLI’s role in the crucial issue of falls prevention included leadership and member participation in NIH-funded STRIDE PCORI national research and education initiative; and presenting free to the community the nationally acclaimed Matter of Balance in collaboration with Texas A&M Agri-Life. Chair yoga, chair tai chi, and fitness sessions provide tools for members to reduce falls through physical strengthening and balance.  Chronic disease management workshops were also held at both OLLI Galveston and OLLI Angleton.
  • Beginning this year, OLLI hosts the community stakeholder meetings of the NIH-funded D-Care initiative, with many OLLI members serving as community stakeholders.
  • UTMB Retirees monthly board meetings and quarterly membership meetings are hosted by OLLI for the tenth year.
  • For the seventh year, OLLI hosted the Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council FeatherFest, which broke attendance records attracting about 700 visitors from across the US, Canada, Mexico, and the UK and was supported by an additional 250 volunteers.
  • OLLI served on the CVB Winter Texan planning team and hosted one of the only two welcoming WT receptions. Numerous Winter Texan seminars occur each year in OLLI classrooms. Some talks are given by OLLI instructors, but most are given by community partner experts from NOAA, Turtle Restoration, GINTC, and many others.
  • Teaming with other UTMB partners and community organizations, OLLI hosted monthly networking breakfasts for Galveston Aging Care Network, professionals who serve older adults, and also the Caregivers Connection, monthly meetings for family member caregivers.
  • OLLI installed a donor tree in gratitude for ongoing contributions in OLLI’s continuing Culture of Philanthropy initiative.  Thirty Days of Giving Thanks and year end giving added over $30,000 in gifts supporting OLLI in fall semester.
  • OLLI’s founding director served on community boards including Galveston Symphony Orchestra and Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council and the Board of Governors of AOMA Graduate College of Integrative Medicine in Austin (accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the same body that accredits UTMB and the UT System Schools).
  • Dr. Sierpina continued her membership on the scientific advisory board of the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation, a national organization headquartered in Tucson, Arizona.


The Communications Division sets and guides the strategy for all internal and external communication messages for the Office of Health Policy and Legislative Affairs. Ryan Micks serves as Director of HPLA Communications and produces hundreds of educational and informational works per year for use in multiple programs across UTMB Health. Website-related activities and knowledge management are now handled by Dylan Lancaster.

  • Kept both employees and external stake holders well apprised of UTMB’s legislative priorities.
  • Showcased the interactive map on the HPLA departmental website which details UTMB’s overall impact across the state defined by Congressional, State House and State Senate Districts.
  • Provided legislative updates to over a dozen groups including UTMB executive leadership and community leaders.
  • Served as the clearinghouse for requests regarding UTMB’s economic/health impact for regions across the state.
  • Operated and maintained the Health Policy and Legislative Affairs website and the Senior Vice President’s Blog.
  • The area developed multiple presentations for the Senior Vice President of Health Policy and Legislative Affairs to use before many local, state and national audiences.
  • Mr. Micks served on the Greater Houston Partnership’s Health Care Policy Advisory Committee and represents the university at numerous other community organizations.
  • Ensured the right information was made available to the right people at the right time to improve decision making and strategic planning at all levels of the institution.
HPLA Dialogue Biocontainment


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The Office of Education Outreach (OEO) promotes career opportunities in the health and biomedical sciences to students in the local, regional school districts and private schools. OEO increases the availability, interest, application and relevance of science technology, engineering, an mathematics (STEM) for pre-college students through a wide variety of educational programs. OEO assists, enhances and supplements existing recruitment efforts for underrepresented minority students and faculty in order to promote a higher standard of education, patient care, and research.

  • Texas STEM Conference- Organized and managed the statewide STEM Education Conference for K-12th grade educators to improve student achievement, enable all students to be career and/or college ready, and increase awareness of STEM careers.
  • Greater Houston Area STEM Conference - continued to co-sponsor with UHCL to provide a regional STEM Education Conference for greater Galveston County/Houston metroplex teachers.
  • Teacher Externship Program- The UTMB TEX2 Externship program provides teachers with background information, career knowledge (Biomedical and Health, Aerospace, Petrochemical), career-based classroom activities, and a 1-day shadowing experience to improve student academic achievement and career awareness.
  • Summer STEM Camp- This two-week program is for 8-9th grade students and provides fun-filled, hands-on activities and problem-solving puzzles/activities that stimulate increased knowledge and skills in science, engineering, technology and math!  Career connections are made between STEM content and STEM careers, particularly those in biomedical and health.
  • Summer Biomedical Health Careers Academy- This experience provides a venue for high school students in the greater Galveston County/Houston metroplex area to explore the wide variety of biomedical and health careers available at the University of Texas Medical Branch.  Students experience hands-on activities and meet faculty/staff role models while learning about the 4 UTMB schools and related careers.
  • High School Summer Research Program- High school students from across the state of Texas perform a research project in a faculty mentors laboratory for 8 weeks.  Participants learn research skills and present their research results in a closing poster presentation/reception.
  • Galveston County Science and Engineering Fair- Organized and held event in collaboration with TAMUG and GC after one-year hiatus due to hurricane Harvey, raised funds to support the event.
  • Ball High School Health Science Careers Organization/HOSA Awards Ceremony- hosted the event and raised funds to support this collaborative program.
  • STEM After School Camp for TCISD -Provided afterschool program for K-2 grade students to build STEM content knowledge, skills and career awareness.
  • STEM Summer Program for TCISD - Provided summer STEM program for 5th-8th grade students to build 21st Century job skills, content knowledge, and STEM career awareness.
  • CCISD Career Fair- provided information about all 4 UTMB schools and OEO programs.
  • Campus Tours- provided tours for various school groups.
  • OEO programs are supported by various grants and contracts enabling these activities to be provided from Texas Education Agency/UT Austin, Texas Workforce Commission, etc.


The Center for Global and Community Health (CGCH) trains health professionals to work with vulnerable populations at home and abroad. We provide cutting-edge interprofessional learning opportunities working with our long-term partners to provide safe, well-supervised, and meaningful international electives for our learners. The collaborative projects our trainees participate in add significant value to our partners, which maintains UTMB's status as an innovator in global health education.

  • Enrolled 118 UTMB students in the Global Health Track (which consists of thirty MS1 students, twenty-eight MS2 students, thirty-four MS3 students and twenty-six MS4 students). Graduated 18 of these students this year.
  • Enrolled 18 UTMB students in the Community Engagement Track (which consists of nine MS1 students, five MS2 students, two MS3 students and two MS4 students). Graduated 2 of these students this year.
  • Held the 7th Annual Global Health Symposium “Translating Global Health Into Community Engagement” where 45 poster presentations were given. Dr. Craig Cohen from the University of California Global Health Institute was the keynote speaker.
  • Held the 2nd Annual Conference on Migration and Health, which accommodated more than 100 participants from international organizations, academic institutes, civil society groups and public health governmental agencies.
  • Published six journal articles, including two in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine, one in Medical Education Online, another in Cogent Medicine, one in the Texas Public Health Journal, and the last in BMJ (British Medical Journal).
  • Presented eight times across the United states (New York, Virginia, Mississippi, Texas and New Mexico) on topics related to global and community health education. Presentations done by our CGCH staff.
  • Facilitated over a dozen legal agreements with local and global organizations to provide our students and staff with additional education, research, and clinical practice opportunities.
  • Reworked the CGCH website to be one of the best looking and most assessible across all UTMB.
  • Created a twelve-minute video to give our students a high-quality orientation into indigent care. https://www.utmb.edu/globalhealth/education/indigent-care-orientation
  • Implemented student screening programs for underserved populations in Peru.
  • Received six grants worth around 1.4 million dollars in funding over the next five years. Grant topics include HIV screening, diabetes prevention, migration & health, adverse childhood experiences, and abuse prevention in adolescents.
Global and Community Health


AHEC Banner
Health Education

The East Texas Area Health Education Center (AHEC), referred to as Texas AHEC East, is devoted to improving the supply, distribution, retention, and training of varied health professionals in medically underserved and rural communities. We link 100 East Texas counties and over 18 million people to community health workforce development, health opportunities, and resources provided by eight regional centers. Our regional centers are uniquely positioned within the community and are hosted by local community institutions or are non-profit organizations.

Health Careers Promotion and Preparation

  • Provided health career information and services to 3,613 career-decision makers.
  • Provided 35 multi encounter longitudinal activities to better prepare 635 students, 69% from under-represented minorities and/or disadvantaged populations, for health professions education programs.
  • Engaged teachers/counselors/administrators and parents from 4 school districts and 34 schools and universities in these activities.

Community Based Education (Student & Professional)

  • Recruited and/or maintained 59 community-based training sites and a pool of community faculty, primarily physicians, for student clinical training. Of those sites, 43 provide interprofessional education.
  • Placed 294 health professions students from 27 health profession training programs in 393 clinical rotations for 8 disciplines. Of these clinical rotations, 26% were in underserved or rural areas.
  • Provided over 94 hours of training for 1,360 health care professionals in continuing education programs.

Community Health Support (Health Literacy & Health Systems)

  • Offered 66 health education programs/projects to 1,718 participants.
  • Maintained programs addressing community health issues such as Adolescent Health, AHEC Scholars, Child Health, CHW Basic, College Preparation, Computer Health Literacy, Cultural Competence, Geriatrics, Health Careers, Health Literacy, Mental Health, Nutrition, Prevention, Wellness.
  • Offered Continuing Education for 1300 Community Health Workers and Instructors.
  • Provided 43 Basic Community Health Worker (CHW) training courses (28 offered CEUs) and 7 CHW Instructor Courses. CHWs help local community members find and navigate healthcare resources.