Inspiring others to give: Husband and wife team up in support of Innovations in Mind Faculty and Staff Campaign

Mar 16, 2017, 10:02 AM by Simone Parker

AinsworthSzauterUTMB holds a special place in the hearts of Drs. Michael Ainsworth and Karen Szauter. It’s where the couple met and married while working as faculty members. And it’s where they continue to fulfill a mission to train the health care workforce of the future.

“I have been at UTMB my entire career,” said Ainsworth. “It gives me a pretty healthy perspective about the challenges and demands of a medical student, an intern, a resident and a faculty member.”

Ainsworth is a proud member of the School of Medicine class of 1981. He also is associate dean in the School of Medicine and oversees clinical skills development programs for medical students. Szauter is medical director of the Office of Clinical Simulation in the School of Medicine. She joined UTMB as a faculty member in 1990.

“The majority of my time is spent preparing activities related to patient simulation programs in the School of Medicine, the School of Nursing and the School of Health Professions,” she said. “That’s been my career focus for almost 20 years.”

It’s obvious the couple enjoys talking about their work and the passion they share for giving back to UTMB. They have joined hundreds of their colleagues to raise awareness and support for the Innovations in Mind Faculty and Staff fundraising initiative, which launched Feb. 2. Ainsworth said it’s a great opportunity for employees to get involved and invest in the growth and continued success of the institution and its mission.

“We have hundreds of faculty who are involved across the four schools in the Academic Enterprise,” said Ainsworth. “I simply ask our entire UTMB family to look inside and consider what’s important to them.”

The $50 million Innovations in Mind initiative will partially support construction of the new Health Education Center on the Galveston Campus, help create faculty endowments and student scholarships, and bolster neurodegenerative disorders research.

Szauter is excited the Health Education Center will provide more space for patient simulation and other types of health sciences student training, while accommodating the growing student population.

“To see something built that will provide a better opportunity for education of students in all four UTMB schools—that’s something we feel pretty strongly about,” she said.

Ainsworth also has joined a committee that meets monthly to discuss architectural design plans and construction updates for the center. He’s looking forward to the groundbreaking ceremony April 7 and the opening scheduled for 2019.

“You want to talk about getting in on the ground floor,” he said. “This is a good opportunity for people to get involved, be generous and help support something that will serve all students.”

The campaign is striving to encourage the broad-based support of the UTMB community for some of the university’s highest priorities. Ainsworth and Szauter are making a leadership gift and hope their commitment will inspire others to give.

For more information about the Innovations in Mind Faculty and Staff Campaign and to make your gift, please visit