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UTMB Executive Committee

Elizabeth J. Protas, PT, PhD, FACSM, FAPTA

Senior Vice President and Dean, School of Health Professions

Dr. Elizabeth Protas is Senior Vice President and Dean, School of Health Professions, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, the George T. Bryan Distinguished Professor, and a Senior Fellow of the Sealy Center on Aging.

Her research and clinical interests focus on exercise, aging and physiological responses to exercise of individuals with chronic disabilities, particularly individuals who have had a stroke or Parkinson’s disease. She has published over 80 manuscripts and book chapters. She has received grant funding from the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, the Department of Veteran’s Affairs and the Foundation for Physical Therapy to support her research. She has been on numerous study sections for NIH, NIDRR, and the American Heart Association. She was appointed to the Statewide Health Coordinating Council by Governor Perry.

She was an investigator with the Veteran’s Affairs Rehabilitation Research and Development Center of Excellence on Healthy Living with Disabilities and the Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education and Clinical Center. Dr. Protas has been on the American College of Sports Medicine’s Board of Trustees and is a Fellow of the College. She has also served as the past president and former executive director of the Texas Regional Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine. She received the service award from the Texas Regional Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine in 2016.

Dr. Protas received the distinguished Service Award from the Texas Society of Allied Health Professions in 2010. She was elected as a Catherine Worthingham Fellow for the American Physical Therapy Association in 2008. In 2007, the Council on Aging and Adult Development of the American Association for Active Lifestyles and Fitness awarded Dr. Protas the Herbert H. deVries Award for Distinguished Research in the Field of Aging. The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston College of Nursing awarded the Joseph C. Valley Gerontological Professional of the Year to Dr. Protas in 2000.

At Texas Woman’s University, she implemented the 3rd Ph.D. program in physical therapy in the country, and the only postdoctoral fellowship program in ophysical therapy in the nation. She has been on the Committee for Postdoctoral and Doctoral Awards of the American Physical Therapy Association. For the Foundation for Physical Therapy, Dr. Protas has chaired the Doctoral Research Awards Committee, and has been a member of the Foundation’s Advisory Committee and the Research Awards Committee. She served as an accreditation site visit team leader for the Commission on Physical Therapy Education Accreditation and has been a member of the Cardiopulmonary Specialty Council and the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties. Dr. Protas is a Founding Fellow of the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation. She received her B.S. in Physical Therapy in 1968 and her Ph.D. in Education in 1981 from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

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