• Thousands of UTMB employees face vaccination deadline

    The University of Texas Medical Branch is requiring its nearly 18,000 employees, students and contract workers to get their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Dec. 6 or go on leave, officials announced Friday. Medicare and Medicaid payments make up about a third of the medical branch’s revenues, roughly $685 million a year, said Dr. Timothy Harlin, executive vice president and CEO of the medical branch health system.

  • AAMA reelects Sherry Bogar as 2021-2022 Trustee

    The American Association of Medical Assistants installed Sherry Bogar, CMA (AAMA), CN-BC, as a 2021-2022 Trustee at its annual conference in Houston. Bogar works in the UTMB Health breast cancer and surgical oncology clinic in League City and is certified as a breast cancer and oncology patient navigator. She is a founder of the medical assistant advisory council at UTMB Health. “Medical Assistants have worked for years to prove that they are an essential part of the health care team that provides compassionate and quality patient care,” Bogar said. “The past two years in the COVID-19 era have proven how invaluable we are to every part of healthcare and how many roles we are able to fill.”

  • Lab details conditions to decontaminate disposable masks

    Engineers have determined proper heating will eliminate the virus that causes COVID-19 from a standard disposable surgical mask without degrading the mask itself. The work by Rice University engineers and collaborators at the University of Texas Medical Branch shows masks can be decontaminated and reused multiple times before degrading.

  • New coronavirus, likely from dogs, infects people in Malaysia and Haiti

    By finding this virus early, scientists now have time to study it, create tools to diagnose it and understand what it might take to stop it. Although it's not a cause for deep concern at this time, there's always the risk the virus could evolve and become a bigger problem. “We need to find these novel viruses well before they fully adapt to humans and become a pandemic problem,” wrote epidemiologist Gregory Gray, from the University of Texas Medical Branch, in an email to NPR. “Fortunately, today we have the tools to both detect and evaluate the risk of such novel viruses. We just need the political will and financial support to do so.”

  • Astroworld left behind trauma and grief for attendees and beyond

    Houston continues to heal from the events of last Friday's Astroworld Festival. Host Ernie Manouse talked to experts including Dr. Jeff Temple, director of the Center for Violence Prevention at UTMB. Temple fielded audience questions about psychological trauma.

  • Texas surgeon Dr. Linda G. Phillips elected Vice-Chair of the ACS Board of Regents

    The American College of Surgeons elected surgeon Dr. Linda G. Phillips as vice-chair of its board of regents in October. Phillips is the Truman G. Blocker Jr., MD, Distinguished Professor at the University of Texas Medical Branch School of Medicine and chief of Department of Surgery, division of plastic surgery. As vice-chair, Phillips will become vice-chair of the Board of Regents Finance Committee, the Executive Committee, and Regental Liaison to the Board of Governors Executive Committee.

  • Nursing school’s iLead program recognized

    The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston School of Nursing has been named an Apple Distinguished School for 2021-2024. The award comes in part thanks to the school’s iLead—or Innovative Learning Environment Accelerating Discovery—program. Through iLead, students are issued an iPad and Apple Pencil upon orientation.

  • Long-haul COVID to remain with us in foreseeable future

    While a reduction in the number of infections is good news, scientists and doctors are beginning to understand the chronic illness that lingers after COVID infection, called long-haul syndrome. Long-haul patients were infected and appeared to recover, but then chronic symptoms began and remained months after the infection. Extreme fatigue and debilitating brain fog are common symptoms, write Drs. Norbert Herzog and David Niesel of UTMB.

  • Where are the Black men in white coats?

    Dr. Vincent S. Sierpina wrote about the lack of black men entering medical school. While 33 percent of our U.S. population come from under-represented minority groups, only 7.7 percent of full-time medical school faculty come from these groups. “This is a shocking mismatch of future physicians to serve a population that looks like them with the same cultural roots, especially in a state like Texas where around 50 percent of our population is now non-white,” Sierpina wrote.

  • Reasons why you should vaccinate your child

    Comirnaty, better known as the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for children ages 5 through 11. Many parents have been waiting for this as they wish to protect their children from COVID-19. Drs. Megan Berman and Richard Rupp answer common questions they hear from parents.