Eight programs to benefit Galveston-area community
Projects include cooking healthy meals, preventing drunk and distracted driving
and therapeutic pillows for patients
GALVESTON, Texas —In celebration of its 20th anniversary, the University of Texas Medical Branch President’s Cabinet awarded funds to eight innovative programs developed to strengthen UTMB’s patient care, biomedical research and educational missions. Nine university faculty and staff and three students in the School of Medicine and Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences received the awards, which totaled more than $200,000.
The winning programs include healthy cooking classes for uninsured and economically disadvantaged citizens, presentations to local students designed to lower the number of driving accidents related to alcohol or distractions, and a film series that examines how people find meaning during illness and suffering.
Annual contributions from President’s Cabinet members — $500 for junior members (age 40 and under), at least $1,000 for individuals and $5,000 for corporations, foundations and other organizations — are pooled to create the awards. President’s Cabinet members have contributed more than $5 million since 1993, with more than 100 awards given to novel community programs.
The 2013 President’s Cabinet Award winners are:
“Centering Pregnancy Visits at Ball High School”
Dr. Tuere Coulter
Dr. Juliet McKee
UTMB Department of Family Medicine
This program expands an existing outreach program for pregnant teenagers at Galveston’s Ball High School Teen Health Clinic. It will provide emotional support and encourage young women to get routine prenatal care while also educating them about healthier lifestyles. Integrating the program into the existing maternity clinic will create an atmosphere of support, education and growth to help teens face the challenges of pregnancy while achieving their educational and life goals.
“Food for Thought”
David Gersztenkorn, fourth-year student
Roxanne Radi, fourth-year student
UTMB School of Medicine
This program will establish semi-monthly nutrition education and cooking classes at St. Vincent’s Clinic to teach health and diet principles to uninsured or economically disadvantaged citizens. Through practical strategies for weight loss and healthy living, classes will focus on cooking styles and economical ingredients to lower carbohydrates, calories, fat and sodium while still preparing tasty dishes.
“Healing through Humanism: Community Conversations on Compassion”
Julie Kutac, student
UTMB Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
Meredith Masel, Ph.D.
Oliver Center for Patient Safety and Quality Healthcare
This five-part film series  will examine how people find meaning in the face of suffering and illness. Following each viewing, UTMB faculty will guide discussions about compassion and understanding during life-altering illnesses.
“Hometown Science 3-D Web Outreach”
Ellen Adriance
UTMB Information Services
Cheryl Watson, Ph.D.
UTMB Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Second Life is a Web-based 3-D computer version of the world where  people use avatars. This program will use Second Life technology and UTMB faculty to present topics  that promote the relevance of UTMB’s biomedical research, clinical care and educational missions to the Galveston-area communities.
“Moving from What’s the Matter? to What Matters Most to You?”
Meredith Masel, Ph.D.
Oliver Center for Patient Safety and Quality Healthcare
Shared decision-making enables patients and their providers to take into account the best available scientific evidence and a patient’s values and preferences. To develop a system for shared decision-making at UTMB, this program will train advocates, create a library containing shared decision-making information and solicit community input to better align patients’ values and lifestyles with their health care.
“Preventive Medicine: Shumsky Therapeutic Pillows”
Gisele Lombard
UTMB Texas Transplant Center
Hospital-acquired pneumonia is the second-most common infection originating in U.S. hospitals. The most effective therapies to prevent its occurrence are deep breathing and coughing exercises. Through the program, the UTMB Transplant Council will provide organ-specific therapeutic pillows to post-operative transplant recipients to facilitate these exercises. Each pillow is designed in the respective shape of the transplanted organ and features an anatomical diagram for patient education.
“Save a Life Tour”
Dr. John Fraser
UTMB Department of Preventive Medicine and Community Health
Dr. William Mileski
UTMB Department of Surgery
To reduce the incidences of drunk and distracted driving, the Save a Life Tour will include day-long programs at five local schools featuring high-impact demonstrations and videos. Students will be able to use driving simulators that mimic the effects of driving while intoxicated or  texting while driving. Computer survey kiosks will record students’ knowledge and attitudes about impaired driving before and after the presentations.
“When I Grow Up”
Rebecca Trout
UTMB Division of Community Relations
Nancy Schultz
Galveston Children’s Museum
This partnership with the newly-created Galveston Children’s Museum will establish a “Kids Care Clinic” at the museum that will include a computerized, interactive mirror and other teaching aids to demonstrate an internal view of the human body. The mirror will display visually striking interactive effects as children wave their arms or move their legs.
The President’s Cabinet is comprised of nearly 400 members, including community and business leaders from the Houston-Galveston area and UTMB faculty and staff and alumni from across the state and nation. Their gifts to the university provide seed money to launch initiatives designed to improve the quality of life in the community and beyond.
For more information about the President’s Cabinet or how to join, contact Marie Marczak, UTMB director of annual giving, at 409-772-5151 or mmarczak@utmb.edu, or visit the organization’s website at www.utmb.edu/cabinet.