Coffey Gets the Cream
Lisa Coffey, a senior at UTMB’s School of Nursing, won the Spirit of Nursing award in February 2004. She is the first UTMB student to win the prestigious national competition. Given to the nation’s best nursing student, the prize is awarded for community service, leadership, and scholarship. Each of the fifteen hundred participating nursing programs nominates one outstanding undergraduate nursing student who exemplifies the qualities recognized by the award. The Spirit of Nursing award is presented by the United States Army Nurse Corps and the National Student Nurses’ Association to one winner annually. Coffey, last year the first recipient of the John and Mary Ann Stobo Scholarship in Oslerian Medicine, plans to work as an emergency room nurse.
Chamber Gives UTMB the Business
The Galveston Chamber of Commerce presented UTMB with the 2003 Business of the Year Award in February 2004 “for securing national and international prominence to its institution and to Galveston Island.” The Chamber recognized UTMB for economic development opportunities, such as the Regional Center of Excellence and the proposed Galveston National Laboratory, which are projected to deliver more than $500 million in new research grants over twenty years, receive more than $158 million in new federal funding in the next five years, and create more than nine hundred new permanent jobs over the next twenty years.
Waste Not, Win Award
UTMB received the 2003 Recycling Leadership Award for Environmental Public Education and Outreach Programs from the Recycling Alliance of Texas for its continuing efforts to protect Galveston’s natural resources through conservation, recycling, and community outreach. UTMB has been a leader in conservation for more than a decade. In addition to its annual Earth Day celebration, the institution promotes energy and resource conservation through ride-share and vanpool programs, beach cleanups, and recycling of paper products, furniture, office equipment, and recyclable chemicals.
Culture and Cancer?
The National Institutes of Health has awarded UTMB’s Sealy Center on Aging a $9.2 million grant to examine how culture influences health. The five-year grant establishes the UTMB Center for Population Health and Health Disparities. The new center, led by principal investigator Dr. James Goodwin, will look more closely at cancer incidence and mortality rates, examine how cultural structures might protect people from stress, and test interventions to reduce cancer risks among Mexican American and other ethnic groups in local communities.
Caring for Elders
Thanks to a five-year, $1.1 million grant to UTMB, East Texas students and health care professionals will be able to learn more about the health needs of the growing elderly population. The Sealy Center on Aging received funding from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration to establish the East Texas Geriatric Education Center, one of forty-one Geriatric Education Centers in the United States. The center’s target area covers seventy-one counties, and its curriculum will focus on health disparities among the elderly, particularly among older minorities and those who have been institutionalized or who live in rural areas. Approximately 12.8 percent of the population in the area is age 65 or older—a sharp contrast to the overall Texas state average of 10 percent.
Boosting Blood Collection
Recently, the Sealy & Smith Foundation contributed $239,000 to UTMB, funding a new blood donor motor coach and van. The coach accommodates up to five blood donors at a time. Blood Bank staff will use the smaller van to transport blood collection equipment and recliners to locations like grocery stores, chemical plants and shopping malls, where they will set up stations inside buildings to draw blood from four to five donors at once. The coach and van will be dispatched to blood drives throughout Harris, Galveston, and surrounding counties. UTMB President John D. Stobo said the vehicles will enhance the UTMB Blood Bank’s mission to provide much-needed blood products to patients of the university’s six hospitals and the Shriners Burns Hospital. “We’re grateful to the foundation for this invaluable commitment to the university and community,” he said.
SOM in NIH Top Twenty
In 2003, UTMB’s School of Medicine ranked nineteenth among 121 United States medical schools receiving funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), according to NIH figures.
In Texas, with total awards of $202,863,845, UTMB’s School of Medicine ranked second in total NIH awards to Baylor College of Medicine Medical School, which ranked tenth nationally with $246,410,097.
Other Texas medical schools joining UTMB on the NIH list included the UT Southwestern Medical Center Medical School in Dallas, which ranked twenty-first with total awards of $173,839,840; UT Health Science Center at San Antonio Medical School, which ranked fiftieth with $74,157,028; the UT Health Science Center at Houston Medical School, which ranked fifty-eighth with $61,504,289; Texas A&M University College of Medicine in College Station, which ranked nintey-fifth with $14,325,338; and Texas Tech University Health Science Center School of Medicine, which ranked one hundred-eleventh with $4,918,939.
UTMB President John D. Stobo said that NIH awards last fall for the Western Regional Center of Excellence for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases ($48 million) and the proposed Galveston National Laboratory ($110 million) catapulted UTMB’s School of Medicine into the top ranks of federal funding for medical schools doing biomedical research. “In the future, we expect that federally funded infectious disease research and vaccine development—as well as federal funding for research into many other fields—will become an ever-more significant part of UTMB’s budget,” Dr. Stobo said. “And that, we believe, will allow us to contribute in important new ways to the health of Texas, the United States and the world.”
Total 2003 rankings of all U.S. medical schools are available from the NIH at http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/award/rank/medttl03.htm
Advancing Rural Health
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has awarded the East Texas Area Health Education Center (AHEC) a twenty-four-month, $759,279 grant to help meet the health care needs of Texans in rural, medically underserved areas of East Texas. The funds will support the East Texas Rural Access Program, a long-term effort to increase access to health care. The program is managed through the East Texas AHEC, located at UTMB, which serves as its lead agency. The recent grant, the fourth round of funding since the access program was first authorized in February 1999, will be used to continue several projects that made a positive impact on rural East Texas communities over the past two years and see if they can be made self-sustaining.