Curtain to lift on 689 graduates’ health science careers

Posted: Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Contact: Will Sansom, (210) 567-2579

Air Force staff sergeant to tell compelling story of healing from Iraq explosion

SAN ANTONIO (May 14, 2008)—Six-hundred eighty-nine health professional students and biomedical scientists are scheduled to receive their degrees from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio in ceremonies Friday through Sunday.

Commencement speakers for the Health Science Center’s five schools will include a nationally syndicated columnist, Heloise, for the School of Nursing and a true American hero, Staff Sgt. C. Matthew Slaydon, for the School of Allied Health Sciences.

Staff Sgt. Slaydon is a U.S. Air Force Active Duty Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician. On Oct. 24, 2007, while on his third deployment (he volunteered for each of the deployments), an improvised explosive device (IED) he was investigating outside Kirkuk, Iraq, detonated. As a result of the blast, he suffered severe traumatic injuries to his arm, eyes, jaw, teeth, face and lung. He is now totally blind.

Staff Sgt. Slaydon and his wife, Annette, have been at Brooke Army Medical Center and the Center for the Intrepid since Oct. 31, 2007, while he recovers from his injuries. He gives credit for much of his healing to the work of allied health professionals such as physical therapists, respiratory therapists and occupational therapists.

The School of Medicine will usher 205 new physicians into their careers. The School of Allied Health Sciences, which also educates clinical laboratory scientists, emergency health scientists, physician assistants and other health professionals, is awarding degrees to 190. The School of Nursing is conferring degrees on 163 graduates, the Dental School 101 and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences 30. These figures are not official until hours before the commencements.

A schedule of the commencements follows. All but one ceremony will be held at St. Mary’s University’s Greehey Arena, located at One Camino Santa Maria in San Antonio.

• 4 p.m. Friday, May 16: Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, UT Health Science Center Auditorium, Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Campus, 7703 Floyd Curl Drive; speaker: Roger Chalkley, D.Phil., senior associate dean for education in biomedical sciences, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
• 7 p.m. Saturday, May 17: School of Nursing, Greehey Arena, St. Mary’s University; speaker: Heloise
• 9 a.m. Sunday, May 18: Dental School, Greehey Arena; speaker: Richard Buchanan, D.M.D., dean, University of Buffalo School of Dental Medicine
• 2 p.m. Sunday, May 18: School of Medicine, Greehey Arena; speaker: Thomas Mayes, M.D., M.B.A., professor and chairman, Department of Pediatrics, UT Health Science Center San Antonio
• 7 p.m. Sunday, May 18: School of Allied Health Sciences, Greehey Arena; speaker: Staff. Sgt. C. Matthew Slaydon, U.S. Air Force, Fort Sam Houston

About the UT Health Science Center San Antonio:

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The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is the leading research institution in South Texas and one of the major health sciences universities in the world. With an operating budget of $576 million, the Health Science Center is the chief catalyst for the $15.3 billion biosciences and health care sector in San Antonio’s economy. The Health Science Center has had an estimated $35 billion impact on the region since inception and has expanded to six campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. More than 23,000 graduates (physicians, dentists, nurses, scientists and allied health professionals) serve in their fields, including many in Texas. Health Science Center faculty are international leaders in cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, aging, stroke prevention, kidney disease, orthopaedics, research imaging, transplant surgery, psychiatry and clinical neurosciences, pain management, genetics, nursing, allied health, dentistry and many other fields. For more information, visit www.uthscsa.edu.



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