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May news tips from the UT Health Science Center

GIVE THANKS FOR NURSES . . . National Nurses' Week, May 6-12, is a time to value the nursing profession. Texas is facing a shortage of registered nurses, with hospital RN and skilled nursing faculty vacancy rates exceeding 10 percent. This shortage is even more acute in rural areas, says Janet D. Allan, Ph.D., dean of the School of Nursing at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. "Texas is short 40,000 nurses and the demand will continue to grow," she says. "We also face a faculty shortage with 40 percent of existing faculty predicted to retire by 2010." What can be done? Recruit more women and men into nursing, work with clinical partners to improve the work environment to retain nurses, and interest more bachelor's and master's degree-prepared nurses in teaching and research careers, she says.

'BONE UP' ON HEALTH . . . The best way to prevent osteoporosis, the bone-thinning disease associated with increased risk of fracture, is to go on the offensive early. May 11-17 is National Osteoporosis Prevention Week. "It is best to have healthy bones throughout one's lifetime," says Jan M. Bruder, M.D., assistant professor of medicine at the UT Health Science Center. "Everyone, including children and adolescents, should exercise and get an adequate amount of calcium in their diet." She reminds men that although we commonly think of osteoporosis as a disease of women, they too should be interested in preventing osteoporosis by these simple measures. Osteoporosis-related fracture treatment runs as high as $15 billion annually.*

MY MOM, THE M.D. . . . Angela Akonye, who on May 25 will graduate from the School of Medicine at the UT Health Science Center, is not the typical medical student. Akonye grew up in Lagos, Nigeria, where she worked in her family's store as a child. She married at age 18 and immigrated to the United States. Seeing children die without care in Nigeria inspired her to seek a career in the medical field. In 1994, raising young children, she entered St. Philip's College in San Antonio to take medical prerequisite courses. She entered the School of Medicine in July 1998. She and her husband, Paul, an Army nurse, now have five children ages 10 to 2. "I have a lot of family support," she says. Angela starts her obstetrics and gynecology residency at the Health Science Center this summer, and hopes to return to Africa on annual medical mission trips.

*Source: National Institutes of Health Consensus Development Conference Statement, March 27-29, 2000,

Contact: Will Sansom or Aileen Salinas