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UTHSC dentist named as Gerontological Professional of Year

San Antonio (Aug. 29, 2003) — Michèle J. Saunders, D.M.D., M.S., M.P.H., professor of medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, has been named the Joseph C. Valley Gerontological Professional of the Year for 2003.

Dr. Saunders is director of the South Texas Geriatric Education Center at the Health Science Center and associate director of the Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center in the South Texas Veterans Health Care System. She also directs a $3.7 million research study of oral health among San Antonio's elderly population. The program is called "Oral Health: San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging (OHSALSA)."

The Valley award recognizes professionals for their exceptional efforts to promote gerontology and geriatrics through research, education, clinical training and community outreach. Dr. Saunders will receive it for her outstanding contributions to geriatrics, and especially to geriatric dentistry in Texas and nationally.

The award will be presented Sept. 12 in Houston during the Selenia E. and Joseph C. Valley Sr. Annual Conference, presented by the Center on Aging at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. Dr. Saunders will give a keynote address. This is the first time in the conference's 17-year history that a dentist has been named as the award recipient. The conference addresses geriatric care issues including eating and feeding difficulties, nutrition and hydration issues, skin breakdown and pain management.

Contact: Will Sansom