Mission

Ground broken for South Texas Centers
Ferrara becomes vice president/chief business officer
NCI renews SA Cancer Institute designation
Naples is new chair of anesthesiology
Grossman named chair of chronic nursing care
New Allied Health/Research Building dedicated
STD intervention successful in at-risk women
HSC opens Musculoskeletal Bioengineering Center
Rodriguez joins University Relations
Chiang is new Student Services leader
New Center for Allied Health Research opens


Ground broken for South Texas Centers

ground broken

An estimated 200 business and civic leaders, UT System representatives, elected officials and Health Science Center representatives gathered in the Texas Research Park in December to break ground for the newest Health Science Center research facility, the South Texas Centers for Biology in Medicine. The building will be adjacent to the U. T. Institute of Biotechnology.

Research in the South Texas Centers will focus on diseases disproportionately affecting the region's population--problems such as infectious disease, diabetes, bone disease, certain cancers and aging'related conditions. The South Texas/Border Region shows high incidences of drug'resistant tuberculosis, cervical cancer and other problems that may be addressed in the new building.

"This ground breaking is special because of the work that will be done here," said John P. Howe, III, M.D., president of the Health Science Center. "The scientists who will work at this facility will be on a mission with goals both challenging and achievable--improving the health and well'being of all South Texans through research of debilitating diseases."

"South Texas has numerous unmet health needs," said U. T. System Chancellor William H. Cunningham, who journeyed from Austin for the event. "It is most appropriate that research conducted in this new building will focus on these and other health issues of special importance to this great sector of the state."

Following a community effort that raised $12 million from corporate and private donors, the U. T. System Board of Regents approved $6 million from the Permanent University Fund for the South Texas Centers. Another $1 million was anted by the National Institutes of Health.

"This is a very unique public'private partnership," Dr. Howe said. "The U. T. System, the federal government and very generous donors from the private sector have joined forces to create something bigger and better than could ever be built individually."

Former Gov. Dolph Briscoe, Jr. and former U. T. Regent Sam Barshop co'chaired the successful community effort.

"I will spend my career as a researcher, scientist, educator, mentor and role model," said program speaker Sara Reyna, studying for her Ph.D. in microbiology in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. "It is possible that I may be working in this center someday. To the private donors, the U. T. System and to Gov. Briscoe and Mr. Barshop, I want to say thank you for your commitment that will help all young scientists of the future. You have not let us down, and we will not let you down."

Because of research centers and the opportunities they afford, Reyna and other South Texas students can attain the highest scientific goals. The oldest of seven children from a Rio Grande Valley family and the first to attend college, she is about 12 months from completing her doctoral degree.

Scholars nationwide have inquired about coming to study in the new facility, said Sanford A. Miller, Ph.D., dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. A state'of'the'art telecommunications system will make the new building even more attractive for scientists, he noted.

The South Texas Centers, which will consist of multiple stories and approximately 87,000 square feet, is expected to be completed in late 2000.



Ferrara becomes vice president/chief business officer

Ferrara

Anthony A. Ferrara, a certified public accountant who most recently headed a university health maintenance organization (HMO) in Illinois, joined the Health Science Center Oct. 1 as vice president for administration and business affairs/chief business officer.

He is providing oversight for directors of the human resources office, institutional safety, university police, grants management, Medical Service Research and Development Plan (MSRDP), physical plant and financial services. The latter includes the accounting, budget & payroll, purchasing, general services, bookstore and bursar units.

Ferrara succeeds Robert B. Price, M.B.A., who remains executive vice president.

Moving to San Antonio represented a major departure for Ferrara, 40, who spent the last two decades at The University of Illinois' Urbana and Chicago campuses, first as a student then as an employee.

After obtaining his Bachelor of Science in Accountancy in 1980, he worked in the office of business affairs' accounting division. In 1985 he moved to the university office for planning and budgeting, where his duties included preparing presentations for university trustees and coordinating budget requests to the Illinois Board of Higher Education, the Illinois Legislature and state agencies. He completed a Master of Accounting Science at the university in 1990.

In 1992 Ferrara was named assistant vice chancellor for business & finance at The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). There he provided financial and administrative oversight of the UIC Medical Center including its Strategic Investment Fund, remodeling
and renovation projects, major contract negotiations and academic personnel actions.

In 1995 he was asked to design and implement a full-risk capitation model for Medicaid managed care at UIC. He reorganized the university's HMO from a plan trust to a not-for-profit corporation, while overseeing a staff of 60 and a $25 million budget.

"I am a C.P.A. who has always been involved in higher education or health care. Tremendous opportunities arose for me," he said.

Early in his tenure Ferrara sees a major opportunity--to rethink the processes and technology of the Health Science Center's business systems. "This involves talking to the faculty and staff who use these systems, because the systems exist for them. We're all here for the same reason--to serve the institution and advance its goals."

Ferrara and his wife, Kathy, have three sons, 7-year-old Alex and 4-year-old twins Michael and Jon.



NCI renews SA Cancer Institute designation

NCI graphic

The San Antonio Cancer Institute (SACI), one of 35 Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the United States, will retain that federal designation for at least four more years. The SACI is a research collaboration of the Health Science Center and the Cancer Therapy & Research Center.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) in January announced formal renewal of the San Antonio Cancer Institute's designation.

The cooperative center oversees basic and clinical research programs, including projects in the areas of cancer prevention, control and population-based research.

To re-obtain Comprehensive Cancer Center status, the SACI had to exhibit a strong body of interactive research bridging the three key areas, and ongoing outreach and educational activities, including making information available to health care professionals and members of the lay community.

The NCI first awarded a peer-reviewed grant for SACI center status in 1991. Five years later, the center received the prestigious comprehensive designation. The designation will be reviewed when the next SACI core grant is renewed in four years.



Naples is new chair of anesthesiology

Dr. Naples

Joseph J. Naples, M.D., is the new chair of the Department of Anesthesiology at the Health Science Center. He succeeded R. Brian Smith, M.D., as chairman in January.

A member of the anesthesia faculty since 1990, Dr. Naples is known for his work in cardiothoracic anesthesia and transplantation anesthesia, both key areas
of surgery for Health Science Center faculty at University Hospital.

Dr. Naples has served as chief of surgical services at University Hospital since 1996 and director of anesthesia there since 1991. He is a member of the attending staff of the South Texas Veterans Health Care System, Audie Murphy Division. He is certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support, is a Fellow of the American College of Anesthesiologists, and holds certification from the American Board of Anesthesiology and National Board of Medical Examiners.

He was listed, by peer selection, in The Best Doctors in America: Central Region, 1996-97, and is an honorary member of The Aust Society.

Dr. Naples inherits a well-rounded Department of Anesthesiology. "We pride ourselves on providing subspecialty coverage in the various areas of anesthesia, including pain management, anesthesia critical care, and pediatric, obstetrical, neurosurgical, cardiothoracic and transplantation anesthesia," he said.

He credits Dr. Smith for the outstanding department. Dr. Smith has been at the Health Science Center for 20 years and remains in the department, working in the hyperbaric therapy area he helped develop. He plans to retire this summer.

Dr. Naples received his M.D. from the St. Louis University School of Medicine in 1969. His premedical bachelor's degree was completed at Youngstown (Ohio) State University in 1965. He returned to Youngstown in 1969 for his rotating internship and anesthesia residency.

Dr. Naples served in the U.S. Air Force as chief of anesthesia at Shaw Air Force Base Hospital, Sumter, S.C., from 1972 to 1974. He was anesthesia assistant chief/service chief for Baylor College of Medicine's Fondren Brown Cardiovascular Unit at The Methodist Hospital, Houston, from 1980 to 1990, and led the anesthesia team during that institution's initial liver and lung transplantation procedures.

Under Dr. Naples' leadership, the Department of Anesthesiology will continue to provide service that helps the Health Science Center become a recognized center of excellence in various areas: transplantation; lung, liver, pancreas and kidney surgery; cancer surgery; and laparoscopic and other minimally invasive surgery. "I think we already are a center of excellence for pediatric heart surgery," he said, "but I would like to see us develop a reputation on the national and international scenes as the place to go for treatment and care."

Dr. Naples' busy schedule includes teaching medical students and residents, dental students and nursing students. Throughout the year, he provides operating room clinical teaching to medical students and residents.

He has authored or co-authored more than 30 publications including book chapters, papers and abstracts. Co-investigator on several grants, his research interests are:

  • the effect of anesthetic agents on circulatory stability, and

  • assessment of methods for treating low cardiac output of patients perioperatively (from the time of their hospitalization for surgery until the time of their discharge).

Dr. Naples' wife of 33 years, Roberta, is a nurse (non-practicing) who is active in the Bexar County Medical Society Alliance. The Naples have three children: Joseph Naples III, an attorney in Houston; Jason, an MS-III at the Health Science Center; and Jennifer, a graduate student in nutrition at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio.



Grossman named chair of chronic nursing care

Dr. Grossman

Divina Gracia S. Grossman, Ph.D., a Certified Clinical Specialist in Medical-Surgical Nursing and an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner, joined the School of Nursing in October as chair of the Department of Chronic Nursing Care.

A native of the Philippines, Dr. Grossman received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Santo Tomas in Manila in 1977. Moving to the United States, she added her M.S.N. in adult health nursing and nursing education at the University of Miami, Fla., in 1985. The capstone was her Ph.D. in nursing from the University of Pennsylvania in 1989.

Dr. Grossman moved here from Miami, where she was chair of the Department of Adult/Gerontological and Psychiatric Nursing at the Florida International University School of Nursing. She was with the University of Miami School of Nursing from 1985 to 1990, when she joined Florida International.

Her many honors and awards include the 1997 Excellence in Nursing Research Award presented by the Miami Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the 1996 Ada Sue Hinshaw Award, conferred by the Friends of the National Institute of Nursing Research.

She was named 1996 Nurse Educator of the Year by the Florida Nurses Association.

Dr. Grossman is an honored alumna of the University of Santo Tomas.

Courses taught by Dr. Grossman at Florida International University included Pharmacologic Basis for Nursing Practice; Adult/Gerontological Physiologic Nursing; Culture and Advanced Nursing Practice; Research Methods in Nursing; and Role Synthesis in Advanced Nursing Practice.

Cultural diversity in nursing is one of Dr. Grossman's emphasis areas. She authored a chapter on Cuban Americans in a 1997 text by Purnell and Paulanka, Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach. She is author or co-author of more than 50 scholarly articles and abstracts.

In demand as an invited speaker, Dr. Grossman has presented on many major nursing topics, including interventions for fever, biological rhythms of infancy and childhood, blood pressure rhythms, research in clinical practice, nursing education, the future of medical-surgical nursing, pathophysiology of sepsis and trans-cultural patient assessment.

"I am thrilled to be in a dynamic health science environment within a vibrant multicultural community," Dr. Grossman said of her new assignment.

Her husband, Joel Grossman, M.D., is a psychiatrist. They have two daughters, Regina, 10, and Claire, 9.



New Allied Health/Research Building dedicated

new building

The Health Science Center's five-story, $19.5 million Allied Health/Research Building was dedicated in October. Located adjacent to the Robert F. McDermott Clinical Science Building, the new 112,000-square-foot facility houses a major biomolecular structure center as well as six allied health departments.

Marilyn S. Harrington, Ph.D., dean of the School of Allied Health Sciences, was one of several speakers addressing 200 civic leaders and guests, U. T. System representatives, and Health Science Center faculty, staff and students. Others included William H. Cunningham, Ph.D., chancellor of the U. T. System; Tom Loeffler, member of the U. T. System Board of Regents; John P. Howe, III, M.D., president of the Health Science Center; and Sanford A. Miller, Ph.D., dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

"Allied health can decrease the cost of services while increasing the sensitivity of patient care," Dr. Harrington said at the dedication. "The patient is at the center of our teaching, research and patient programs. This new facility provides first-time opportunities for multi-disciplinary instruction and research."

Larry D. Barnes, Ph.D., professor and deputy chairman of the Department of Biochemistry, represented his department and the faculty of the institution who will pursue their research activities in the new center.

"Drs. Andrew Hinck and Barry Nall will initiate research programs in solution nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), and Drs. Rui Sousa and John Hart will initiate research programs in which x-ray crystallography will be employed to solve the three-dimensional structures of important biomolecules," said Merle S. Olson, Ph.D., professor and chairman of biochemistry.

In his remarks, graduate dean Dr. Miller said the new Center for Biomolecular Structure Analysis on the top floor of the Allied Health/Research Building could play a role in many diverse projects, including rational design of new drugs and vaccines. He also thanked the members of the Department of Biochemistry who laid the groundwork for the new center.

(See related story below, "New Center for Allied Health Research opens.")



STD intervention successful in at-risk women

Dr. Shain

Nine to 12 hours of culturally meaningful, risk-reduction training can dramatically lower minority women's chance of contracting chlamydial infection and gonorrhea, two sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

That's the conclusion of a new Health Science Center study, conducted with the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District and released in January in The New England Journal of Medicine. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) funded the project.

The study is the first to find significant STD risk reduction in Mexican- and African-American women using disease as the outcome variable.

The finding is critical as health care professionals, social scientists and others scramble for ways to stem the rising tide of STDs, including HIV/AIDS. "Women with STD are more vulnerable to contracting HIV if exposed," said the study's principal investigator, Rochelle N. Shain,Ph.D., professor of obstetrics & gynecology. "Moreover, the same types of behavior that lead to STD can also lead to heterosexually acquired HIV infection."

Researchers in the Health Science Center's departments of obstetrics & gynecology and microbiology evaluated 424 Mexican-American women and 193 African-American women. Patients entered the study for one of four non-viral STDs--chlamydial infection, gonorrhea, syphilis or trichomoniasis. Unlike viral infections such as herpes, non-viral infections can be cured with a drug regimen.

The women studied were relatively young (most were 24 or younger) and were characterized by low levels of income and education.

Half of the women (the intervention group) were randomly selected to attend small-group sessions of three to four hours for three consecutive weeks. "These sessions were gender- and culture-specific," Dr. Shain said. The other half (the control group) underwent conventional STD risk counseling--a single session lasting approximately 15 minutes. "The small-group intervention significantly decreased chlamydial infection and gonorrhea among the women at six and 12 months' follow-up."

All participants underwent STD screening and interview at study entry, and again at six and 12 months. The study ended at 12 months. During the entire trial, 38 percent fewer women in the intervention group tested positive for either chlamydia or gonorrhea than did women in the control group.

The small-group sessions encouraged women to recognize their personal risk, make a commitment to reduce it, and carry through by taking preventive measures. These included having only one sex partner, avoiding unprotected sex, and not having sex with untreated or incompletely treated partners.

Extensive qualitative data were collected on target populations before patient enrollment. These data helped researchers to design effective intervention strategies for each ethnic group and identify barriers to change.

Co-authors from the Health Science Center are Jeanna M. Piper, M.D., associate professor of obstetrics & gynecology; Sondra T. Perdue, associate professor of microbiology; and Jane Dimmitt Champion, Ph.D., assistant professor of family nursing care and formerly from the microbiology department.

Co-authors from other institutions are Drs. Edward R. Newton, chairman of obstetrics & gynecology at East Carolina University; Reyes Ramos, an independent consultant in San Antonio; and Fernando A. Guerra, M.D., M.P.H., director of the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District. Drs. Newton and Ramos are former Health Science Center faculty and Dr. Guerra is clinical professor of pediatrics.

Officials of the NIAID praised the behavioral intervention study conducted in
San Antonio. "This study confirms that sexually transmitted diseases can be prevented through behavioral intervention," said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, NIAID director. "In the absence of effective vaccines, this type of intervention is our best hope to control the STD/HIV epidemic today."

The study was part of a four-year program project funded by NIAID. Joel B. Baseman, Ph.D., professor and chairman of the Department of Microbiology, was the principal investigator of the "Cooperative Research Center for STDs" project. Dr. Shain, an anthropologist who completed two years of postdoctoral study in reproductive physiology and contraception, was principal investigator for the behavioral component.



HSC opens Musculoskeletal Bioengineering Center

Drs. Athanasiou and Agrawal

An estimated 12 percent of all U.S. residents suffer from musculoskeletal afflictions (problems affecting muscles and/or bones). The percentage is expected to increase with the "graying" of the baby-boomer generation.

Against this backdrop, a new Musculoskeletal Bioengineering Center (MBC) will make use of the Health Science Center's existing program in orthopaedic bioengineering, which is unique to South Texas and focuses on issues such as regrowing cartilage in osteoarthritic joints or finding the ideal materials for use in orthopaedic implants.

The center also will utilize resources and faculty from the departments of Prosthodontics and Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, and from the Department of Restorative Dentistry's Division of Biomaterials.

Coordinating faculty expect the center to greatly benefit colleagues in other departments who are involved in research of the musculoskeletal system but do not have in-house facilities for bioengineering analysis. The bottom line will be clinical advances which in time will benefit society.

The MBC was approved by the Health Science Center's Executive Committee last year. Kyriacos A. Athanasiou, Ph.D., and C. Mauli Agrawal, Ph.D., associate professors in the Department of Orthopaedics, are the new center's directors.

The new center creates a focus for bioengineering across many disciplines at the Health Science Center. While it is housed in the Department of Orthopaedics, it will tap into expertise throughout the institution and region.

Mostly basic research will be conducted at the MBC, but "we hope clinical applications will come from the research," said James D. Heckman, M.D., professor and John J. Hinchey, M.D., Chair of Orthopaedics. "We will focus on clinical problem-solving with clinical payoffs." Dr. Heckman is chairman of the Department of Orthopaedics.

The musculoskeletal bioengineering field includes problem-solving studies of:

  • cartilage, meniscus and bone replacement (cartilage is the spongelike material in the joints that covers the ends of long bones, providing a cushion for movement, while the menisci are wedge-shaped soft tissues in the knee);

  • cartilage regeneration to prevent early onset of arthritis;

  • prosthetic implants for hips, knees, shoulders and other joints;

  • biomaterials and characterization of implant site tissues; and

  • "fracture fixation" systems (such as bone plates and intramedullary nails; the latter are used in the bone marrow cavity of long bones in the leg and arm).

"Several researchers in our center are investigating changes in the properties of musculoskeletal tissues, such as bone, as we age," Dr. Agrawal said. "The idea is to see how bone mechanics change as a function of age-related diseases."

Other scientists are studying problems involving artificial joints. At what sites in the joints does the material wear? Can an implant be improved to last longer? "The average age for people receiving these joints is decreasing, and as a result, we would like them to last longer and longer," Dr. Agrawal said. "No one wants to go back and get a replacement. It is very major surgery. The goal is to make implants last the lifetime of the patient, and we're approaching it step by step in our laboratories.

"Perhaps our biggest area of focus is tissue engineering," he added. "There are many definitions of tissue engineering, but I like to define it as ‘persuading the body to heal tissue which for some reason fails to heal itself.' The current strategy is to provide the tissue, in our case cartilage or bone, with some kind of artificial 'scaffold'--a spongelike, highly porous material that is implanted at the site of the defect. This material may carry cells, proteins or growth factors to stimulate tissue growth. We have worked on this for a decade already."

"The scaffolds are biodegradable, which means that after eight to 10 weeks they dissolve," Dr. Athanasiou said. "Meanwhile, the appropriate cells have grown at the site. This is the future. It is very exciting. We are recognized for our work at the national and international levels."

Other researchers involved with the MBC include, from the Department of Orthopaedics, Xiaodu Wang, Ph.D., assistant professor, who studies bone degradation related to aging; Jay D. Mabrey, M.D., associate professor, an expert in artificial joint replacement; Animesh Agarwal, M.D., assistant professor, an orthopaedic trauma specialist; and Robert C. Schenck Jr., M.D., associate professor, a sports medicine specialist; and from Laboratory Animal Resources, Donna L. Korvick, V.M.D., a research veterinarian and board-certified veterinary surgeon.

The establishment of the MBC is an important step toward creation of a new master's degree program in musculoskeletal bioengineering which may be offered this year. "This degree program would be the first of its kind in the nation," said Dr. Agrawal.

In addition to the degree program component, the Musculoskeletal Bioengineering Center is setting up alliances with major orthopaedic companies to do collaborative research of mutual benefit to the university and the companies.



Rodriguez joins Univesity Relations

Dr. Rodriguez

Charles G. Rodriguez, Ph.D., is new executive director of development and public affairs in the Office of University Relations effective Feb. 1.

Dr. Rodriguez joined the Health Science Center from the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), where he served as vice president of development from 1994 to 1998 and as HACU's interim president in 1995-1996. Earlier, he was development vice president at The Union Institute in Cincinnati, and vice president of institutional advancement at Grace College and Seminary in Winona Lake, Ind.

His educational marketing, public relations and fund-raising career began in 1985 as director of corporate and foundation relations at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill. Prior to that he served for eight years as an active duty commissioned U.S. Army officer with the 101st Air Assault Division (Ky.) and the 1st Armored Division.

He serves currently as a lieutenant colonel and commander of the 136th Signal Battalion (Corps Support) with the Texas Army National Guard.

Dr. Rodriguez has an electrical engineering bachelor's degree from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, a Master of Arts degree in communications research from Wheaton College, a Master of Business Administration degree from Keller Graduate School in Chicago, and a Ph.D. in Philanthropic Leadership from The Union Institute. He is also a graduate of the Inter-American Defense College of the Armed Forces in Washington, D.C.

As executive director of development and public affairs, he has oversight of public affairs, development and alumni activities. "Chuck's expertise in all the areas that University Relations encompasses make him the perfect addition to our team," said Judy P. Wolf, vice president for university relations.

Dr. Rodriguez and his wife, Cappy Ann (Prevost), have a son, Chris, and a daughter, Johnny.



Chiang is new Student Services leader

Dr. Chiang

Theresa Y. Chiang, Ed.D., became new executive director of Student Services on Sept. 1.

Delivering services to empower students is chief among her goals. "Students at the Health Science Center have a clear idea of where they want to go and of who they want to be," Dr. Chiang said. "We're here to make sure they succeed."

Dr. Chiang said she was attracted to her new position because it encompasses diverse responsibilities. "The second thing that attracted me was the location--San Antonio. We used to live in Texas, so I'm no stranger to San Antonio or the River Walk."

A native of Taiwan, Dr. Chiang immigrated to the United States when she began her graduate studies at Illinois State University. There she earned a master of science degree in guidance and counseling. Later she went to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) to earn her doctor of education. For 18 years she has held positions in student services arenas at UNLV, Texas A&M University and California State University, Dominguez Hills.

Oversight of student activities, including the Student Government Association, and the six divisions in student services--admissions & records, student financial aid, student health clinic, counseling, academic scheduling and recreation--are among the new executive director's responsibilities.

Dr. Chiang's husband, Dr. Tom Chiang, is a biochemist who taught at Texas A&M. Their daughter, Alena, is 16 and in the 10th grade. Son Alan is 14 and in the eighth grade. "Both of the children really like science and both are accomplished musicians," Dr. Chiang said. "All of us love to read, so the library is a very good friend."



New Center for Allied Health Research opens

Dr. Harrington

Not long after the new Allied Health/Research Building was dedicated in October, Marilyn S. Harrington, Ph.D., Dean of the School of Allied Health Sciences, created another milestone for the school--the Center for Allied Health Research(CAHR).

The five-story, $19.5 million building has enabled Dr. Harrington to bring together faculty representing seven allied health departments. These faculty will generate core research areas for the present and the future in allied health, the dean said. The initial core research areas include: cardiovascular disease, diabetes, alternative medicine, aging and health professions education.

"CAHR will unite faculty with strengths in basic and applied sciences and encourage their collaborative efforts toward extramural grant proposals. Improving patient care, advancing allied health education and preventing diseases and disabilities are important key outcomes expected from the center," said Dr. Harrington.

"CAHR also will bring together scholars, researchers, clinicians and industry and community groups who share a common interest in patient care and allied health. The center provides an environment that facilitates sponsored research, multidisciplinary education, and active partnerships with industry and community health care clinics," she added.

Falls are among CAHR's research interests. "A major cause of death in the elderly is falls, even though it may not state that on the death certificate," said Dr. Harrington. "Elderly people with fractures are highly susceptible to infection and may die as a result of the infection. A physical therapy faculty member is currently conducting research studies in the prevention of falls, along with partners at Warm Springs Baptist Rehabilitation Center."

One of the Department of Dental Hygiene's research interests is identification of the gene that relates to periodontal disease. Faculty from the Department of Dental Hygiene and the Dental School are involved in the research. "This project brought together multidisciplinary faculty from two schools," said Dr. Harrington.

George B. Kudolo, Ph.D., assistant professor of clinical laboratory sciences, is studying Ginkgo biloba, a popular over-the-counter dietary herbal supplement with a grant from the San Antonio Area Foundation. "Dr. Kudolo is doing some pilot work with Ginkgo and a patient population of between 100 and 150," said Dr. Harrington. Most of Dr. Kudolo's clinical research is being conducted with patients at San Antonio's Audie L. Murphy Memorial Veterans Hospital, a division of the South Texas Veterans Health Care System.

"Dr. Kudolo is studying Ginkgo, and simultaneously the federal government is coming out with a $15 million program project grant to study Gingko," she said. "So, we're not the only ones discovering some interesting things here--interesting things that need a lot of investigation.

"Dr. Kudolo is looking at circulation and its relationship to diabetes, for example," added Dr. Harrington. "Gingko is supposed to improve circulation. If, in fact, it does improve circulation, diabetics who have very severe problems with circulation and wound healing might benefit from it."

The dean also cited the school's study of disease management. "Disease management is a practice and a science that is having major positive effects on our health care system, in that chronic diseases such as asthma, diabetes and congestive heart failure are managed differently than in the past. When a chronic disease is managed and treated in a different way, costs associated with that illness drop significantly, and the quality of life and health of the patient improves."

Faculty in the Department of Respiratory Care recently received a $115,000 grant to study disease management of asthma--especially children's asthma--in the home. "We hypothesize we're going to find ways to reduce treatment costs to the parents and to the payer for those children, and we can improve the quality of patients' lives," said Dr. Harrington.

With a state-of-the-art facility where educators and researchers can collaborate and offer students the finest education available, Dr. Harrington views the school's possibilities as limitless. "The move was good for us," she concluded. "It's helped us improve education and helped us get a research program off the ground--we started collaborating outside of our own School of Allied Health Sciences.

"It's also helping us meet our mission and our vision. Our mission is to improve the health of humanity--today and tomorrow."


Mission Arrow Return to index--Spring 1999