Core Research Facilities Committee begins work
A new committee will review the status of core research
facilities on campus to enhance the Health Science Center's
The newly appointed ad hoc Core Research Facilities Committee held its organizational meeting Tuesday, Nov. 16. Headed by Dr. Bettie Sue Masters, professor and the Robert A. Welch Foundation Chair in Chemistry in the Department of Biochemistry, the 15-member committee will review the status of core research facilities at the Health Science Center, regardless of their sources of support.
The committee is charged with providing a report and recommendations to Dr. John P. Howe, III, president, by Sept. 1, 2000, on improving shared resources and developing new facilities to enhance campus research. The Core Research Facilities Committee will work with the Institutional Strategic Research Planning Committee, which has overall responsibility for planning implementation of the recommendations of the strategic study on interdisciplinary research.
"In September 1998, the Health Science Center hosted a visiting committee from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) to consider reaffirmation of accreditation for the institution," said Dr. Deborah Greene, vice president for institutional effectiveness and planning. "In preparation for the visit, the Health Science Center appointed 100 faculty and staff members to six committees responsible for conducting a strategic study on interdisciplinary research. The study produced 85 recommendations, of which three focused on developing specific core research facilities that would be used by faculty from across the campus."
During the next 10 months, members will develop an operational definition of "core research facility," and will identify, review and provide an inventory of existing facilities that meet this definition.
The group will concentrate on facilities at the Health Science Center's three campus locations (7703 Floyd Curl, 8403 Floyd Curl and the Texas Research Park) and at leased sites in San Antonio.
The committee will recommend policies for continuing existing and creating new core research facilities, and will develop and recommend a priority list of core research facility priorities. The committee also will make recommendations on appropriate oversight mechanisms for institutional core research facilities and for their shared financial support.
Progress on the committee's work will be updated through this newspaper and HSC Today on the Web. The committee will solicit input from members of the Health Science Center community as well as feedback when a draft report is available.
In addition to Dr. Masters, the committee includes Dr. Kenneth Hargreaves, endodontics; Dr. Anthony Infante, pediatrics; Dr. Barbara Holtzclaw, Office of the Nursing Dean; Dr. Meena Iyer, physical therapy; Dr. Robert Reddick, pathology; Dr. Arlan Richardson, physiology; Dr. David Roodman, medicine; Dr. Judy Teale, microbiology; Dr. Huw Thomas, pediatric dentistry; Dr. Alan Tomkinson, molecular medicine; and Dr. Robert Wolf, laboratory animal resources.
Dr. Robert Clark, medicine, who chairs the Institutional Strategic Research Planning Committee, is serving in an ex officio capacity to the committee. Dr. Lynda Bonewald, medicine, president of the Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities, and Jane Youngers, director of the Office of Grants Management, are serving as committee informational advisers.
To ask questions about or provide input on the committee's
activities, contact Dr. Masters at
<Masters@uthscsa.edu> or Dr. Greene at
Diabetic amputee group encourages patients, doctors
When Ruby Flores lost a toe to diabetes six months ago, she sat in her closet and looked at the 65 pairs of high-heeled shoes she would never be able to wear again. It was the second time in six years Flores had to have a toe amputated. It would have been easy for the real estate agent to sink into depression, but with the help of a newly formed diabetic amputee support group, she is learning to face the disease and the loss of her toes.
The initial idea for the support group came from Dr. Lawrence Harkless, podiatry, Dr. Tara Deaver, a former chief resident, and Dr. David Armstrong, podiatry. But the group was formally founded in March of this year with the help of Health Science Center podiatrist Dr. John Steinberg and staff members of the downtown Texas Diabetes Institute (TDI). The support group is specific to diabetic foot amputees and has attracted more than 30 participants in its short history. Members meet at TDI every month for a two-hour session that includes individual testimonials and guest speakers who provide needed information ranging from transportation issues to qualifying for government disability assistance.
Group president Alberto Carranza has been a diabetic for
more than 35 years. A veteran of more than 20 operations,
including bypass surgery and the amputation of all the toes
on his right foot, Carranza has a motto that he lives by and
shares with other members--"you can't give up."
"We have people who come to the support group meetings who had wanted to give up before," Carranza said. "This group helps. Now they are out doing things like working in the garden. They have support here. They can tell us how they feel and we have been through it."
Dr. Steinberg said the support group has given patients with recent amputations an opportunity to share their stories and questions with members who had amputations in the past.
"It is really encouraging to hear the new amputees talk about their fears and have the older amputees tell them they had the same anxieties and problems and how they overcame those problems," said Dr. Steinberg. "We definitely want to establish a reference point and give them a forum where they can discuss their problems."
The group also helps Dr. Steinberg and other physicians who
sit in on the sessions--teaching them just how much an amputation can impact the life of a patient.
"One of the most significant things we learned from listening to the group was just how traumatic the hospital stay was for them," Dr. Steinberg said. "Part of the concern for patients was not knowing what was going to happen next."
In an effort to ease those concerns, the support group is instituting a program that will allow its members to visit new amputees in the hospital to help them through the first few days following an operation.
Sabrina Kallies, RN, nurse case manager for podiatry, and Raymond Lopez, a social worker at TDI, serve as facilitators for the group, discussing everything from proper nutrition to new technology now used to battle against diabetes.
Recently the group received $10,000 in funding from Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceuticals, which may help support outreach activities in area schools and the pairing of veteran amputees with new amputees in the hospital. Members also have printed up T-shirts, name tags and hats with the support group logo.
"We want this group to be a prototype for other groups," said Dr. Steinberg. "These individuals are from all different backgrounds and they come together to sit and talk about the effects of diabetes. It helps us as physicians to hear what they are going through and it helps them to have the support of others."
Coughs may signal serious medical problems
For the most part, coughs are harmless. Although they may be
irritating, most pose no health threat and will go away in
seven to nine days. On the other hand, a cough can be a sign
of a more serious, underlying health problem.
"When you think of a harmless cough, you usually think of coughs associated with colds; when the cold goes away, so does the coughing. A serious cough, however, lasts longer than nine days and has other associated symptoms," says Dr. Timothy Jones, assistant professor of medicine. "Those symptoms may include a high fever and coughing up something. If blood is involved, that's a big red flag and immediate medical attention is needed."
The elderly especially need to be careful. "Those who are advanced in age can experience a rapid deterioration in health if a bad cough is not treated. They need to see their doctor. The sooner they start treatment, the better," said Dr. Jones. "We treat bad coughs with antibiotics. The antibiotics will take care of the cause, which is more than likely an infection."
The major causes of serious coughs are pneumonia and congestive heart failure.
Both conditions cause fluid to collect in the lungs, causing material to be coughed up.
If either condition goes untreated, major health problems can develop. "I'm also concerned about the younger people. They are more likely to ignore the early symptoms of pneumonia and put off going to the doctor. If they delay treatment, the chances increase that they will have to be hospitalized."
Allergies also cause coughs. Like the cough associated with colds, the allergy cough is more of an irritant than a concern. It can be treated effectively with over-the-counter medications, said Dr. Jones.
Service Awards program honors employee excellence
The 28th Annual Service Awards program will be held at
2 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 23, in the Medical School Auditorium
to recognize the winners of the 1999 Employee Excellence
in Service awards.
The event also will honor employees with 20 or more years of service to The University of Texas System.
Gifts for Children meeting set
The Gifts for Children organization will meet from 12:30
to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 23, in room 4.484T and on Dec. 7 at
the same time and place.
Volunteers are needed to help with preparations for this year's Gifts for Children program and events. Through this charitable program, Health Science Center employees are able to raise money for and donate hundreds of presents to hospitalized children and youngsters receiving clinical care.
Individuals willing to attend a few planning meetings and do some work between meetings and at big events should call ext. 2276.
Spurs ticket sales continue
Tickets for the San Antonio Spurs games will be on sale
from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays in the third-floor
Medical School foyer. Ticket sales are sponsored by the
Health Science Center Special Events Council.
Payment for tickets is by cash or check only. Tickets
will be sold on a first-come, first-serve basis. All sales
are finalthere will be no refunds or exchanges. For more
information, please contact Rebecca Bloodworth by e-mail
Tickets are available for the Washington Wizards game at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 11, the Houston Rockets game at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 15, the Boston Celtics game at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 17 and the Phoenix Suns game at 7 p.m. Dec. 21. Prices for these games range from $32.50 to $21.50 to $14.50 (discount).
IRB office makes a move
The Institutional Review Board (IRB) office has moved to
room 225L, Medical School building. Phone numbers for the
office have not changed.
The IRB has a Web site, which can be accessed from the Health Science Center home page by choosing either the "Resources" or "Research" links. The Web site includes the Investigator's Handbook, the Multiple Project Assurance document and other IRB forms, along with a link to the Office for Protection from Research Risks.
Directions needed for patient appointments
When making appointments for patients at University
Hospital, University Clinic or any other clinic, remember to
give specific directions in writing with information on where
to park, a direct phone number for the clinic and where the
clinic room is located.
Specific information may help individuals who do not realize the geographic difference between the Health Science Center, University Hospital and University Clinic.
General Services will not handle personal mail
The Department of General Services reminds Health Science
Center staff and faculty that the Mail Services staff is
authorized to process university business mail only.
The mail system at the Health Science Center is not equipped to handle the extra load of holiday greetings. Please send your cards and invitations through the United States Postal Service, not campus mail.
National Institute of Mental Health
Dr. Steven E. Hyman, director of the National Institute of
Mental Health (NIMH), will visit San Antonio on Tuesday, Dec.
8, for a forum to shape future research activities. Health
Science Center investigators from all schools are invited to
listen to and address ideas during the daylong forum at the
Hyatt Regency Hotel on the Riverwalk.
to hold forum Dec. 8 in San Antonio
Because space is limited, register by Nov. 22 or as soon
as possible at the NIMH
Web site, or call (703) 925-9455.
San Antonio is the first city in the country to host an NIMH planning forum. NIMH, the federal agency responsible for the nation's mental health research, selected Texas as the first site because of its cultural diversity and solid core of mental health researchers and consumer and advocacy organizations.
The forum will include a plenary session on NIMH scientific findings and public participation in the strategic planning process. A Town Hall Meeting with Dr. Hyman will be held in the evening. NIMH staff and grantees will conduct two pre-meeting workshops from 3 to 5 p.m. Dec. 7 at the hotel on "A Consumer's Guide to Mental Health Research" and "Writing Successful Research Grants."
A complete meeting schedule is available at the NIMH Web site.
December 1999 technology training schedule
Desktop application courses are offered by the Technology
AH - Allied Health classroom AB - Administration Building classroom
8:30 a.m. Noon
MS PowerPoint 2: Using proofing tools, drawn objects, clip art and Word art; building and playing slide shows
8:30 a.m. Noon
Internet 1: Introduction to the Internet
1:00 4:30 p.m.
Internet 2: Using Microsoft Internet Explorer
8:30 a.m. Noon
MS Excel 1: Getting started with Excel 97
1:00 4:30 p.m.
MS Excel 2: Beginning formulas, beginning functions and using multiple worksheets
8:30 a.m. Noon
MS Access 1: Getting started with Access 97
1:00 4:30 p.m.
MS Access 2: Working with queries and forms
8:30 a.m. Noon
MS Windows 1: Introduction to Windows part 1
1:00 4:30 p.m.
MS Windows 2: Introduction to Windows part II
8:30 a.m. Noon
MS Outlook 3: Keeping notes, printing Outlook data and organizing Outlook data
1:00 4:30 p.m.
MS Outlook 4: Advanced e-mail features, scheduling meetings, using categories and archiving data
To register for desktop application classes, visit the
Technology Training Office
Web Site. To register for a class from the Briscoe Library, call the library office at ext. 2400. For more information, call ext. 2072.
Efforts to prevent domestic violence have become an important
focus for researchers at the School of Nursing. Two recent
grants awarded to faculty members will help ensure that work
Dr. Margaret Brackley, family nursing care, the principal investigator on the Safe Family Project to help victims of domestic violence, will receive $1.5 million over the next three years from the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The funds will support the Safe Family Coalition, which includes The University Health System, the San Antonio Police Department's Victim Advocacy Unit, the Rape Crisis Center and other city agencies. In addition, the money will enhance a teen dating violence prevention effort through Family Violence Prevention Services.
Dr. Rachel Rodriguez, chronic nursing care, won a National
Institute of Justice Grant of $236,162 for her study "Community
Partnerships Model Addressing Violence Against Seasonal and Migrant
Farmworker Women." Dr. Rodriguez's longstanding work with migrant
farmworkers has taken her from California to Wisconsin, where she has
listened to the stories of women in the camps and helped organize aid
efforts. The current study will compare the differences between the
public health clinic approach taken in Wisconsin and a grass-roots,
self-help movement such as California's Lideres Campesinas
(Female Farmworker Leaders). Dr. Rodriguez hopes studies such as
these will lead eventually to a nationwide computerized resource that
transient women can tap into wherever they are.
In San Antonio, the Safe Family Web site provides
information on domestic violence, phone numbers of shelters
and links to other helpful sites.
Lot 17 improvements increase safety
Several safety measures have been implemented since the
opening of Lot 17, the Health Science Center's newest parking
lot. Lot 17 is on Medical Drive near the Allied Health/Research
Robert K. Bratten, chief of university police, reports the
following improvements to Lot 17 for the benefit of students,
staff and faculty:
- Parking lot lights are up and operational.
- An emergency phone by the bus stop is in place and operational.
- Increased police patrols at the lot are in effect.
- Buses are running from 6 a.m. to midnight between Lot 17 and the 7703 Floyd Curl campus. Departures are every 20 minutes.
- A roadway with lighted sidewalk is nearing completion to
link Lot 17 with the Allied Health/Research Building.
Most of the students, staff and faculty who wanted to upgrade their parking spots from Lot 17 (Zone V) to zones on the 7703 Floyd Curl campus have been accommodated. That process continues, Bratten said.
Ample Zone IV and V parking is available to staff and students currently parking off campus in the vicinity of Sid Katz Street, Clinic Street and areas behind the Texas Department of Public Health building at the corner of Louis Pasteur and Clinic, he said. These areas are beyond the normal patrol areas of university police.
Dental School alumni receive presidential award
Ten graduates of the Health Science Center's Dental School
were honored at the White House recently for providing services
to the indigent in the Arlington, Texas, area.
A volunteer-based group of dental professionals headed by Dental School graduate Dr. Gail Hollar received the President's Service Award of the Points of Light Foundation at a White House ceremony. The award honors outstanding volunteer groups that provide innovative solutions to critical social problems.
Since 1993, almost 40,000 people have received services through Dental Health for Arlington. That amounts to approximately $3 million worth of care. In 1993 Dr. Hollar organized Dental Health for Arlington in collaboration with Mission Arlington, an association of 70 churches in the Arlington area.
The oral health education programs are offered at local elementary schools in which 50 percent or more of the students receive free or reduced-cost lunches. The dentists provide toothbrushes, oral screenings and applications of sealants with parents' permission.
The clinic is open four days a week and is staffed by 150 volunteer dentists, many of whom also graduated from the Health Science Center Dental School. In addition to preventive care, they offer restorations including crowns, dentures and root canals.
Since its beginnings in 1993, the number of clinics has expanded and other cities have been asking for help setting up similar programs.
Dr. Hollar said her experiences working in the barrio clinics of San Antonio as a student provided the inspiration for Dental Health for Arlington.
"That was a very valuable experience for students; that's when I became aware that I wanted to help these people." Dr. Hollar has just sold her private practice so that she can devote herself full time to the project.
The other volunteer dentists who earned their DDS degrees at the Health Science Center are Raymond Barbre, Jim Gray, Ravi Doctor, Christopher Tran, Belinda Johnson, Dan Ferraro, David Cunningham, Juan Avila and Ed Watts, who serves as the paid staff dentist at the clinic.
During her visit to Washington, D.C., Dr. Hollar spoke with congressmen and met with Dr. John Rosetti, director of the federal division of dental services. If her group can partner with other volunteer-based programs, Dr. Hollar said, "Maybe we can have a system of consistent care and consistent funding."
Pediatric dentists now recommend
examinations for children before age 3
Contrary to the long-held belief that children need not see a
dentist before age 3, practicing dentists, the American Dental
Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry now recommend
that children visit the dentist within six months after they get their
first tooth or by age 1, whichever comes first.
"That is actually a radical change from common practice,"
says Dr. Huw F. Thomas, professor and chairman of the Department of
Pediatric Dentistry at the Health Science Center. "The age of 3
became traditional for many reasons. Generally, the health of a child
under 3 has been the purview of the physician. Also, by 3 children
have all their primary (baby) teeth and are more able to follow
However, says Dr. Thomas, by then the child already may have
developed dental caries (cavities), which could become a chronic
problem. "We used to think caries was an inevitable consequence
of having teeth. But now we have mechanisms available to totally
prevent it," he said.
One key is a very early oral examination and preventive care.
The health of a baby's teeth can affect the child's overall development, weight gain, behavior, speech and the condition of his or her adult teeth. "We want children to be seen by a dentist when their teeth are sound, so we can teach parents what to do to keep them that way."
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, dental caries is the most prevalent preventable disease of childhood. Data from San Antonio suggest that in certain populations, 1 in 5 children under age 5 is affected by caries, Dr. Thomas said. Despite the fact that prevention methods have helped many children over the past several years, the disease is still prevalent in minority and indigent populations. Poor families often can't make dental care a priority for their children because they have so many more pressing issues to handle, Dr. Thomas added. Other factors include lack of community water fluoridation, access to care and health care delivery costs.
The traditional approach of expecting children to come to the
dentist's office for a check-up may not work in these populations. Although outreach efforts in elementary schools are an excellent way to provide dental care to indigent children, Dr. Thomas emphasizes that children should be examined before they start school, when something can still be done to prevent the disease.
"We need to come up with some new approaches," he said.
Dental School researchers are exploring the creation of community
infant oral health programs in collaboration with local practitioners.
In these programs, students would perform oral exams on children up to
5 years of age and provide prevention education to mothers. Dr.
Thomas says his department will try to develop such programs in the
future. "We won't wait for them (the children) to come to
us," he said.
Giving children medicine is an exact science
As the weather chills, children are more prone to come down with colds and other illnesses, which means giving them medicines. A big question for many parents is how to follow the doctor's orders.
Many children's medications call for teaspoon dosages, but what is a true teaspoon?
"Oftentimes, parents grab teaspoons out of their silverware drawers and use them to give their children medicines, but teaspoons vary in size," said Dr. Robert Nolan, associate professor of pediatrics.
"One teaspoon may hold six and a half milliliters while another one may hold three and a half; there's almost a twofold difference between the two teaspoons and that's enough to affect a child's reaction to the medicine."
When doctors prescribe a teaspoon of medication, they are referring to five milliliters of liquid. The best way to get the exact amount is to buy a syringe. Plastic syringes are cheap and take away the guesswork. They also may help parents to administer medicines more easily, since some young children cannot swallow a whole teaspoon of liquid at one time.
Many prescriptions call for multiple doses daily. A cough medicine, for example, may need to be given three times a day. But what does three times a day mean? Some parents interpret it as every eight hours while other parents interpret it to mean morning, noon and before bed.
"When a physician writes three times a day, that's during the usual daytime hours, but when a physician writes every four, six or eight hours, that is a more specific time frame that needs to be followed," said Dr. Nolan.
Some children's medications come with age or weight charts to help determine dosage.
"Go by the weight, because that's the best guide to get the most effectiveness out of a medicine," said Dr. Nolan.
Most importantly, parents should ask for clearer instructions if they have any concerns or questions about their children's prescriptions, he said.
Calendar for Nov. 22 - 28
Monday, November 22
Orthopaedic Grand Rounds "Domestic Violence," Dr. Joe Thornton (MED: 309L)
Neurosurgery Grand Rounds "Hypoxic Cell Death: To
What Extent is it Preventable?" Dr. Manjeri
Venkatachalam (MED: 444B)
Medical Housestaff Specialty Conf. "Residents & Interns: M&M" (MED: 409L)
Physiology Seminar Series "The Role of Somite Epithelialization in Regulating Myogenesis & Chondrogenesis," Dr. Alan Rawls, Arizona State University (MED: 444B)
Tuesday, November 23
Podiatry Grand Rounds "Case Presentations," Dr. Hadi (MED: 309L)
Medical Housestaff Specialty Conf. "Dysuria," Dr. Pugh (LEC: 3.102B)
Medicine Research Conf. "Psychosocial Factors & Disablement in an Aging, Biethnic Cohort: Direct & Modifying Effects," Dr. Helen Hazuda, & "Host Genetic Determinants of HIV-1 Infection," Dr. Sunil Ahuja (MED: 209L)
TNT "Cytology Series: Cytology of the Upper Gastrointestinal Tract & Common Bile Duct," Dr. Lisa Teot, University of Rochester, Rochester, N.Y. (call ext. 2700 for information)
Psychiatry Grand Rounds "The Non-Verbal Mental Status ExamExperiences & Teaching," Dr. Alison Reeve, University of New Mexico School of Medicine (MED: 409L)
TNT "Laboratory Technology: Antiphospholipid Antibodies: Laboratory Diagnosis & Clinical Complications," David McGlasson, Lackland Air Force Base (call ext. 2700 for information)
Molecular Medicine Seminar Series "The Roles of SATB1 & MARs in Gene Regulation, Replication & Apoptosis in T Cell Nuclei," Dr. Terumi Kohwi-Shigematsu (IBT: 3.002)
Wednesday, November 24
Vascular Surgery Grand Rounds, Dr. Mellick Sykes (MED: 209L)
Medical Grand Rounds "Altered Vascular Compliance in Hypertension: Therapeutic Implications," Dr. Addison Taylor, Baylor College of Medicine (MED: 409L)
Surgery Trauma M&M Conf., Dr. Ronald Stewart (MED: 309L)
TNT "Women's Health Issues & Trends: The Ethical Physician," Dr. Joe McFarlane (call ext. 2700)
Cellular & Structural Biology Seminar Series "Genetic Analysis of Zebrafish Pigment Stripe Development," Dr. Stephen Johnson, Washington University Medical School (MED: 209L)
TNT "Health Care Commentaries: Evaluation of Abnormal Pap Smear," Dr. Diane Seibert, University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Md. (call ext. 2700 for more information)
Thursday, November 25
Friday, November 26
Saturday, November 27
Surgical Physiology Conf., Dr. Kenneth Sirinek (MED: 209L)
General Surgery Grand Rounds, Dr. Wayne Schwesinger (MED: 209L)
Index of issues
THE NEWS is published Fridays by the Office of Public Affairs for faculty and staff of The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Vice President for University Relations.....Judy Petty Wolf
Executive Director of Development & Public Affairs.....Dr. Charles Rodriguez
News & Information Services Manager ..... Will Sansom
Writers.....Myong Covert, Catherine Duncan, Jennifer Lorenzo
Photographers.....Jeff Anderson, Lee Bennack, Lester Rosebrock
Web Editor.....Joanne Shaw
Office of Public Affairs, 7703 Floyd Curl Drive,
San Antonio, Texas 78284-7768