Latest News


Drawing it out

Elementary students express their struggles with asthma through artwork.

From the UTHSCSA Mission magazine, June 25, 2015, by Joe Feist

Asking ‘why not?’

Kinetic Kids brings sports and rec to children with disabilities.

From the UTHSCSA Mission magazine, June 25, 2015, by Lety Laurel


UT Health Science Center at San Antonio Pioneering the First Master's Program in Respiratory Care in the State of Texas

RC national award

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has given the green light to the School of Health Professions at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio to offer a new master of science degree in respiratory care. read more





Faculty member Mary Hart has been elected as the
2014-15 President of the Central Region Texas Society

mary hart

Respiratory Care Department Receives National Award

RC national award
Donna “De De” Gardner, M.S.H.P., RRT, FAARC, (left) and Mary Hart, M.S.H.A., RRT, FAARC, (right) from the Department of Respiratory Care, accept the award from Kathy Rye, Ed.D., RRT, FAARC, president of the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care.

The Department of Respiratory Care at the UT Health Science Center Sa

n Antonio was recognized last month for being among the top 10 percent of respiratory care programs in the United States.

Department Chair Donna “De De” Gardner, M.S.H.P., RRT, FAARC, accepted the 2013 Distinguished Registered Respiratory Therapy Credentialing Success Award from the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) at its reception preceding the 2014 American Association of Respiratory Care Summer Forum at Marco Island, Fla.

This recognition places the School of Health Professions among the top 49 bachelor’s, master’s and associates respiratory care degree programs in the nation, Gardner said.

“This honor demonstrates the dedication and commitment of our Department of Respiratory Care faculty, staff and students in achieving excellence. I am very proud of their work to exceed the respiratory care accreditation standards and outcome measures required by their accrediting agency,” she said.

“The Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) is the advanced-practitioner credential for respiratory therapists,” Gardner explained. “CoARC views the RRT credential as a measure of a program’s success in inspiring its graduates to achieve their highest educational and professional aspirations,” she said.

The Department of Respiratory Care went through the reaccreditation process in 2013 and received notification in February that it had exceeded the credentialing benchmarks.

The selection for the Distinguished RRT Credentialing Success Award was based on objective criteria involving key accreditation metrics that include:

  • Producing specific data about student performance and outcomes for three or more years;
  • Achieving accreditation without a progress report;
  • Documenting that 90 percent or more of students achieved the RRT credential;
  • Exceeding established thresholds for the Certified Respiratory Therapist designation;
  • Having a low student attrition rate; and
  • Showing positive job placement

In 2014, 100 percent of students passed the entry level CRT exam and 100 percent who have attempted the RRT exam have earned that credential as well. Eighty percent of the recent students were employed immediately after graduation.

Maureen Simmonds (PT) has been notified of two funded grants: an NIH multi-disciplinary grant for Functional Rehabilitation Pain Management in Combat Veterans, $2.6 million. Also funded: a $1.1 million for joint project with UT Arlington, Smart-Move: A Spatiotemporal Annotated Human Activity Repository for Advance Motion Recognition and Analysis Research.

David Shelledy, Ph.D., assumes role as dean of School of Health Professions

david shelledy

William L. Henrich, M.D., MACP, president of the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, announced the return of David Shelledy, Ph.D., to the university as dean of the School of Health Professions.

“We are happy to welcome Dr. Shelledy back to the Health Science Center. He did an outstanding job here as the founding chairman of our Department of Respiratory Care,” Dr. Henrich said. “We are fortunate he has returned to San Antonio to lead our School of Health Professions. He is bringing great insight and leadership to all of our health professions programs.”

He served as the founding chairman of the Department of Respiratory Care from 1994 to 2004 at the UT Health Science Center. Dr. Shelledy, who assumed his new role on July 1, came from Rush University – Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, where he was dean of the College of Health Sciences and a professor of health systems management. He also held joint appointments in the departments of Clinical Sciences and Respiratory Care.

Rush is a large academic medical center which includes the Rush Medical College, College of Nursing, Graduate College and College of Health Sciences. As dean of the College of Health Sciences, Dr. Shelledy provided academic leadership for programs that grant 21 degrees and certificates in allied health within nine academic departments. Many of these programs are highly ranked, including two ranked in the top 10 nationally.

During Dr. Shelledy’s tenure at Rush, enrollment in the college doubled. In six years, he added six new programs, including a master’s degree in respiratory care and an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in health sciences.

After leaving the Health Science Center in 2004, Dr. Shelledy served as associate dean of academic and student affairs in the College of Health Related Professions at the University of Arkansas for Medical Science. In 2007, he moved to Rush University.

Dr. Shelledy said, "The UT Health Science Center is a great institution, and I am grateful for the opportunity to join the leadership team under President Henrich's direction. My wife Maga and I are delighted to return to San Antonio. I look forward to leading the School of Health Professions as it moves into the next stage of development as one of the best allied health schools in the nation."

Lance Villers, Department of Emergency Health Sciences Associate Professor and Chair, was featured in the Spring 2014 issue of Vertical Magazine, in the article, Standards of Care. See page 30 for the full article

Congratulations to Rosie Nguyen, CLS! She has been selected as one of five outstanding graduating women at The UT Health Science Center San Antonio. Each year, the Women’s Faculty Association selects these students based on leadership, academic performance and participation in professional activities.

Rosie received her baccalaureate degree in Clinical Laboratory Sciences (CLS) and graduated summa cum laude. She was an active peer adviser within the program and served as the CLS class president and as president of the HSC Clinical Laboratory Science Student Association. She was very active in her professional associations. Rosie was elected to the board of directors for the student forum of the Texas Association for Clinical Laboratory Science and is the current vice chair of the national Student Forum of the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS). In recognition of her service and accomplishments, she was selected for the Texas Key to the Future award and the National Omicron Sigma award from ASCLS. In addition, she has an impressive record of community service including volunteering at the San Antonio Food Bank and Haven for Hope and participating in the Race for the Cure. As her final accomplishment at the Health Science Center, Rosie was the student commencement speaker for the School of Health Professions.

PT Students Screen Elders at Senior Community Center

pt student
Physical Therapy student George Gagot conducts a coordination screening with Bettie Haywood. Students presented exercise information to improve balance and coordination.

The Department of Physical Therapy, in conjunction with District 2 Senior Center in Southeast San Antonio, held a senior health fair in June. As part of the physical therapy “Development Across the Lifespan” course, the students presented information and screenings to about 90 seniors on various topics that included:

  • Nutrition
  • Balance
  • Strength and conditioning
  • Osteoporosis
  • Home safety
  • Emergency preparedness
  • Foot care for happy feet

Senior Center administrator CisTavie Brooks said, “The health fair was a great idea and has provided good information to our active seniors. We hope to have this as a yearly event.” Catherine Ortega, Ed.D., PT, ATC, OCS, associate professor, Distinguished Teaching Professor and chair of the Department of Physical Therapy, and Martha Acosta, Ph.D., APTA, GCS, assistant professor of physical therapy, supervised the students at the health fair. “This is a great opportunity for students to practice their skills with regard to screening and community health education,” Dr. Ortega said.

RC Lambda Beta NHS Fall 2013
Physical therapy students Aaron Cantu (in red shirt) and Jennifer Canales (in purple shirt) work with health fair attendee Geraldine Shannon in performing the Four-Step Square Test. The test measures dynamic balance that clinically assesses the person’s ability to step over objects forward, sideways and backwards.

Senior Center administrator CisTavie Brooks said, “The health fair was a great idea and has provided good information to our active seniors. We hope to have this as a yearly event.” Catherine Ortega, Ed.D., PT, ATC, OCS, associate professor, Distinguished Teaching Professor and chair of the Department of Physical Therapy, and Martha Acosta, Ph.D., APTA, GCS, assistant professor of physical therapy, supervised the students at the health fair. “This is a great opportunity for students to practice their skills with regard to screening and community health education,” Dr. Ortega said.






Asthma Navigator: An Added Value RTs Can Provide

RC Faculty Mary Hart makes the

AARC Times page 22


Respiratory Care students build healthy homes

AARC Times page 49



Dr. Karin Barnes and Dr. Kimatha Grice (OT) gave presentations at the 2014 Innovations in Health Science Education Annual Conference, sponsored by the Kenneth I. Shine Academy of Health Science Education in February 20-21, 2014. Their workshop was “Using Multiple Mini Interviews for Admissions in the Health Professions” and Kimatha’s poster session was ”The Use of Concept Maps in Occupational Therapy Education”.


American Physical Therapy

Students and faculty from the Department of Physical Therapy attended the American Physical Therapy Association Combined Sections Meeting in Las Vegas in March.

Also, in conjunction with District 2 Senior Community Center located on SW WW White Road on the southeast side of San Antonio, PT students , faculty Dr. Catherine Ortega and Dr. Martha Acosta held a Senior Health Fair on Wednesday, March 26. As part of the Development Across the Lifespan course,students presented information and screening for over 90 seniors on various topics that included Nutrition, Balance, Strength and Conditioning, Osteoporosis, Home Safety, Emergency Preparedness and Foot Care for Happy Feet.

Cis Tavie, the Senior Center Coordinator, stated that this was a 'great idea and has been good information for this active seniors and we hope to have this as a yearly event'. Comments by attendees included "You need to come back tomorrow, I want this positive boost again tomorrow!"; "these are PT students? I hope they plan to work in clinics here part of the time, there is no place to get PT over here!" Plans are to offer the same health fair at the Bob Ross Senior Center.

American Physical Therapy

The Department of Respiratory Care was highlighted in The Chest Foundation Winter Newsletter: . Their 2+2 Asthma Crew: Asthma in the Elementary School Environment won a Community Service and Humanitarian Program award grant.





The Department of Physical Therapy was well-represented at the San Antonio Rock ‘n Roll Marathon on November 3. Seven students, 2 faculty, and several alumni (pictured above) competed in the run, while another 15 students and faculty volunteered in medical support services.

Rock and Roll marathon 2013




accepting award The Department of Respiratory Care was recognized by Northeast ISD at their November Board of Trustees meeting for their collaboration on three Community Service Learning Grants and the McCaffree Humanitarian Award.  These grants allowed the Respiratory Care Department to partner with elementary schools to provide asthma education to children with asthma and their parents. The RC program had a  large impact on Camelot Elementary School and Larkspur Elementary School, who subsequently received the Asthma Friendly Schools Initiative (AFSI) Gold Award from the American Lung Association. These were the only two schools in the country that were recognized and awarded this year.


Gold award winning schools are required to meet 20 components within the four main strategies as part of the Asthma Friendly Schools Initiative: maximizing school health services, building asthma education, providing healthy learning environments, and managing physical education and activity.


Pictured above is Department Chair De De Gardner (center), who accepted the partnership award on behalf of the Department of Respiratory Care from Board of Trustee Vice-President Letti Bresnahan (left) and Dr. Brian G. Gottardy, Superintendent of schools (right).  Read more about these awards at


cover of magazine Earlier this year – after a yearlong pilot project – the Department of Emergency Health Sciences in the School of Health Professions was selected by the U.S. Army to train all U.S. Army Flight Medics. The Health Science Center was honored to be selected as the sole educational provider to meet this critical need. The five-year contract requires the EHS Department to provide four Paramedic Certification courses and four Critical Care Transport Courses per year for U.S. Army Flight Medics.


On November 5, the Department of Emergency Health Sciences hosted a presentation of the documentary, When I Have Your Wounded: The DUSTOFF Legacy”. Over 200 faculty, staff, students military members, and guests attended the event, which highlighted the legacy of Army Medevacs.


Following a welcome by HSC President William Henrich, MD, EHS Department Chair Dr. Lance Villers gave opening remarks. He introduced retired Colonel Dan Gower, also a former DUSTOFF pilot, who provided a brief history of the video. The documentary is a one-hour feature film that tells the story of the Army helicopter medical evacuation for the U.S. Army Medical Department. The film shows the legendary pioneers of Army Medevacs in Korea and Vietnam to the frontline DUSTOFF missions in the deserts of the Middle East. DUSTOFF was the radio call sign given to the first helicopter evacuation unit in Vietnam in 1962. The term DUSTOFF has become synonymous with life-saving aeromedical evacuation.


A panel discussion/question and answer session was held after the video. Panelists included retired Maj. Gen. Patrick Brady, Medal of Honor recipient and a Medevac pilot during the Vietnam Era; Maj. Patrick Zenk, whose late father was a pioneer of the Army Medevac in Vietnam and who himself is now a Medevac that served in Afghanistan; and Sgt. Billy Raines, who currently serves as an Army Medevac. Both Brady and Zenk were featured in the documentary.


When I Have Your Wounded was directed by Patrick Fries and produced by Arrowhead Films of Austin. A clip of the video and be seen here:





The Department of Respiratory Care was featured at the American Lung Associations’ Asthma Friendly Schools Initiative (AFSI) National Gold Star Award Reception and Ceremony that was held on October 24th. Two NEISD schools were honored with as national Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative Champions; Camelot and Larkspur Elementary Schools were recognized for their efforts to create a school environment that is healthy and “asthma friendly”.


Champion Awards are given in recognition of schools that have taken positive strides to create a healthier learning environment using the strategies outlined in the Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative. Silver and Gold level winners are schools that have gone above and beyond to protect the health of their students, faculty and staff.


RC Lambda Beta NHS Fall 2013
Pictured, from left to right, are Kenzie Arnold, Diane Rhodes, Mary Hart

Asthma makes breathing difficult for more than 7 million children in America, and is a leading cause of school absenteeism, said Diane Rhodes, RRT, AE-C, Assistant Director of Asthma Education for North East Independent School District (NEISD.) The Lung Association has been leading the fight against asthma for many years, through research, education and advocacy. By supporting the Asthma Friendly Schools Initiative, these schools have helped kids with asthma stay healthy, in school and ready to learn.


The two schools highlighted, Larkspur and Camelot, were recognized with help from their Community Partner the Department of Respiratory Care and the 2+2 Asthma Crew programs, which are supported by two grants: the Community Service Learning Grant from the Center for Ethics and Humanities and the McCaffree Humanitarian Award from the American College of Chest PhysiciansChest Foundation.


RC Lambda Beta NHS Fall 2013
Pictured, from left to right, are Mary Hart, Senator Letiticia Van de Putte, Kenzie Arnold

The partnership was led by De De Gardner, Respiratory Care Department Chair, and Leslie Gonzalez, graduate of the Respiratory Care program, along with the Asthma2Art program, led by Respiratory Care faculty member Mary Hart, and Erika Diaz, senior student in the program. A special thank you was given to the Class of 2013 and 2014 Respiratory Care Students and the Faculty for supporting the projects.


Camelot Elementary was also recognized for their participation with their community partners – the Pulmonary Division/School of Medicine, led by Dr. Jay Peters, and the Department of Respiratory Care faculty, staff and students, including Dr. Ruben Restrepo, Richard Wettstein, Kenzie Arnold and Tara Garcia.


The AFSI Champion Awards are made possible by support from Genentech and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency




On October 21, 2013, thirteen new members were inducted in the UTHSCSA Sigma Chapter of Pi Theta Epsilon, the national occupational therapy honor society. The ceremony was conducted by the OT department faculty with family and friends of the initiates in attendance. Dr. Michael Gargano, Vice President of Academic, Faculty, and Student Affairs and interim Dean of the School of Health Professions, was also in attendance and spoke as part of the ceremony.

OT Pi Theta final 2013
Pictured left to right are OT students: Laura Osborn, Lori Valdez, Jessie Seindensticker, Debra Lewis, Vanessa Montelongo, Alyssa Kreutter, Briana Garza, Silvia Bibb, and Katherine Gresback. Not pictured: Kathleen Laurente, Marisa Maldonado, Brianna Mazoch, and Jessica West




The Department of Respiratory Care inducted nine senior Respiratory Care students into the Lambda Beta National Honor Society for Respiratory Therapy. Two faculty were also inducted as honorary members of the Lambda Beta Honor Society. The honor society inducts the top 20% of the students enrolled in the program who have a 3.5 or greater and demonstrate leadership in the respiratory care program.

RC Lambda Beta NHS Fall 2013
Pictured, from left to right, are Mary Hart, MSHA, RRT-AE-C, FAARC, Director of Clinical Education, Lydia Tran, Crystal Blake, April Anderson, Andy Kong, Emanuel Davila, Andrew Tate, Rose Mary Gonzalez, Dat Le, Erika Diaz, and Thomas Stokes, MA, RRT, Assistant Professor and honor society chapter advisor.




The Department of Respiratory Care inducted 22 junior respiratory care students into the respiratory care profession through the White Coat Ceremony held on September 13.

RC Lambda Beta NHS Fall 2013
Pictured, from left to right are Thomas Stokes (faculty), De De Gardner (faculty) , Jessica Oliver, Brenda Falcon, David Dionne, Danielle Elliott, Hector Morales, Jessica Cavazos, Chinazo Orgazi, Araceli Sanchez, Amber Marquette, Jennifer Mata, Himroz Sidhu, Alyssa Gomez, Kelly Hand, Mehri Rashvandaveh, David Guerrero, Justine Estrada, David Garcia, Cassie Couch, Joshua Casey, Krystal Polanco, Ruben Restrpo (faculty), Hadier Morsy, and Mary Hart (faculty).



The Respiratory Care organization, pictured below, participated in the Miss Fiesta Health Fair on Saturday, October 12. The students provided asthma, COPD and tobacco cessation education.

RC Lambda Beta NHS Fall 2013



George KudoloCongratulations to Dr. George Kudolo (pictured on right), Professor, Toxicology/Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences!  He was recently awarded the University of Texas Regent’s Outstanding Teaching Award! 
Offered annually in recognition of faculty members at the nine academic and six health University of Texas System institutions who have demonstrated extraordinary classroom performance and innovation in undergraduate instruction, the Regents' Outstanding Teaching Awards are the Board of Regents' highest honor. Given the depth and breadth of talent across the UT System, the awards program is likewise one of the nation's most competitive.

Faculty members undergo a series of rigorous evaluations by students, peer faculty and external reviewers. The review panels consider a range of activities and criteria in their evaluations of a candidate's teaching performance, including classroom expertise, curricula quality, innovative course development and student learning outcomes.


Established by the Board of Regents in 2008, the Regents' Outstanding Teaching Awards complement a wide range of Systemwide efforts that underscore the Board of Regents' commitment to ensuring the UT System is a place of intellectual exploration and discovery, educational excellence and unparalleled opportunity.




The School of Health Professions welcomes three new faculty members this fall.  Ricky Joseph, Ph.D. (pictured on left) joins the Department of Occupational Therapy; Yunius Schambers, MPAS (pictured in center), is now an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physician Assistant Studies; and Thomas Stokes, M.Ed. (pictured on right), joins the faculty in the Department of Respiratory Care.


The School of Health Professions has new leadership for Faculty Assembly.  Pictured below, from left to right: Chair Mary Hart, Department of Respiratory Care; Vice Chair Martha Acosta, Department of Physical Therapy; and Secretary  Autumn Clegg, Department of  Occupational Therapy.




quillinBarbara Quillin, MPAS, PA-C, has been named interim Chair of the Department of Physician Assistant Studies.


Clinical Laboratory Sciences student Rosemarie Nguyen (pictured in center below) was elected as vice-chair of the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science Student Forum.



KiddEmily Kidd, M.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Emergency Health Sciences, was appointed to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) National Advisory Council (NAC).  The NAC is an advisory committee established to ensure effective and ongoing coordination of federal preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation for natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters. Members represent the whole community including public health, tribal government and functional and access needs, and provide recommendations on a variety of issues within emergency management to the FEMA administrator.


griceKimatha Grice, Department of Occupational Therapy, recently completed her doctoral degree in Occupational Therapy at the University of St. Augustine.  Congratulations, Dr. Grice!


wettsteinRick Wettstein has been promoted to Associate Professor Department of Respiratory Care.


Dr. Helen Sorenson received the Faculty of the Year Award from the Class of 2013.  She is pictured above on right with Department Chair De De Gardner.


Speaking of Respiratory Care, some of their grads (pictured below) made national news.  They were featured in the American Association of Respiratory Care e-newsletter:



Pictured from left to right: Leslie Gonzalez, BSRC, RRT; Christina Luna , BSRC, RRT;
Megan Llamas, BSRC, RRT; Sharon San Juan, BSRC, RRT.



Congratulations to Emanuel Davila, senior Respiratory Care student/Class of 2014, who was awarded the Endowed Stephenson Scholarship. The Stephenson Scholarship is named in honor of Mr. Sunny Stephenson.  Emanuel is pictured above with Melissa Jernigan (left) and Beth Box (right), daughters of Mr. Stephenson.  Melissa has written a book about her father and his journey with Parkinson's and pulmonary fibrosis.  This book was used as a fundraiser for the Endowed Scholarship.


degardenerDe De Gardner, Chair/Department of Respiratory Care, received notification that their community service project, “2+2 Asthma Crew: Asthma Education in the Elementary School Environment”, is the recipient of a 2013 Humanitarian Award grant from the American College of Chest Physicians and the CHEST Foundation. 


Dr. Linda Smith, Chair/Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences, recently completed her term as President of the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS).  She is shown above giving her presidential address at the national conference.  Dr. Smith received the Robin H. Mendelson Memorial Award from ASCLS Education & Research Fund which is the most prestigious award given by ASCLS. In addition she gave two invited sessions at the ASCLS/CLMA – Hawaii annual meeting: “Immunology of Infectious Disease: From Lab to Patient” and “Autoimmune Diseases:  The Difficulties in the Diagnostic Process”.  


Dr. Martha Acosta and several of her students from the Department of Physical Therapy (pictured above) provided balance screenings and fall-prevention education to older adults at the Granados Adult and Senior Center’s Health Fest. 



The Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences will be welcoming their 4th group of CLS exchange students from Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, this fall.