School of Health Professions


School of Health Professions

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Free community health fair to offer screening, testing and healthy living information


All members of the community are invited to a health fair that will be hosted on April 1 by UT Health San Antonio’s School of Health Professions.

The health fair will provide an opportunity for people to undergo a variety of screening tests and receive important health information, said event organizer Terri Murphy-Sanchez, MS, MLS: CSMLS, ASCPCM, assistant professor and program director in the Division of Medical Laboratory Sciences.

Stock image of child at health clinic with parents

School of Health Professions welcomes new associate dean for administrative affairs


The School of Health Professions in January welcomed Nicholas Dudley, the new associate dean for administrative affairs.

Associate Dean for Administrative Affairs Nicholas Dudley

Physical Therapy Early Admissions Program student shares path to profession


First-year Doctor of Physical Therapy student Daniel Laereman plans to help fellow military veterans and active duty personnel rehabilitate from their injuries.

“My goal is to get back into the military as a commissioned officer for physical therapy,” Laereman said. “I have met a lot of former Marines and Air Force and Army personnel who get injured in different ways. I want to help them continue their careers in the military. It’s everything from the loss of a limb to simple injuries that prevent them from doing their jobs.”

PT student Daniel Laereman

Medical Laboratory Sciences students gain insights into what their future careers hold


Dozens of medical laboratory sciences students attended a recent professional development seminar featuring a graduate of the School of Health Professions’ Medical Laboratory Sciences program.

MLS alumna discusses the profession with a current MLS student.

Occupational therapy professor joins Leadership Women Texas


Department of Occupational Therapy Professor and Chair Bridgett Piernik-Yoder, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, is a member of the Leadership Women Texas 2023 cohort.

The leadership program includes women leaders across a variety of industries and aligns with her professional and personal priorities, Piernik-Yoder said.

Occupational Therapy Professor and Chair Bridgett Piernik-Yoder

Respiratory Care Class of 2024 receives white coats


Fifty bachelor’s and master’s respiratory care students received their white coats this month in ceremony symbolizing the transition from classroom to clinical rotations.

“The white coat ceremony is always a special event on our academic calendar as it marks the point at which our students enter clinical practice and begin changing patients’ lives for the better,” said Division of Respiratory Care Program Director and Associate Professor Richard Wettstein, MMEd, RRT, FAARC, FCCP.

Respiratory Care Class of 2024 poses during White Coat Ceremony

PT student chosen as an American Physical Therapy Association Leadership Scholar


Third-year Doctor of Physical Therapy student Kaliea Green has been selected as one of 25 APTA Association Leadership Scholars from across the country.

APTA Association Leadership Scholars include PTs, PTAs and students, each of whom is paired up with a mentor and sponsored by the national APTA. The goal of the program, which runs from January through December, is to help build a diverse pool of future leaders.

Learn more about Green, vice president of the Class of 2023, in the Q&A below:


PT student Kaliea Green

Concussion can affect communication and cognition long after injury, study finds


Concussions can cause long-term deficits in communication, according to findings from a study conducted by Assistant Professor Rocío Norman, PhD, CCC-SLP.

Assistant Professor Rocio Norman, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders

An SLP student shares her journey to the profession


Carmela Delacruz was teaching English to preschoolers in Seoul, South Korea, when she realized she wanted to be a speech-language pathologist.

Teaching was already a second act of sorts for Delacruz, who had taken a job with a startup company curating corporate snack programs following her graduation with a bachelor’s in telecommunications studies with a minor in business from Texas A&M University. Her original dream had been to create broadcast programming, a goal inspired by her older sister, who has Down syndrome.  

Master of Speech-Language Pathology Student Carmela Delacruz

Gift supports specialized equipment for patients with paralysis


The Department of Physical Therapy has received a $10,000 gift from Helping Empower a Life: Spinal Cord Injury (HEAL SCI) toward the purchase of a specialized piece of equipment for rehabilitation therapy for patients with spinal cord injury.

Assistant Professor Selina Morgan

New Respiratory Care faculty member brings pediatric and neonatal expertise


The newest faculty member in the Division of Respiratory Care encourages her students to learn as much as possible about their patients’ overall condition.

Assistant Professor/Research Rain Rueda

Teaching award winner: “They motivate me more than anything”


Assistant Professor Selina Morgan, PT, DPT, NCS, is the 2022 winner of the School of Health Professions’ Shirlyn McKenzie Teaching Excellence Award — but to hear her tell it, a big part of the honor goes to her students.

“I love my students because they are the cream of the crop,” Morgan said. "They are so motivated to learn and that makes it all so rewarding."

PT Assistant Professor Selina Morgan teaches PT students

Bachelor of Science in Medical Sciences program: a student’s perspective


Grecia Almanza Castaneda wants to be a cardiothoracic surgeon, and she enrolled in the new Bachelor of Science in Medical Sciences program at UT Health San Antonio as one step toward that goal.

The BS in Medical Sciences program, which welcomed its first class in August 2022, is designed to prepare students for competitive application to professional graduate school programs including medicine, nursing, dental, pharmacy and allied health professions.

Grecia Almanza, Bachelor of Science in Medical Sciences student

Professor hosts podcast for — and about — Texas PAs


Physician assistants in Texas — and all who want to learn more about the PA profession — can now listen to a monthly podcast series hosted by a UT Health San Antonio professor and created with them in mind.

Launched in November, TAPA Talks is produced by the Texas Academy of Physician Assistants (TAPA) and hosted by Assistant Professor Steven “Tony” Skaggs, PhD, MPAS, PA-C.

TAPA Talks podcast logo

Speech-language pathology and dental students learn from each other in IPE pilot project


Speech-language pathology and dental students participating in a recent interprofessional pilot project explored how their professions complement each other and how they can better care for patients with special needs.

Jessi O’Brien, a second-year Master of Speech-Language Pathology student, said she has already used strategies she learned during the pilot program.

Dental and speech-lange pathology students particpate in an interprofessional pilot project

Two pilot studies will gauge impact of interventions on neuroplasticity and hip-fracture surgery outcomes in older adults


UT Health San Antonio researchers will be launching two pilot studies to learn whether specific interventions help older adults build stronger neural pathways and recover better from hip fracture surgery.

The two separate pilot studies each received a $50,000 grant from the San Antonio Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center.

Does blood-flow restriction exercise boost neuroplasticity?

Doctor of Physical Therapy students and Assistant Professor Gustavo Almeida simulate blood-flow restriction training.

PT professor reelected president of Texas Physical Therapy Association


Associate Professor Michael Geelhoed, DPT, OCS, MTC, was reelected to a second term as president of the Texas Physical Therapy Association at the group’s annual conference, held in Irving, Texas, in October.

Geelhoed, who also is director of clinical education for the Department of Physical Therapy, has a range of goals for his three-year term.

Associate PT Professor Michael Geelhoed

Homeward bound: PA student plans to practice in Laredo after graduation


When she graduates from the Master of Physician Assistant Studies program in December, Carolina Gomez-Salinas will head home to give back to the community she loves.

PA Studies student Carolina Gomez-Salinas poses in her white coat

Respiratory Care program well represented at national and international meetings


Faculty from the Division of Respiratory Care were well represented at the 68th American Association of Respiratory Care (AARC) International Congress in New Orleans in November.

Assistant Professor and Director of Clinical Education Kristina Ramirez, MPH, RRT, CHES, FCCP, and Associate Professor Rick Wettstein, MMEd, RRT, FAARC, FCCP, pose after their induction into CHEST.

Students take 2nd place in MLS Bowl


One of two student teams fields by the Division of Medical Laboratory Sciences placed second in a medical laboratory science bowl competition at the Texas Association of Clinical Laboratory Science Conference.

MLS students at MLS Bowl

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