School of Health Professions

SHP President’s Council gains tools for a lifetime of leadership

School of Health Professions Presidents Council first-year students pose with certificates from a leadership program.


First-year students on the School of Health Professions Presidents Council attended a new program designed to help them develop leadership and communication skills that will apply during their time at UT Health San Antonio and beyond.

The program was presented by Giovannie Hoff, learning and leadership development superviser in the Office of Human Resources at UT Health Antonio. The group met during lunch once per month from October to February. The evidence-based curriculum was created based on the interests and priorities of the participating students and addressed how to lead student peers as well as how to lead in the care of future patients.

“They are so immersed in their professions that they don’t want to lose that component of connection with their patient from a leadership perspective,” Hoff said.

Joseph Baralt, president of the Doctor of Occupational Therapy Class of 2024, said he particularly enjoyed the team building exercises and plans to share them with members of his class. The program helped expand his leadership skills, he said.

“I feel like I am a really technical person,” he said. “Anything that needs to get done, I am good at delegating. Empathizing is what I’m lacking a little bit, so being able to learn how to do that properly while building on my strengths rounded me out.”

For Gina Baxter, president of the Master of Speech-Language Pathology Class of 2024, the information on managing conflict was particularly useful.

“I think that was the most important one,” she said. “It really broke that down into a manageable system.”

Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs David Henzi, EdD, proposed the idea for the program as a way to support students who have chosen to serve as class presidents.

“We wanted them to have a wide variety of leadership skills they could use to help their classmates,” he said.

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