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School of Health Professions

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A look at Department of Occupational Therapy faculty activities in 2023

Department of Occupational Therapy 2023 Faculty Highlights 


Let the games return: Students from across the school hold Allied Health Games for first time since pandemic

 

School of Health Professions students kicked off National Allied Health Week by reviving the Allied Health Games, a fun tradition that had been on hiatus for several years because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Nov. 4, students from across the school participated in the games, including a sand volleyball tournament, tug of war, wheelbarrow racing and a team relay race. Teams were awarded points for having the best team spirit, being the best dressed teams and winning events. 

Students pose with Allied Health Games trophy

School of Health Professions faculty and students receive awards, present at annual state conference

 

School of Health Professions Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs David Henzi, EdD, received the Distinguished Service Award from the Texas Society for the Advancement of Health Professions at its 45th annual conference in September.

Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs David Henzi

Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program fellow joins Department of Occupational Therapy faculty

 

Michael Bermudez, EdD, OTR, sees occupational therapy as a means for social justice for people with disabilities. His tools? Circuit boards, code and 3D printers, to name a few.

This July, Bermudez brought his research interest in assistive technology to The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio, where he joined the Department of Occupational Therapy as an assistant professor. 

Assistant Professor Michael Bermudez, EdD

SHP programs provide screenings and health and wellness info at Spurs Back to School Bash

 

Students and faculty from five programs in the School of Health Professions participated in the Spurs Give Back to School Bash on Aug. 5.

Several thousand children and adults attended the free community event, which included backpack and school supply giveaways, vaccinations, haircuts, eye exams, dental screenings, and a variety of other activities and services from community organizations and vendors participating in the event.

School of Health Profession students perform health screenings at back to school event

OT professor serves on board of Project MEND

 

Associate Professor Ana Allegretti, PhD, OTR, ATP, was elected in May to serve on the board of directors of Project MEND, a nonprofit that provides refurbished medical equipment to people in San Antonio and Texas.

The organization’s mission is closely aligned with Allegretti’s expertise and research related to adaptive equipment. Allegretti presented two training sessions at Project MEND over the summer on the wheelchair service delivery process and wheelchair classification and characteristics.

Associate professor Ana Allegretti serves on the board of Project MEND

OT chair is president-elect of Shine Academy

 

Department of Occupational Therapy Chair and Professor Bridgett Piernik-Yoder, PhD, OTR, has been elected president-elect of The University of Texas Kenneth I. Shine Academy of Health Science Education.

Piernik-Yoder, who served as chair of the academy’s education committee for the past two years, will begin her two-year term in March 2024.

Occupational Therapy Professor and Chair Bridgett Piernik-Yoder

School hosts first-ever career fair for health professions students

 

The School of Health Professions held its first-ever career fair on April 27, bringing dozens of employers to campus to meet with students.

The school’s graduates are sought after by employers, said Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs David Henzi, EdD, FASAHP.

“The School of Health Professions educates a student population which is in high demand from local hospital and clinical settings,” Henzi said.  “It was great to have many of those partners in attendance for the first School of Health Professions career fair.”

School of Health Professions Career Fair

Health professions students inducted into Alpha Eta Society

 

For Doctor of Occupational Therapy student Elise Gray, being inducted into the Alpha Eta Society with 37 other students represents the value of teamwork among the health professions.

“The induction ceremony signifies not just our individual accomplishments but also our commitment to the interdisciplinary teamwork that is at the heart of optimal patient care,” Gray said.

Two Alpha Eta student inductees hold their certificates.

Students travel to Colombia and India over spring break

School of Health Professions students traveled overseas during spring break to learn about health professions education and professional practice in Colombia and India.

Three students from UT Health San Antonio, including two from the School of Health Professions and one from the School of Nursing, traveled to Bogota, Colombia, in March. They were accompanied by Division of Respiratory Care Professor Ruben Restrepo, MD, RRT, FAARC, FCCP, and Department of Physician Assistant Studies Assistant Professor and Associate Clinical Coordinator Leticia Bland, DHSc, MPAS, PA-C.

Students and faculty pose in Bogota, Colombia during spring break trip.

Student wins American Occupational Therapy Foundation scholarship

 

Second-year Doctor of Occupational Therapy student Kathryn Hiles has won the Charles Christiansen and Beth Jones Endowed Scholarship from the American Occupational Therapy Foundation.

“These are extremely competitive awards, and it is truly testament to Kathryn's impactful leadership and contributions to the program, university and community to be selected as a 2023 recipient,” said Department of Occupational Therapy Chair and Professor Bridgett Piernik-Yoder, PhD, OTR. The scholarship award is just over $1,400.

Occupational Therapy student Kathryn Hiles

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

 

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.

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

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

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

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.

Meet OT department’s two newest faculty members

 

The Department of Occupational Therapy recently welcomed two new faculty members.

Associate Professor Chinyu Wu, PhD, OTR, and Assistant Professor Angela Benfield, PhD, OTR, joined the department in August. Each brings research interests that will add to the department, said Department of Occupational Therapy Chair and Professor Bridgette Piernik-Yoder, PhD, OTR, FAOTA.

Associate Professor Chinyu Wu and Assistant Professor Angela Benfield

UT Health San Antonio, associate dean receive awards at ASAHP conference

 

School of Health Professions Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs David Henzi, EdD, was inducted as a Fellow of the Association of Schools Advancing Health Professions (ASAHP) at its annual conference in October.

ASAHP Award Ceremony

OT scholarship recipients find purpose in profession

Third-year OTD student Jackie Johnson is one of two students to receive this year's Ellsworth scholarship.

 

Third-year Doctor of Occupational Therapy students Jackie Johnson and Ayla Akers have received the 2022 Paul D. Ellsworth Endowed Scholarship in Occupational Therapy. The scholarship honors Army Lt. Col. Paul D. Ellsworth, who retired from the occupational therapy faculty in 1998 and passed away in 2016.

Jackie Johnson, OTD student and Ellsworth Scholarship winner

OT professor’s research informs back-to-school mindfulness and stress relief tips shared by OTD students at community event

 

By Kate Hunger

 

For Doctor of Occupational Therapy student Elise Gray, volunteering at a back to school event this summer was more than a way to educate families on the proper way to pack and carry a backpack. Gray and fellow OTD students also shared activities and information to help school children manage stress and anxiety as they head back to class.

OT students volunteer at back to school event

Occupational therapy professor Kimatha Grice to retire

 

By Kate Hunger

Associate Professor Kimatha Grice, OTD, OTR, CHT, found her future profession in the library stacks at Texas A&M University.

“I was researching schools for physical therapy, and I came across occupational therapy,” she said. “I started reading up on it, and I thought, ‘That sounds really interesting — it sounds more like me.’ That’s how I ended up in OT school, and I  never looked back.”

Dr. Kimatha Grice

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