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Training the Next Generation of Health Professionals

Clinics and hospitals across Texas and around the nation are grappling with shortages of nurses, physicians, dentists, and other frontline care providers—and patients and communities bear the brunt of these personnel shortages.

But the need for talented health professionals extends far beyond the frontline. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us how desperately we need a robust public health infrastructure. And as institutions and providers alike discover the role data science and artificial intelligence can play in preventing disease and improving care, the needs and opportunities that exist at the intersection of data and health are great.

UTHealth is uniquely positioned to tackle these challenges head-on: We already graduate more health care professionals than any other institution in Texas, and as an academic medical center where research, education, and care intersect, our graduates leave positioned and prepared to make a bigger difference.

Your support of Many Faces. One Mission. will provide the resources that help address shortages in critical health care professions by deepening our commitment to the next generation of practitioners and innovators—as well as the experts who educate them.

Our Top Priorities

  • A Cycle of Empowerment

    As Victoria Q. Cisneros, DDS, balanced classes, labs, and clinics with family life, the women of UTHealth School of Dentistry proved themselves to be much more than classmates and faculty members.

    “At the time, I didn’t have anyone to take care of Ricky while I went to school. My husband worked nights at the airport, so he had to sleep during the day,” Victoria says.

    Catherine Flaitz, DDS, then Dean of the School of Dentistry, helped smooth the way by allowing Cisneros to bring Ricky to her 7 a.m. pathology class before dropping him off at school. Victoria’s fellow students also stepped in to help, taking Ricky to and from school when needed and bringing him to the library for homework.

    Since graduating in 2003 and developing her own private practice, Victoria has decided to give back to the program in a big way: pledging a substantial commitment to the Department of Restorative Dentistry and Prosthodontics.

    Victoria is one of the Many Faces of UTHealth improving oral health in our communities and beyond. 

    Read more about Victoria's story.

    Victoria Cisneros
  • Keeping it Real

    Joanna Popovits’ experiences translating for her grandmother in doctors’ offices inspired her to pursue a nursing degree at Cizik School of Nursing at UTHealth, where the Simulation and Clinical Performance Laboratory helped her develop important clinical skills. 

    “We work through real-life patient scenarios, which require teamwork and thinking outside the box,” she says. “I was a little nervous at first. But now I can go through the simulation [and] ensure the best possible outcome for the patient.”

    As she begins her final semester of nursing school, Joanna is excited to start her first job—and believes the Sim Lab has helped prepare her for whatever the future holds. 

    “Every time I walk into the lab, it’s like I’m walking into the hospital to begin caring for real patients,” she says. “I become the professional nurse I was meant to be.” 

    Joanna is one of the Many Faces of UTHealth training to become tomorrow's frontline care providers.

    Read more about Joanna's story.

    Joanna Popovitz
  • Putting the Pieces Together

    Melissa Franch, a doctoral student at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, wants to improve our understanding of the complex relationship between the brain and social behavior.

    “When you reflect on life’s moments, your fondest memories probably include your family and friends,” she says. “In fact, now—during the COVID-19 pandemic—more than ever, the world has become increasingly aware of the importance of social interactions in everyday life.”

    But Melissa's work is also personal.

    “I have a brother with autism, so I understand how social dysfunction can impact individuals and their families,” she says. “I hope to find ways to help people like my brother be more comfortable and effective in social interactions.”

    Melissa is one of the Many Faces of UTHealth training to uncover the mysteries of the brain.

    Read more about Melissa's story.

    Melissa Franch