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Pulse the Magazine of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

Summer 2021
TTUHSC Students in their graduation caps and gowns
Connections of a Lifetime: For a Lifetime text
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Title of TOC
Volume 31 | Issue 2
One happy hiker
Hiking and academia collide when faculty hiking club leaders test a hypothesis they’ve developed regarding the effects of altitude on lung function — at the base of Mount Everest.
Silhouette with their hands up
Human trafficking is a common practice, but more importantly it’s a common practice where you live. It’s happening in your city — it could be happening to someone you know — and it’s a public health issue that doesn’t receive enough attention. The TTUHSC Human Trafficking Collaborative aims to increase awareness while decreasing victims.
Health Matters A Letter from Our President
Nora Frasier and Lori Rice-Spearman
Methodist Mansfield Medical Center

Alumna Collaborates to Transform Health Care

As Methodist Mansfield Medical Center’s vice president of nursing and chief nursing officer, Nora Frasier, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, FACHE, (Nursing ’18) is constantly challenged to keep a qualified nursing staff. There is a nursing shortage nationwide, but closer to home, the city of Mansfield’s population is increasing exponentially; projections are the population will reach 150,000 by 2022. Methodist Mansfield has almost doubled bed capacity from 168 to 262 in the last seven years. Additionally, the health system recently opened a second acute care hospital in Midlothian, 11 miles northwest via U.S. Highway 287, with 44 beds and the capacity to expand to 80.

When Frasier began her advanced nursing degree at TTUHSC two years ago, she experienced the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon — a sudden awareness of encountering something with which you notice as familiar. (Like when you buy a white car and then seemingly see more white cars than you did before.) Frasier began to take notice of the Double T’s proudly displayed on vehicles in Mansfield Methodist’s parking lot and throughout the city. She thought, Why don’t we grow our own nurse workforce?

Feedback

Editor’s Note

Following the Winter 2021 issue, Peter Grant, MD, (Medicine ’82) emailed me to share his family’s legacy in physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R), having read the article on School of Medicine dean Steven Berk, MD, and his son, Justin Berk, MD, MPH, MBA (Medicine ’15). Grant noted he was the first TTUHSC medicine graduate to specialize in PM&R, following in his father’s footsteps. Now, two of his six children have followed in his. This makes their family, Grant believes, the first worldwide to have three generations of PM&R physicians.

His email arrived just as I learned of TTUHSC hiring John Norbury, MD, our first PM&R residency program director, who began duties in early July. Turns out, Grant and Norbury know one another, but have not kept in touch. We were able to connect the two, and Grant offered his support as Norbury builds out his team at TTUHSC. Connecting our alumni to the university is one of our goals for publishing this magazine.

Keep sharing your stories!

— Danette Baker, MA
Editor, Pulse
Dear Pulse,
When I shared a recent lunch with Development Officer Clifford Wilkes, I told him how much I appreciated reading the Winter 2021 edition of “Pulse.” My attention was naturally first drawn to Danette Baker’s article on the ascension of Dr. Lori Rice-Spearman to the presidency of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. Danette immediately captured my attention with her opening sentence on the books that were on display. I then ordered the books on silos and managing the human side of an enterprise President Rice-Spearman was reading. As I read on, I became convinced that Dr. Rice Spearman was not only a fantastic choice for president but a logical one as well. Her geographic and education background, her administrative experiences and her service under the leadership of now Chancellor Tedd L. Mitchell, MD, makes her uniquely qualified to lead the Health Sciences Center as one of our nation’s leading schools for training medical professionals. 

I then turned my attention to Kara Bishop’s article on the future of telemedicine. My interest in telemedicine is partly based on my family history. My maternal grandfather delivered me in the small wheat growing community in north central Oklahoma where my mother was born and raised. I have been concerned as more and more rural hospitals close or reduce their operations. It is encouraging to know that TTUHSC is going to be on the leading edge of addressing rural health needs through the advancement of telemedicine.

Finally, I was gladdened to see the page on how TTUHSC is giving opportunities to America’s veterans who were involved as medics during their military service. Their military experience and the accelerated training in the Veteran to Bachelor of Science in Nursing will make tremendous strides in treating the physical and emotional injuries that many of our returning veterans have experienced. 

In summary, keep up the great work being done at the Health Sciences Center.

­­— Howard Cowan
Principal, Acrisure, LLC DBA Cowan-Hill Bond Agency
Lubbock, Texas
Editor’s Note: The books listed in the Madam President feature include:
“Silos, Politics and Turf Wars,” by Patrick Lencioni.
“Douglas McGregor, Revisited: Managing the Human Side of the Enterprise,” by Warren G. Bennis, Gary Heil and Deborah C. Stephens.
“Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors,” by George W. Bush.
Dear Pulse,
I enjoyed the article on Lori. She was one of my professors when I was in the Clinical Laboratory Sciences Program. I graduated in 1998. It was a great article and was fun to see one of my professors now president of our university!
Jonathan Beal-Knight, MS-CPM, MT(ASCP) (Health Professions ’14, ’98)
Laboratory Manager, Children’s Medical Center
Dallas, Texas
Dear Pulse,
Carl and I are living in Missouri outside of St. Louis. I recently retired from the practice of medicine and am actually trying to learn how to have a social life and enjoy my family after working in family medicine since graduation from medical school. Our son is now 30 and has a position in computer science in St. Louis, so we enjoy being near him. We would be happy to try to help students looking at positions in the area/considering Missouri as a place to live or do their residency or just say “howdy” to former classmates! ­
Michele Neblock, MD, (Medicine ’96)
retired
St. Louis, Missouri
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Pulse welcomes thoughts and opinions from our readers via email at pulse@ttuhsc.edu.

Masthead

Pulse logo
Volume 31, Issue 2
Editor

Danette Baker, MA

Managing Editor

Kara Bishop

Design & Art Direction

Jim Nissen

Writers & Contributors

TR Castillo, Suzanna Cisneros, Jason Collin, Carolyn Cruz, Mercedes deBellard, Kate Gollahan, Terry Greenberg, Mark Hendricks, Neal Hinkle, Kami Hunt, Sarah Maxwell, Sean McCabe, Jordan Pape, Landry Shayne Photography, Chriselda Reyes, Marcus Rubio, Melissa Whitfield, Glenys Young

Administration
President

Lori Rice-Spearman, PhD
(Health Professions ‘86)

Vice President of External Relations

Ashley Hamm

Assistant Vice President of External Relations

Mattie Been, Amarillo
Jessica Zuniga, Permian Basin

development
Assistant Vice President of
Institutional Advancement

Mandy Hanousek

Chief Advancement Officer

Cyndy Morris

Gift Officers

Kevin Friemel, Smiley Garcia, Kendalyn Rising, Clifford Wilkes

Contact Us

pulse@ttuhsc.edu
TTUHSC External Relations
3601 Fourth Street STOP 6242
Lubbock, TX 79430-6242

Pulse is published twice a year. Content may be reprinted only with editor’s permission. Discrimination or harassment based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, status as a covered veteran or other legally protected categories, class or characteristics is not tolerated. Pulse is distributed in compliance with the State Depository Law and is available for public use through the Texas State Publications Depository Program. In compliance with HB 423, Pulse is available in electronic format. If you no longer want to receive the printed version, please notify the editor in writing.
the future belongs to text
Programs Offered
Laboratory Sciences & Primary Care
Bachelor of Science in Clinical Laboratory Science
Second Degree Bachelor of Science in Clinical Laboratory Science
Post-Bavvalaureate Certificate in Clinical Laboratory Science
Master of Science in Molecular Pathology
Master of Physician Assistant Studies

Rehabilitation Sciences
Master of Athletic Training
Master of Occupational Therapy
Doctor of Occupational Therapy
Post-Professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Doctor of Science in Physical Therapy
Doctor of Philosophy in Rehabilitation Science
Concentration in Communication Sciences Disorder
Concentration in Movement Sciences Disorder

Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences
Doctor of Audiology
Bachelor of Science in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences
Second Degree Bachelor of Science in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences
Master if Science in Speech-Language Pathology

Healthcare Management & Leadership
Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management
Master of Science in Healthcare Administration
Graduate Certificate in Health Informatics and Data Analysis
Graduate Certificate in Health Systems Policy and Management
Graduate Certificate in Healthcare Finance and Economics
Graduate Certificate in Health Systems Engineering and Management
Graduate Certificate in Long Term Care Administration

Clinical Counseling & Mental Health
Master of Science in Addiction Counseling
Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
Master of Science in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling

the future belongs to text
Health Professionals title
Programs Offered
Laboratory Sciences & Primary Care
Bachelor of Science in Clinical Laboratory Science
Second Degree Bachelor of Science in Clinical Laboratory Science
Post-Bavvalaureate Certificate in Clinical Laboratory Science
Master of Science in Molecular Pathology
Master of Physician Assistant Studies

Rehabilitation Sciences
Master of Athletic Training
Master of Occupational Therapy
Doctor of Occupational Therapy
Post-Professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Doctor of Science in Physical Therapy
Doctor of Philosophy in Rehabilitation Science
Concentration in Communication Sciences Disorder
Concentration in Movement Sciences Disorder

Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences
Doctor of Audiology
Bachelor of Science in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences
Second Degree Bachelor of Science in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences
Master if Science in Speech-Language Pathology

Healthcare Management & Leadership
Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management
Master of Science in Healthcare Administration
Graduate Certificate in Health Informatics and Data Analysis
Graduate Certificate in Health Systems Policy and Management
Graduate Certificate in Healthcare Finance and Economics
Graduate Certificate in Health Systems Engineering and Management
Graduate Certificate in Long Term Care Administration

Clinical Counseling & Mental Health
Master of Science in Addiction Counseling
Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
Master of Science in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling

TTUHSC logo

Got Slime(d)?

A pie in the face isn’t quite as satisfying when masks are worn due to a pandemic. That’s why, this year, the TTUHSC Student Academy of Audiology members chose to slime their professors and student officers instead for their annual fundraiser.

Students donated money to vote for the professor and student officer they wanted slimed. The winner? Mekenzie Monroe, who’s pictured getting slimed by Moumita Choudhury, AuD, CCC-A, assistant professor in the School of Health Professions Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences.

Neal Hinkle
ScopeTTUHSC Together
TTUHSC Diverse illustration
adobe stock
TTUHSC established the TTUHSC Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee.

A Place where you belong

Growing up in Houston, Rebecca Kusko, a third-year medical student, appreciated living in a diverse community. “I heard great stories from different cultures and perspectives, and sometimes I heard the not-so-great stories, too.” Kusko joined the recently established TTUHSC Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee with a quest to help everyone feel they belong.

I Heard That!

Snippets voiced across the university
“Our hope is to go out to communities with Spanish-speaking members and help get some of these questions answered. Once we do that, hopefully they will have the facts and feel better about getting the vaccine to protect themselves and their families.”

 
– Luis Castro, second-year medical student and Latino Medical Student Association vice president, discusses outreach initiatives to educate the Hispanic community on vaccinations.

“This program and this expansion will assist in providing more affordable and more accessible health care across our region.”

 
– Tracee Bentley, president and chief executive officer for Permian Strategic Partnership, a community partner for the $30 million School of Health Professions Physician Assistant Program expansion in Midland, Texas.

“Even though she’s the older sibling, I’ll be the older doctor by like three hours.”

 
– Steven Philip, PharmD, (Pharmacy ’21) graduated on the same day as his sister, Stacy Philip, MD, (Medicine ’21).

“More than anything, I want to share programming, information and products that normalize Type 1 diabetes. Nowadays, there is so much more information, creativity and tools to help manage the disease. It doesn’t have to be a sad, bad thing.”

 
Raquel Baron, MD/MPH student, on founding the online community, Type One Together.

ScopeFACULTY PROFILE

American Dream Becomes Reality

Adebola Akunna, PharmD, MPH, BCPS
Assistant professor, Jerry H. Hodge School of Pharmacy Department of Pharmacy Practice/Ambulatory Care Division

Growing up in Nigeria, Adebola Akunna, PharmD, MPH, BCPS, would count the days until her uncle returned home during semester breaks while in medical school at the University of Ibadan. She, too, wanted to become a doctor someday, never questioning her passion for health care and service to others. Akunna believed it was what she was born to do.

Her family moved from Ifako-Ijaiye Local Government in Nigeria to the Washington, D.C.-Maryland area when Akunna was 15 years old. From a young age, she heard many Nigerians state that America was the “land flowing with milk and honey,” so she was slightly disappointed when she arrived. “I thought I would see a lot of milk flowing everywhere,” she added, laughing.

Akunna’s interest in health care shifted to pharmacy while pursuing her undergraduate degree; while it never occurred to her to enter academia, colleagues in her pharmacy residency thought she was the ideal candidate. “I enjoyed working with students and was passionate about education, which was something my father instilled in me during childhood.”

During residency, she learned about TTUHSC from fellow residents and now had a new objective in her sights. “I really valued mentorship and knew I would need good leaders starting out as a faculty member,” she said. “I always tell my students that I basically stalked Lisa Chastain (associate professor, division head, Ambulatory Care) by email, and it must have worked because she called me.”

Akunna had even accepted an offer to work for another university, but she turned it down for the position at the Jerry H. Hodge School of Pharmacy in Dallas.

“My family sacrificed so much for me to become who I am, I wasn’t about to disappoint them by not taking this opportunity.”

Adebola Akunna, PharmD, MPH, BCPS
Carolyn Cruz
Scopefor the record
Beverly Chilton and her mother Bette B. Chillton
“My mom told me I could be anything I wanted to be when I grew up.”
Beverly Chilton, PhD, School of Medicine Professor has donated to scholarships since 2019 in honor of her mother, Bette B. Chillton.
Mariacristina Mazzitelli
Mariacristina Mazzitelli
“The theme, NEURO, (New Experiences Unfold Research Opportunities) encourages students toward the discovery of multiple possibilities. ”
— MARIACRISTINA MAZZITELLI, PHD STUDENT
Director, Student Research Week
264
posters were submitted for the 33rd student research week, which was held virtually. All schools were represented in this year’s event as well as residents and fellows.
Video Call
Eight students were awarded scholarships on the last day of Student Research Week.
Neal Hinkle, Provided by Beverly Chilton, Adobe Stock
Arm in a 18-inch rubber band

Blood, Sweat and Tourniquets

For a nursing student, drawing blood or inserting an IV for the first time is like the pause felt at the top of a roller coaster. You brace for what’s coming and hope all goes according to plan.

While Carson Dickson attempts her first IV stick, the vein blows. She looks at the attending nurse, who instructs her to remove the tourniquet and switch arms. Dickson breathes a sigh of relief as the rich crimson liquid flows into the syringe. It’s over — now she’s confident she can do it again.

Neal Hinkle

1

Tourniquets are premeasured into 18-inch rubber bands and come in multiple colors. Typically, one tourniquet is used per patient.

2

Nursing students conduct their first intravenous needle sticks and blood draws during their first clinical rotation.

3

After TTUHSC nursing students successfully make their first sticks, their professors sign and date their tourniquets. Students often post selfies celebrating their first successful procedure, saving their tourniquet for decades — some even place them in shadowboxes for safekeeping.

1

Tourniquets are premeasured into 18-inch rubber bands and come in multiple colors. Typically, one tourniquet is used per patient.

2

Nursing students conduct their first intravenous needle sticks and blood draws during their first clinical rotation.

3

After TTUHSC nursing students successfully make their first sticks, their professors sign and date their tourniquets. Students often post selfies celebrating their first successful procedure, saving their tourniquet for decades — some even place them in shadowboxes for safekeeping.

Blood, Sweat and Tourniquets

For a nursing student, drawing blood or inserting an IV for the first time is like the pause felt at the top of a roller coaster. You brace for what’s coming and hope all goes according to plan.

While Carson Dickson attempts her first IV stick, the vein blows. She looks at the attending nurse, who instructs her to remove the tourniquet and switch arms. Dickson breathes a sigh of relief as the rich crimson liquid flows into the syringe. It’s over — now she’s confident she can do it again.

Neal Hinkle
VitalsSchool of Nursing

Angel of Mercy

EDITOR’S NOTE: When Jeanette Vaughan, MSN, RN, (Nursing ’92) outlined her research thesis for her master’s degree at TTUHSC, she knew it was a risk. “I asked Nancy Ridenour (associate dean for education) what she thought of an adapted film screenplay for a research thesis,” Vaughan recalled. Ridenour said, “A screenplay? As in full length?” It was quite the involved process — panelists were brought in to review content and complete an evaluation. Vaughan won a research award for this work from the school, which proves you can combine two different passions to achieve a goal. The following is an excerpt from the screenplay written in 1992.
Nick is 28 years old. He’s dressed in a hard hat and blue uniform shirt with cut-off sleeves. The year 1973 marks his eighth sweltering summer driving a hot oil truck for W&T Oil Field Services. Driving a “rolling bomb,” as he calls it, is the most dangerous job in the oil field.

Suddenly, the noise of the truck is overpowered by the deafening sound of an explosion. Panic stricken, Nick looks up to see a huge mushroom cloud of fire and black smoke billowing upward.

VitalsSchool of Nursing

Role Call

In May, the School of Nursing marked the 40th anniversary of its first graduating class. Each dean played a vital role, along with their respective faculty and staff, in what the School of Nursing has become today.

The Builder
Teddy Jones, PhD, RN
Founding Dean: 1979-1992

“Creating a new school gave us the opportunity to create all the particulars like curriculum and continuing education, while also celebrating many firsts: classes admitted, honor society and accreditation, instilling pride in faculty and students.”

The Expander
Patricia Yoder-Wise, EdD, RN,
Interim Dean: 1991-1993
Dean: 1993-2000

“Diversity is the starting point for everyone to feel they are part of a bigger whole, and we have to have that view to be successful as nursing professionals and as the providers of exquisite care.”

The Innovator
Alexia Green, PhD, RN
Dean: 2000-2010

“Our team’s focus on innovation became the state’s incubator for the use of distance education to build online programs that were high quality. We were one of the first schools in the state to leverage technology through distance learning.”

The Increaser
Michael Evans, PhD, RN
Dean: 2012-present

“ We’re on the cutting edge, not steeped in tradition, but progressively working to enhance the quality of our education. We are aware of our opportunities and our responsibilities during a tremendous nursing shortage.”

four deans of the School of Nursing
SEAN MCCABE
The deans of the School of Nursing have all served with similar visions to move the school forward.
Yondell Masten, PhD, RNC-OB, not pictured, served as interim dean from 2010-2012.

Compassionate Competence

“I would say the entire time I’ve worked here, under all four deans, that our school is compassionate with a keen eye on competence and quality. We pride ourselves on producing quality graduates who offer that same compassion to those they care for.”
Kathy Sridaromont, PhD
Associate Professor, Traditional bsn program
faculty member since 1986
VitalsSchool of Medicine

In Good Hands

Two patients’ cases demonstrate expertise of Texas Tech Physicians Hand Clinic

She’s in a coma. He closes his eyes, trying to breathe through the burning numbness. Both suffer the pain of having lost the body’s most versatile tool: the hand.

The paramedic team find themselves on two separate missions: save the woman’s life and save her hand — the right one severed from the wrist by shrapnel.

The last thing he remembers is lifting his left hand, seeing nothing but bone and crying out, “Oh sh*t, I’m dying,” as his co-workers wait for the ambulance to arrive. Both hands are crushed, skin is in tatters.

The hand is really a multidisciplinary field, which means surgeons learn about taking care of all the organ systems — bone, muscles, skin, nerves, etc. — that ultimately affect extremities.
— Brendan MacKay, MD
Director and Orthopaedic Hand Surgeon,
Texas Tech Physicians Hand Clinic

Both patients are taken to the hospital where a consult is ordered from the Texas Tech Physicians Hand Clinic in Lubbock. Brendan MacKay, MD, clinic director and orthopedic hand surgeon, presides over both cases.

Ink and watercolor art peice of a hand holding flowers
Adobe stock
VitalsSchool of Medicine

Out of Pocket Improvement

Medical students’ clinical rotations were interrupted at the beginning of COVID-19, meaning less time in hospitals to interact with patients and learn from residents.

Fourth-year medical student Andrea Fowlé and Kelsey Walker, MD, (Resident ’21, Medicine ’18), teamed up to offer additional training support. With the help of Family and Community Medicine clerkship director, Franklyn Babb, MD, they created “Pocket Talks,” a series of flashcards to help students review before board examinations and in clinic.

Fowlé and her team identified challenging topics for students and residents to grasp in clinic and hospital service as well as the most important topics to learn when studying for board examinations. Each card addresses a prevalent health care condition, like cardiac arrest, asthma, diabetes management, etc., and contains information on evaluating and treating conditions — often including graphics or diagnostic charts.

Fowlé also conducted data-driven research proving the cards actually improved the comfort level among students and interns in evaluating, classifying and treating patients.

female student smiles holding "Pocket Talks" flashcards
Photographer Neal Hinkle, illustrator Sarah Maxwell

Med Students: Would You Like to Phone a Friend?

Two alumnae engage as physician development coaches, teaching students accountability and prioritizing their well-being.

Debra Atkisson illustration
Debra Atkisson, MD (’86)
Physician Development Coach
TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine
Fort Worth, Texas
What is involved in physician development coaching?
ATKISSON: Coaches are physicians that are on faculty at the medical school, and we follow medical students throughout their four-year journey with us to provide support and help them solve problems, plan and use resources that benefit their physical and mental well-being.

What training did you go hrough?
ATKISSON: TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine developed a training program for coaches. It’s a 120-hour program based upon the International Coaching Federation (ICF) curriculum. I have also earned my executive coach certification through ICF and coach physicians privately.

Thuthuy Nguyen illustration
Thuthuy Nguyen, MD (’95)
Physician Development Coach
TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine
Fort Worth, Texas
Why were you interested in coaching medical students?
NGUYEN: My love for mentoring students in high school, college and graduate school as an educator helped me naturally transition into this role. Coaching allows me to engage with students and help them learn how to develop solutions to their personal challenges.

What have you learned from your time as a coach?
NGUYEN: The value of listening and allowing the coaching conversations to flow naturally. Students develop trust when their coach expresses genuine desire to know them. Witnessing these students’ growth is a joyful experience.

VitalsSchool of health Professions

Academic Achievements

Certificate Helps with License

After graduating with a degree in biological sciences, Sherry Keller, MS, MLS (ASCP), (Health Professions ’20) decided to pursue a career in clinical lab sciences. She enrolled in a one-year post-baccalaureate advanced certificate in clinical laboratory sciences through TTUHSC, moving into the Master of Science in Molecular Pathology program after completion.

“The certificate allowed me to sit for the Medical Laboratory Scientist board exam through the American Society for Clinical Pathology,” Keller added. “It also guaranteed me a clinical laboratory placement site for clinical rotations with a preceptor. My clinical experience plus the certificate and my master’s degree granted me a New York State Technologist License, which has strict clinical requirements.”

Sherry Keller smiling in a professional photo
Next-Level ot degree

The Post-Professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy online degree program is designed for licensed occupational therapists who have earned a bachelor’s or master’s degree in occupational therapy and would like to pursue a doctorate.

Leilani Brown, OT, (Health Professions ’97) co-owner of the pediatric therapy and licensed home health agency, When Kids Play, finds value in the program. “I love reconnecting with my Tech family. I have revitalized my occupational therapy soul through the doctoral program online and am now making new connections with like-minded OTs across the state and nation.”

Leilani Brown smiling in a professional photo
Program accreditation

The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education has granted full accreditation to three master’s counseling programs: Addiction, Clinical Rehabilitation and Clinical Mental Health. Each program is accredited for eight years, the maximum period allowed.

The accreditation validates the innovative way the school has designed the department where three-quarters of coursework is shared by all programs with collaboration between programs on content development and delivery.

A woman and man in a counseling session
Eleanor Smith at Tech Tykes summer therapy program, holding a balloon and smiling
Photos provided
Eleanor Smith at Tech Tykes summer therapy program hosted by the TTUHSC Speech, Language and Hearing Clinic.
No Work, All Play

At 12 months old, Eleanor Smith’s speech worried her mother, Stephanie Smith. The toddler wasn’t making many sounds, and she didn’t seem to be improving.

When Eleanor was 18 months old, her pediatrician evaluated her, and recommended speech therapy. “We were moving to Lubbock, so the doctor suggested we try the TTUHSC Speech, Language and Hearing Clinic, and it ended up changing our lives,” Stephanie said.

Eleanor participated in the clinic’s Tech Tykes summer therapy program two years ago; this year, her little brother will attend as well. “It’s amazing what they do,” Stephanie said. “They have great interactive play in which they incorporate speech therapy and the children don’t even realize they’re in therapy!”

VitalsSchool of Health Professions

A Final Ray of Sunshine

“The best way to describe Molly is that she is an all-around beautiful person. She walks into a room, always happy, thinking, ‘How can I make everyone’s day better?’,” said Scott Bullington, a classmate.

Molly Beckman died Feb. 1, 2021. She was a second-year student in the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences Doctor of Audiology Program. The Molly Beckman Memorial Audiology Scholarship Endowment, established by her parents, honors her memory.

From an early age, Molly would sing “You are my Sunshine,” and she lived her life shining for others. With her big smile and even bigger heart, she decided her dream was to serve as an audiologist.

VitalsJerry H. Hodge School of Pharmacy

Live Care. Give Care.

When a snowstorm swept through the southern states in early 2021, it overworked electricity and gas lines causing dangerous living conditions across Texas. Affecting millions of people, the icy roads kept many organ transplant patients away from their life-saving prescriptions.

“Transplant patients can’t go one day without medication — they need it to stay alive,” said Suha Alsalihi, PharmD, (Pharmacy ’18) a retail pharmacist in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. “My staff pharmacists and technicians would deliver medications in dangerous driving conditions, spending hours on the road to make sure our patients received their medications.”

After a few years in retail pharmacy, Alsalihi covered a specialty pharmacist’s shift, enlightening her to the possibility of organ transplant pharmacy. She pursued more of these opportunities and now works most of her shifts with organ transplant teams at Medical City Healthcare.

Due to the collaborative nature of this specialty, pharmacists can call patients, help monitor side effects and talk to nurses to suggest next steps. They also often go out of their way to make sure the patient receives the best care.

By the time a patient receives the “Your prescription is ready for pick up” phone call, Alsalihi and her team have spent hours looking up coupons and ensuring correct dosage.

“They’re already dealing with a new organ,” she added. “They shouldn’t have to stress about anything else.

“Just like pharmacists dispense medications, we also dispense care. I think that’s just one of the many things that inspires me about the organ transplant pharmacy specialty.”

Suha Alsalihi in her white coat
Carolyn Cruz
Suha Alsalihi, PharmD, (Pharmacy ’18) lives care and gives care as inspired by organ transplant pharmacy.

Role reborn

“A routine call to a 68-year-old heart transplant patient helped identify my role in a patient’s outcome. He verified his birthdate as his transplant date, saying that he was reborn into a world full of blessings. Maintaining his well-being and positivity was my job.”
Suha Alsalihi, PharmD (Pharmacy ’18)
VitalsGraduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Michael Dang Didn’t Want to be a Doctor, but Cancer Forced Him to Reconsider

Michael Dang had everything going for him: He was anticipating his sophomore year in college and he felt at his peak physically — running 3 to 5 miles a day — and mentally.

Then he lost 30 pounds in 10 days.

His family wanted him to pursue medicine, like his sister. Even his initials, M.D., proved his destiny, they say. Dang instead chose finance, driven to understand the financial collapse of 2008.

Michael Dang in scrubs
Neal Hinkle
In 2010 he began his freshman year at the University of Texas McCombs School of Business. The summer before his sophomore year, he woke up sick — so sick he could barely walk.

Hobbling to his car, he drove home, arriving at 11 a.m. and then sleeping until 8 p.m. the following day. He woke up drenched in sweat. That was only the beginning.

VitalsGraduate School of Biomedical Sciences
‘It Just Clicked for me’
Professor designs drug to combat alcohol use disorder
“I wish I was more like you and didn’t have to drink,” a friend said to Susan Bergeson at a high school party. But you don’t have to drink, Bergeson thought. When Bergeson began alcoholism research as an undergraduate student she discovered the difference between having to drink and having a drink. “It just all clicked for me,” she said.

Bergeson, PhD, received a $7.25 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to begin the Food and Drug Administration approval process for her new drug, designed to combat alcohol use disorder — a condition encompassing a range of unhealthy drinking behaviors.

how do I know if i have alcohol use disorder?
Anyone meeting at least two of the 11 criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) in the same 12-month period can receive a diagnosis. For example, one question on the criteria list asks, “Have you had times when you ended up drinking more, or longer, than you intended?” Physicians also use blood biomarkers, which are not specific but can suggest a level of drinking high enough to cause liver problems.
how do I spread awareness?
Depending on the situation, it may be ineffective to directly approach someone you think may have the disorder. “Many do not recognize that they drink more than others,” Bergeson said. “A good way to get around that is to share the DSM-V criteria or other related articles on social media.” Family and friends generally see the problem before the person affected does, so it’s important to understand the need for compassion and patience. “They have to decide they need help,” Bergeson added. “And, often that comes after major problems exist.”
How Big is this problem?
An estimated 15 million people in the U.S. have alcohol use disorder, with less than 10% receiving treatment according to the NIH National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

“Alcohol use disorder affects the patient, their family and loved ones, and society in general,” Bergeson added. “Better solutions for those with this disorder have the potential to reduce significant personal suffering as well as decreasing morbidity and mortality rates, which cost the U.S. over $250 billion annually.”

The Smithsonian Institution Shelter, or Mount Whitney Hut, was originally built in 1909 to house scientists studying high-altitude phenomena. A prophetic coincidence for the two scientists, Michael Blanton, PhD, and Thomsa Pressley, PhD, off in the distance.
The Smithsonian Institution Shelter, or Mount Whitney Hut, was originally built in 1909 to house scientists studying high-altitude phenomena. A prophetic coincidence for the two scientists, Michael Blanton, PhD, and Thomsa Pressley, PhD, off in the distance.

In All Things of Nature, There is Something of the Marvelous

-Aristotle
By Glenys Young

Photographs provided by Michael Blanton, PhD
S

tanding atop California’s Mount Whitney, Thomas Pressley and Michael Blanton gazed in awe at the surrounding peaks of the Sierra Nevada below them. At 14,500 feet, they had reached the highest point in the continental U.S.

The view was breathtaking — literally, Pressley quips. At that altitude, it’s a challenge to breathe.

Blanton reaches into his backpack, pulling out the four cans of Texas Shiner beer he hauled up the mountain to toast their group’s achievement. In that unspoken moment, the duo reflected on just how far they climbed, yet there were greater heights to reach.

Sight
Unseen

They are real. They are in our backyard. TTUHSC pulls back the curtain on human traffickers.
plus sign
By Terry Greenberg
silhouette of person behind glass

Sight
Unseen

They are real. They are in our backyard. TTUHSC pulls back the curtain on human traffickers.
Plus sign
By Terry Greenberg
I

t’s been 15 days since Colleen Rud heard from an underage human trafficking victim she knows in the Abilene area. The girl is moved around often. As a case management advocate for the Regional Victim Crisis Center in Abilene, Rud tries to contact victims once a week, but they don’t always respond. She constantly checks her phone waiting for a call or text, hoping in the meantime that they’re safe.

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4 REASONS Why life is Better in Lubbock
Regardless of where you live, the people and opportunities afforded to you are what make a place feel like home. Lucky for us, we live in Lubbock.
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1 // Music may play in other city limits, but it was born in Lubbock. Here, musicians create trends and others follow. And, with more live music venues per capita than any other city in the Lone Star state, locals and visitors alike find talent performing every night of the week.
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2 // With 265 days of sunshine per year, our climate is perfectly suited for outdoor activities like stand-up paddle boarding, cheering on the Red Raiders at the ballpark, patio drinking at Chimy’s and more.
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3 // Time is limited, and Lubbockites aren’t spending it in traffic. With our convenient roadways like I-27 and the Marsha Sharp Freeway, you’ll make it around the city in a mere 15 minutes, allowing you to explore more of the “Hub City.”
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4 // With more than 260,000 locals and 50,000 students who call Lubbock home, there is no single person who defines Lubbock. Yet, you’ll find when you meet a local, in town or traveling, they each share the same love for their community.
Share why you believe life is better in the 806 using #LUBBOCKLEADS on social media. Looking to move to Lubbock? Visit lubbockeda.org/jobs for available jobs.
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Connecting with TTUHSC Alumni Rounds

Connecting with TTUHSC Alumni Rounds

Antique whiskey prescription
Chriselda Reyes
Take Two Shots and Call Me in the Morning

Dec. 14, 1927
Diagnosis: Senility
Prescription: Whiskey

Based on genealogical research, this prescription was for a man who most likely had Alzheimer’s disease. Alcohol was often the remedy for common ailments and diseases. The only legal way to access it at the time, which was during Prohibition, was through a pharmacist.

Baby teething? Rub some whiskey on their gums. Asthma? Bourbon. Diabetes? Cancer? Indigestion? Depression? Brandy.

“If only this whiskey could talk,” said Susan Denney, MA, curator for the Texas Pharmacy Museum housed in the Jerry H. Hodge School of Pharmacy in Amarillo. “The museum has many items like this one with stories to tell.”

RoundsWHAT’S NEW
Darrin D’Agostino is Not a Chicken Farmer, He’s the New TTUHSC Provost and Chief Academic Officer
Darrin D’Agostino with Monica Kane and Brandt Schnieder in an office with art on the walls
Neal Hinkle
Monica Kane, MA, assistant provost for finance and administration, Darrin D’Agostino, DO, MPH, MBA, provost and chief academic officer, and Brandt Schnieder, PhD, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences dean.
As Darrin D’Agostino completes the paperwork for his physical examination, he decides to have some fun in the “Interests” section: Bonsai trees, cooking, bicycling, family life … chicken farming.

“I wanted to see if the physician actually read the paperwork,” he quipped.

Originally from New York, D’Agostino, DO, MPH, MBA, accepted a position with Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut in 1997. New employees were required to undergo a physical exam, which led a then curious D’Agostino to challenge their process.

RoundsWHAT’S NEW
Ideas to Impact
In a focused effort to give students more opportunities to transform ideas into commercialized products, TTUHSC joined Sling Health, a student-run biotechnology incubator program out of Saint Louis, Missouri. The TTUHSC Sling Health chapter partners with Texas Tech University and the TTU Innovation Hub at Research Park, tailoring an out-of-the-box experience for students.
innovative speed dating
To expedite student connections, TTUHSC’s Sling Health chapter hosts an event where students present one-minute pitches of their ideas to find others who have similar pitches or passions for solving medical needs. From there, the students form work groups to explore their ideas.
focus on the problem, not the solution
“The reason that start-ups fail is because people have ideas that they like but don’t necessarily provide a service that people need or want,” said John Ciubuc, PhD, second-year medical student and chapter president. “This is because the focus is on the solution rather than the problem.”
beyond demo day
Nationwide, Sling Health hosts an annual “Demo Day,” where students present their service/solution. However, TTUHSC’s chapter doesn’t focus solely on this event. “We want to look beyond the event itself,” Ciubuc added. “We encourage not falling in love with a solution, but rather falling in love with the problem and using innovation to solve it.”
RoundsVALUES CORNER

Surgery’s No Joke, But It’s OK to Laugh

Danielle Aleman Brings TTUHSC Values to Life

I AM THE PATIENT’S FIRST AND LAST IMPRESSION

As the senior patient services specialist for Texas Tech Physicians Surgery and Ear, Nose and Throat clinics, I’m the first and last person the patients see.
Their impression of the appointment begins and ends with me, so I strive to show them that they don’t just receive treatment from us, they are a part of us and what we do here.

laughter is the best medicine

Working the front desk of a clinic can be challenging. The most important thing front-desk team members can do is to be mindful that our patients are hurting.
It’s not personal when we are treated poorly or if they vent their frustrations to us. I try to ensure their experience with us is as good as possible by sharing funny jokes. The jokes are in high demand — sometimes when the clinic starts off especially busy, a patient will ask for the joke of the day, and we’ll realize we haven’t written it yet! One day my calendar was missing from my desk, and I realized that patients were passing it around in the waiting room reading the jokes for the month.

It’s who we are

TTUHSC’s Values-Based Culture allows everyone to have a voice, which can be difficult for patient service specialists. Often, you see us, but the community doesn’t hear from us.
We work hard at the front desk to live the values every day, so why not add our voices to the mix? If people outside of TTUHSC are going to see the university’s values, it’s going to be through people like us.
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NEAL HINKLE
RoundsHEALTH SCENE

When Disaster Strikes We’ll Be Ready

When Disaster Strikes…
Nurse and client talking to each other with masks on
Two nurses working on a patient with a tree limb piercing her abdomen
Patient A2 has glass lodged in her hands and feet
Falling debris results in head injury for Patient A5.2 and foot and toe fractures for Patient A4
TR CASTILLO
Two nurses working on a patient with a tree limb piercing her abdomen
 Falling debris results in head injury for Patient A5.2 and foot and toe fractures for Patient A4
TR CASTILLO
We’ll Be Ready
Interprofessional simulation prepares students for the inevitable with Disaster Day training. This year, the simulation drill focused on treating injuries sustained during a tornado.
1| The makeshift triage clinic fills with patients Patient A5.1 has ruptured ear drums and difficulty hearing from an explosion.

2| A tree limb pierces the abdomen of Patient D5.

3| Patient A2 has glass lodged in her hands and feet.

4-5| Falling debris results in head injury for Patient A5.2 and foot and toe fractures for Patient A4.

Update Catching Up With TTUHSC Alumni & Friends

Ram Haddas, PhD
Ram Haddas, PhD
innovator
Research and Development, Dallas, Texas

Health Professions Graduate: 2013

The perfect combination

What motivated you to pursue a PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences?
As a child, I was intrigued by the function of toys, and as an athlete, with the occasional injury. I decided to pair the two motivations. My passion to utilize the most advanced technology to help people recover faster and provide early stage detection for those at risk of injury became my ultimate focus, which led me to rehabilitation science. It’s the perfect combination of human anatomy and engineering.

Why is a rehabilitation scientist imperative to a health care team?
By connecting advanced sensors to patients to detect motion, muscle activity and body forces utilizing extensive computer technology and metrics, we can develop a comprehensive treatment plan for patients and their providers. X-rays only capture one single point in time. You can’t see pain of daily life in the films — that’s where I come in.

What is most important to you in your career?
The patient’s quality of life. As soon as a I started working in a hospital setting, I saw patients impacted by injury and knew I could help. — Jordan Pape

Carolyn Cruz
UpdateNews & Notes

Casey Mraz, MD

Physician
Loop 250 Family Medicine, Midland, Texas

Medicine Graduate: 2016

Living and Working the Dream

Casey C. Mraz, MD, admits she has one job at work and one at home, where she’s a mom of three. But in all aspects of her life, there’s a level of continuity — it’s about family.

Mraz’s pediatrician became more than a physician once Mraz discovered a passion for health care. Ultimately, their bond paved Mraz’s way into family medicine helping her narrow down her specialty.

“I saw her from the time I was born until I was 18,” Mraz added. “She took me under her wing and let me work in her clinic.”

Square photograph of Casey Mraz, MD smiling with her husband and three children in a garden
Landry Shayne Photography
Mraz ruled out surgery and considered pediatrics, like her mentor, and obstetrics. However, after starting a family with her husband, Mraz realized she didn’t want to sacrifice her own family’s activities and milestones for her career.

Today, Mraz focuses on her patients’ overall wellness and loves making a difference in their lives, giving them more quality time with their families. And, at the end of the day, she gets to go home to her own. — Glenys Young

UpdateNews & Notes

Kayla Money, PharmD, BCPS

Clinical pharmacist
BSA Health System, Amarillo, Texas

Pharmacy Resident and Graduate: 2018, 2017

No Guts, Still Plenty of Glory

Kayla Money, PharmD, BCPS, realized early on that some aspects of health care might not be for her — after all, she fainted getting her ears pierced. Pharmacy, however, has been a great fit. She gets to save lives on a daily basis, without any gore by verifying prescription orders.

“I have a great opportunity to catch a lot of potential medication errors, dosing errors and drug to drug interactions,” Money said. “The doctors rely on us to make sure the doses are right, timing is correct, and there’s no negative interaction with the patients’ allergies.”

Square portrait photograph of Kayla Money, PharmD, BCPS smiling in a lab coat and a white blouse
Chriselda Reyes
After her residency, Money joined a community pharmacy and partnered with local physicians to launch outpatient clinics offering wellness visits for people over the age of 65. During COVID-19, she worked hand in hand with doctors, nurses, dietitians and respiratory therapists to give patients the best chance of recovery.

“I’m not so good with blood and guts,” she admits, “but I’m enthusiastic about leading others to be healthier, happier and more productive.” — Glenys Young

UpdateNews & Notes

Jacqueline Ward, DNP, RN

Chief Nursing Officer
Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston, Texas

Nursing Graduate: 2005

All in the Family

Jacqueline Ward, DNP, RN, grew up listening to her mother, Marilyn Lacey, tell stories of her workday at Texas Children’s Hospital. Lacey was a unit secretary and exposed Ward to health care by helping her obtain summer internship programs there as a student. “I grew up at this hospital,” Ward remarked. “It does not surprise me that I’ve worked here for 27 years. It’s in my blood.”

Ward is now the chief nursing officer of the hospital whose halls she used to walk through as a child. She works for the same chief executive officer as her mom did for 36 years and appreciates the family atmosphere. Her responsibilities are extensive, especially when you’re in charge of 30% of the workforce.

Square portrait photograph of Jacqueline Ward, DNP, RN smiling with her hands on her hips in a salmon-colored jacket and a spotted blouse with a bow
Texas Children’s Hospital
Ward is the first African American hired as chief nursing officer for Texas Children’s and is eager to see the impact her distinction will have on future generations. “There are little girls, whether they’re white, Black, Hispanic or Asian, watching a woman occupying this seat. It sends a message that they, too, can do this.” — Kara Bishop
UpdateNews & Notes
Philip Domenico working in the garden
Provided by Philip Domenico

Philip Domenico, PhD

Director
The Science of Nutrition Blog, Rome, New York

Biomedical Sciences Graduate: 1983

the art of microbiology
As the son of a painter and the brother of a poet, a penchant for scientific discovery was not exactly coded into the Domenico family DNA. Yet that didn’t stop Phillip Domenico, PhD, from spending 30 years focusing his artistic energy on petri dishes of slime in laboratories across the country.

Bacterial slime — a layer of extracellular material that surrounds bacteria cells to protect them from environmental dangers like antibiotics — is involved in over 80% of infections and can be found in any ecosystem.

Domenico focused his research on combating slime, creating antimicrobial compounds that could help treat secondary bacterial infections common in congenital conditions such as cystic fibrosis, diabetic wounds and in secondary infections emerging from viruses such as COVID-19.

In retirement, Domenico observes his anti-biofilm compound’s progress while metamorphing his scientific career back to its artistic beginnings — sculpting, cartooning and gardening with his wife, Gloria, as they volunteer for several Berkshire gardens and the Central Park Conservancy. — Kate Gollahan

UpdateDONOR PROFILE
Scot Brown with his dog
JASON COLLIN

A Jewel of a Gift

first endowed nursing scholarship still impactful
Scot Brown kneels on the melting asphalt of New Mexico State Highway 60. The summer temperature was so intense you could see the heat waves rising from the blacktop. He works quickly to intubate the teenage motorcyclist who had been hit by a car.

There’s got to be a way to save lives in a more controlled environment, Brown thought, as he prepared his patient for the flight to an Albuquerque, New Mexico, trauma center.

Returning to the Rio Grande Valley as a health care provider was his plan since leaving for college. Brown, CRNA, (Nursing ’03) is now the first nurse anesthetist at Socorro General Hospital to live in the community for more than 40 years. His journey began at TTUHSC, fueled by the generous support of a family who chose to honor their beloved mother by establishing the Jewel Benton Endowed Scholarship in Nursing, the first of its kind in the School of Nursing.

As ‘airway guy,’ Brown said he’s always relied on the critical thinking skills he learned as an undergraduate nurse. “Her (Benton) scholarship not only played a role in my being here but also in the quality of care I can give to those in this remote part of the state – whether they live here or they’re just passing through.” — Danette Baker

UpdateNews & Notes

News & Notes

Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Matthew Grisham, PhD, (’82)
was listed by Google Scholars as an H-Index 100, meaning that 100 of his publications have been cited at least 100 times.

Monish Makena, PhD, (’11)
has been awarded the 2020 AACR-AstraZeneca Breast Cancer Research Fellowship.

Sasanka Ramanadham, PhD, (’85)
was named a Featured Discovery recipient by the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Victoria C. Young,
PhD student in the molecular biophysics concentration, won a Student Research Achievement Award from the Biophysical Society.

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You Get the Last Word!

Complete this sentence: Looking back, my favorite study spot was________. Here’s why. Share your memories with Pulse and you may see them published in a future issue.
pulse@ttuhsc.edu
Last Issue: Looking back I learned the most from professor ____. Elizabeth Ogbonna, BSN, RN, (Nursing ‘17) submitted Deborah Casida, EdD, MSN, ENPC, assistant professor in the School of Nursing in Amarillo.
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We get by with a little help from our friends.

“Being in the clinic almost daily, I see the need for a way to provide services to children when funding is in question. This is my legacy … to care for the children I will never meet.”
For 35 years, Sherry Sancibrian (Health Professions ’78, ’77), distinguished educator and clinician, has seen firsthand lives changed through the diagnostic and treatment services pro- vided at the TTUHSC Speech, Language and Hearing Clinic. In any given month,10 to 20 families make sacrifices in other areas of their budgets to pay for their children’s appointments.

“I never want therapy to be a financial burden for a family or for the cost to be a roadblock for a child to receive therapy.” said Sancibrian.

She and her husband, Sandy, chose to make a Gift of Impact through their estate to help ensure that cost never interferes with a child’s opportunity to receive services through the clinic.

Contact Nathan Rice, CFRE, at giftplanning@ttu.edu or 806.742.1781 to discuss your area of impact and how to make a gift.

We get by with a little help from our friends.

Texas Tech Foundation representatives
Texas Tech Foundation representatives
Texas Tech Foundation representatives
“Being in the clinic almost daily, I see the need for a way to provide services to children when funding is in question. This is my legacy … to care for the children I will never meet.”
For 35 years, Sherry Sancibrian (Health Professions ’78, ’77), distinguished educator and clinician, has seen firsthand lives changed through the diagnostic and treatment services pro- vided at the TTUHSC Speech, Language and Hearing Clinic. In any given month,10 to 20 families make sacrifices in other areas of their budgets to pay for their children’s appointments.

“I never want therapy to be a financial burden for a family or for the cost to be a roadblock for a child to receive therapy.” said Sancibrian.

She and her husband, Sandy, chose to make a Gift of Impact through their estate to help ensure that cost never interferes with a child’s opportunity to receive services through the clinic.

Contact Nathan Rice, CFRE, at giftplanning@ttu.edu or 806.742.1781 to discuss your area of impact and how to make a gift.

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