The Faces of SSHP
UT Southwestern's School of Health Professions (SSHP) attracts applicants from across the United States who want to be part of our dynamic, collaborative, and experiential approach to education. What you learn here will open your mind, hone your skills, and prepare you for a career rich in opportunities and rewards.
Brought together in an environment that encourages academic excellence and supports an active clinical experience, SSHP students have a great deal to offer each other, both in and out of the classroom. Our graduates benefit from the academic and clinical opportunities that help them achieve their highest potential and prepare them for successful, satisfying careers in the health professions.
You will be inspired and encouraged by these stories as you continue your academic and career journey. Hear what students, faculty, and alumni have to say about their experiences in these programs at UT Southwestern's School of Health Professions:
- Clinical Nutrition
- Physical Therapy
- Physician Assistant Studies
- Radiation Therapy
- Rehabilitation Counseling
"I just want to help other people understand they don't have to be held back by this diagnosis, this medical condition they've just had thrown upon them."
Cory is a graduate of UT Southwestern's Clinical Nutrition program. His own battle with Type I diabetes – he was diagnosed at the age of 14 – eventually led him to a career path in nutrition. Read more and watch Cory's video.
"I have a whole new world of opportunity available to me."
Erica is a graduate of the Clinical Nutrition Program. She had an interest in nutrition that led to a volunteer opportunity, that turned into a job at MD Anderson in Houston. From there she decided to "go to the next level" in clinical nutrition and enrolled in the UT Southwestern graduate program. Read more and watch Erica's video.
"Each time I dealt with the people at UT Southwestern's School of Health Professions, it confirmed for me that this was the right place for me to be."
Carol is a graduate of UT Southwestern's Clinical Nutrition program. As the world changed and transformed her original profession, journalism, a series of personal changes led her to pursue a career in clinical nutrition. Read more and watch Carol's video.
"We are the future of the profession."
Julius Franz is a student in the Physical Therapy Program. Originally from Germany, Julius first came to the United States as an international exchange student during high school. He decided to return to the United States for his Physical Therapy training and has been an active leader in his class. He also joined classmates in a trip to Austin to talk with legislators about direct access to physical therapy. Read more and watch Julius' video.
"One of the things I really like the best about this job: it's not just hands-on work, it's really about teaching the patient how to do more for themselves."
Traci Schafer is an alumna of the Physical Therapy Program. She began her career as an exercise physiologist, then decided she wanted to work with patients and help them with their rehabilitation, so she enrolled in the Physical Therapy program. Currently, Traci is a physical therapist at Zale Lipshy University Hospital, working with a variety of patients, including burn, stroke, and multiple sclerosis patients. Read more and watch Traci's video.
"It really has to be about something bigger than yourself, I think, to be able to come out the other end of your career saying 'You know what? This was really fulfilling.'"
Tina Kaufman is an alumna of the Physician Assistant Studies Program. Now an assistant professor at Oregon Health and Science University, she also has been a physician assistant in the Internal Medicine Clinic at Parkland Hospital, which provided experience in research, teaching, and indigent care. Her training clinics help residents learn about exercise prescription and counseling, chronic pain, smoking cessation, injections, and other topics. Read more and watch Tina's video.
"Personally, one of the ways I feel that I am an expert in the field is in being a consumer and user of prostheses, then also in being a fitter, a provider of prosthetic devices."
Don was a member of UT Southwestern’s very first graduating class in the Orthotics and Prosthetics program in 1984. A double-leg amputee as a teenager, Don served a UTSW clinical rotation at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, where he is now Director of Prosthetics. Read more and watch Don's video.
"At this point in the rehab process, our goal is not to reflect on what happened to the person, but to get them moving forward in whatever capacity that might be."
Rob Dodson is the clinical manager of Advanced Arm Dynamics’ Southwest Center of Excellence in Dallas. He joined AAD in 2005. He received a Bachelor of Science in Prosthetics and Orthotics from UT Southwestern’s School of Allied Health Sciences and completed a prosthetic residency at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, and prosthetic and orthotic rotations with Scottish Rite Hospital and Hanger Prosthetics & Orthotics. Read more and watch Rob's video.
"As our knowledge base grows in orthotics and prosthetics, we need to have those who are going to be motivated to learn that much more – not only about what we do, but why we do it, and how it helps patients."
Don Katz is an alumnus of the Prosthetics-Orthotics Program and a leader in his field. For many years, Don has been at the forefront of research on the treatment of idiopathic scoliosis. Professionally, he has served as president of The American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists and sat on its board for nine years. Don lectures to students in the Prosthetics-Orthotics Program and mentors graduates during their orthotic residencies. He currently serves as Assistant Administrator at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. Read more and watch Don's video.
Abbey Hazelbaker Meyer
"I wore a back brace, a Boston brace for scoliosis, for three and a half years. So having that personal experience, and the relationship with my practitioner, I really decided I could make a good impact on a child with scoliosis."
Abbey Hazelbaker Meyer is an alumna of the Prosthetics-Orthotics Program. She received treatment and wore a brace for scoliosis as a child, and the relationship she built with her orthotic practitioner inspired her to become an orthotist herself. Abby is doing her orthopedic residency at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, a world leader in the treatment of pediatric orthopedic conditions. Read more and watch Abbey's video.
"Not only can you work with your hands … but you're able to share something with the patient, and to provide them with a device that's going to help them in their day-to-day lives."
Nathan is a graduate of UT Southwestern's Prosthetics-Orthotics program and an instructor in the UTSW Department of Health Care Services. He lost his right leg in a motorcycle accident at 17. The incident helped lead him on his career path to prosthetics-orthotics. Read more and watch Nathan's video.
"I don't believe there's another profession where I could make as big an impact on another person's life."
Jay is a senior radiation therapist in UT Southwestern’s Department of Radiation Oncology. He received his Bachelor of Radiologic Sciences and Therapy degree (B.S.R.T. (T), the highest achievement in Radiation Therapy) from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Norman in 1994. Read more and watch Jay's video.
"It's a very rewarding profession (radiation therapy) that I'm sure I will be in for a very long time."
Crystal Penaloza is a student in the Radiation Therapy Program. She was pre-med in her undergraduate studies, but wasn't sure she wanted to go to medical school, so she was pleased to find the field of radiation therapy, where she can be a health care professional, use her pre-med training, and work with patients. Read more and watch Crystal's video.
"I wanted to understand more about how the brain works, what happens when it doesn't work, and why it doesn't work."
Kristin is a graduate of UT Southwestern’s Rehabilitation Counseling – Psychology Master’s program. Her final research study led to a job offer at UT Southwestern’s Alzheimer’s Disease Center, where over the past 15 years she has moved from her original position as a research assistant to her current role as a clinical research coordinator. Read more and watch Kristin's video.
"I have always been drawn to people who are dealing with difficult situations."
Pauline Weatherford is an alumnus of the Rehabilitation Counseling Program. Her passion for volunteer work with people with disabilities led her to that career. She has worked in a variety of positions, including time as a vocational rehabilitation counselor at the Texas State Commission for the Blind and as supervisor of the Victim Services Unit for the City of Arlington Police Department. Pauline is currently on the faculty of UT Southwestern’s Rehabilitation Counseling Program. She teaches students in a supportive employment program, working individually with clients to help them adjust and get back into the work environment. Read more and watch Pauline's video.