The Faces of SHP Rehabilitation Counseling
UT Southwestern's School of Health Professions attracts applicants from across America 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 opportunity and reward.
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 at their highest potential and prepare them for successful, satisfying careers in the health professions.
You may be inspired and encouraged by these stories as you continue your academic and career journey.
“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 served on the faculty of UT Southwestern’s Rehabilitation Counseling Program from 2010 to 2013. Read more and watch Pauline’s video.
Gerardo Altamirano, M.R.C., CRC
Gerardo Altamirano received his Master of Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling from the Southwestern School of Health Professions of UT Southwestern Medical Center in 2014 and is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor. Upon graduating from UT Southwestern, Mr. Altamirano served as the Assistant Director of the Office of Disability Services at Texas State University from 2014 to 2017. In that role, Mr. Altamirano was responsible for reviewing psychoeducational evaluations, approving accommodations, and holistically supporting students with disabilities. Mr. Altamirano led diversity initiatives on campus that celebrated intersectionality and received awards for inclusive excellence at Student Affairs professional associations, including the 2016 Outstanding New Professional Award from the Texas Association of College and University Student Personnel Administrators.
In the summer of 2017, Mr. Altamirano relocated to Gainesville, Fla., where he currently serves as the Assistant Dean and Director of the Disability Resource Center at the University of Florida. Mr. Altamirano balances being a full-time professional and part-time student in the Curriculum and Instruction Doctoral program at the University of Florida. His research interests include ethnographic studies in self-actualization and identity development in adults with disabilities, examining post-traumatic growth in marginalized communities, and investigating the positive effects of bilingualism in life-long learning. Mr. Altamirano focuses his time on being an agent of change both professionally and within service leadership. Mr. Altamirano has recently been elected as the National Chair for the Disability Knowledge Community of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators and has been recognized with the 2017 Alice A. Mitchell Ally Award from the American College Personnel Association’s Standing Committee for (Dis)ability. Mr. Altamirano personally relates to individuals who have experienced educational barriers and seeks opportunities to lead initiatives that will champion inclusivity, equity, and access for all.
Kimberly Roaten, Ph.D., CRC
Dr. Kimberly Roaten received her Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling and her Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology degrees from UT Southwestern Medical Center. After graduation, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Health Psychology at UT Southwestern. Dr. Roaten is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at UT Southwestern and the Director of Quality for Safety, Education, and Implementation for the behavioral health service line at Parkland Health and Hospital System. Dr. Roaten is an attending psychologist on the Consultation/Liaison Psychiatry team at Parkland Hospital where she supervises psychiatry and psychology trainees. She is the designated psychologist for the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Burn Services at Parkland and provides evaluation and psychotherapy services for patients affected by traumatic injuries and chronic illnesses. Dr. Roaten serves as an ad-hoc reviewer for numerous peer-reviewed journals and is a member of multiple national committees related to patient care and safety. She has served as the president of the Dallas Psychological Association and is involved in UT Southwestern faculty governance.
In 2014 Dr. Roaten began the effort to create the Parkland Health & Hospital System Universal Suicide Screening Program, the first of its kind in the nation. She coordinated the efforts of a task force assembled to build and implement standardized suicide screening for all patients at all points of access within the large, public safety-net hospital. The design of the program included the creation of a novel clinical decision support system integrated into the electronic health record in order to standardize and optimize patient care in a system with approximately two million patient encounters per year. The screening program began in early 2015 and more than 40,000 suicide screenings are completed per month. Dr. Roaten and her team members have been invited to speak locally and nationally about the success of the program and have consulted with numerous health care institutions around the country about strategies for implementing similar programs in other locations. The data generated from the program has produced new knowledge about suicide prevention.