LSA 47 Hosts Day Focused on Healthcare and Biosciences in San Antonio

Leadership San Antonio’s Health & Biosciences team orchestrated an extraordinary full-day event on July 12, immersing the group in a thoughtful journey about how to better understand and participate in San Antonio’s health landscape. The day was filled with learning and activities that left a lasting impact on LSA Class 47 in our understanding of the city’s health-related challenges and opportunities.

The first rotation began at UT Health Science Center’s Academic Learning & Testing Center, with a session led by Dr. Lyssa Ochoa, delving into the critical role of social determinants of health in shaping our city’s well-being. It was truly eye-opening to learn how socioeconomic factors in different zip codes impact individual health outcomes, underscoring the need for targeted interventions to ensure equity and better health for all residents. Continuing our journey, we explored the issue of nutrition and the scarcity of fresh produce in Bexar County’s food deserts. This served as a wake-up call, compelling our classmates to take action and advocate for improved access to healthy food options, particularly in underserved communities. One of the most significant highlights was the virtual and digital anatomy lab tour at the UT Health Science Center, led by Dr. Omid Rahimi and Dr. Annette Occhialini of the Department of Cell Systems & Anatomy. The experience of witnessing cutting-edge technologies being utilized to advance medical education and research was truly inspiring. As the day progressed, the group had the opportunity to tour Schertz EMS’s Ambus, an essential tool for crisis management that ensured the safe evacuation of hospitals and nursing homes during emergencies. The dedication and preparedness of our emergency responders left us with a profound sense of gratitude for those who work tirelessly to protect South Texas communities during times of distress.

The second rotation took place at Clarity Child Guidance Center.The Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Development and Cybersecurity Vice President Jeff Fair and Interim President and CEO Dave Petersen set the stage for a panel of biosciences experts to engage us in conversations about the future of biomedical research and enlighten us on the groundbreaking work being done in our city. Dr. Larry Schlesinger of the Texas Biomedical Research Institute, Randy Harig of Texas Research & Technology Foundation and VelocityTX, Dr. Elizabeth Bowhay-Carnes of the Mays Cancer Center at UT Health San Antonio and Dr. Alison Wiesenthal of the Brooke Army Medical Center all shared their invaluable insights in a panel during lunch, inspiring us to understand that San Antonio is at the forefront of our nation’s biomedical research and innovation.

The focus then shifted to mental health, and the afternoon was dedicated to candid discussions led by remarkable speakers. Special thanks to Clarity Child Guidance Center, mental health speaker Sinclair Ceasar III and our own classmate Terrin Fuhrmann for leading us in exploring mental health at a deeper level, not just as leaders but as compassionate individuals. These sessions encouraged us to embrace vulnerability and strengthened the bonds among our class. We also received an overview on the importance of Mental Health First Aid from The Center for Health Care Services Foundation. To end the afternoon with a heartwarming touch, Methodist Healthcare San Antonio brought their Emergency Services Facility Dogs, reminding us of the healing power of compassion and connection.

After such an intense day of learning and self-reflection, it was time to unwind and celebrate our camaraderie. The last rotation took place at the University of Texas at San Antonio’s Roadrunner Athletic Center for Excellence. The UTSA cheerleaders and Rowdy the Roadrunner greeted us, along with Dr. Lisa Campos, who gave a preview of what’s next for UTSA Athletics, heading into their first season in the American Athletic Conference. UTSA provided the perfect setting for a physical fitness discussion with Airrosti and an amazing happy hour, where we laughed, shared stories, and further solidified the bonds that would undoubtedly endure beyond Leadership San Antonio.

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