Presidential Award winner: Kimatha Oxford Grice, O.T.D., OTR, CHT
One in a series
Distinguished Service to the Institution
Kimatha Oxford Grice, O.T.D., OTR, CHT, associate professor and Distinguished Teaching Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, School of Health Professions
Remarks by Dr. Henrich at the March 6 awards dinner:
“Dr. Grice is a tenured associate professor in the School of Health Professions and perhaps of all of our honorees tonight, she has an unusual talent which she utilizes to help patients.
Put simply, Dr. Grice’s alter ego is a clown. As a young person, Dr. Grice was fascinated with clowns. After becoming an occupational therapist, she realized that as a therapist, she was making her patients do something that was uncomfortable, sometimes even painful. She started to explore what she could do that would be fun, yet useful. This turned into a hospital clown visitation program where her character of Tutti Frutti was created.
Through Tutti Frutti Dr. Grice not only encourages healing, but motivates patients to complete their hand exercises through balloon twisting and puppet talking. Dr. Grice and Tutti Frutti have touched the lives of countless hospitalized patients, nursing home residents as well as at community and charity events.
As an educator, she has found ways to integrate humor and medicine and for 14 years has taught an elective course called, Laughter is the Best Medicine.
Dr. Grice has said that the theory that is the basis of occupational therapy is to live a well-rounded life. You have to have leisure interests, things you do that make you have fun and keep you healthy. And being a clown fits her and helps her patients.”
From the nominating letter by David C. Shelledy, Ph.D., RRT, FAARC, FASAHP, dean and professor, School of Health Professions:
“Dr. Grice is an extraordinary educator, a respected leader among her colleagues and a passionate faculty member devoted to student success. Although these are all admirable traits, what she may be best known for is her ability to bring out smiles and spread laughter to those who need it most. … Her innovative contributions and efforts have inspired changes and developments in the community and at UT Health San Antonio.”