Reception for regional dean set for Sept. 16; Martinez Lecture on oral health, diabetes to follow

LAREDO (Sept. 14, 2010) — Two special events open to the public will be held Sept. 16 at the UT Health Science Center’s Regional Campus in Laredo, 1937 E. Bustamante St.

Gladys C. Cronfel Keene, M.D., M.P.H., will be honored from 5 to 6:30 p.m. as the new regional dean of the Regional Campus in Laredo.

The reception will be followed at 7 p.m. by the fourth annual Lilia Martinez Lecture, this year focusing on the interrelationship between oral health and diabetes. The Martinez Lecture will be presented by Brian Mealey, D.D.S., M.S., professor and director of the graduate periodontal program in the UT Health Science Center’s Dental School.

Dr. Keene’s reception will feature remarks by UT Health Science Center President William L. Henrich, M.D., MACP; State Sen. Judith Zaffirini, Ph.D.; and Colleen McHugh, chair of the UT System Board of Regents. Others invited to attend include Michael Black, M.B.A., the Health Science Center’s senior executive vice president and chief operations officer, and Kenneth Kalkwarf, D.D.S., dean of the university’s Dental School.

Dr. Keene is a longtime Laredo physician and researcher who provides care to patients with allergy and asthma disorders. Since 1992, she has served as executive director of the Area Health Education Center for the Mid Rio Grande Border Area of Texas. She is an associate professor in the Health Science Center’s Department of Pediatrics and a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Physician Assistant Studies. She recently was named regional dean of the Regional Campus in Laredo.

Lilia Martinez Lecture
Studies have shown that poor oral health can contribute to many types of health problems, including diabetes. The fourth annual Lilia Martinez Lecture, “Diabetes and Oral Health: A Two-Way Street,” will discuss the interrelationship between oral health and diabetes that can contribute to poor overall health.

The lecture will include a panel discussion featuring Laredo area health professionals and the opportunity for audience participation.

“Periodontal disease is a disease of the gums and bone that support the teeth,” Dr. Mealey said. “Many people don’t realize that there is an interrelationship between diabetes and periodontal disease. For example, gum disease can make it difficult to control blood sugar levels and diabetes can cause problems with the gums and bones around the teeth. It is very important that physicians and dentists work together for the overall health of their patients.”

Dr. Mealey, a professor in the Department of Periodontics, joined the Health Science Center in 2004 after 21 years in the U.S. Air Force. He received his D.D.S. and Master of Science in Periodontics from the UT Health Science Center. He earned his specialty certificate in periodontics from Wilford Hall Air Force Medical Center at Lackland Air Force Base. While in the military, Dr. Mealey served as chair of the Department of Periodontics at Wilford Hall, program director of the Air Force Periodontics Residency Program and chief military consultant in periodontics to the Air Force Surgeon General.

He has published and presented extensively in the field of periodontology, including two textbooks on periodontal disease and its relationship to overall health. He is a consultant to the American Dental Association’s Council on Scientific Affairs and serves as a director of the American Board of Periodontology.

The Martinez Lecture is funded by a gift from the Guadalupe and Lilia Martinez Foundation of Laredo as a way to inform the community about pertinent health issues and to encourage students from Webb and Zapata Counties to consider entering a career in the health professions.

To attend the conference, please RSVP by e-mail to or call 210-567-2058.

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, one of the country’s leading health sciences universities, ranks in the top 3 percent of all institutions receiving National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding. Research and other sponsored program activity totaled a record $259 million in fiscal year 2009. The university’s schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, health professions and graduate biomedical sciences have produced approximately 26,000 graduates. The $739 million operating budget supports eight campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. For more information on the many ways “We make lives better®,” visit

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