Occupational Therapy Associate Professor and Distinguished Teaching Professor Kimatha Oxford Grice will receive a 2017 Presidential Award for Distinguished Service to the Institution next month.
School of Health Professions Dean David C. Shelledy nominated Grice for the award.
“Dr. Grice is an outstanding teacher who clearly instills in her students the desire to provide the very best patient care possible. Her compassion and service to patients and their families, however, make Dr. Grice one in a million. We are lucky to have her as a member of our faculty,” Shelledy said.
Grice said a word of the award came as a shock and that she was humbled upon learning Shelledy had nominated her.
“I just try to come to work and do my best, and I enjoy teaching,” she said. “It’s like a short in the arm, like a pep pill—you are ready to go and do more.”
Grice and fellow award recipients will receive a plaque and cash award at a dinner on March 6, 2017.
In addition to teaching classes including applied biomechanics, Grice provides services through the school’s faculty practice. She is a certified hand therapist and counts among her areas of interest splinting, assessments and the critical thinking skills in the educational experience. Grice is preparing to collaborate on a study of critical thinking, a subject that has long captivated her interest and research attention. Although it is still in the planning stages, Grice said the next study will focus on how critical thinking changes as students go through the Occupational Therapy program.
Grice has found an unconventional way of cheering up patients. In 1991, she was flabbergasted to see a carload of clowns pull up to a camp she helped organize in Houston for children who had been burned. As she learned more about clowning, Grice discovered a passion for performing as Tutti Frutti that has lasted for 26 years. She finds her comfort in hospital settings makes it easier to brighten the day of patients and their families.
“I enjoy making people laugh and giving them a respite from what they are going through,” she said.
Grice received a Presidential Excellence in Teaching award in 2001, was inducted into the UT Health San Antonio Academy of Master Teachers in 2008; and was named a Distinguished Teaching Professor by the UT System in 2010. She sees her roles as teacher and therapist to be mutually beneficial.
“ I never wanted to give up being a clinician when I started teaching,” she said. “I think remaining a clinician has made me a better teacher, but I have to say being a teacher has made me a better clinician.”