Office of Public Affairs

University Communications, Publications and Design

The University Communications, Publications and Design team is the principal distributor of official university communications and coordinator of the health science center’s integrated marketing initiative, creating a common public “face” and consistent “voice” for the institution.

Karen Krakower Kaplan

Karen Krakower Kaplan

Assistant Vice President, Office of Public Affairs
Chief Communications Officer
Director, University Communications & Publications
Phone: 713-500-3045
Email: Karen.K.Kaplan@uth.tmc.edu

Karen Krakower Kaplan has returned to the UTHealth Office of Public Affairs three times over 35 years, most recently in 2002.

As assistant vice president, Karen leads the four teams that comprise the office of Public Affairs – Communications and Design, Media Relations, Special Events and Web Communications – which serve to “inform, engage and inspire” the university at the central level and work collaboratively with the individual schools.

Together with her colleagues, Karen plays key roles in marketing, branding, university communications, publications and special events to tell the stories of the people behind the science and position UTHealth as a premier institution dedicated to the mission areas of teaching, healing and discovery.

Karen serves on several advisory boards and committees both within the university and the broader Houston community and lectures on personal health and medical journalism. Her work has appeared in more than 50 journals, magazines, newspapers and anthologies and is the recipient of more than 20 awards for writing as editor of HealthLeader Online Magazine. Her additional work in end-stage disease counseling through AIDS organizations, organ transplant and hospice provides a necessary depth to her understanding of current health information needs.

Leslie Holland

Leslie Holland

Director of Graphic Services/Creative Director
Phone: 713-500-3372
Email: Leslie.M.Holland@uth.tmc.edu

Leslie Holland is responsible for the concept and design of a variety of marketing and promotional materials for The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. With her help, the Office of Public Affairs is responsible for producing materials with a consistent look and message for the university’s internal and external audiences. Projects include brochures, posters, event invitations and promotional items as well as interior design projects. Signage and wayfinding programming and design development also benefit from Leslie’s knowledge and expertise in the field. She has more than 20 years experience including design firms in Austin and Houston and as in-house corporate creative director for two Houston companies. She brings a knowledge of corporate and institutional culture to the Marketing and Community Relations team – as well as experience developing working relationships with clients and vendors to achieve the best and most cost effective collateral materials. Leslie is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Visual Communications. She received a Master of Fine Arts degree (Swiss equivalency) from Allgemeine Gewerbeschule Basel, Schule für Gestaltung in Basel, Switzerland.

Joy Backhouse

Joy Backhouse

Executive Assistant
Phone: 713-500-3081
Email: Joy.A.Backhouse@uth.tmc.edu

Born and raised in Leicester, England, Joy moved with her family to Houston in 1985. In November 2013, Joy rejoined UTHealth as Executive Assistant supporting the University Communications, Publications and Design team. She previously worked for two years in the Department of Surgery at UTHealth Medical School before leaving for Philadelphia to work at Penn Medicine. Joy is the “go to person” whose expertise is called upon to coordinate executives’ busy schedules, conferences, travel, and ensure a smooth and efficient flow of daily operations. She also serves as one of the department’s Area Safety Liaison personnel.

Andy Heger

Andy Heger

Senior Communication Specialist
Editor, HealthLeader Online Wellness Magazine
Phone: 713-500-3087
Email: Andrew.J.Heger@uth.tmc.edu

Andy Heger joined the UTHealth Media Relations and Communications teams in the Office of Public Affairs in August 2011. He is editor-in-chief of HealthLEADER, the university’s award-winning online wellness magazine. Andy also helps administer university social media sites, produces videos and leads publicity efforts for education and child development at the Children’s Learning Institute as well as news for the Department of Otorhinolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery at the UTHealth Medical School. In addition to several years as a news reporter, Andy has more than 10 years of experience in marketing and communications.

Lauren Laman

Lauren Laman

Senior Graphic Designer
Phone: 713-500-3228
Email: Lauren.Laman@uth.tmc.edu

As an Office of Public Affairs graphic designer, Lauren Laman provides services that can include design and production of brochures, university-event invitations and display posters. In addition she is one reason the department can produce a variety of collateral materials in both a timely and cost effective manner. Some of her responsibilities include concept and design of brochures, invitations and other collateral materials for the university’s development and marketing efforts and other departments and schools, plus event materials. Lauren came to UTHealth after working as a graphic designer in the Community Relations office of Lamar Consolidated Independent School District in Rosenberg, Texas. She graduated with a bachelor of fine art degree from Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas.

Melanie Rosenberg

Melanie Rosenberg

Communications Specialist
Phone: 713-500-3177
Email: Melanie.R.Rosenberg@uth.tmc.edu

Melanie Rosenberg joined the University Communications & Publications team in April 2012. Melanie gained experience in media relations and writing press materials at an Austin PR agency after graduation from The University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations and a certificate in Business Foundations from the McCombs School of Business. Her background also includes special events, grant research and writing, development and social media.

Jenna Taylor

Jenna C. Taylor

Manager of Communications
Phone: 713-500-3038
Email: Jenna.C.Taylor@uth.tmc.edu

Jenna C. Taylor joined the Office of Public Affairs in March 2008 and is currently editor of internal communications and publications, including  the university intranet, Inside UTHealth, News on the Go and Distinctions.  As a member of the Communications team, Jenna creates and executes strategic communications plans, serves on the emergency communications team and is a member of the UTHealth identity council. Each day she seeks to shine a light on the exceptional people and programs of UTHealth and help make navigating our community just a little bit easier. Jenna has more than a decade of experience in communications, marketing and development.

Zen Zheng

Zen T.C. Zheng

Senior Communications Specialist
Phone: 713-500-3009
Email: Zen.Zheng@uth.tmc.edu

Zen T.C. Zheng brings to UTHealth a diverse blend of experience and skills as an award-winning journalist and communications professional. He plays multiple roles in the Office of Public Affairs as a senior writer, editor, communicator and marketer covering both internal and external communication and marketing work and supporting the administration and various university departments and schools. Zen has an extensive career spanning more than two decades as a journalist internationally and locally, including 12 years at the Houston Chronicle, before serving as a senior communicator for the City of Houston and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Zen has a Bachelor of Arts degree in the English language and literature, a Bachelor of Arts in international journalism and a Master of Arts degree in journalism and communication.

University Publications

  • HealthLeader is an online consumer wellness magazine for the general public providing free, useful consumer-health articles and tools on topics related to medical research, personal health, fitness, nutrition and mental well-being, plus access to UT Clinics. For information call 713-500-3045 or visit http://www.uthealthleader.org/.

  • Distinctions is an online publication that highlights the UTHealth’s distinctive capabilities and accomplishments in education, research, community service, and philanthropic support. It is distributed to external as well as internal audiences. For information call 713-500-3038 or see http://www.uthouston.edu/distinctions/.

  • News on the Go is a weekly electronic news service from the Office of Advancement, providing timely news and information to faculty, staff, fellows, residents and students on the go. For information, call 713-500-3038 or visit http://inside.uthouston.edu/notg

Mass emails

If you are planning a mass communication to the whole university community, or to certain segments of the community, please alert Karen.K.Kaplan@uth.tmc.edu as far in advance of the push out date as possible. The Communications Team will work with you to figure out the appropriate way to send your message either by mass email to the whole community or a segment of the community, or by another form of communication.

Archives of past issues of all the publications are searchable online.