Advisors at the Health Professions Advising Center (HPAC) meet with current students to discuss career options, professional development, and professional school applications. Call 972-883-6767 for a half-hour discussion of in-depth questions, or drop in with a brief question from 1:30-4:30 pm weekdays. Drop ins are limited to 10 minutes or less. (Frequently Asked Questions)
Prospective students and parents interested in UT Dallas are encouraged to attend special events like Scholar’s Day and to work with Admissions Counselors. Pre-Health representatives are available at most admissions events. (Frequently Asked Questions)
The HPAC fax number is 972-883-6806.
The HPAC Office is located at UT Dallas in FO 2.210 (Founders Building, 2nd floor). The UT Dallas Visitors page has maps and directions to campus.
Operating hours are 8:00 AM-5:00 PM weekdays, and sometimes later by appointment.
The Health Profession Advising Center mailing address is:
UT Dallas - Health Profession Advising Center
800 West Campbell Rd., FO30
Richardson, TX 75080-3021
Dr. Karen de Olivares – Director and Advisor
In spring 2012, Dr. Karen de Olivares joined the team at UT Dallas as Director of the Health Professions Advising Center. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, in Educational Foundations and Policy Analysis, Educational Studies. From 2000 to early 2012, Dr. de Olivares directed the Pre-Med/Pre-Health advising program at Southern Methodist University. She also taught as an Adjunct Lecturer in the Sociology Department. Dr. de Olivares serves on the National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions (NAAHP) Communications Committee and is Chair of the Texas Association of Advisors for the Health Professions (TAAHP). She has served on the NAAHP Board and as Secretary/Treasurer of TAAHP. Dr. de Olivares also participates in the Dallas County Juvenile Detention Center Girls Services Committee. Her publications include “From Pigs Eyes’ to Mouse Ears,” “Unframed Photo: Some Wore Blue and Some Wore Gray,” “The Real Cost of Measuring Effectiveness,” and “A Participant-Observation Course in Applied Adolescent Development,” as well as numerous book reviews.
Cristina Gonzalez — UT-PACT Coordinator
Cristina M. González holds two degrees from Texas A&M University: a MA in Modern Languages and a BS in Health Education. She taught Spanish at A&M before moving back to Dallas in 2000, where she taught a longitudinal Medical Spanish primarily for the PA students but also taught Medical Spanish as an elective to medical school students, faculty, residents, and fellows. Ms. González also served as Director of Admissions for the PA program and for a short time as Director of Minority Student Affairs for UT Southwestern Medical School.
Ms. González came to UT Dallas in October of 2011 as program coordinator for UT-PACT, the BA/MD program begun in 2011 as a collaboration between UT Dallas and UT Southwestern Medical Center. Ms. González is also an assistant professor at UT Dallas and teaches Medical Spanish.
Ms. González enjoys the outdoors and going to sporting events, especially those of her sons, J.J. and Brighton. She is an avid college sports aficionado, especially if it involves her Fightin’ Texas Aggies.
Cheryl Janes — UT PACT
As the UT-PACT administrative assistant, Cheryl coordinates the application process for this program. From tracking application documents to acting as one of the liaisons between UTD and UT Southwestern staff, Cheryl is also the person to answer questions via email. In addition, Ms. Janes will help plan events, arrange travel and participate in communication with current and prospective students.
Ms. Janes has been involved with the administration of the UT-PACT program since the first application cycle. Prior to officially joining the UT-PACT team, she was a part of the Health Professions Advising Center here at UT Dallas. Cheryl joins us with entrepreneurial, corporate and non-profit business experience. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her family.
Shirley Yang — Advisor
Shirley Yang earned a Bachelor’s from the University of Texas at Austin and is currently obtaining her Master’s in Higher Education Administration &Supervision.
From 2010-2013, Shirley served as a College Advisor to an inner-city Biomedical Sciences high school, assisting many low-income and first-generation students with college and financial aid information and application guidance. She also helped pre-health students apply to science intensive programs such as Pre-JAMP Camp and other university summer opportunities. She joined the HPAC team in 2013 as a full-time advisor of UT Dallas’s pre-health students. Shirley serves as the primary contact for the Certificate in Biomedical Sciences program and sponsors the Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Health Society.
Her hobbies include running, Zumba classes, watching comedies, and traveling. In addition, she is always finding ways to further develop her Mandarin and Spanish language abilities.
Leona McCulley — Advisor
Leona McCulley is a graduate of the University of Houston. She earned a Master’s degree in Healthcare Administration and a Bachelor’s in Biology. She has several years of experience in healthcare, working in pharmacy, health information, and as an administrator. Before joining HPAC, she worked at Baylor Medical Center.
Leona assists current students, especially in pharmacy and health information science.
In her spare time she enjoys professional sporting events, especially basketball. She also enjoys traveling and discovering beautiful beaches. Her other hobbies include reading, swimming, and watching movies.
Doyen Rainey — Advisor
Doyen Rainey joined the HPAC team in the summer of 2007 and brings several years of experience as an author and educator. He holds three Teacher Certifications, a Master’s in Teaching, and bachelor’s degrees in Literary Studies and Psychology.
A UT Dallas student from 1998-2003, he worked extensively with the Student Government Association, the McDermott Scholars program, and the Collegium V honors college. He currently sponsors AED, the Pre-Optometry Professional Society (POPS) and Pre-Dental Association (PDA). His longstanding personal interests include creative writing, art, music, martial arts, and the outdoors.
Mr. Rainey teaches and advises new and transfer students for the Health Professions Advising Center, and remains the center's primary contact for technologies development.
Col. (ret) David Murchison, DDS, MMS
Colonel Murchison graduated from U. Arkansas in 1977 with a BS Zoology, where he served as ROTC Cadet Corps Commander. In 1980, he graduated from Baylor College of Dentistry and was selected for a one-year Dental General Practice residency at Keesler AFB. He subsequently completed the 2-year Advanced Education in General Dentistry Program at Wilford Hall Medical Center in San Antonio, TX.
Col. Murchison is a diplomate of the Federal Services Board of General Dentistry and the American Board of General Dentistry. Selected for a Dental Biomaterials Fellowship, he completed this certificate program at the University of Indiana School of Dentistry in 1991 and earned a Master of Medical Science with emphasis in Research Methodology and Test Design in 2003. A Fellow in the Academy of General Dentistry since 1984, he achieved Master status in 1995.
Col. Murchison's assignments include four tours as a full-time faculty member in Air Force AEGD residency programs, program director of the AEGD-2, and Military Consultant to the USAF Surgeon General for General Dentistry as well as for Graduate Dental and Continuing Education. He commanded the 35th Dental Squadron located at Misawa Air Base, Japan, and the 59th Dental Training Squadron at Lackland AFB, TX. In 2007, he accepted directorship of Air Force Dental Operations under the Office of the Surgeon General, responsible for 350,000 Air Force members at 80 dental clinic locations worldwide.
In 2010, Col. Murchison retired to Dallas after 30 years in the USAF. He currently advises HPAC and teaches both at the University of Texas at Dallas and the Baylor College of Dentistry.
Thuy Luong manages the HPAC office and attends the reception desk. On the phone or in person, she is most students’ first point of contact at HPAC.
Mrs. Luong earned her master’s in Development Economics at the Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, and a bachelor’s in International Business from Hanoi Foreign Trade University. She joined HPAC in Fall 2013 after 5 years at University of Arkansas before joining the HPAC in November, bringing a background in Diplomatic Missions and a telecom representative office. Her hobbies include reading, watching TV and spending time with her family.
Dr. Scott Wright
Dr. Scott Wright served UT Dallas as associate dean and director of the Health Professions Advising Center from 2006 through 2011. His twenty years of higher education experience, including ten years as the director of admissions at UT Southwestern Medical School, shaped the personality of HPAC’s advising and services. During his time at UT Dallas, Dr. Wright held prestigious positions in many state and national professional organizations, was elected president of the National Association of Advisors of Health Professions (NAAHP), implemented the pre-health minor, Certificate in Biomedical Sciences, and UT-PACT, and oversaw the state’s most rigorous Health Professions Evaluation Process.
Dr. Wright currently directs the Texas Medical and Dental Application Service, overseeing all applications to Texas medical, dental, and veterinary schools.
Dr. Joseph Wood
Dr. Joseph G. Wood served as HPAC Director and professor of neuroscience from 1996 until his retirement in 2007. Over his 45 year career, Dr. Wood shaped the founding of University of Texas medical schools in San Antonio and Houston, and served as chairman of the anatomy department at the University of Oklahoma School of Medicine. He received many state and national honors during his tenure.
Since 2007, the University of Texas at Dallas has honored his legacy with the Joseph G. Wood Award and scholarship, presented each year to the university’s top medical or dental applicant.