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Office of Public Affairs

Administrative Support

Karen Krakower Kaplan

Karen Krakower Kaplan

Assistant Vice President, Office of Public Affairs
Chief Communications Officer
Director, University Communications & Publications

Phone: 713-500-3045

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 Services – 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.

Joy Backhouse

Joy Backhouse

Executive Assistant
Phone: 713-500-3081

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.