The University of Texas Medical School at Houston The University of Texas Medical School at Houston
November 9, 2007 | from the Office of Dean Giuseppe Colasurdo

Distributed on Fridays via e-mail to all Medical School employees, students, residents, and postdoctoral fellows, UT 2 Me is Dean Giuseppe Colasurdo's weekly update of news and items of interest. He also welcomes feedback through this two-way communication.


“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.”

I heard that familiar quote by Margaret Meade at the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) national meeting this week and was inspired. Also, the beautiful sentiment that “professionals designed the Titanic, an amateur designed the Ark,” was spoken at that meeting.

Yes, together we are building something great – we’ll just omit the flood references.

In addition to relevant quotes, hot topics at the AAMC meeting included the looming physician shortage – a 100,000 deficit predicted in the next 10 years, the lack of time students spend with senior faculty, and the barriers to the health-care system. We are working to solve the national challenges within our grasps by increasing the class size and focusing on faculty retention issues.

Let me share the top seven priorities for National Institutes of Health funding, which were presented at the meeting:

  1. Obesity
  2. Neuroscience blueprint
  3. Regenerative medicine
  4. Informatics in medicine
  5. Pharmacogenomics
  6. Health disparities
  7. Children’s health

We have great strengths in many of these areas and through collaboration within the UT Health Science Center can grow these research efforts and increase our NIH success rates, which have been on the upswing – an amazing accomplishment during these tight budgetary times.

The Administrative Council and Chairs meetings this week were packed, and I was pleased to report we are predicting a healthy year from our group practice plan. We also spoke about some familiar challenges – namely billing and physician licensing. On this front, we must change our attitude and instead of becoming complacent with things that do not work, seek solutions. Our school has strong administrators and will provide assistance to unsolved challenges. With the Harris County Hospital District contract evolving to a relative value unit system, we have a new opportunity on the horizon to improve productivity and collections while maintaining services. If we do not, this contract could pose a $2-3 million loss to the group practice plan when it goes into effect in January or February. With respect to the compensation plan, I can reassure our faculty and staff that productivity will be rewarded. The compensation plan is not simple – but it will be implemented, and it will be fair. The success of our mission will not be measured by adjustments of compensation and incentive payments. Rather, it will be measured by our ability to advance the frontiers of education, research, and the quality of care.

I am happy to tell you that the search for the new chair of the Department of Otolaryngology is going in the right direction, and I expect we will have a new chair in place March 1.

As you may know, I am serving on the search committee for the next president of the UT Health Science Center. The search committee has great representation, including members of the community, three other faculty members from the Medical School, and Dan Wolterman, president and CEO of Memorial Hermann Healthcare System. Meetings are expected to take place in January and February, and Dr. Kenneth Shine, UT System executive vice chancellor for health affairs, will host a town hall on December 11 to explain the search process.

I had a great meeting this week with Dr. Vicki Regan, president of the Medical School’s Alumni Association, who told me alumni are very eager to partner with us and spread the good news about the Medical School. We are planning to host an alumni reception at next year’s AAMC meeting, which will be held in San Antonio.

In closing, I want to thank everyone who has sent e-mails regarding this communication. I appreciate them, and while I may not get to answer each one personally, please know that I am reading them and welcome your comments and questions.

Have a great weekend,


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