The University of Texas Medical School at Houston The University of Texas Medical School at Houston
November 30, 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.


It’s beginning to look a lot like the holidays at the Medical School. I want to thank the Employee Relations Committee and the volunteers who decorated our Leather Lounge – it looks beautiful!

We also have had some unique shopping opportunities to get us into the seasonal frame of mind with the Employee Relations Committee’s annual craft fair and the Art Wall Committee’s annual silent art auction – both events very impressively showing the creative side of our staff, students, and faculty.

And, we are about to unwrap one of the best presents of all in the Medical School’s 37-year history – our shiny new six-story research building. What a fantastic gift to us and the future of this school that took the ingenuity, guidance, skill, and determination of so many to accomplish. I hope to see you all at the ribbon-cutting event Dec. 14, when we will get to walk through its doors.

Another date to mark on the calendar is Tuesday, Dec. 4 – Dr. Willerson will be here at the Medical School to hold a president’s update at noon, so be sure to bring your questions.  And, the following Tuesday, Dec. 11, Dr. Kenneth Shine, executive vice chancellor for health affairs at the UT System, will be at the IMM to talk about the presidential search process. We’ve got a busy December shaping up!

Instead of waiting for New Year’s resolutions, I am setting a special goal for the next three months – and I need your help. My objective is that we make the UT Physicians clinics the best experience in the Texas Medical Center. To do this, I will be working with Andrew Casas and Dr. Brent King and all of the medical directors and clinical chairs to clarify the clinical structure, set targets for clinical volumes, and emphasize service and quality. The faculty and clinical staff are integral to making this happen, and we will involve Memorial Hermann in this transformation to ensure the transition from the first appointment to the procedure schedule is as smooth as possible.

We will bolster the marketing of UT Physicians and link the Medical School with our clinics through the help of the Office of Communications.  And we, as Medical School employees, will be proud to share the good news of the UT Physicians clinics as their ambassadors.  I remind faculty and chairs to share their accolades with the Office of Communications so that we can broadcast our positive stories with the community and increase our visibility.

There continues to be rumbling about clinical offices moving to the new Memorial Hermann Medical Plaza building. There will be three of our clinical offices making that move– and these offices have the financial support of Memorial Hermann – Texas Medical Center to do so: cardiothoracic surgery, otorhinolaryngology, and neurosurgery. The rest of our clinical offices will likely remain in our UT Professional Building – a building in which we must retain 60-70 percent teaching activity.  This is a fine building, with a nice personality – and most importantly, it is our UT building. It makes no good financial sense to move – and we are willing to renovate space as needed. After all, patients come to see the physician, not the building.

I had a great meeting this week with State Rep. Lois Kolkhorst, who realizes that state funding for education is dwindling in relation to our increase in class sizes. She is sensitive to our needs and will have a strong voice for us in the state Legislature and in Washington to help us secure funding for teaching. On a tour of our facilities, she was most impressed by our physician and research teams.

With decreasing state funds for teaching, we must do our best to protect our teaching mission. That is our goal with our RVU system, which I assure you will not disrupt education.  At its last meeting, the Faculty Senate approved Dr. Patricia Butler’s committee’s RVU recommendation, saying it was fair and applied equally to basic science and clinical faculty. There will be no immediate transfer of funds this year – and I will not allow financial hardships on departments (basic science or clinical) as a result of this or other plans. We are a true group practice at UT.

Speaking of money, I am proud to report that the Medical School exceeded its State Employee Charitable Campaign goal, with 488 employees contributing a total of more than $93,000. It is the season for giving, and let us continue to show that this is the Medical School’s true spirit.

Have a great weekend,


For archives of this newsletter, visit the Dean's Communications homepage.