The University of Texas Medical School at Houston
The University of Texas Medical School at HoustonThe University of Texas Medical School at Houston
The University of Texas Medical School at Houston
January 4, 2008 | 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.


Welcome back to work and to the start of a great New Year! With your continued support and good efforts, I predict excellent outcomes for the Medical School in 2008.

I have just received word that the first quarter of the practice plan has turned out to be the best first quarter in the practice plan’s history. I want to thank everyone for their contributions, especially the chairs who are leading the charge in their departments. We are doing better with billing, and productivity has been improving. Our collections make this the best-ever December for the practice plan – up 16 percent from last December.

Also in these first four months, we have seen a good improvement in productivity at the Harris County Hospital District, which will make our transition from an FTE to an RVU system there much easier for the group practice plan. We will still need to asses our clinical and teaching programs there, but we are off to a terrific start.

As a result of our clinical income, I will start the process of releasing funds to productive departments and faculty. I am in contact with the chairs to maintain a simple, transparent structure for incentive clinical payments to reward academic and clinical productivity.

A new year always brings changes, and this one is no different as we say farewell and thank you to Dr. James Arens and Dr. John Sparks, each of whom led an important department in this school – Dr. Arens was chair of the Department of Anesthesiology for three years, and Dr. Sparks was chair of the Department of Pediatrics for 10 years. I want to especially thank John Sparks, who recruited me here – he was a great chair and is a great man; the University of Nebraska is fortunate to have him as its new chair of pediatrics.

Also in the New Year, we are preparing to launch a personalized medicine program pilot to be led by Dr. Thomas Caskey with the collaboration of Memorial Hermann – Texas Medical Center and myself. This burgeoning field takes an individualized approach to medicine by utilizing new information in genomics and pharmacology. This is a great opportunity for an academic medical center to wed basic and clinical science in an attempt to tailor treatment according to the genetic profile of the individual patient. While pharmacogenomics testing is not widely available, the potential applications of this powerful approach to patient care will enhance our ability to treat and prevent human diseases. We will need a group of champion physicians, who as a team will build an unparalleled program for individuals who select this type of treatment.

In the coming months, we will be asking faculty to take a more active role in the support of the Medical School. I have to tell you that our faculty contributions to our philanthropic efforts are exceeding low, and I intend to change that starting with funding a scholarship. I will be hosting a dinner for the chairs to talk about this important effort, and I will ask each chair to host a dinner, in turn, with their division chiefs and faculty. We also will be reaching out to alumni for their support and have a special faculty/alumni event planned for the AAMC meeting that will be held in San Antonio. When it comes to fund-raising, we must start at home and help ourselves.

The Medical School will host special visitors Feb. 4, as Dr. Kenneth Shine and some of his UT System colleagues come for an annual campus visit – fair warning to be on your best behavior! Dr. Shine also will be in town Jan. 14, as we have our first meeting of the presidential search committee.

Looking ahead, I will present my vision for the Medical School and priorities for change in the clinical, education, and research programs in mid-February. I look forward to seeing you at this special meeting – with the time and place to be announced.

Have a great weekend,


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