The University of Texas Medical School at Houston The University of Texas Medical School at Houston
January 11, 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.


This week I am writing you from Washington, D.C., where I am attending an Association of American Medical College's seminar for deans. This is a good opportunity to exchange ideas and learn from others' best practices regarding the challenges academic medicine faces today and will face in the future.

In that vein, I would like to share with you some best practices regarding collegiality. These 12 Rules for Collegiality come from Dr. Robert Cipriano, from Southern Connecticut State University and are aimed at department chairs, but I think everyone in a supervisory role could learn from them:

  • The department climate is the chair's responsibility.
  • Chairs can have a positive effect on the department environment by modeling the characteristics they wish their faculty, staff, and students to exhibit.
  • The chair position is a service position.
  • Chairs need to be knowledgeable and competent.
  • The chair's work should be as transparent as possible.
  • Chairs should see themselves as equals.
  • Chairs must be objective.
  • Chairs must be credible.
  • Chairs must respect all members of the department.
  • Chairs must be humble.
  • Department climate is bolstered by demonstrations of appreciation for jobs well done.
  • Chairs need to protect the confidentiality of the privileged information they receive.

Collegiality on all levels is essential for the good health of our Medical School, and I look to our chairs to continue to be engaged and follow the rules of engagement.

Speaking of chairs, I want to let you know that all search committees for our vacant department chairs are active in their searches for new leadership. These include the Department of Internal Medicine, and the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and PM&R.

Our partnership with Memorial Hermann has been instrumental in the recruitment of recent new chairs, and our relationship with this institution is progressing in the right direction. Memorial Hermann has shown its support to our mission. These good relations create a favorable environment for our affiliation agreement, which we hope to finalize by summer. Our relationship with Memorial Hermann must be plastic and flexible if it is not, we might miss opportunities that present themselves. We are completely committed to this type of association.

Patient care is an area where we must continue on our path to pursue unquestionable excellence. This extends beyond the doctor-patient relation to every aspect of our clinics. This point was illuminated by a faculty's e-mail, who detailed the difficulty of ever reaching a live person when calling for a consult or a referral to one of his fellow faculty. We need to implement a permanent change in our culture and the way we operate to create a simple structure to make everyone's life easier. Voicemail may be a convenience, but all clinical faculty must be accessible when it comes to patients and faculty.

I am asking for your support and comments regarding the proposed "Academy of Educators." You may have heard of this plan to create a selective group of faculty who are champions and leaders of our education mission. The Office of Educational Programs has created this proposal, and I welcome your feedback.

Nominations are now open for the faculty Human in Medicine Award, which recognizes a faculty member who serves as a role model, demonstrating compassion and empathy in patient care. Faculty, students, and residents may submit their nomination by Feb. 1 to Dr. Margaret McNeese.

Have a great weekend,


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