The University of Texas Medical School at Houston The University of Texas Medical School at Houston
January 18, 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.


I want to let you know about the great dinner meeting I had last night. No, it wasn’t with a CEO or a faculty candidate, but it was with four very important people – the student class presidents. I was honored to participate in this annual tradition of promoting open discussion between the students and the dean.

As a guest of this dinner, which Dr. Henry Strobel, associate dean for faculty affairs, hosts each month, I was very impressed by the class presidents: Camden Tissue, president of the first-year class; Peter Bourell, president of the second-year class; Chad Whited, president of the third-year class; and David Nolen, president of the fourth-year class. They told me of their love of this school for its camaraderie among students and for their relationships with the faculty. They were highly complimentary of the teaching environment, which speaks well of our engaged and attentive faculty.

I really enjoyed my visit with the students and was most pleased to hear about the high student morale. As I see it, the faculty belong to the chairs, and the residents and fellows belong to their program directors, but the students, they belong to us all. I encourage everyone – faculty and staff – to continue to reach out and spend time with our students. This is one of the most important interactions we can have as a medical school, and the students really appreciate our involvement.

I reminded the students that it is up to all of us to decide where and what we want to be – average or excellent. The difference between the two is how motivated we are to pursue knowledge and then to share it – the power of knowledge is irreplaceable.

As a result of the Association of American Medical Colleges meeting I attended last week, I have some encouraging words for you – we are not alone. Medical schools across the country are presented with the same challenges that we face, such as finding funds for teaching and research efforts, improving hospital relations, and faculty retention. A couple of things surprised me – our faculty salary structure is higher than Duke’s or Boston’s, and out of the nine new deans present, six of us were pediatricians or psychiatrists.

The meeting also reminded why I chose to become dean – because I know I can do more as a dean than as a chair, always acting in the best interest of the school.

I am pleased to let you know that the practice plan is continuing to do well – its success depends upon the success of the departments and divisions, so I applaud all of you for your positive contributions. We will be investing resources in the billing/collections area so that we can improve those outcomes as well.

One way we are planning to improve our practice plan is through the creation of a new UT Physicians Web site and newly designed Web sites for all departments. By July 1, you will see all department Web sites up to our design standards with current information and links to the new UT Physicians site. This is imperative as so many potential patients land on our Medical School site and then cannot find their way to an appointment. Several departments are already updated and looking great: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; Family and Community Medicine; Integrative Biology and Pharmacology; Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences; and Pediatrics. I encourage you to check out these sites and contact the Office of Communications with your Web needs.

Have a great weekend,


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