The University of Texas Medical School at Houston The University of Texas Medical School at Houston
May 16, 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 would like to start off this week by officially congratulating and welcoming Dr. Larry Kaiser as our new UT Health Science Center president. We are very fortunate to have someone of his experience and stature as our new leader, and he already is “plugged in” to the Medical School. I am certain he will provide strong support and leadership to the new culture of excellence throughout the Health Science Center. We all are looking forward to getting to know him better once he officially begins in August.

This week I hosted a dinner for the department chairs. It was a wonderful evening, and the purpose was to provide a forum for our chairs to share their experiences and challenges in our academic environment. I want to thank our chairs for their invaluable contributions of changing our group practice and making improvements in our Medical School. To have our chairs working together and supportive of each other is more important to me than a $5 million gift to our school – their professionalism and leadership is the best gift of all. My goal is to empower them to be leaders and provide support to foster the success of all of our departments.

I want to encourage our chairs and all of our faculty to attend the Annual Faculty Meeting Wednesday, May 21. I think you will be pleased with the fresh approach we are taking for the meeting this year, and it promises to be revealing and upbeat as we share the momentum of the school.

Another great event this week was the Children’s Learning Institute’s “breakfast with the experts”  I attended Monday. There was a great turnout for the event, which featured four speakers, Dr. Susan Landry, Dr. Andrew Papanicolaou, Dr. Carolyn Denton, and Dr. Mike Assel. Dr. Landry introduced the concept of a window of opportunity to assess learning and associated disabilities in the first years of life. The speakers focused on the importance of the diagnosis of learning disorders and the resulting high quality, specialized interventions during this critical window of development. An example of personalized medicine in action.

You may be aware that the UT Health Science Center has a new mission statement, which recently was approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board:

As a comprehensive health science center university, the mission of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston is to educate health science professionals, discover and translate advances in the biomedical and social sciences, and model the best practices in clinical care and public health.

We pursue this mission in order to advance the quality of human life by enhancing the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease and injury, as well as promoting individual health and community well-being.

This mission is aligned with our Medical School mission, and as we educate the physicians of tomorrow, we provide an important link to the success of the Health Science Center.

I recently read an article from Academic Medicine on “What Makes a Good Clinical Teacher in Medicine?” The report concludes that excellent teaching is “inspiring, supporting, actively involving, and communicating with students.” I agree and think this approach is needed to encourage our students’ excitement about their chosen profession.

I had the opportunity to meet with the senior class officers this week, Hillary Skelton, Rhet Langley, and Mary Ara. The students shared their enthusiasm for medicine, the excitement of their chosen residencies, and their feelings toward their education and the environment at our medical school. I am pleased to report that they gave glowing reviews of their role models, who were faculty, residents, and fellows from across departments. They also spoke of the great camaraderie of their fellow classmates and attendings – they said that this supportive environment has well prepared them for the next step in their careers. All three of these students matched to their first choice for residency, which speaks volumes about our educational program and our students. Congratulations to our soon-to-be graduates, and please be assured that we will take your suggestions and feedback seriously as we continue to promote the highest standards of educational programs in our Medical School.

Have a great weekend,


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