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
Sept. 5, 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.

As we start a new fiscal year, I’d like to take a moment to look back on a great year and thank each and every one of you for a job well done. What you did this year was truly phenomenal – from growing our alumni participation rate to a 9 percent growth at UT Physicians to recruiting some outstanding leaders. But, there is no resting ahead – we have to continue to grow and get better at what we do.

I also would like to thank the Medical School leadership and the Office of Development and Alumni Relations for organizing an event for my one-year anniversary as dean. The leadership team of the Medical School is the team we need to move our institution forward. As I said then, this is not a job for one person – the success of our Medical School is its people and in their team approach to solutions.

As far as priorities for the year ahead, improving our educational experience is at the top of the list. We are planning to gradually introduce the concentration programs and enhanced preceptorship program next year. This will provide new opportunities for our students up to junior faculty to further develop their careers in chosen fields. We also will be meeting with the Curriculum Committee and the Office of Student Affairs to develop new means to encourage the success of our students. When it comes to our residency programs, we will have to have controlled growth so that we maintain the quality of our programs with good faculty-to-student ratios and time spent for education. The growth of our residency programs must be linked to the growth of our medical degree program so that we do not force our talented students out of state to pursue their training. If we are growing our student and resident populations, then we must also grow our faculty.

I am very pleased to report that our initiatives and reputation for promoting a diverse student body continue to be recognized. This week, the Medical School was ranked fifth best medical school for Hispanics by the Hispanic Business Magazine. Our ranking continues to improve, and we should all be proud of this worthy recognition.

Communication is another important priority for our school. Two-way communication at all levels is important, but I want to stress the department chair’s role in critically communicating with their faculty. At the start of this fiscal year, our chairs will sit down with each faculty member and talk about career development and expectations. This is the most important thing a chair has to do this year with their faculty. As we improve our communications and refine our compensation plan, improved morale will follow.

Clarifying communication also was on the agenda of the Executive Council meeting this week. There is much confusion when it comes to the tracks we offer our faculty. All of our faculty need to understand the tracks, and we must have clear distinctions between them. This is an area we need to re-evaluate and look into further – across the UT Health Science Center. We owe our faculty an open discussion on this topic.

Building our relationships with our clinical partners, Memorial Hermann – Texas Medical Center and LBJ General Hospital also are key this year. The main emphasis of these relationships must be planned growth and improved quality. We need to find a model to jointly, successfully grow and improve outcomes of our clinical performance so that we can help patients’ lives. I have been pleased with the growth of our services, yet growth can provide challenges if not planned.

I spoke with Dr. Eric Thomas and Dr. Jon Tyson Thursday about the idea of “quality officers” – one in each hospital to maintain evidence-based quality goals and promote communication between the hospitals and the physicians. I think this idea has great value and one you may be hearing more about.

The Medical School and Memorial Hermann - TMC hosted a group of about 10 visitors from Universidad de Guadalajara this week. These international visitors were overwhelmed by what they saw here – meeting those who write the international literature and seeing our clinical, educational, and research operations. They are interested in creating an exchange program with our school for students, residents, and faculty. Their medical school has 10,000 students. Their goal, they said, is to build a bridge between our institutions. Such a bridge, they said, is important for their universities and for their country. We welcome these relationships.

I received a special request from graduate student Josh Gowin, who is spearheading the new recycling efforts at the Medical School. There is now an interdepartmental competition to encourage recycling, and each department is encouraged to sponsor a recycling bin for $100, which will be emptied by volunteers on a weekly basis. Please contact Josh to support this innovative initiative.

Yesterday I spent the day in Austin visiting the Capitol and attending the Texas Medical Association’s (TMA) Council of Medical School Deans and the TMA Council Summit on Medical Education. There I learned about learning objective repositories that are being proposed to benefit faculty and students across the state, and we had discussions on issues of copyright for academic centers and temporary faculty licenses. We also discussed the workforce needs of physicians in our state – the need for pediatric specialists, psychiatrists, and primary care physicians, including geriatricians, continue to be great. Our school has created 120 new positions in the past 7 years and we fill 100 percent of our slots. Collectively, this information strongly suggests that our residency programs are robust and competitive. And 83 percent of physicians who complete their M.D. and residency training in our programs stay in Texas to care for the people of our state - this is truly remarkable!

As we embark upon this new fiscal year, our goal must to re-engage with our primary mission of education. We must bridge the gaps between our institution and students so that our physicians of tomorrow will create new meaningful connections with their patients. As we continue to better define innovation and transformation of the medical profession, providing knowledge for competency and the latest in technology, we must continue to teach and be models for the physicians of tomorrow. We must re-emphasize the physician as a healer of the whole individual – one who listens and has eye contact with patients. We must show our students they can reach any achievements. Together we will show our students, residents, partners, and patients our UT difference.

Have a great weekend,



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