The University of Texas Medical School at Houston The University of Texas Medical School at Houston
November 1, 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.

Everyone seems to be discussing collaboration these days. That was one of the topics at the Bridging the Divide panel discussion that I attended Monday. This was an informative meeting, which featured a welcome by President Larry Kaiser and a panel that included Dr. David Fine, CEO of St. Luke’s Episcopal Health System and Dr. Thomas Royer, president and CEO of CHRISTUS Health. Jack Lynch, CEO of Main Line Health, moderated. The panel talked about relevant issues in today’s changing health care environment, such as how physician reimbursements are not being returned to the areas where there are physician shortages – this must change if we want to bolster these specialties, such as primary care. This is a good ongoing discussion, and I will keep you informed of what is being planned in the Texas Medical Center. In the meantime, our providers will continue to work together and promote close, collegiate, and strategic collaborations with our affiliated institutions.

I was able to attend a Children’s Up Close event at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital on Wednesday. Ten families accompanied several of our physicians as they treated pediatric patients. They viewed operations conducted by Dr. Kevin Lally, Dr. Stephen Fletcher, Dr. John Teichgraeber, and Dr. Jim Baumgartner, rounded with our pediatric cardiologists, and visited the respiratory center with Dr. Keely Smith. The attendees were amazed and impressed with the high level of care, the communication between our faculty and the patients and their families, as well as the state-of-the-art technologies available in our facilities. I am very proud of the outstanding work that goes on at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital under the leadership of Craig Cordola.

One of our young alumni, David, and his wife, Lauren, visited me this week. They are in Michigan now, and said they miss the environment and the people of our Medical School. This young trainee is interested in pursuing academic medicine, and I hope he will return “home” to do just that.

On the education front, we are working to improve the compensation of our residents. We were able to grant them a 3 percent increase this year, which put us a bit closer to our peer institutions. We also are working on a draft of the curriculum retreat, which will cover such issues as testing, the integration of disciplines, and the introduction of the scholarly concentrations and strengthened preceptorship program.

This week we announced the first of our scholarly concentrations, the Larry C. Gilstrap, M.D., Center for Perinatal and Women’s Health. Dr. Gilstrap, chair emeritus of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, was a chair whose department was modeled after him. He led by example and cared about education as well as had high standards for patient care. He was very involved in planning for growth and bridging our relationships with Memorial Hermann – Texas Medical Center and the community, and he is still involved with our students and educational program today. I am very pleased that this center, which will promote research and bring the latest clinical applications to our patients, will serve as the first center for students who are interested in women’s health to get hands-on, in-depth experience in this specialty during their M.D. years here at UT. I am particularly grateful to Dr. Jim Willerson, Dr. Jon Tyson, and Dr. Susan Ramin for making this happen.

I am happy to tell you that I hear great things about the UTMB residents who are now in our mix. They have great knowledge, work ethic, and performance, and we have been pleased with their quick integration into our clinical service. I cannot predict the long-term plans of the UTMB residency program – we will have to see what the UT System and Legislature have to say. Nevertheless, our friends/educators at UTMB should be proud of their trainees – they are great ambassadors for UTMB.

Institutional priorities and strategies were the focus of a health science center leadership meeting introduced by President Larry Kaiser. We are looking at creating a global strategic mission and furthering collaboration between the schools. At the Medical School, we have been following our strategic agenda – and communicating it in words and in actions – as we improve our missions with aggressive and fast recruitments of outstanding new faculty from around the country. We are grateful for the infrastructure that allows us to make such progress – but resources are an area where we still will likely struggle. The recruitment of outstanding chairs, scientists, educators, and staff will continue to be the best investment we can make.

Thursday night was the open house at the UT Physicians clinic at Bellaire and the South 610 Loop. This was a great opportunity for us to share our people and our facilities with referring physicians and other community guests. This open house and our expansion into this building is one example of the new plans we have for marketing – something we want to build upon and have been discussing with the leadership of Andrew Casas and his team.

I want to thank Ralph O’Connor for visiting our school this week, when we were able to discuss our philanthropic strategies for the Medical School Expansion. We have $30-50 million in opportunities and needs to fund the recruitment and the retention of our faculty in this facility. Mr. O’Connor toured the building with Dr. John Hancock and heard a presentation by Dr. Nehal Parikh on his latest research. Dr. Parikh wants to be the first in the country to do specialized imaging with a high Tesla MRI in premature infants. We are planning to lease a transporter from Germany – one of just 12 in the world -- for his clinical research. This is just one example of our faculty who want to do first-class, ground-breaking research – if that is their goal, we will find a way.

I met with the leadership of the Harris County Medical Society this week. We greatly appreciate their contributions toward improving and supporting the physician community. I strongly encourage our faculty to be involved in this organization, and I want to especially thank Dr. Russ Kridel for his active involvement in this group and his invaluable support of the educational program of our Department of Otorhinolaryngology.

With our recent recruitments and the powerful recruiting tools of our people and our reputation – plus new space and the CTSA, I feel very upbeat about the morale and the future of our school. This is a great time to be in this stable, growing university. In fact, we have a waiting list of talented faculty who want to join our great school.

I am expecting a good turnout at our dinner in San Antonio at the Witte Museum Sunday evening. If you have not RSVP’d and will be in town for the AAMC meeting, or know alumni our parents in the area who would like to attend, please call 713.500.5065.

At a recent meeting, Kevin Dillon shared with me that the best decisions in our UT Health Science Center are made during difficult times. I am so proud of the current state of our school, with its collaboration, message, and positive environment – what a great school we have.

Hope you enjoyed a safe and fun Halloween!

Have a great weekend,


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