The University of Texas Medical School at Houston The University of Texas Medical School at Houston
May 10, 2009 | 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 hope all of the moms are having a great mother’s day weekend. This again has been a busy week of bringing our Medical School message to the community and seeking new opportunities to strengthen our missions.

I want to thank Dr. Carlos Moreno, chair of the Department of Family Medicine, for his support of new initiatives discussed this week as we explore opportunities to enrich our primary care educational experiences. We met with our residency program directors, chief residents, medical students, family practice residents, Dr. Patricia Butler, and Dr. Judianne Kellaway and talked about the next step to create a primary care program that connects medical students and faculty with subspecialties. This was the first of several meetings scheduled to build upon our primary care programs. We have tremendous strengths and opportunity here and welcome everyone’s expertise and input – our primary care training programs must attract the best students and strive to be leaders in a discipline that will play a major role in the future of our “troubled” health care system.

President Larry Kaiser was the featured speaker at this year’s Faculty Wives and Women Faculty’s luncheon. He detailed initiatives and changes he expects in each school, gave an update on positive news from the Legislature, and told the audience how happy and proud he was to be president of the Health Science Center. The Medical School is grateful for his leadership and support.

Another highlight of the week was the Cheves Smythe Distinguished Lecture given by Dr. Douglas Mann, former chief of cardiology at the Texas Heart Institute and Baylor. We wish him and his wife, Dr. Laura Colletti-Mann, clinical associate professor of internal medicine, the best as they take on new responsibilities at Washington University in St. Louis.

I was unable to attend a new standing Memorial Hermann Advisory Council meeting led by Juanita Romans this week. This monthly meeting brings physician leaders together with Memorial Hermann leadership to discuss issues and opportunities for alignment and growth. The fiscal year 2010 budget was the topic of this month’s meeting.

Friday morning we had a fantastic quarterly meeting with President Kaiser, Dr. Steve Brown, Kevin Dillon, Julie Page and the Harris County Hospital District leadership. We reviewed the tremendous growth experienced at LBJ General Hospital; discussed our immediate need for a new contractual arrangement for women, children and pathology services; and talked about our link with the community health clinics, which the District is planning to expand.

We had an Alumni Association Board meeting Tuesday evening led by Dr. John Green, the president of the organization. We focused on the alumni office’s reporting structure and relationship with Institutional Advancement. A search for a new leader of that office is forthcoming.

Faculty reviews were the focus of this week’s dean meeting. Dr. Max Buja and Karen Parsons led a discussion about the rules related to post-tenure faculty reviews. It is important for each chair to take an active role on any review process and to complete the annual faculty review. This is a great mechanism for feedback and is necessary to promote retention and to evaluate career development – of not only faculty but for staff as well.

In my duties as chair of the Department of Pediatrics, I continue to attend events related to physician recruitment and retention. I had a very productive update from Dr. Susan Landry regarding annual reviews and the status of the research program at the Children’s Learning Institute. She has been very successful in recruiting experts from around the nation in the fields of reading, mathematics, and recently, autism. I also attended the monthly division chiefs’ meeting to discuss our clinical budget, new faculty, and aligning our activity with our clinical partners. In addition, I interviewed an outstanding applicant for our Division of Neonatology from Duke this week. I am confident she will strongly consider joining our faculty as she would fit right in - it is very difficult to fail academically at UT these days.

At the Administrative Council meeting this week, we welcomed back Dr. Henry Strobel from his elective trip to China. We discussed non-physician academic appointments and will need better guidelines regarding promotion and track for these important positions. We also received a positive update on the new patient navigator system at UT Physicians from Dr. Brent King and Andrew Casas. You might have spotted Andrew on the Ch. 13 news this week talking about wait times to see specialists. Because of our investment in clinical faculty, patients are able to see a UT Physician in 3-7 days – much quicker than the average office in Houston. This is what our community needs.

I attended a very nice dinner Wednesday evening hosted by Mary Hale McLean, one of our development board members. This was an opportunity to share our faculty and their expertise with friends of the Medical School. Five faculty speakers: Dr. Theresa Koehler, Dr. John Byrne, Dr. Andrew Harper, Dr. Richard Castriotta, and Dr. Charles Cox, spoke to the group about their clinical and research interests and each headed up a table for small-group discussion. It was a great success, and I thank Mary Hale for her hospitality. We hope to have many more such events to take our positive message to our friends in the community. 

I was pleased to meet with the Medical School Advisory Council this week, organized by Jackie Callies and led by Drew Kanaly and Barry Lewis. I gave the group an update on the Medical School and then we had a surprise guest brought in by Barry. Our guest did not have a power point presentation this time. Rather, she told a powerful medical story, a “miracle story” that I hope we will be able to share with all of you at the upcoming annual faculty meeting. What a testament to the amazing work our UT physicians do every day and what a perfect Mother’s Day story.  As Andrew Casas says: “this is the type of organization we should always take pride to be part of.”

Happy Mother’s Day,




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