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
July 3, 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.

There was quite a crowd this week as I welcomed the new class of residents and fellows to our Medical School. We are approaching 900 total residents and fellows, confirming that our programs are growing and making us one of the largest training programs in the country. With our unmatched patient population and the growth of our clinical and research programs, our trainees have unlimited opportunities.

Six residents recently received the Gold Foundation’s Humanism and Excellence in Teaching Awards for their compassion and empathy in the delivery of care to patients and for illustrating professional behavior, enthusiasm, and skill. Nominated by the current fourth-year students, the winners included Dr. Angela Cheng, surgery; Dr. Pranav Diwan, internal medicine; Dr. David Hamilton, surgery; Dr. Bart MacDonald, neurosurgery; Dr. Sonali Thosani, medicine/pediatrics; and Dr. Ramal Weragoda, internal medicine. Our students are heavily dependent upon a personal bond with their residents, and I applaud their leadership and mentoring.

We are making progress in the search for a new leader for our Alumni Relations office. We have a strong pool of applicants, and the chair of the alumni association is pleased with the good momentum of the search. Speaking of Alumni Relations, the staff of this office is remaining in the Jesse Jones Library as the Medical School’s Development Office has moved to University Center Tower. Although their location has changed, their commitment to the Medical School and its philanthropic goals has not.

At a town hall meeting of pediatric residents last week, I saw great interest and involvement by the residents who are united to solve the problem of resident duty-hour violations. I am confident that by Sept. 1 there will be zero such violations in the Department of Pediatrics. I encourage all program directors to openly share with the residents and to involve them, as they have great ideas for solutions.

I had a very informative meeting with Karen Love, executive director of Harris County Healthcare Alliance, who shared with me initiatives aimed at integrating networks of primary care providers and linking to specialties to comprehensively serve Harris County. We are determining how we can work together and reduce costs while improving efficiencies.

Dr. Guy Clifton will be considering similar goals as he joins our school to pursue health policy measures. In his new role, he will be an ambassador for our school and physicians in an effort to implement novel, effective programs building on quality of care with a strong emphasis on cost reduction and the elimination of unnecessary studies and procedures. Health care reforms are on the minds of many, and we aim to be a leader to introduce positive change on this front.

We have a new department in the works – Dr. Kaiser has approved the Department of Nanomedicine and Biomedical Engineering, and we will officially submit this request to the UT System. Dr. Mauro Ferrari, Professor and Director of Nanomedicine at the IMM, will chair this department, which promises translational research to improve patients’ lives.

These are very busy times as three marketing teams – at UT Physicians, Memorial Hermann, and the Health Science Center - work in parallel to strengthen our brands.  Regardless of any tagline or logo, our families, patients, and partners know us, our values, and what we deliver in our classrooms, labs, clinics, and hospitals.

Jorge Zambra informed us of a constructive plan and discussion related to a UT System Revenue Task Force Meeting, which had representation from all of the health campuses to model best practices and integrate new ideas. Due to the current economic environment, there is increased pressure to maintain and grow programs that support our missions of research and academics. Our clinical enterprise continues to be critical funding source for UT System health care institutions. While margins remain modest, we must explore every opportunity to increase net income from clinical operations. Our success is clearly multifactorial, and we ask for assistance from our DMOs and McKesson to integrate new knowledge and upcoming recommendations.

I enjoyed my visit with Regent Robert Stillwell who toured campus recently to learn of the complexities and strengths of our very comprehensive Health Science Center. Hearing directly from President Larry Kaiser, our vice presidents and deans directly, he clearly appreciates the talents here.

In one of my first statements to Regent Stillwell, I let him know that our existence is predicated upon our students. Our primary responsibility is to teach and to be committed to teaching. As we ready for student interview season, we should never want for faculty interviewees. Our students and our Office of Admissions expect all faculty to raise their hands and to be engaged in this exciting time of faculty interviews.

Mark your calendars for next April. That is when Dr. Kaiser will lead the Houston March of Dimes event as the new chair. We will be behind our president to make this the most successful event ever.

Have a great July 4th weekend,




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