The University of Texas Medical School at Houston The University of Texas Medical School at Houston
Oct. 30, 2009 | from the Office of Dean Giuseppe Colasurdo

Distributed every other Friday via e-mail to all Medical School employees, students, residents, and postdoctoral fellows, UT 2 Me is Dean Giuseppe Colasurdo's update of news and items of interest. He also welcomes feedback through this two-way communication.

As a medical school educating the next generation of physicians, we must never lose sight of our primary mission – education. With that in mind, I am pleased to update you on the progress of a number of educational initiatives that will be put in place this year.

 The inaugural members of our new UT Academy of Educators have been selected, with a Web site detailing the organization’s mission and goals forthcoming. Members of the academy will focus on innovative teaching projects and the development of educators.

We also have been successful in finalizing our core faculty – a group of 25 of our educators dedicated to teaching. Our hope is to match our finest teachers to our educational program, and we are supporting these faculty for their dedication to education. This new initiative is aimed to complement our students’ impressive USMLE scores and to remind our students that the quality of our educational environment is more important than numbers.

I want to thank Dr. Patricia Butler for moving the scholarly concentrations forward, which have seen unanimous support from the department chairs. There are several areas that have detailed proposals for new specialized opportunities for our students. Here is what an example of a program in neuroscience might look like. I enjoyed meeting with Dr. Larry Gilstrap last week, who is a professor emeritus, and in whose name the scholarly concentration for women’s services was created. He is truly amazed by the program’s possibilities and was happy to meet its first four students.

Many of our residency programs are undergoing site visits, and I am very pleased to report that we are making progress on the issue of resident duty-hour violations.  I had a good time at the mock orthopaedic surgery site visit, and am grateful to Juanita Romans for implementing the hospitalist program to decompress the trauma volume and am looking forward to the newly developed trauma institute to better triage the flow of patients. Residents are drawn to our program as the busiest trauma center in the nation, and we are making sure we have the resources to meet those needs.

Our faculty shone at inaugural UT System Clinical Safety and Effectiveness conference in Austin this month. Winning first and third prize for patient quality improvement projects were Dr. Felix Tsai and Dr. Bela Patel. This was a wonderful opportunity, led by Dr. Ken Shine, for our Medical School to showcase its people and programs and to help lead change to improve patient health.

I am increasingly hearing good feedback from those patients as they share the good experiences in quality and service they have had with our physicians. Your good work is known and recognized.

At the Medical Service Research and Development Board meeting this week, Kevin Dillon shared the group practice’s final numbers for fiscal year 2009 – a $7.5 million margin. This is remarkable in light of the clinical and research recruitment we have undertaken this year. Dr. Pamela Berens reported the credentialing numbers, which show a large number of new physicians joining our ranks – 229 faculty have joined our great school in the past two years. Andrew Casas spoke on the expansion of UT Physicians in the community. As we strategically expand UT Physicians, we will be respectful and complementary to the private physicians, not seeking competition but aiming to help the physicians and the community. We respect the valuable relationship we have established with the community physicians.

In the spirit of partnership, Memorial Hermann is including physician input and leadership as part of their strategic planning. This is an example of a growing and strengthening foundation between our organizations, and I am looking forward to participating in these important discussions.

Led by Dr. Tom Caskey, I attended an executive health care meeting that was supported by Dan Wolterman and President Larry Kaiser. It was an interesting discussion on personalized medicine, and we are formalizing plans to fill such a gap in our group practice.

We had visitors from around the state as part of a meeting of Congressional staff at the Medical School recently. President Kaiser and Juanita Romans moderated the discussion, which included remarks from Dr. Guy Clifton, who spoke on the status of health care reform, remarking that affordability would be his top priority of any government plan.

Congratulations to the three young investigators from the Medical School who were honored by the Health Science Center last week: Dr. Cesar Arias, Internal Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases; Dr. Shaoling Huang, Internal Medicine, Division of Cardiology; and Dr. Nicole Gonzales, Neurology. I enjoyed learning about the innovative work of these young, talented researchers.

I also want to bring to your attention Dr. Lenaine Westney, division director of urology. She is a great example of a young, successful, nationally known physician scientist, who has dedicated her time to the growth of the Division of Urology. I admire her hard work and tremendous leadership, especially since that she has achieved this on the 10 percent time she is at the Medical School – she is on staff at M. D. Anderson the remaining 90 percent.

Last week I attended a meeting I particularly enjoy – the meeting of the parents’ organization. This meeting is comprised primarily of parents of our first-year students, which is an outstanding group. Andrew Casas also had the opportunity to share with the parents the structure and mission of UT Physicians. I might add that Andrew kept his winning streak alive as the champion of the UT Scholarship Golf tournament – showing that UT Physicians is competitive outside of the Texas Medical Center.

It was refreshing and informative to exchange business information with H-E-B recently. I appreciate H-E-B’s data-driven approach to business, and we can learn from it – even if they are in a completely different field from us.

Just about one more month until the Fannin entrance to the Medical School building will be re-opened. I’m sure you will be happy with the way it will look, and I know you will be glad to hear the outside of the building is scheduled to be cleaned soon. I recently met with the leadership of Facilities and was very satisfied with their plans and expertise.

I had a very nice lunch this week with Dr. Lance Gould and Dr. David McPherson from internal medicine. Dr. Gould has been with our Medical School since 1979, and I enjoy learning the details of our school’s history from him. He says he feels encouraged by the direction of UT and Memorial Hermann. And in keeping with our friend Dr. Frank Arnett, Dr. Gould says, “This is still a place where if you have it, and are stubborn and motivated, you will succeed.” I couldn’t agree more.

Have a great weekend,


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