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
Jan. 8, 2010 | 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 regular update of news and items of interest. He also welcomes feedback through this two-way communication.

As we close the books on 2009, let me wish you a healthy and successful 2010! Beginning the new year is a good opportunity to look back and assess the progress made on the goals we had established for the Medical School in the Jan. 9, 2009 issue of UT2Me.

Reviewing it now, I see that this was quite an ambitious list, but I am pleased to report what you have accomplished as a team. And I know you are prepared for more great work ahead.

On the clinical side, we tried our best to achieve these goals and work to improve ourselves for the benefit of our patients. We have made significant progress in the growth of our group practice and the recruitment of capable leaders, and we have established promising alignments with our hospital partners. We also are actively exploring clinical opportunities outside of the Texas Medical Center with our hospital partners and are starting to see marked improvement in our revenue cycle, as documented by revenue increases in Diagnostic and Interventional Imaging and Internal Medicine.  We also are increasing the awareness of our Patient Navigator program, and our UT Physicians marketing team is aligned with the Health Science Center and is co-branding with Memorial Hermann – Texas Medical Center.

There are a few resolutions on the clinical side where we have not fully delivered and need help. One is creating a "physician model," which would help our growing group practice interact and link with private physicians and hospital-employed physicians. This is a critical item in our agenda in light of health care reform, and we must have flexibility in our approach. We also still need to strive for perfection when it comes to patient access and overall experience in our clinical sites, although this is an area where we have made some improvement.

In our research mission, we have been successful in the recruitment of competitive, motivated, innovative investigators who are doing studies in broad areas. We need to continue to be efficient as we create bridges between the Health Science Center schools, and I encourage the Research Committee, under the leadership of Dr. John Byrne, to facilitate these bridges. While we continue to grow our research expenditures, with the support of our chairs, I am confident we will have improvements in the career development of our faculty – as this is their top request.

As far as the future of our research enterprise, we will be moving several of our investigators to new facilities on the South Campus soon, and with the complex indirect cost recovery formula, we will carefully protect and plan our research growth. There also will be a new expectation for research faculty whose work effort is tied to grants – the new benchmark will be 50 percent to reflect the progress and strength of the productivity of our physician scientists. An area of research we are investing in is the Clinical Safety and Effectiveness Academy, which is in partnership with Memorial Hermann – Texas Medical Center. This is a timely and unique program that supports our mission of research and has great potential to benefit patient care and enrich science. If we do "control" the recruitment of researchers this year, please know that it is for the good of the Medical School and an effort to promote stability.

On the education front, I am pleased to report we are fostering a very competitive program, with 3,600 applicants for 230 first-year slots. And this year we had a pass rate of 98 percent on the USMLE step I, which is outstanding. We share a global commitment to our students, and our passion for education shows. This year we established our core faculty as well as our scholarly concentrations, and our academy of educators will soon debut. Although our progress may not be as fast as some may like, our focus is steadfast.

We are behind in our philanthropic effort to secure scholarships for students. To this end, great friends to our students, Ralph and Becky O’Connor, are planning a unique event that will attempt to ensure more friends and scholarships for our school. And we have had successful outreach visits to share how deserving our school and students are. We also are making improvements in technology for education, as we are exploring Second Life and now accommodate Macintosh computers. We continue to look at our infrastructure to meet student needs and are working to provide our incredible housestaff the increased stipends and benefits they deserve.

I hope you take the pride that I do in these amazing accomplishments you have achieved. There is a wonderful visual documentary of the past year for you to review, which you might have noticed in the holiday message I sent you. Created by the Office of Communications, a photo book of our Medical School is now available. I hope you will check it out, as it is an outstanding look at what you do - please, note that this item does not have a Dean tax.

I contend we have the best jobs in the world in that we do what we love and can reap the rewards that teaching, patient care, and research provide. We have formalized many centers of excellence, building on our strengths in aging, immunobiology, neuroscience, sports medicine, for instance. We have known we were leaders in these areas, but our community hasn’t. Now is our time to boldly lead, and we need your help to tell the great story of our great school. The strength of this school is its people, and working together, we will accomplish much to be proud of in 2010.

Have a great weekend,


For archives of this newsletter, visit the Dean's Communications homepage.