The University of Texas Medical School at Houston The University of Texas Medical School at Houston
Jan. 23, 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 update of news and items of interest. He also welcomes feedback through this two-way communication.

Friday we welcomed visitors from the Reynolds grant committee for a site visit. We are very proud to have been awarded this very competitive grant, which helps to advance geriatric medicine. This is a priority as demonstrated by our multidisciplinary research programs, our clinical offerings, and the many subspecialties we offer focused on the aged. This topic also extends to our educational mission as geriatrics is now offered to our medical students, and it will be featured as a scholarly concentration to supplement our curriculum. I am most grateful to Dr. Carmel Dyer and her colleagues for their leadership and expertise in this area.

We had a good visit with State Rep. Garnet Coleman Thursday. Dr. Jair Soares had the opportunity to show the representative psychiatry’s new home on the South Campus, which features state-of-the-art clinical facilities and research space designed to encourage collaboration. Rep. Coleman expressed concern with minority enrollment in medical schools. I am confident our recent addition to the Dean's Office, Dr. LaTanya Love, and Dr. Judianne Kellaway will continue to improve recruitment efforts for minority students. Rep. Coleman also spent time with Dr. Jon Tyson and Dr. Patricia Evans. Dr. Tyson is a leading investigator on the Neonatal Research Network from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development since 1986, and the core measures he and his team received for the last cycle are truly spectacular – they make our hospital and patients very proud of what is being done. Dr. Tyson is one of our strong leaders genuinely committed to the career development of our junior faculty. His contributions to our academic environment are truly extraordinary,  and I am confident that with Dr. Tyson and his mentorship team’s strong research infrastructure, junior faculty will excel.

I was happy to attend the open house of the UT cardiovascular surgery clinic at Southeast Memorial Hospital this week. Dr. Farzaneh Banki had such an outstanding showing, with all of the Department of Cardiovascular Surgery in attendance plus more than 40 private physicians with whom she has already built incredible working relationships. Dr. Banki is a wonderful model of UT Physicians, showing how we can be helpful to the physicians in the community and promote the image of our faculty - this the "UT experience" that allows us to develop good and stable relations.

We continue to receive good news from our residency site visits, with the latest regarding the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. This department accomplished an amazing feat – coming out of "troubles" with a full three-year accreditation of their residency program. This great work is a testament to the leadership of Dr. William McGarvey, the residents, Dr. Walt Lowe, and thanks to Memorial Hermann for providing resources to support this effort. This shows that when we pull together, we can achieve great things.

Our UT Physicians Patient Navigator program continues to receive many accolades and use, and I am happy everyone is discovering its easy access and our fantastic physicians and staff.

I was impressed by the renewed enthusiasm for teaching at the recent orientation of the core faculty who will be teaching clinical skills. We need to continue to emphasize this primary mission.

One such dedicated teacher among us is Dr. Han Zhang, senior lecturer in the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy. The recipient of numerous teaching awards, Dr. Zhang is popular with the students for his attention to detail and hosting study sessions on Saturdays. His dedication to teaching did not waver when during the recent SACS reaccreditation process he was asked for his educational transcript and actually booked a flight to China to get the document. He faced challenges and was delayed, but his commitment to teaching and this institution was unwavering. I am so impressed.

I want to thank the student committee for their feedback and professionalism regarding recommendations for student fee increases. These are difficult economic times and such decisions are not taken lightly. Speaking of funds, I am happy to say we are in the final stages of increasing stipends for all residents and fellows. Thanks to our hospital partners, our trainees’ salaries will be competitive locally and statewide July 1, 2010.

We continue to receive international visitors from faraway medical schools who we are able to learn from and who are most impressed by our facilities and educational programs. Recently we welcomed guests from China and India who were interested in seeking exchanges with our students, housestaff, and faculty. Speaking of China, this year marks the 25th anniversary of Dr. Henry Strobel’s famous China externship. President Larry Kaiser and I are planning to join the students and Dr. Strobel on this special trip – and who knows, maybe we’ll even film the Godfather 2 from China.

I enjoyed meeting with many employees during the annual employee appreciation lunch last week. The Leather Lounge was filled with so many smiling faces. Thank you for the work you do.

Also last week, our first-year students paid their respects to their first patients during the annual cadaver memorial service – a first-year tradition.

Our school has many traditions, and we have an opportunity to celebrate 40 years worth of these as we mark the Medical School’s 40th anniversary this September. We need your input and are looking for volunteers who are willing to help the Medical School mark this special occasion. Please e-mail me if you have ideas and interest.

I look forward to seeing you at the town hall meeting at noon Wednesday, Jan. 27 in 3.001, where I will give a global update on the strengths of our Medical School. This is also your opportunity to ask questions and share your ideas for our future.

Have a great weekend,


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