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
October 3, 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 via e-mail or comments.

This week I am shining the spotlight on leaders within our midst who joined our institution recognizing great potential and then went on to achieve it through hard work and collaboration.

Dr. Kevin Lally, chair of the Department of Pediatric Surgery, recently was elected chair of the surgical section of the American Academy of Pediatrics. This is well deserved recognition for a strong leader of a relatively young department of the Medical School, which has been built with a dedication to the highest standards in patient care, research, and academics. I have worked closely with Dr. Lally and his faculty for 15 years and I can proudly say that this is one of the best pediatric surgery groups in the nation.

I also want to recognize Dr. Dong Kim, chair of the Department of Neurosurgery, which recently was cited by the Journal of Neurosurgery as seventh in NIH funding for all neurosurgery departments and ranked ninth for productivity among academic neurosurgery departments as measured by publications in neuroscience journals. These accomplishments are testament to a department that has shown a bold approach to clinical growth and could not have been accomplished without strong leadership and support from the Medical School and Memorial Hermann.

Congratulations to the six outstanding students recognized as Dean Research Scholarship recipients: Sharon Way, Proletta Datta, Daniel Schneider, Kedryn Baskin, Jennifer Kerr, andAman Mann. And my appreciation goes to the faculty and their research staff who have dedicated time and resources to share knowledge and provide mentorship. I am always thankful for the meaningful interactions between students and their mentors as those pave the way for our future leaders.

I want to welcome Dr. Andrew Burgess to our Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. I always tell you we have talented leaders who want to join our faculty, and this is just one example. Speaking of faculty, I was pleased to celebrate the promotions of some of our faculty in the Department of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery at a surprise breakfast last week. Faculty promotions are a worthy accomplishment for celebration, and we will continue to recognize these achievements within the confines of our new, and somewhat unpopular, fiscal policies.

Balancing budgets and growth was a theme of President Kaiser’s town hall meeting, where he gave updates on all of the schools and talked about collaboration and the upcoming legislative session.

Collaboration is a new venture for the development functions of the Medical School and Memorial Hermann as we work together to showcase the neurosciences to our community – raising the awareness and fundraising of these vital programs. We are truly the leaders in so many of these areas – we have the largest trauma center, the largest neonatology center, and a long history of excellence in stroke, neurosurgery, multiple sclerosis, and rehabilitation – among others. We are starting the process to increase the community awareness of this unmatched excellence and will ask for transformational gifts to sustain and grow these programs.

The UT mitochondrial disease program is one of those success stories – of growing and helping. Thanks to a small group of dedicated people, it has grown into one of the largest mitochondrial disease programs in the nation. Last week, a fundraising event was held in support of Dr. Mary Kay Koenig’s program, which is built on evidence-based medicine and dedicated clinical care.

The Medical School Advisory Council and Friends of the Medical School each met recently to lend support to our programs and learn more about our plans for the future. I never miss an opportunity to provide these groups an update on our progress and successes, and I am always grateful for their outside perspective and help. My thanks to Drew Kanaly, Barry Lewis, and Sally Harvin for their leadership of these events. I want to also thank Carolyn Keenan for hosting a well attended reception to kick off the new academic year. In other development news, I was happy to travel with President Kaiser and the deans of all of the other UTHealth schools on Monday as our president took the strong message of UTHealth to our alumni and friends in the Dallas area.

In my role as chair of the Department of Pediatrics, I have begun attending division meetings this fiscal year and am looking forward to hearing from all of the department faculty. I understand we need to do a better job of communicating how outstanding our clinical outcomes and academic programs are and how we stack up compared to the best institutions across the nation. When it comes to research, clinical care, and education, we don’t have to look far to see our school at the top of the charts – this is something we all need to recognize and be proud of.

I also had the recent occasion to attend the Department of Internal Medicine’s town hall meeting led by Dr. David McPherson. As chair for three years, Dr. McPherson proudly displayed his department’s growth in all areas – the department faculty has nearly doubled and the overall clinical productivity has substantially grown. The department is built upon strong financial accountability, and I applaud the two-way communication.

I had a very welcomed visit from former Heart and Vascular Institute CEO Erin Asprec, who is now CEO of Memorial Hermann Southeast, and Kyle Price, COO of Memorial Hermann Southeast. I want to assure these leaders that geography will not break this relationship, and in fact it will grow stronger as we assist Southeast with its medical staffing needs. We have been having very integrated meetings with Memorial Hermann that are strategic and data driven with well-defined priorities as we move forward.

I encourage you as a patient and our clinicians to utilize the new UT Physicians patient navigator space that is now open just inside the Fannin entrance of the UT Physicians building. We are fielding requests to remodel other spaces; however, service and our overall approach to delivering passionate care is what is key to the success of our group practice and what we will emphasize.

On Wednesday, I joined a group of UTHealth officials who gave a briefing for Commissioners Court staff and a tour at Lyndon B. Johnson General Hospital. The staff had the opportunity to visit the operating room, labor and delivery, and truly experience the outstanding service of this hospital.  With a 60 percent uninsured rate in our area, our faculty and residents are greatly valued for the comprehensive, quality care they provide.

I hope these examples have reminded you that here you have everything you need to excel. Through hard work, groundbreaking ideas and collaboration, you can transform anything you do.

Have a great weekend,



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