Dr. Francisco Fuentes
Dr. Francisco Fuentes

The recipient of the 2016 Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award presented by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation is Francisco Fuentes, M.D., professor of internal medicine.

Fuentes, holder of the Theodore R. and Maureen O’Driscoll Levy Endowed Professorship in Cardiology Research, said he is grateful and truly humbled to receive this award. “I would like to share it with my patients, students, residents, fellows, staff, colleagues, especially those who nominated me, and of course, with my family,” he said.

The Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award annually honors faculty who are exemplary in their compassion and sensitivity in the delivery of care to patients and their families, who administer scientifically excellent clinical care, and who serve as role models to students.

“My students ask me what it means to be a caring physician,” he said, “and my answer is similar to the one used by Dr. Francis W. Peabody, ‘a physician is one who CARES,’ and this include the attributes of Compassion, Altruism, Respect, Empathy and Service, and those attributes can be placed over the four pillars of ethical principles: autonomy, justice, beneficence, and non-malevolence.

“My interaction with medical students and participation in their transformation into competent physicians is a source of satisfaction, which is always very rewarding. I find our students to be extraordinary.”

Fuentes received his medical degree from the University of Valencia School of Medicine in Spain and completed his residence at Morristown Memorial Hospital and his fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine. He is the program director of the free public Preventive Cardiology Forum at UTHealth, which is in its 27th year.

His clinical interests include general cardiology, preventive cardiology, echocardiography, and invasive cardiovascular medicine. He is currently investigating how to optimize medical and surgical therapies for patients with coronary artery disease and type 2 diabetes.

“The interaction with my patients and families, continuity of care, teamwork, learning and teaching opportunities and my involvement in clinical research are a great source of personal satisfaction,” he added.

Fuentes joined the McGovern Medical School faculty in 1978 and is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in Internal Medicine, Cardiovascular Disease, and Critical Care Medicine. He is the previous recipient of the Herbert L. and Margaret W. DuPont Master Clinical Teaching Award.

As this award honors his mentoring of students, Fuentes points to Dr. David Cardus as his first mentor, who was responsible for bringing him to the Texas Medical Center. “I am also very appreciative to Dr. Carlos Vallbona and Dr. James T. Willerson for their mentoring and guidance, and to the prior recipients of the Leonard Tow Award for their exemplary humanism,” he said.

Previous winners of the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award are Heinrich Taegtmeyer, M.D., 2015; Joseph Love, D.O., 2014; Joanne Oakes, M.D.,2013; Stefano Sdringola-Maranga, M.D., 2012; Saleem Khan, M.D., 2011; Gus W. Krucke, M.D., 2010; James “Red” Duke, M.D., 2009; Pedro Mancias, M.D., 2008; Keith Hoots, M.D., 2006; Larry C. Gilstrap III, M.D., 2005; Virginia A. Moyer, M.D., M.P.H., 2004; Cheves M. Smythe, M.D., 2003; Oscar Rosales, M.D., 2002; Philip C. Johnson, M.D., 2001; Philip R. Orlander, M.D., 2000; and John R. Stroehlein, M.D., 1999.