October 08, 2015
Thanks to the many faculty and staff who have made me feel so welcome. I had understood Texas to be a friendly place, but I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of good wishes and support I’ve received in this first week. I have received so many kind emails in response to my first newsletter, and my office looks and smells like a florist’s shop! I am grateful for the beautiful cowboy boots President Colasurdo presented to me this week—I think that makes me an official Texan.
I come to UTHealth from Emory University School of Medicine, where I spent most of my career. As a longtime faculty member, I knew everyone, and everyone knew me. It is a little intimidating to walk around the halls of this medical school and medical center, not recognizing familiar faces at every turn. I know it’s just the first week, but I am eager to meet people and build that sense of community and camaraderie.
I am setting a steady pace to ensure a thorough acclimation. I attended the university’s Salutation last week, where I had an opportunity to meet some of our faculty and students. I also was delighted to receive the United to Serve Volunteer Service Award on behalf of the Medical School for our student participation for UT House Medics.
I chaired my first Administrative Council meeting this week, hearing reports from each of the mission areas of our school. Together with Dr. Colasurdo, I am starting to meet with department chairs for their annual reviews. I look forward to getting to know people and programs in our outstanding departments. I had a wonderful meeting with James Hughes to introduce me to the exciting activities of our Office of Development. Tomorrow, I am attending a UT Physicians retreat on the patient experience. The patient experience reflects our culture, and I am interested in learning about opportunities and challenges on this front.
I plan to do a lot of listening over these next few months to so many of our constituents—students, residents, fellows, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, and donors. Please feel free to send me an email to let me know what is on your mind. I heard from a longtime staff member last week who pointed out I had not mentioned our staff in my last newsletter. I am mortified by the oversight. I know this great medical school could not run without the hard work of our outstanding and dedicated staff.
A town hall meeting for the entire UTHealth Medical School community has been scheduled with President Colasurdo and me, which I hope will be a thoughtful exchange on the topics that matter most to this school. Please mark your calendars to attend, 4 p.m., Nov. 12, in MSB 3.001. The event will be live videostreamed for those who cannot attend.