October 22, 2015
Greetings from Washington, D.C., where I have been attending national meetings this week. I am fortunate to still be a part of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Neonatal Research Network (NRN), which I have worked with since 1991. Drs. Kathleen Kennedy and Jon Tyson, the longstanding PIs at our UTHealth NICHD center, have spearheaded a number of important NRN studies over the years. I am pleased to be attending the network’s steering committee meeting with them this week.
Last week was my first introduction to the Faculty Senate. With faculty representation from each department, this is a great forum for tackling issues and making improvements on behalf of the entire school. Like many academic health systems, we are learning about different models of academic healthcare partnerships. Kevin Dillon, senior executive vice president, chief operating and financial officer at UTHealth, together with Farzan Bharucha, from Kurt Salmon, presented a compelling talk about academic medical centers and the changing care model. In the United States, medical schools have grown tremendously, and clinical service now represents more than 60 percent of a medical school’s total revenue. Our hospital partners are very important to the care we provide and to the clinical-academic integration we strive for.
Please join me in congratulating this year’s UTHealth Medical School’s Distinguished Alumni. The outstanding winners are Dr. Alma Rodriguez, ’79, vice president for medical affairs and professor in the Department of Lymphoma/Myeloma at MD Anderson Cancer Center, and Dr. Walt Lowe, ’83, our chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. I am sorry I won’t be there to celebrate with them Friday evening.
Although I did not get to attend the semi-annual all clinician staff meeting at LBJ General Hospital, I want to share their good news with you. LBJ is making great strides in improving quality and safety. They recently had a competition to showcase excellent programs aimed at improving care, patient experience, and value for our LBJ patients. Awards were based on audience vote. Congratulations to the winners Drs. Lei Chen (pathology), Mike Liang (surgery), and Stacy Martin (orthopedic surgery), whose hard work has resulted in decreased wait times, reduced length of stay, improved outcomes, and lower costs. I am looking forward to seeing the great work at LBJ in person soon.
I hope you had the opportunity to come out to see the Many Faces of UTHealth advertising campaign, which was on display in the Leather Lounge Monday. Although I suspect I will be quite embarrassed to see myself on a billboard, this is a very important campaign to increase understanding of the many programs at UTHealth that are working to improve the health of our community.
Recently I met with Dr. Patricia Butler, vice dean for educational programs, to discuss UTHealth’s new medical school curriculum, which will debut this coming summer with our next class of incoming students. I met with Dr. Kevin Morano, associate dean for faculty affairs, as well to learn about the needs and interest of our faculty. He and his team are making impressive strides helping faculty. Their newest initiative is the Individual Promotion Plan. I encourage faculty to make use of this valuable career resource.
As I prepare for the Nov. 12 Town Hall, I am interested in learning about topics you think are important for the school to address and any questions you may have. Please feel free to submit questions in advance to me by email.