December 16, 2016
‘Tis the season for celebrations.
Recently we celebrated the opening of the McGovern Medical School’s Center for Antimicrobial Resistance and Microbial Genomics with a wonderful event attended by faculty from multiple Texas institutions and hosted at the BioScience Research Collaborative at Rice University. The keynote speaker, Dr. Arjun Srinivasan, is associate director for healthcare associated infection prevention programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Srinivasan gave a comprehensive overview of antimicrobial resistance and the growing worldwide concern and initiatives to reduce risk. Our new center, headed by Dr. Cesar Arias, professor of internal medicine, is poised to become a leader in better understanding of science as well as improved prevention and treatment. I look forward to the launching of several additional centers in the new year.
I am delighted to report that I completed the annual reviews for all department chairs and deans – a cause for celebration! Dr. Kevin Morano, associate dean for faculty affairs, says that our departments are on track, finishing annual reviews of all faculty.
The legislative session will soon begin, and we’ve had a series of legislative friends visit UTHealth. I have had the privilege of meeting with Rep. Garnet Coleman, Rep. Sarah Davis, and Rep. John Zerwas, during their recent visits to the medical school.
Dr. Kevin Lally, chair of the Departments of Pediatrics and Pediatric Surgery, and I were guests at the Memorial Hermann Board meeting yesterday morning where the “Greatness Project” to enhance programs and services for women and children was presented. We are optimistic about new initiatives and increased support from the hospital system at a particularly important time when we are recruiting a new chair of the Department of Pediatrics. Special thank you to Susie Distefano and to Roland Garcia for their leadership, to Craig Cordola for laying the groundwork, and to Ben Chu and the MH Board for their overall support.
Advancing women’s health was the topic of the most recent House Calls event, again graciously hosted by Carolyn Frost Keenan and Charlie Gaines. Our expert speakers for the evening were Dr. Jerrie Refuerzo, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, who spoke about her work on nanoparticle delivery of tocolytic agents directly to the uterus to reduce uterine contractions and preterm labor; and Jennifer Hoskovec, director of UTHealth Genetic Counseling Services, who talked about prenatal diagnosis and the important role of genetic counselors.
As you know, we are in the silent phase of a $500 million fundraising campaign. Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to make a presentation to our Office of Development gift officers. We have a wonderful group of very engaged gift officers who are the backbone our philanthropic efforts. If they call upon you, please give them your time and advice. We have compelling stories to tell and endless needs. I look forward to doing my part during this very important campaign.
McGovern Medical School and the School of Public Health are working together to develop innovative approaches to developing a true learning healthcare system and to improving population health. After an inspiring dinner meeting with Drs. Susan Fisher-Hoch and Joe McCormick, professors at the Brownsville campus of our School of Public Health, where they discussed their work to improve the health of Brownsville, addressing population health needs, and the social determinants of health, we brought faculty from medicine and public health together to start a conversation about the usefulness of a Houston-based research cohort to improve health. Dean Eric Boerwinkle and I are committed to this partnership and to the support of joint projects.
Kudos to Dr. Ricardo Mosquera, associate professor of pediatrics and the High Risk Clinic, whose work was featured by the Spanish television network Univision and was the Lone Star Emmy winner in the category of Health and Science http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SoqBTuF5Als&sns=em
I have had the occasion to attend several holiday parties this week, including the MSIT holiday luncheon, which reminded me of the broad scope of all of the services our information technology experts provide to us. Thank you, MSIT, for all that you do!