April 28, 2016
I had the great pleasure to hear Mark Nivet, Ed.D., M.B.A., speak at Baylor College of Medicine last week. Dr. Nivet, the chief diversity officer for the AAMC, gave a thoughtful and thought-provoking talk on “Diversity and Inclusion in Academic Medicine—From Fairness to Excellence.” He spoke about how diversity accelerates the path to excellence and why we need to create a culture that supports diversity as a core value. Medical schools often say they exist to improve health. I hope that we will have a broader mandate—to improve health and advance health equity. I want our environment to be bolstered by diversity, to pursue these mandates, and I welcome your input and suggestions on how we can do that.
Our student chapter of the Student National Medical Association (SMNA) is doing its part to enhance opportunities for diversity. I was delighted to meet with Chapter President Brandon Esianor, a second-year medical student, this week. Congratulations to Brandon and his colleagues for being named the best SMNA chapter in the nation. In addition, Brandon recently was appointed as the AAMC Student representative for McGovern Medical School for the coming year. Way to go!
I had another opportunity to meet with student leaders as the deans of all six UTHealth schools attended the Student InterCouncil Dean’s Dinner this week – a lovely time for the deans to interact with student representatives and to hear council updates from SIC President Michelle Martinez-Rivera. McGovern Medical School representatives are Gina Duong, Margaret Wang, and Alixandra Baycroft. Scholarship winners were announced and included two medical school students, Jonathan Harding and Alexeis Bin Baqui, receiving scholarships in memory of SIC Past President Dr. Matthew C. Mireles. Kemly Mary Philip, an MD/PhD student received the SIC Hitoshi Nikaidoh Service Award Scholarship. Anna Xu, graduate student from SBMI, created this video of the event.
The Academic Medicine Leadership Course at the School of Public Health is a certificate program for physician leadership in academic medical organizations. I met with executive director of the program Lynn Schroth, Dr.P.H., professor of management, policy and community health; Osama Mikhail, Ph.D., who first organized the program; and Karen Gillard, program coordinator, to learn more. We are in discussion about a potential short course that could be geared to physician leaders at UTHealth.
Today I am at the Pediatric Academic Societies meeting in Baltimore, where I will give a few presentations but primarily will be scouting out talent. Armed with recruitment flyers, we are looking for needed faculty for Pediatrics, including positions in nephrology, gastroenterology, hospitalists, and a director of the new Division of Hospitalist Medicine.
You may know that Karen Kaplan, our assistant vice president for public affairs, is retiring at the end of this month following a celebrated career dedicated to spreading the good news of UTHealth. I speak on behalf of the entire school when I say we are grateful for her work and wish her our best for the next chapter of her life.
Finally, this week we celebrate Administrative Professionals Day. Thank you to all of the hard working, behind-the-scenes staff who are the engine making this institution run smoothly! You deserve recognition every day.