February 02, 2017
What an exciting time to be in Houston as the Super Bowl approaches. After spending most of my adult life in Atlanta, you can guess which team I’m rooting for. I’m honored to be attending the Pro Football Hall of Fame Super Bowl Luncheon tomorrow, honoring Earl Campbell and Bob McNair. Should be an amazing way to kick off Super Bowl weekend.
Speaking of the big game, no I won’t be there – I won’t even be in Houston. I will be watching the game and the ads and Lady Gaga from Washington, DC. Together with Drs. Kathleen Kennedy, Jon Tyson, and Amir Khan, I will be attending the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network Steering Committee meeting, which begins early Monday morning.
Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to meet one-on-one with many of our faculty, simply to learn more about their work. These meetings have included faculty from many different departments: Dr. Allison Speer, pediatric surgery; Dr. Sean Savitz, neurology; Dr. Mary Kay Koenig, pediatrics; Dr. Tom Nguyen, cardiothoracic and vascular surgery; Dr. Jim Langabeer, emergency medicine and SBMI; Dr. Nitin Tandon, neurosurgery; Dr. Glorimar Medina-Rivera, anesthesiology; Dr. Marc Rhoads, pediatric gastroenterology; and Dr. Len Lichtenberger, integrative biology and pharmacology.
I also met with our new assistant vice president for public affairs, Marsha Jepson, who has traveled around the university meeting with more than 70 constituents to receive their input on public affairs and communications so that she can plan how to best communicate what we do to the world outside of the TMC.
I’m pleased to let you know that our first candidate for the chair of the Department of Pediatrics visited this past week. We have some wonderful candidates and are off to a great start to this important search.
I attended my first meeting of The Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas (TAMEST). The meeting is a wonderful mix of the disciplines with very interesting talks ranging from energy and clean water to health. Our own Dr. Susan Wootton, associate professor of pediatrics and immunization expert, served on a panel focused on neglected infections emerging today. I agreed to serve on the selection committee for TAMEST’s annual O’Donnell Awards.
The evenings are just as busy and exciting as the days. I attended the School of Nursing’s premiere of “Caring Corrupted: The Killing Nurses of the Third Reich,” a chilling cautionary documentary about nurses who participated in the Holocaust, abandoning personal and professional ethics. Along with faculty from our School of Nursing, Dr. Anna Steinberger, MS faculty emeritus, was featured in the film. Here’s what she had to say about the project: “I believe the film provides a very powerful means for educating generations of nurses, and other health professionals, how powerful propaganda during the Nazi regime influenced professionals, traditionally committed to healing, to willingly participate in killing innocent victims. We must never underestimate the power of propaganda and make sure that similar behavior is never repeated.”
The Cullen Trust for Higher Education dinner was part of a conference that invites applicants applying to the MD PhD programs at UT and Baylor. Dr. Dianna Milewicz and Dr. Russell Broaddus, leaders of our program, together with Graduate School deans, Dr. Michael Blackburn and Dr. Michelle Barton, hosted the day.
I was very fortunate to be part of a wonderful night of theater and discussion, focused on medical care and ethics. “An Evening with Anna Deveare Smith – Let Me Down Easy” was sponsored by the Baylor Center for Bioethics and supported by Dr. Tom Cole and the McGovern Center for Humanities and Ethics.
Turnout was terrific for our UTHealth Development Board winter reception. We are lucky to have so many “friends of UT” in the community—helping to get the message out about the wonderful work being done here—clinical care, education, and research. Our Medical School Advisory Committees met last week as well—another venue for community support. The meeting featured thoughtful presentations by Dr. Susan Landry, founder and director of the Children’s Learning Institute, and Dr. Kevin Lally, chair of the Department of Pediatric Surgery and interim chair of the Department of Pediatrics.
Finally, tomorrow is “National Wear Red Day,” a day sponsored by the American Heart Association and the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute to promote awareness of heart disease and stroke in women. It is astounding to consider that heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women, killing ~1 women every 80 seconds. Join me in wearing red to support the day.