October 13, 2016
Thanks to all of you who have been providing me such great feedback to Study Break. I’ve enjoyed hearing your thoughts on women and medicine and leadership and innovation recently.
This week I want to share several highlights on the development and leadership fronts with you.
Our recent clinical chairs retreat was a great opportunity for our clinical leaders to hear updates from each other as well as to have a conversation with Dr. Benjamin Chu, the new president and CEO of Memorial Hermann Health System. Craig Cordola gave a very informative talk on the history of the MH/UT partnership. In addition to the formal presentations, we also had a chance to meet in an informal setting. We have wonderful clinical chairs—it is always a treat to get together with them.
Speaking of our chairs, I have started the process of the annual chair reviews and am looking forward to hearing highlights from all of our departments, discussing challenges and areas of concern, and considering big ideas and goals for this coming year from each of our chairs.
At our monthly deans meeting, medical school leadership discussed a topic of importance to all of our leaders – recruiting and retaining outstanding faculty. This is a complicated issue – how do we not only attract the “best and brightest” but also keep them engaged, productive, personally satisfied, and eager to work here? We want to make our medical school a “destination” place to work for people from Texas and all over the nation.
I recently had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Mark Kline, physician-in-chief at Texas Children’s Hospital and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine. We spoke about the healthcare and funding challenges our institutions face as we work to serve the needs of a growing pediatric population. TCH provides remarkable support to the academic programs in pediatrics down the street. I am very optimistic that Susie Distefano, CEO of Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, and other MH leaders are seriously discussing enhanced programmatic support for pediatrics and child health. The children of Houston deserve this attention.
This month we celebrated two important transitions/passing of the torch. Our thanks to Wendy Bernstein for her leadership as McGovern Medical School Advisory Council chair and welcome to Carolyn Frost Keenan, our incoming chair. Carolyn Keenan is well known to the medical school community for the gracious “House Calls” that she and her husband Charlie Gaines sponsor at their home—wonderful opportunities for us to highlight our people and programs to members of the community. Also, our heartfelt gratitude to Bob Graham for his service as UTHealth Development Board chair and warm welcome to Phil Ferguson who is assuming this role. These community volunteer groups play a vital role in the growth and sustainability of our institution. I have charged our medical school council with helping us grow our stature in the community, increasing our donor base, and becoming a premier civic asset for Houston.
Don’t forget the Office of Diversity and Inclusion Fall Diversity Awareness Week is Oct. 17- 20. Please see the website for more details.
It’s now official – after putting this off for a year, I finally had my official photo taken for the dean’s portrait so you will soon see my likeness among the deans of this school along the curved wall on the ground floor.