September 21, 2017
In today’s issue, I’d like to introduce you to a group of people who are very close to me – my colleagues in the Dean’s Suite. I am fortunate to have the support of a great group, who help make the medical school run efficiently and productively—ambassadors for the medical school.
When you first walk into the Dean’s Office, you are greeted by Loretta Taylor, executive assistant. Loretta has been with the medical school for 2 and a half years and says she enjoys meeting the very interesting and wonderful people who walk through the Dean’s Office doors. She aims to provide the highest quality of service for the medical school and help everyone who needs it. Outside of work she loves to help others through volunteering in addition to traveling and gardening.
Devan Santora, who recently returned to work full-time following her maternity leave, is an executive services administrator who has been with McGovern Medical School a year and a half, joining us from Florida, where she worked with another woman dean, Dr. Deborah German. In her relatively short time at the medical school, she has become an invaluable resource and partner. What she enjoys most is the energy of her position, which involves thoughtful interaction with students, faculty, and staff and promoting inter-professional collaboration. “I always feel like I have accomplished something when I leave for the day.” When she is not at work Devan enjoys spending time with her husband, Jason, and their baby, Adeline.
Kelley Dowell has been with the medical school since 2015 and with the Dean’s Suite for the last six months. We were very fortunate to have recruited her from the Office of Faculty Affairs. Dr. Kevin Morano was very gracious in supporting her move. Kelley aims to provide strong communication, enthusiasm, and an efficient and productive environment to serve our students, faculty, and staff. Outside of work she loves to travel and experience new places and people.
Julie Page, the senior associate dean for clinical business affairs, has been with the Dean’s Office for the last decade. Prior to that, she was with UT Physicians, joining in 2002. She most enjoys the people she works with every day and problem-solving with our chairs and DMOs. She helps our school serve its multiple missions by supporting and stressing the importance of our educational mission with our hospital partners, the growth and development of our research mission in each department, and the clinical mission by working closely with our outstanding faculty and staff. She is a wonderful advocate for our faculty and staff and a great resource for me. In her spare time she enjoys her family, tennis, and travel.
Nancy McNiel, Ph.D., senior associate dean for administrative affairs, has a long history with UTHealth. She started at the medical school as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Physiology in 1982, moved on to become the associate dean for management at the School of Nursing in 1991, and returned to the medical school in 2004. She says she enjoys the relationships, the people, and the variety of her position. She is the “go to” person for so many of our faculty and staff and tries to be a liaison and problem-solver. She is certainly my “go to” person for medical school history, UT System rules, and general wisdom. When she is not working at the medical school, she enjoys working with her church.
Cindy Gutierrez is Nancy’s right-hand executive services administrator. She has been with the medical school since 2009 and previously worked at MD Anderson Cancer Center, Baylor College of Medicine, and Texas Tech Health Science Center. Cindy always has a cheery smile on her face and says what she enjoys most is helping others to be successful in their jobs by being a resource. Outside of work she enjoys laughing, listening to music, and relaxing in the backyard with her family and two dogs, Cassius and Pita. She also enjoys visiting with her Clown Alley friends and teaching clown school students the basics of twisting balloon animals.
Dr. Bela Patel is UT through and through. A graduate of UT Austin and of our medical school, residency, and fellowship programs, she has been on faculty since 1999. Dr. Patel wears many hats. She is the division director of Critical Care Medicine in the Department of Internal Medicine and executive medical director of Critical Care for Memorial Hermann-TMC. In addition, she serves as regional chief medical officer for Memorial Hermann-TMC. She is passionate about improving clinical quality and patient safety. In 2016, she was named vice dean for healthcare quality for the medical school. In this role, she oversees quality outcomes and safety initiatives, collaborating with all of our clinical departments and hospital partners. Outside of medicine, Dr. Patel spends time with her husband, Matt, and daughter Maya.
Peggy Ross is a senior administrative assistant who works with Dr. Patel. Peggy has been with the medical school just under a year and in the Dean’s Office for 9 months. She says she enjoys working with the dedicated doctors and administrative staff. And by providing top-level support, she helps Dr. Patel provide first-rate patient care and contributes to the education of future physicians and scientists. When she isn’t supporting Dr. Patel, she enjoys her grandbabies and her dogs.
Tom Murphy, M.D., assistant dean for community affairs and health policy, is the chief medical officer for the UT Physicians Community Based Clinics. The clinics provide comprehensive coordinated primary and specialty care. The sites are an integral tool to address the social determinants of health as well as to provide direct patient care. As assistant dean for community affairs and health policy, he understands the ever-changing landscape of health care and works to ensure we are providing excellent patient-centered care in community-based clinics throughout greater Houston. Dr. Murphy and his wife, Dr. Glenda Goodine, are the proud parents of one of our orthopedic residents, Dr. Ryan Murphy, a McGovern Medical School graduate. His other interests include skiing and sailing.
In addition, you will see Dr. Jamie McCarthy, chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine, and his assistant, Yolanda Torres, in the Dean’s suite. They are temporary inhabitants – having been displaced from their offices in the Jesse Jones Library because of storm damage.
I am grateful to be surrounded by such a dedicated group of professionals – a reflection of our school at large.
Of note, this week is Mitochondrial Disease Awareness Week – see this nice write up in the TMC News featuring Mary Kay Koenig, M.D.