April 07, 2016
Today, April 7, is World Health Day. This year’s global public health day, as designated by the World Health Organization, is focusing on diabetes – raising awareness about the rise in this treatable and often preventable disease. WHO projects that diabetes will be the 7th leading cause of death by 2030. The WHO website has more information and ways for you to share this important message.
April is a month of focus on community service by our office of Graduate Medical Education. Specific outreach programs include:
- Dermatology residents and faculty will conduct a free skin cancer screening event.
- Emergency Medicine is slated to work with Rebuilding Houston (rebuildinghouston.org) on April 30.
- Family Medicine residents are doing a “Hard Hats for Little Heads” event (in conjunction with the Texas Medical Association) at Osbourne Elementary on April 23.
- Internal Medicine will be volunteering at The Houston Food Bank on April 17.
- Pediatrics is involved in the Run for Rose (drmarnierose.org) on April 10.
- Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, in conjunction with Baylor PM&R department, will provide services to Rehabilitation Services Volunteer Project (RSVP) on April 9.
- Preventive Medicine/Occupational Medicine residents will be performing about 150 physical exam assessments to the Boy Scouts in the Urban Scouting Unit of the Sam Houston Area Council.
This is a great time of year for us all to spend some time helping others and working in our communities.
I attended a wonderful event last week —the annual graduation dinner for our MD/PhD students, a collegial group whose warmth toward each other was palpable. Drs. Dianna Milewicz and Russell Broaddus, co- directors of the MD/PhD program, served as emcees for the evening, with faculty mentors speaking about each graduate. It was evident from all of the comments that these students are a joy to teach and that our faculty leaders consider them important collaborators, friends, and academic “children.” This year’s graduates are Daniel Calame, Vida Chitsazzadeh, Ramon Flores, Paloma Monroig, Nick Parchim, and Adam Wolfe.
Strategic planning for research continues with agreement to focus research in areas where we have existing clinical strengths as well as active research, including neurosciences, cardiovascular, maternal-neonatal, trauma, aging, cancer, pulmonary, and infectious diseases. Small groups of faculty met this week to consider clinical areas in maternal fetal medicine and neonatology/child health to highlight in our ongoing discussions with faculty at Rice to develop a program in maternal and child health biomedical engineering. Faculty also met this week to brainstorm about building critical mass for research in the clinical research/learning healthcare system/population health arena. Building on our strengths and embracing new opportunities, we have wonderful opportunities to collaborate with other schools at UTHealth, with our hospital partners, and to make a real impact in Houston. We hope to roll out a lecture series this year, inviting key leaders in the field.
I attended a special women’s dinner this week with Ann Stern, president and CEO of the Houston Endowment; Elena Marks, president and CEO of the Episcopal Health Foundation; and Dr. Marie Lynn Miranda, Rice University provost. These women are amazing ambassadors for their institutions and strong collaborators and friends of UTHealth.
I am pleased to announce our featured speaker for this year’s commencement: Dr. Eliseo Perez-Stable is the director of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities at the National Institutes of Health. He has spent more than 30 years leading research on smoking cessation and tobacco control policy in Latino populations. Prior to joining the NIH, he served as professor of medicine and chief of the Division of General Internal Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Perez-Stable also was the director of the Center for Aging in Diverse Communities and co-principal investigator of the Redes En Accion National Latino Cancer Control Research and Education Network. I am looking forward to his commencement address. Please join me for my first McGovern Medical School commencement as Dean, Friday May 27 at the George R. Brown Convention Center, as we celebrate and honor the Class of 2016.