July 20, 2017
I hope you’ve all been having a great summer and are able to take some time away to enjoy a vacation, leisurely time with friends and family, or at least a good book. I just received a listing of thoughtful summer reading from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation. These books focus on caring and compassion in medicine; but maybe you want to get away from work and read a good summer novel. Some recommendations from novelists recently were published in the NY Times.
Back at work, I had the opportunity to attend the monthly meeting of the chiefs of services at LBJ General Hospital. We are at the beginning of an important year with review of the Affiliated Medical Services (AMS) contract between Harris Health and the medical schools—McGovern and Baylor College of Medicine. The schools have hired a consultant to gather information from faculty and staff. In this time of discussions with Harris Health, it is important for us to be thoughtful in articulating our contributions and value to the community (first and foremost), to the schools, and to Harris Health. A special thank you to Dr. Jose Garcia, Julie Page, and all of the faculty and leaders at LBJ who are supporting our commitment to patients, to building a premier public hospital, and to training the next generation of physicians for our city and beyond.
Dr. Michael Gardner, executive vice president and administrator of Harris Health’s Ambulatory Care Services, took me on a tour of two of the Harris Health clinics, Acres Home and Aldine. I was very impressed by what I saw. The faculty and staff at these clinics are doing remarkable work caring for patients in the community and training residents from the Department of Family and Community Medicine.
Speaking of our hospital partners, I met with Brian Dean, CEO of Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center, earlier this week to discuss some of the changes at Memorial Hermann and to reiterate the commitment of our physicians and staff to the missions of the hospital and the university. Brian is a wonderful partner, and we are fortunate to have his leadership at the TMC. As you know, Chuck Stokes was appointed president and CEO of Memorial Hermann System last week, following the departure of Dr. Benjamin Chu. Chuck joined the Memorial Hermann System as COO in 2008 and previously was president of North Mississippi Medical Center. He has our support in his new role, and we look forward to working with him as we continue to grow with Memorial Hermann in pursuit of clinical excellence.
I had the pleasure of meeting with Dr. Julianne Cenac, director of Learning and Development’s programs for emerging leaders, executive leaders, and the women in leadership seminar series. For those of you who have not met Dr. Cenac, she brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to UTHealth. Her own research in the area of leadership development includes leadership complexity and leader behavior and emergence. She encourages us to send her names of inspiring women leaders to consider for the speaker series.
As the first woman dean of our medical school, I feel an obligation to ensure that our medical school is both welcoming to and supportive of women and their careers. Please send me your thoughts.
Yesterday, I was delighted to get a firsthand look at the Soto lab from Dr. Claudio Soto, professor of neurology and director of the George and Cynthia W. Mitchell Center for Alzheimer’s Disease and other Brain Related Illnesses. Dr. Soto is an internationally recognized scientist. He and his colleagues are doing groundbreaking, exciting work. They study the molecular basis of neurodegenerative diseases associated with the misfolding and accumulation of proteins, prion diseases, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and broader aspects of aging. The visit was a highlight of my week.
Congratulations are in order for Dr. Barbara Murray, director of the Division of Infectious Diseases and the J. Ralph Meadows Professor of Internal Medicine. Dr. Murray was just named the recipient of the 2017 Alexander Fleming Award for Lifetime Achievement by the Infectious Diseases Society of America. What a remarkable and wonderful recognition for her work.
And, to end on a lovely “note,” I am pleased to announce a new program for the McGovern Medical School. The Arts and Resiliency program, designed by Tom Cole, will start this fall as part of the McGovern Center for Humanities and Ethics. We are planning monthly events that will integrate the arts on our campus in a tangible and accessible way. More information to come.