December 10, 2015
As the holidays approach, our days get shorter and our to-do lists get longer. This is a time to reflect on special moments from the past year — both professional and personal — and to spend time with family and friends. Although “work-life balance” can seem like a utopian dream, I hope we can carve out time for personal reflection, can renew connections with family and friends, and can enhance personal wellness.
I am proud to work at one of the Top Workplaces in Houston. The Houston Chronicle surveys thousands of workers each year and ranks institutions in our city. Many of us spend more time with our work family than our home family, and we each have a part to play to make the McGovern Medical School a great work environment.
This week I toured the Jesse Jones Library building. As the school finalizes plans to purchase the building and land, we are developing a renovation plan and a broader master facility plan. It is fitting that I was invited to the annual TMC library holiday luncheon this week, where supporters of the library from all institutions of the TMC gather. Former Dean Dr. Max Buja is spearheading efforts to transform the TMC library into a learning space for the 21st century.
To enhance collaborations and inter-professional opportunities, I met with two of our newest UTHealth Deans—Dr. Eric Boerwinkle, Dean of the School of Public Health, and Dr. Lorraine Frazier, Dean of the School of Nursing. Public Health and Nursing are in great hands with these thoughtful and engaged leaders. We look forward to working together—for the benefit of our students, our faculty, our staff, and our community.
A number of “firsts” for this past week. I attended my inaugural Faculty Appointments, Promotions and Tenure Committee meeting, my first annual medical staff meeting at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center, and my first faculty meeting of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
The recent McGovern gift has made me even more excited about philanthropic opportunities for the school. I am staying busy with development efforts. On Wednesday, I presented an update on the medical school to our Advisory Council. Dr. Louise McCullough, Chair of the Department of Neurology, was the featured guest speaker. She was a rock star — presenting complex science to a lay audience. I was delighted to attend my first “House Calls” event at the very festive home of Carolyn Keenan and Charlie Gaines. Carolyn and Charlie graciously open up their home several times a year to introduce potential donors to the work of medical school faculty. Guest speakers, Drs. Adelaide Hebert and Steven Mays, from our Department of Dermatology, were great ambassadors for our medical school.
‘Tis the season for holiday lunches – I had the pleasure of joining the holiday lunch for the Center for Clinical Research and Evidence-Based Medicine, where I embarrassed Dr. Kathleen Kennedy when I announced her perfect 10 score on a recent NIH grant submission!
The name change of our school has engendered both excitement and questions. The school is putting together a FAQ page on the topic as final details are still being worked out. Thanks for your patience as we orchestrate the transition.