October 03, 2019
The more I learn about the last 50 years of McGovern Medical School’s history, the more I realize how many people have contributed to our success. It’s inspiring to hear our founders talk about the early days of the school. This school is a wonderful work in progress that keeps evolving with the times. I am excited about our future and delighted to introduce our newest leaders—people who will help guide our path to the next 50 years.
Dr. Ben Bobrow joined UTHealth on June 1, as chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine. He comes to McGovern from the University of Arizona College of Medicine, where he was professor of emergency medicine, associate director of the Arizona Emergency Medicine Research Center, and medical director for the Arizona Department of Health Services Bureau of EMS and Trauma System. He is the physician leader responsible for overseeing emergency medical care at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center and at Harris Health System’s Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital, as well as the EM hospitalist service at MH-TMC and several sites in the community. MH-TMC is home to the Red Duke Trauma Institute and one of the nation’s busiest Level I trauma centers. LBJ Hospital is one of busiest Level III trauma centers. With about 90,000 ED patient visits in 2018, the LBJ emergency room is among the busiest in the city. Dr. Bobrow’s national reputation and extensive experience, in both frontline research and community integrated care, bring added value to an excellent department committed to a culture of collaboration as well as to excellence in teaching, clinical practice, and research.
Just a couple of weeks ago, Dr. Tony Estrera was named chair ad interim for the Department of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery. Dr. Estrera, the Hazim J. Safi MD Distinguished Chair in Cardiovascular Surgery, joined our faculty in 2000, rising to the rank of professor in 2010. He succeeds Dr. Hazim Safi, who has served as chair since the department’s founding in 1999. An internationally recognized surgeon-scientist and teacher, Dr. Safi will remain on faculty as professor and will continue to play an integral role in the department. One of the great legends of cardiovascular surgery, Dr. Safi has built an amazing department, known nationally and internationally, taking on the most difficult of clinical cases, training countless CV surgeons, and pushing the boundaries of what is possible in surgery. Dr. Estrera is an innovative and remarkably skilled and compassionate surgeon and a dedicated teacher. He has served as the medical director of the Memorial Hermann-TMC Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit since 2000 and the medical director of the Cardiovascular Intermediate Care Unit since 2009. We look to Dr. Estrera to build upon this tremendous foundation.
And just this week, we welcomed Dr. Mary Aitken, new chair of the Department of Pediatrics. Dr. Aitken also will serve as physician-in-chief of Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital. She comes to us from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), where she was professor of pediatrics and interim president of the Arkansas Children’s Research Institute. She also served as vice chair for research for the UAMS Department of Pediatrics, interim section chief of General Pediatrics, and director of the Injury Prevention Center at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. A general pediatrician and active clinician, she is also a respected investigator who has been a mentor to countless trainees, residents, fellows, and junior faculty. Dr. Aitken has received funding from the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control, the Emergency Medical Services for Children Program of Maternal and Child Health Bureau, and other agencies to support her research in injury prevention. I am confident that Dr. Aitken’s years of experience and wonderful personal qualities will accelerate and enhance the trajectory of the Department of Pediatrics—and ultimately help to improve the health of the most vulnerable in our community— our children.
The future at McGovern Medical School is bright. Please join me in welcoming our newest leaders, Drs. Bobrow, Estrera, and Aitken.