June 23, 2016
I love the long days this time of year. The summer solstice this week introduced me to Houston’s summer heat and humidity. Good news is that I’d much rather be hot than cold!
I started the week attending Memorial Hermann Health System’s High Reliability Council. This group is focused on improving healthcare quality and outcomes system-wide. Each meeting starts with a positive safety story. Among items discussed was a system-wide approach to enhanced sepsis diagnosis and treatment.
This week, our academic group practice, UT Physicians, issued a Zika virus action plan in anticipation of the need to care for Zika-infected patients in Texas. As of June 8, six travel-related cases have been confirmed in Houston. Thank you to Dr. Luis Ostrosky and our Infection Prevention team for being proactive in preparing us.
I traveled to Austin with UTHealth leadership Wednesday to discuss updates and strategies related to novel government-funded clinical programs such as the 1115 Healthcare Transformation Waiver and Network Access Improvement Program (NAIP) projects. These programs have allowed us to expand our reach and enhance access to our excellent clinical care.
I had an introductory meeting with Mr. Fernando Flores-New, vice president and trustee of the Gerber Foundation. We had a wonderful meeting. The Gerber Foundation was established to honor Frank Gerber, founder of the Gerber Baby Food company. The work of the foundation focuses on nutrition research as well as research in pediatric care for children ages 0-3. They support early stage research (before a project is ready to submit to the NIH) and also novice grants to young investigators. Two of our faculty have submitted proposals for consideration this funding cycle. Their support will help us make a difference in the health of children.
I always enjoy meeting with our students and this week had the chance to meet with two undergraduate students working with Dr. Richard Smalling, professor of internal medicine, cardiology, through his Mary Ann Lunsford Summer Externship for Pre-Medical Students. This is a terrific program, introducing bright young minds to our excellent cardiovascular medicine team. Thanks to Dr. Smalling for his mentorship and leadership.
Tomorrow I will be looking at opportunities for space at Rice University’s BioScience Research Collaborative with Kevin Dillon, senior executive vice president and chief operating and financial officer. Speaking of space, I am happy to report that effective May 31, 2016, UTHealth purchased the Jesse Jones Library Building (JJL), which houses the TMC Library. McGovern Medical School faculty and staff now located on the third and fourth floors of JJL will remain in their current locations at this time. The second floor of the Library, which previously contained journal stacks, is now vacant, and we are considering possible uses of that space. The Library Board is assessing its long-term space needs and that will determine whether additional space in the building might become available for UTHealth in the future.
Faculty “wows” to share:
Congratulations to Dr. Grant Fowler, professor and vice chair in the Department of Family and Community Medicine, who is the recipient of the 2017 Texas Academy of Family Physicians (TAFP) Exemplary Teaching Award. He will receive the award at a luncheon at the TAFP’s Annual Session and Primary Care Summit in November.
And belated congratulations to Dr. Jamie McCarthy, chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine, who received the Physician Leadership Award from Memorial Hermann Health System. Dr. McCarthy received the prestigious award from former Memorial Hermann President and CEO Dan Wolterman at Memorial Hermann System’s April Quarterly Communication Meeting.
Have a great weekend,