January 25, 2023
When did you join UTHealth Houston? What brought you here?
My mother, Shirley Edwards, worked in Family Practice for over 20 years and spoke highly of UT and encouraged me to apply. I initially worked in the Anesthesia billing department from 1984 to 1989 and then left UT to finish my teaching degree. I returned in January 2002, when I was hired as the Categorical Pediatrics residency coordinator. I have held this position since then. I joke that my residents have threatened to put a futon in my office so I never have to leave.
Tell me about your work history here.
I enjoyed my time in Anesthesia but coordinating is my real passion. I just started my 21st year in this position and have seen over 750 trainees go through my program. In addition to the Categorical Pediatrics program, I work closely with the Internal Medicine/Pediatrics training program, the Pediatric/Medical Genetics and Genomics program, the Pediatrics Prelim Child Neurology, and visiting pediatric residents from other facilities.
What are you most proud of accomplishing?
I am very proud of assisting my trainees with the often difficult and challenging process of residency. It is humbling to know that I have helped over 750 trainees complete their residences during my career.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I do my best to create a safe space for my residents. I want my office to be a welcoming place to get a snack, a hug, or be a sanctuary, if you will, to get away from the often challenging and difficult duties of residency. I also enjoy building long-term relationships with my current trainees, graduates, and trainees-turned-faculty. My current director, Dr. Emma Omoruyi, was a resident with me from 2007-2010 and was also a chief resident. It is so satisfying to watch my residents progress from a new doctor to a competent, confident pediatrician ready to take on the world. It is humbling to me that I have a small part in that process.
Why have you stayed?
My residents and directors make me want to stay. I am reminded almost daily that they value and appreciate me. When my home flooded during Hurricane Harvey, the current and past residents raised funds to help me rebuild, and several of my residents even came to my home and helped pull wet sheetrock and insulation. It is reasons like these, and others too numerous to mention, that UTHealth Houston is my home.
When you are not at work, how do you spend your time?
I love gardening and reading historical fiction. I love to crochet and have made numerous baby blankets for my residents when they welcome a new bundle of joy. I have also transformed my yard into a natural sanctuary for birds, hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies. Watching them settles my soul and always brings me peace and joy. When I am not gardening, my husband and I enjoy craft breweries in the Houston and surrounding areas. When we have a chance to escape the city, we try new and favorite craft breweries in the Hill Country.