April 27, 2010
Dear Alumni, Students, Parents, and Friends,
The sun was out and so were the smiling faces of our fourth-year students and their families as we celebrated another joyous Match Day March 18. President Larry Kaiser, our faculty, and former deans also shared in this special day for our soon-to-be graduates, as they learned where they will complete their residencies.
Those magical envelopes are the reward for four years of hard work, and the faculty can be proud that our students have gone on to match to very prestigious and competitive programs.
Fifty-three percent of our 224 seniors will stay in Texas for their first year of postgraduate training, and 21 percent matched to programs here at UT. The top specialties this year were Internal Medicine (11.2 percent), General Surgery (9.4 percent), Family Medicine (8.9 percent), Anesthesiology (8.5 percent), and Pediatrics (8.5 percent). Unfortunately, we do not have enough positions for all of our students to stay at the Medical School. Our residency programs are very competitive nationally, and we have a cap from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education on the number of positions we may offer.
We have such a talented class this year, and I know they are anticipating May 29—commencement at the George R. Brown Convention Center. This is always such a special day in the life of our Medical School, and this year we are honored to have the U.S. surgeon general as our featured speaker. Dr. Regina Benjamin, founder and CEO of the Bayou La Batre Rural Health Clinic in Alabama, was nominated as surgeon general by President Barack Obama July 13, 2009. This marks the first time the Medical School has had a surgeon general speak at commencement, and I know we all are looking forward to hearing her insights.
In September, the Medical School welcomed a new department to its ranks—the Department of Nanomedicine and Biomedical Engineering. This department gives students experience in emerging fields of medicine and is led by Dr. Mauro Ferrari, who recently was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest scientific society and publisher of the journal Science. This is just another example of how we are providing the latest technology and training to our students.
Your medical school is making its mark nationally and internationally. Third-year student Sam Li recently was named the national president of the Asian Pacific American Medical Student’s Association. As president Sam says he wants to improve coordination of outreach efforts and help shine the national spotlight on UT. I appreciate his commitment and his efforts.
And two of our surgery residents, Dr. Tsuyoshi Kaneko and Dr. Peter Walker, took home first place in the Surgical Jeopardy Bowl at the South Texas Chapter of the American College of Surgeons Annual Meeting and will go on to represent South Texas at the national competition. I know they will represent our school very well.
On the international scene, a group of our faculty and staff accompanied a 27-person team to Haiti on a medical mission in February, where they cared for more than 300 victims of that country’s earthquake and performed 94 operative procedures—in just a week’s time. Similarly, a group of our students spent their Spring Break traveling to South Texas, not to spend time at the beach but to provide health education and outreach to children and adults in the border communities. And this spring, each of our Medical School classes has embraced a service project—from renovating the Houston AIDS Foundation home to raising money for an orphanage in Africa, all of our students are interested in helping the community at large.
We had a fantastic turnout of students, faculty, staff, and residents at the Houston March of Dimes March for Babies April 25. With more than 40,000 walkers in total, the Houston walk is the largest in the nation and raised more than $3 million to support research for premature infants. Our own president, Dr. Larry Kaiser, was the leader of the Houston walk, and Memorial Hermann was the presenting sponsor. It was so rewarding to see a great sea of burnt orange representing UT.
We also had a great turnout earlier in April at the Medical School’s annual homecoming and reunion festivities. I was pleased to meet many of our graduates and their families at a welcome reception I hosted at Houston’s Discovery Green. This year we celebrated the classes of 1975, 1985, 1990, 1995 and 2000. Dr. Maureen Leehey, ’86, was honored on the Medical School’s Distinguished Alumnus wall, and the weekend culminated with a dinner and dancing at the Hilton Houston Post Oak. Everyone had such a nice time reminiscing. I hope to see you at next year’s event.
I have been traveling to a few of the bigger cities around the state—Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas—over the past few months to visit with alumni, friends, and parents of our students. I am enjoying these visits and meeting all of you. The purpose of these trips is to bring the latest news of the Medical School to you and to encourage a dialogue. I hope to see you at the next one.
I am always available for your questions and am interested in hearing from you. If you do not have the opportunity to attend one of these events, please do not hesitate to contact me via e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Medical School depends on your support, friendship, and ideas. Our aim is to make you proud!
Giuseppe Colasurdo, M.D., Dean
H. Wayne Hightower Distinguished Professor in the Medical Sciences
David R. Park Professorship in Pediatric Medicine