New Surgery Department Chair for Clinical Campus

March 30, 2004

For more information, contact:
Scott Clark, Scott & White, 254-724-9724
John Holder, The Texas A&M University System Health Science Center, 979-458-0669
March 30, 2004
New Scott & White/Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine
Surgery Chairman wants to take department to ‘next level’

Central Texas native W. Roy Smythe, M.D., is the new Chairman, Department of Surgery, Scott & White, as well as Head of the Department of Surgery for the Texas A&M University System Health Science Center College of Medicine. Even though his roots are deeply entwined with Scott & White and Texas A&M, Dr. Smythe says he would have accepted the post even if it had not brought him back to his childhood home.
“It is such a great opportunity – I would have taken this job no matter where it was, so it’s a bonus to be back here in Central Texas,” said W. Roy Smythe, M.D., who comes to Temple from serving in positions at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
Dr. Smythe’s clinical practice is primarily focused on complex general thoracic procedures and his nationally recognized NIH-funded research group works in the areas of molecular pathogenesis and gene and molecular therapies for pulmonary (lung and pleura) and gastrointestinal (esophageal and colon) malignancies.
Dr. Smythe has most recently served as director of the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center Mesothelioma Multidisciplinary Treatment and Research Program. In 2003 he was awarded tenure in the University of Texas System and at M. D. Anderson as an associate professor of Surgery as well as Cellular and Molecular Oncology. Dr. Smythe also was named to the list of “Best Doctors in America,” for 2003-2004.
“We are honored to have Roy Smythe lead the Department of Surgery,” said Alfred B. Knight, M.D., president and CEO of Scott & White. “His broad-based expertise in the three foundations of academic medicine – clinical care, research and education – will continue our evolution to one of the most important medical centers in the country.”
Christopher C. Colenda, M.D., M.P.H., dean of the A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, stated, “We are delighted and extremely fortunate to have recruited Dr. Smythe to the College of Medicine and Scott & White as head of our department of surgery. Not only is Roy an outstanding surgeon – he is also one of this nation’s leading physician-scientists in molecular oncology. By bringing his research team from M.D. Anderson to the Temple campus of the College of Medicine, the college and Scott & White will be able to significantly accelerate clinical, research and training opportunities in oncology and cancer care. We live in extraordinary times with regard to understanding the origins and treatments for cancer. Dr. Smythe is at the vanguard of this scientific and clinical revolution.”
Dr. Smythe not only received his medical training at the A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, graduating with honors in 1989, but he was also born at Scott & White and attended area schools. Still, even more than the homecoming, he saw the opportunity to make a meaningful difference not only for his patients directly but also to strengthen the environment here to ensure that patients will continue to receive the high-quality care they have come to expect at Scott & White.
Not every physician just arriving at Scott & White might realize what Dr. Smythe already appreciates, having trained here. “Scott & White is such a special culture, with its true dedication to patient-centered care,” he said.
Having begun his new job earlier this month, he already has set two major departmental goals. The first, he said, is “to enhance and grow our subspecialty surgical services, recruiting those with expertise to allow us to compete with other institutions in the region — not just in this part of Texas, but in this part of the country.” He envisions moving the department “ to the next level – to do things clinically that others aren’t.” This would involve increasing expertise in subspecialty areas of surgical oncology, thoracic surgery and many others.
Second, he wants to “dramatically enhance the research profile” by bringing into the department physician-scientists (practicing surgeons who are also researchers) and basic scientists as well. He hopes this will help move the department up into the top 15 National Institutes of Health-funded departments during the next 10-15 years.
Born at Scott & White in 1960, he attended Belton schools, excelling both academically and athletically. Before graduating from Belton High in 1978, he made the Texas High School All-State teams in football and track-and-field. A National Merit Scholar, he won a National Merit Corporate Scholarship and a football scholarship to Baylor University, where he majored in biology. He graduated with honors in 1989 from The Texas A&M University System Health Science Center College of Medicine.
Continuing his outstanding academic work throughout medical school, he won several scholarships and awards, including the Academic Excellence Scholarship; the Raleigh R. White, M.D., Award for the Outstanding Student in Surgery; the Richard A. Gaines, M.D., Award for the Outstanding Student in Psychiatry; and the Helen Salyer Anderson Medical Award as the Outstanding Graduating Medical Student for Academic Achievement.
Dr. Smythe completed his surgical internship and residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, becoming a Postdoctoral Research Fellow of Thoracic and Molecular Oncology and a Clinical Oncology Fellow. He served as chief resident in surgery and as a resident in cardiothoracic surgery. He was awarded the Humaneness in Medicine Award by the Philadelphia County Medical Society and several teaching and research awards from The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
In 1998 he joined The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, later becoming consultant staff surgeon for the Houston Veterans Administration Medical Center and consultant surgeon for the Harris County Hospital District, Ben Taub County Hospital. He also served as an associate professor with the Graduate School of Biological Sciences, The UT Health Science Center and Medical School, Houston.
He received the Institutional Physician-Scientist Award from the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in 2000 and was named an Alley Sheridan Scholar by the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University / Thoracic Surgery Foundation for Research and Education in 2003.
He is a member of the following medical organizations: the Society of University Surgeons; the American College of Surgeons Oncology Group; the Society of University Surgeons; the Society of Thoracic Surgeons; the Southern Thoracic Surgical Association; the American College of Chest physicians; the American Society of Gene Therapy; the American Association of Cancer Research; the American Association for the Advancement of Science; and the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer. He is also a senior member of the Association for Academic Surgery, and is a Fellow with the American College of Surgeons. Dr. Smythe holds a medical license with the Pennsylvania State Board of Medical Examiners, the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners, the American Board of Surgery, and the American Board of Thoracic Surgery.

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