November 2013 Executive Update

November 18, 2013

Dear Colleagues:

I have been in my interim position for just over a month, and I want to thank all of you for your warm welcome, enthusiasm, information, and hard work.  I am confident that we are in a transformative period at the HSC, and would like to share just a few activities and items that are currently underway:

Dr. Brett Giroir, Interim Executive Vice President & CEO

Dr. Brett Giroir, Interim Executive Vice President & CEO

Our College of Medicine received full, continued accreditation for seven years from the Liaison Council on Medical Education on October 18, 2013. The College was visited by a site team in February 2012 and had a follow-up consultative visit in March 2013.  In its review, the LCME noted a highly-responsive faculty and administration open to student feedback about the curriculum; long-standing, supportive, and collaborative clinical affiliate relationships; outstanding and comprehensive simulation program on all campuses; and excellent state and clinical institution support of our facilities. This accreditation milestone attests to the quality of medical education and research programs that we offer, and I commend the entire College of Medicine on this important achievement.

Last month’s 16th annual Mavis P. Kelsey Lecture at the IBT was a big success as we welcomed keynote speaker Dr. Christopher P. Austin, inaugural director of the National Center for Advancing Translational Science at the NIH. Dr. Cheryl Walker and I had the pleasure of touring Dr. Austin around the growing therapeutics space in Bryan-College Station before heading off to Houston for his presentation. He was impressed with the activities underway here, and we look forward to keeping him apprised of our advances in this area.

Many thanks to the HSC Student Government Association and SGA executive leadership for meeting with me twice in the last two weeks.  The HSC SGA has great ideas, and I will continue to rely on them to assure that the students’ needs and aspirations are heard throughout the HSC.

Many thanks to students and faculty, especially those in the College of Nursing, for supporting the Wounded Warrior Run organized by Squadron 17 of the Corps of Cadets.   I was very impressed by our students’ and faculty’s commitment to service (as well as their speed!).

I already shared with you the exciting news of Dr. Gerald Parker joining our executive team as Vice President of Public Health Preparedness and Response and serving as Principal Investigator of the Center for Innovation and Advanced Development and Manufacturing as of last Friday. Dr. Parker’s distinguished career includes 26 years of active duty service in the military and multiple executive positions at the federal level.   Equally important, Gerry is an outstanding individual who would love to support faculty and students in any manner that he can.

I am pleased to announce the restructuring of HSC commercialization activities into a new Office of Technology Translation (OTT) within the Division of Finance and Administration. Leading the new office are Executive Director Joe Jilka and Director LauraLee Hughes, who joins TAMHSC from the TAMUS Office of Strategic Initiatives.  Dr. Jilka previously served as executive associate director for commercialization with the TAMHSC Office of Research and Graduate Programs.  In addition to typical IP protection and licensing activities, the OTT will be taking a significantly more active role in setting expectations and monitoring performance of companies that license our technologies, better ensuring that new products get to patients as rapidly as possible.  For more information on working with the TAMHSC Office of Technology Translation, please contact Dr. Joe Jilka at 979-436-0586 or LauraLee Hughes at 979-436-0676.

Many thanks to faculty, staff, and students in BCS, Temple, Round Rock, Dallas, and Houston who hosted visits and extensive meetings with me during the last few weeks.  I look forward to visiting Kingsville, Corpus Christi, and McAllen in the next month.  Wherever I go, I sense the same incredible enthusiasm and commitment to education, research, and patient care.

The HSC is academic co-host (with Peking University HSC) for the 6th Biennial Bush China-US Relations Conference to be held in Beijing Sept 23-25. The Conference is focused on Global Infectious Diseases Prevention, Preparedness, and Response – and there will be ample opportunities for faculty, staff, and student participation.  If you have questions, please visit the conference website.

The next time you’re in the Texas Medical Center, I invite you to take a look at the recently erected Alkek Building signage.  Let no one doubt that Texas A&M is making its presence known, and will expand that presence in the near future.   You’ll continue seeing the new logo more and more across our statewide campuses, and I encourage everyone to do their part by serving as brand ambassadors. You have access to branding tools and information that aid in making the switch in accordance with the rebranding timeline, so please utilize that resource.

There’s much more news to tell, so I encourage you to keep an eye on Vital Record for the latest information and happenings from across the institution.

Until next time…thanks and Gig ‘em!

Brett P. Giroir, M.D.
Interim Executive Vice President and CEO
Texas A&M Health Science Center

— Kendall Cherry