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Executive Updates

Executive Updates
from Dr. Byington

December 2017: Health Science Center Executive Update


As the semester winds down and the holidays approach, I want to take this opportunity to send a heartfelt "thank you" to the students, faculty and staff that make our Health Science Center so great. I would also like to reflect on a few recent issues of interest.

Harvey relief fund update:
I am still in awe of the outpouring of service in the midst of, and following, Hurricane Harvey. Our faculty, students and resident physicians throughout the state came together as first responders during the disaster. Just this week I read an opinion piece from third year medical student Jonathan Brewer on his experience staffing, in conjunction with students from UT Southwestern, a medical clinic in Dallas from 6 a.m. to midnight every day for 19 consecutive days. When called upon, these students worked together through long hours and stressful conditions to treat thousands of patients. I am also pleased to report that funds were distributed to faculty, staff and students directly impacted by Harvey through our Disaster Relief Fund. Thank you to those who generously donated to this effort. As a united force, we were able to contribute to and help so many people in need.

SECC success:
Thank you to everyone who joined me in donating to the 2017 State Employee Charitable Campaign (SECC). The Health Science Center raised $45,415.19, a 35% increase over last year! Congratulations go out to Barry Nelson, Finance & Administration, and Ryan Nelson, CIADM, for their winning silent auction bids in the last week of the campaign and to Lois Rockwell, School of Public Health, for winning the $100 Amazon gift card. Funds raised will be distributed to participating charities and agencies to help make a tangible difference to the causes we've chosen to support.

EnHealth in the news:
Last month, we announced Engineering Health (EnHealth), the nation's first comprehensive educational program to fully integrate engineering into all health-related disciplines. Dr. Roderic I. Pettigrew, a physician-scientist, internationally recognized leader in biomedical imaging and bioengineering and member of both the National Academy of Medicine and National Academy of Engineering, will lead the program. You can listen to more about EnHealth in this national NPR story on Marketplace.

College of Medicine celebrates 40 th anniversary:
The College of Medicine 40th Anniversary Gala was a huge success. Thank you to all who made this event possible, and thanks to those from across the Health Science Center who attended. Thanks to our generous sponsors, we will be able to permanently endow several medical student scholarships. The night also included a performance by Lyle Lovett, class of '79, a distinguished alumnus and wonderful musician. It was a great opportunity to celebrate the college's four decades of excellence and look ahead at the future. View photos from the event.

Texas A&M start-up company on national stage:
Mark Benden, PhD, CPE, associate professor in Environmental Health & Occupational Safety at the School of Public Health, recently represented the university and the Health Science Center at the inaugural University Innovation and Entrepreneurship (I&E) Showcase in Washington, D.C. Dr. Benden presented on his stand-biased desk research. These desks, which allow students to choose whether to stand or sit in class, have been found to improve BMI and cognitive functioning.

College of Dentistry dedicates site of new clinic and education building:
The College of Dentistry recently dedicated the site of the college's new Clinic and Education Building. This nine-story, 157,756-square-foot facility is designed to serve a new era in dental education by fostering group practice settings that emphasize patient care outcomes. I was honored to be part of the groundbreaking, along with Board of Regents Chairman Charles Schwartz, Chancellor John Sharp, College of Dentistry Dean Lawrence Wolinsky, as well as elected officials. You can view photos from the ceremony on Flickr.

Two Health Science Center faculty named Regents Professors:
Congratulations to William H. Griffith, PhD, professor and chair of the College of Medicine's Department of Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics, and Daniel Jones, DDS, PhD, professor and chair at the College of Dentistry's Department of Public Health Sciences, on receiving 2017 Regents Professor Awards. They are both well deserving of this honor for their service to the Health Science Center, The Texas A&M System and the people of Texas.

College of Nursing and Pharmacy combat flu with vaccine clinics:
The College of Nursing and Rangel College of Pharmacy did their part to keep our community healthy this flu season with flu vaccination clinics across campus, and even immunized President Young! In partnership with the Division of Human Resources and Organizational Effectiveness, the College of Nursing, College of Pharmacy, and Texas A&M Physicians teamed up for an interprofessional collaborative effort to offer flu vaccines for Texas A&M System employees and their eligible dependents at a number of different locations across campus. The drive-thru event served as a practice for a mass-vaccination event in the case of a pandemic, in which many people would need to be immunized very quickly. Thank you to the faculty, staff and students who made these clinics possible.

In closing, thank you for all you do to make the Health Science Center a dynamic institution that offers transformational learning experiences, contributes new discoveries and innovations that advance health, and impacts the state of Texas and our nation through our selfless service. For real-time updates, please follow me on Twitter @carrie_byington and visit the Vital Record news site.


With warmest wishes for the holiday season,
Carrie L. Byington, MD