Members of UTMB’s Family Medicine Student Interest Group coordinated the administration of flu shots to community members who attend the weekly 8 a.m. Saturday morning breakfast and Luke Society free clinic/prescription program that meets behind First Presbyterian Church in downtown Galveston. Dr. Julie McKee helped the students coordinate the program. They raised the funds to purchase the flu shots from the Osler Societies at UTMB. The Luke Society was established in 1980 by Dr. Frederick Zaunbrecher, who is a retired UTMB faculty member. Linda Venzke, RN, has been involved with the society from its early days as well, as have many other members of the UTMB faculty and staff. The Luke Society is always in need of over-the-counter medication, wound care supplies, cough drops, money for prescription medications and even plastic grocery bags. If you would like to help or want more information contact

Congratulations to Dr. Roger Throndson, UTMB Health’s chief of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, on his recent nomination as Texas Dentist of the Year. He was one of 15 dentists nominated across the state from a pool of 13,000. The honor is conferred by the  Academy of General Dentists, who met recently in Austin.  

Dr. Throndson is married to his high school sweetheart, and served three decades in the U.S. Army, including deployment to Saudi  Arabia in the first Gulf War. He’s active in the community and is highly regarded by his patients. Dr. Throndson, who serves patients from his clinic at 1600 W. League City Parkway, has also been recognized numerous years as a Texas Monthly SuperDentist.

Dr. Ana M. Rodriguez of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology recently took top honors for a research poster presented at the joint annual meeting of the American Congress of Obstetrics & Gynecology and the Texas Association of Obstetrics & Gynecology. Dr. Rodriguez, whose areas of interest include  family planning /contraception, minimally invasive gynecology and robotic surgery, is one of the nation's most experienced gynecologists in the area of hysteroscopic sterilizations.

Her first-place poster, Analysis of Tubal Patency after Essure ™ Placement, summarized an analysis of 203 patients who had undergone the Essure ™ procedure. In the analysis, which compared results with earlier studies, researchers led by Rodriguez found a slightly higher failure rate in certain patients, which they theorize could be associated with higher BMI (obesity) or prior intrauterine device use. More research will be necessary. The work presented was conducted with Drs. Daniel Breitkopf and Russell R. Snyder.

Congratulations to Bridget Wagner for receiving the Excellence in Professionalism award for July-August-September.  Bridget, a 4th year medical student, was chosen by her fellow classmates for her "tireless work helping guide the students below her in their studies. She has been a tutor for two years, both for all required courses and to help students in the year below succeed at Step 1, the national board exam. Bridget is one of the most optimistic people I know. She always has a wonderful attitude. The way she interacts with residents and faculty is to be emulated. She really has a special way of engaging with patients too. She remembers all the family members names, where they are from and what is unique about the patient. This is evident during rounds, and is true even when she has multiple patients to care for. Furthermore, Bridget has excelled in medical school with both grades and board scores, she could match into any competitive high paying specialty but is choosing pediatrics because of her intrinsic love for caring for kids. Bridget is a shining star in UTMBs school of medicine and should be rewarded for her tireless efforts at helping other students succeed and being an exemplary model of professionalism at UTMB.” – Fellow Classmate

L to R:  Dell Roach, Pam Naranjo with the Texas/Louisiana Gulf Coast Women of the ELCA Synod and Maureen Brami.Members of the Texas/Louisiana Gulf Coast Women of the ELCA Synod, a Lutheran women’s group, held their annual two-day conference at South Shore Harbor.  About 100 women attended and participated in the community craft activity which was to make heart-shaped pillows for patients to use after surgery. Pillows were distributed to hospitals in the Houston-Galveston area including UTMB's Transplant Unit.

Dr. Don W. PowellThe Don Powell Decades event was held October 19-20, 2012, to honor Dr. Don W. Powell for his service to UTMB and to the profession. Hosted by the Division of Gastroenterology & Hepatology, and the Department of Internal Medicine, 200 people gathered for a Toast and Roast Dinner on Friday, October 19, at Moody Gardens Hotel to pay tribute to Powell. Dr. Marschall Runge, chairman of medicine at UNC School of Medicine, and former UTMB chief of cardiology, served as the Master of Ceremonies for the evening.

On Saturday, October 20, a Scientific Symposium was held which featured presentations by ten of Powell’s colleagues, some of whom had been collaborators with him in their research, and others that he had mentored in their careers.

Powell served as UTMB Chairman of Medicine from 1991-2002, and he is currently Program Director for the UTMB Institute for Translational Science Clinical Research Center. He has been a funded NIH investigator of over 40 years. He has been honored in the past as he served as president of the American Gastroenterology Association, and has received the Friedenwald Award for lifetime achievement in gastroenterology. Other honors include election to Mastership in the American College of Physicians and receiving the McGovern Award in Oslerian Medicine from UTMB.
Dr. Randall J. Urban, Edward Randall and Edward Randall, Jr., distinguished chairman of Internal Medicine said, “Dr. Powell epitomizes professionalism which I consider foremost as putting the needs of others before your own." Dr. Nicholas Verne, chief of the Division of Gastroenterology & Hepatology, told the audience at the Toast and Roast Dinner that for all his many scholarly achievements, Powell would most be remembered for mentoring students, house officers, and other colleagues in the development of their careers. Verne said, “Dr. Powell has always taken the time to help others develop their careers in a most unselfish manner. He serves as a role model for all of us and an example of the complete physician”.