I am deeply honored to have the opportunity to serve as Executive Vice President and Provost, and Dean of the School of Medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch. I am proud to be part of an institution with such a rich history and diverse community of people who are working to improve the lives of others.

Message from the Provost

August 28, 2014

Rex McCallum, Ph.D.I am delighted to share that Dr. Rex McCallum has been appointed Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs for our university's Academic Enterprise.

This appointment solidifies Dr. McCallum's duties and recognizes his important responsibilities as we strive to deliver the very best in patient care while improving efficiency and decreasing costs. He will work with our Health System colleagues regarding all professional practices and operations. For example, he will partner with Ann O'Connell, MS, MSN, RN, Vice President for Ambulatory Operations, to oversee operations for all of our UTMB Health Clinics. Dr. McCallum will work to help us make sure that patient quality is "job one" while we compete based on providing the best service.

Coordinating with chairs on all clinical matters, Dr. McCallum will work to optimize productivity while maintaining the highest level of professionalism among faculty members. He will manage the clinical liaisons who support referring physicians and providers. He also will administer the MSRDP and support recruiting and faculty retention efforts.

Dr. McCallum's other responsibilities include working with various departments on the matters of payor strategy and tactics, optimizing billing and collections, ensuring billing compliance and improving Epic. His efforts also will support professional quality and government programs, such as Meaningful Use and Group Practice Reporting Option (GPRO).

Please join me in thanking Dr. McCallum and congratulating him on this new recognition.

Sincerely yours,

DOJ_sig
Danny O. Jacobs, MD, MPH, FACS
Executive Vice President, Provost and
Dean of the School of Medicine
Thomas N. & Gleaves T. James Distinguished Chair

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August 15, 2014

Alan Barrett, Ph.D.I am very pleased to inform you that our Sealy Center for Vaccine Development has been named a World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Vaccine Research, Evaluation and Training on Emerging Infectious Diseases. UTMB is only the second university in the Western Hemisphere and the seventh in the world to receive this designation from the World Health Organization (WHO).

UTMB’s vaccine development team will join a select network of other international experts to help facilitate vaccine research and development against important infectious diseases. The other collaborating centers are the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the University of Geneva, University of Zurich, and University of Lausanne in Switzerland, the Second Military Medical University in Shanghai and the University of Antwerp in Belgium.

The UTMB WHO Collaborating Center will track and provide analysis of the vaccine pipeline against emerging infectious diseases; conduct research on the development, evaluation and use of vaccines against emerging infectious diseases of public health importance; and provide education and training for future investigators in the field of vaccinology.

Alan D. Barrett, Ph.D., Director of the Sealy Center for Vaccine Development and Professor in the Departments of Pathology and Microbiology & Immunology, will serve as Director of our WHO Collaborating Center. David Beasley, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology, will serve as Associate Director.

Dr. Barrett has worked with the WHO extensively over the past decade, including as Chair of the Advisory Committee on Vaccine Research for Dengue and Other Flaviviruses and as a member of various committees, such as the Pan American Health Organization expert committee of yellow fever adverse events following immunization. He has lent his in-depth knowledge to working groups developing treatments for Japanese encephalitis, yellow fever and dengue. Dr. Barrett holds the John D. Stobo, M.D., Distinguished Chair and is a member of our Center for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases and Institute for Human Infections and Immunity.

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Alan Barrett, Dr. David Beasley and colleagues in the Sealy Center for Vaccine Development on their wonderful accomplishment.

Sincerely yours,

DOJ_sig
Danny O. Jacobs, MD, MPH, FACS
Executive Vice President, Provost and
Dean of the School of Medicine
Thomas N. & Gleaves T. James Distinguished Chair

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August 13, 2014

AE2020 Next StepsI am pleased to announce that, after 13 months of hard work, we are ready to take the next steps towards implementing our vision for UTMB in 2020. The next stage of this project will begin shortly as we focus our attention on those objectives that were identified as immediate priorities.

I would like to thank everyone -- including the multidisciplinary Strategic Management Task Force (SMTF), the Tactical Planning teams and the Academic Enterprise community-at-large, for the considerable time and energy spent on this formidable planning initiative. (Please note: A summary of the goals and objectives prioritization process is attached. In addition, a more detailed report in PowerPoint format is available upon request.)

The major activities included:

  • Collecting and collating more than 5,175 ideas and opinions from staff, faculty members and others as to what the future should look like for the Academic Enterprise;
  • Attending three meetings held in December 2013, and January and February 2014, where 150 members of 18 tactical planning teams helped to develop and refine the proposed objectives; and,
  • Regular meetings of the 25 members of our STMF over the past six months to assess and prioritize requests, integrating existing data and preliminarily identifying the resources that might be needed to be successful.

These efforts ultimately identified seven of the 18 objectives as those that should have the highest priority. These seven were presented to President Callender and the executive leadership team. They were to:

  • Implement a tactical planning, tracking and performance reporting platform for the AE
  • 2020 initiatives (onFocus Healthcare Inc.);
  • Refine methodology for selecting future clinical program priorities;
  • Develop succession plans for key leaders;
  • Increase philanthropic support for the Academic Enterprise;
  • Maintain 2012 research funding levels;
  • Review or revise program curricula to be competency based; and,
  • Evaluate and optimize or consolidate center and institute portfolios.

All seven were endorsed and recommended for implementation as soon as possible. In my opinion, although the process by which the objective priorities were identified was certainly rigorous (e.g., it incorporated best practices as regards to soliciting feedback from the faculty and staff members and is an exemplar for crowdsourcing), it is very reassuring that the seven objectives seem internally valid and “feel right.” It is also important to note that, after discussion, it was apparent that some of the resource requirements for the recommended objectives were already included in our institution’s budgetary plans for FY2015 and beyond, either in whole or in part.

This is a significant accomplishment. With your input and advice and, in no small part, because of your hard work, we have developed, refined and prioritized the objectives that will guide our efforts starting this September and continuing over the next several years. A lot of the background preparation work needed for us to launch the next phase has already been completed or is well underway. Look for more information coming soon (and, on a regular basis!) summarizing our current activities and future plans. 

Again, thank you for your efforts and for your support.

Excelsior,

DOJ_sig
Danny O. Jacobs, MD, MPH, FACS
Executive Vice President, Provost and
Dean of the School of Medicine
Thomas N. & Gleaves T. James Distinguished Chair

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August 11, 2014

Claire DonovanI am saddened to share the news that Claire Donovan passed away on July 13th, after a yearlong battle with cancer.

Ms. Donovan worked for UTMB for 28 years, serving in administrative roles in the President’s office, the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science and the School of Medicine Dean’s office, where she spent more than two decades. Upon her retirement, UTMB faculty and staff established the Claire Donovan Medical Education Scholarship Fund.

She is survived by her husband, Dr. Harvey Bunce III, who is a former Chair of the UTMB Department of Preventive Medicine and Community Health and Senior Associate Dean for Administration.

I know you will join me in extending our sympathy to Ms. Donovan’s family, friends and colleagues.

Sincerely yours,

DOJ_sig
Danny O. Jacobs, MD, MPH, FACS
Executive Vice President, Provost and
Dean of the School of Medicine
Thomas N. & Gleaves T. James Distinguished Chair

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August 6, 2014

Cameron SlocumIt is with a mixture of pride and sadness that I announce that Mr. Cameron Slocum will be leaving UTMB next month to assume the position of Chief Operating Officer at our sister institution, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, in Dallas. He will be reporting to the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, Dean of UT Southwestern Medical School, with a shared reporting relationship to the Executive Vice President for Health System Affairs and Executive Vice President for Business Affairs. 

Cameron has been with UTMB since 1998 and has been responsible for financial, operational and strategic functions within the Academic Enterprise and Faculty Group Practice. He has served as the Principal Business Officer of the Schools of Medicine, Nursing, Health Professions, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, and all Academic Support functions. Cameron also coordinated all of the institution’s business-related disaster recovery efforts with FEMA and other related agencies after Hurricane Ike.

During his tenure, he also held positions such as Senior Financial Analyst for Hospitals and Clinics, Director of Finance for Institutional Finance and Vice President for Finance and Administration, as well as finance legislative liaison in the Office of Finance. Additional responsibilities have included the institutional capital budget, debt management and oversight of UTMB’s endowments held by the UT System.

Please join me in congratulating Mr. Slocum on his new appointment and wishing him the best in all of his future endeavors!

Sincerely yours,

DOJ_sig
Danny O. Jacobs, MD, MPH, FACS
Executive Vice President, Provost and
Dean of the School of Medicine
Thomas N. & Gleaves T. James Distinguished Chair

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August 1, 2014

Dr_Douglas_S_TylerAfter a national search, I am pleased to announce that Douglas S. Tyler, M.D., has agreed to join us as Chair of our Department of Surgery. He will start his tenure on or about October 1, 2014.

Dr. Tyler received his M.D. with honors from Dartmouth Medical School in 1985, and went on to complete his postdoctoral training as Chief Resident in Surgery at Duke University Medical Center and a Surgical Oncology Fellow at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Dr. Tyler currently serves as a Professor of Surgery with tenure and Chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology within the Department of Surgery at Duke University Medical Center. Previously he served as Chief of the Section of Surgical Oncology at Duke. He also is a Vice Chairman of the Department of Surgery and Chief of Surgical Services at Durham VA Medical Center. 

Dr. Tyler’s clinical practice focuses on GI cancers and melanoma. Since 1997, he has been a member of the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center. He serves as Director of the Melanoma Program within the Duke Cancer Institute. Recently, he has been involved in organizing the Oncology Services for Duke Health System and was appointed Associate Director of strategic planning within the Cancer Institute.
           
A national leader in his field, Dr. Tyler runs one of the largest regional chemotherapy treatment and clinical research programs in the country. He is the principal investigator on several Phase I regional therapy trials in melanoma.

Author of more than 200 published works including peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, Dr. Tyler reviews for prestigious periodicals such as the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Cancer Research, the Journal of Surgical Oncology and the British Journal of Cancer. He is a member of the editorial boards for the Journal of Clinical Oncology and the World Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery.

Included on Castle Connolly’s America's Top Doctors list for several years in a row, Dr. Tyler’s other accolades include the David C. Sabiston, Jr. Teaching Award for excellence in resident education, the Durham VA Medical Center “Partners in Care” Nursing Service Excellence Award and the Duke Surgery Excellence in Simulation Teaching Award for providing exemplary service in skills training to residents in the surgical education and activities lab. As a Director for the American Board of Surgery, he is an elected representative to the Society of Surgical Oncology.

As always, I’d like to thank the search committee for their hard work. Thank you Dr. Bernard Godley, as Chair, along with Mr. Bernard Cherry, Mr. David Connaughton, Dr. Casey Duncan, Dr. Guillermo Gomez, Dr. James Goodwin, Dr. Gary Hankins, Dr. Aristides Koutrouvelis, Dr. Steven Lieberman, Ms. Deborah McGrew, Dr. Massoud Motamedi, Dr. David Niesel, Dr. Donald Prough, Dr. Vicente Resto, Dr. Rebecca Saavedra and Dr. Randall Urban. I’d also like to thank Mr. Victor Moreno for his contributions.

Please join me in welcoming Dr. Douglas Tyler to our UTMB family!

Sincerely yours,

DOJ_sig
Danny O. Jacobs, MD, MPH, FACS
Executive Vice President, Provost and
Dean of the School of Medicine
Thomas N. & Gleaves T. James Distinguished Chair

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July 30, 2014

Lawrence C. Sowers, Ph.D.

I am pleased to announce that Lawrence C. Sowers, Ph.D., and Kangling Zhang, Ph.D., have been awarded a five-year, $1.6 million grant from the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health to study DNA modification and damage repair pathways in order to better understand genetic changes that drive cancer etiology.

Dr. Sowers, John Sealy Distinguished Chair for MD/PhD Combined Degree Studies in Honor of Dr. Truman G. Blocker, Chair and Professor for the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology and Director of the MD-PhD Combined Degree Program and Dr. Zhang, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, are principal investigators for the project, “Oxidation of 5-Methylcytosine: DNA Damage and Epigenetic Reprogramming.” They will work with co-investigators Marxa Figueiredo, Ph.D., Assistant Professor for the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology and Ping Wu, M.D., Ph.D., John S. Dunn Distinguished Chair in Neurological Recovery and Professor for the Department of Neuroscience and Cell Biology.

Kangling Zhang, Ph.D. Marxa Figueiredo, Ph.D. Ping Wu, M.D., Ph.D.

The team will examine 5hmC and its related DNA demethylation pathway in human neural stem cells, mouse embryonic stem cells and in a series of human cancer stem cells and established cell lines. Information gleaned from this study could provide new insights into novel targeted chemotherapy.

Congratulations Dr. Lawrence Sowers, Dr. Kangling Zhang, Dr. Marxa Figueiredo and Dr. Ping Wu on this grant award!

Sincerely yours,

DOJ_sig
Danny O. Jacobs, MD, MPH, FACS
Executive Vice President, Provost and
Dean of the School of Medicine
Thomas N. & Gleaves T. James Distinguished Chair

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July 28, 2014

Dr. Alvin LeBlancAs many of you know, Dr. Alvin LeBlanc passed away on July 21st. I wanted to write about Dr. LeBlanc’s tremendous contributions to UTMB, the community and society-at-large, but decided that it would be hard to improve upon the attached message, shared by Thomas A. Blackwell, M.D., F.A.C.P, Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education.

I know you will join me in extending our deepest sympathy to Dr. LeBlanc’s family, colleagues and friends.

 

Sincerely yours,

DOJ_sig
Danny O. Jacobs, MD, MPH, FACS
Executive Vice President, Provost and
Dean of the School of Medicine
Thomas N. & Gleaves T. James Distinguished Chair

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July 23, 2014

Paul Bristol, MBAI am pleased to announce that Paul Bristol, MBA, will be joining us as Administrator for Primary Care Services in early August.

Mr. Bristol brings leadership experience and a wealth of expertise to his new role, with a background that encompasses finance, human resources, IT, facility management and faculty support.

He comes to UTMB from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he has worked for more than a decade in various departments, most recently as Administrator of the Vascular Surgery Section and Diagnostic Vascular Labs (DVUs) at multiple sites such as the University of Michigan Hospital, North Campus Research Complex (NCRC), Briarwood Health Associates (DVU), Cardiovascular Center (Clinical/Surgical/DVU), Dominos Farm (DVU) and remote Vein Clinics. In this role, he oversaw clinical, surgical and research operations; organized community outreach; managed space; increased revenue and market share while improving patient care; and supervised management staff.

As Administrator for the Cell and Developmental Biology Department, Mr. Bristol implemented both a new financial system to track project activity and a shared services model to support departmental accounting, and he helped develop the Basic Sciences Medical School incentive plan to reward faculty with greater than 50% salary coverage on sponsored funds. Other positions held by Mr. Bristol include Business and Human Resources Manager for the Chemistry Department and Senior Budget Analyst for the Dean’s Office, College of Literature, Science and Arts. While at the University of Michigan, he participated in such groups as the Wound Care Clinic Steering Committee, Medical School Post Award Modernization and the LSA Human Resource Classification Committee.

Mr. Bristol previously worked as a Manager, Financial Analyses and Recurring Revenue for Creative Solutions in Dexter, Michigan, and Project Controller for Deloitte & Touche in Dallas, Texas. He holds a certificate in Lean Healthcare Training, a BA in Communications from the University of Michigan and an MBA in Finance from Keller Graduate School in Atlanta, Georgia.

Please join me in welcoming Mr. Bristol!

DOJ_sig
Danny O. Jacobs, MD, MPH, FACS
Executive Vice President, Provost and
Dean of the School of Medicine
Thomas N. & Gleaves T. James Distinguished Chair

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July 23, 2014

Dr. Bukreyev I am pleased to announce that Alexander Bukreyev, PhD, Professor in the Departments of Pathology and Microbiology & Immunology, has been awarded roles on multiple five-year grants funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the Defense Treaty Reduction Agency (DTRA) and totaling more than $6.58 million. Through these projects, Dr. Bukreyev will work to develop antibodies and small molecules to treat Ebola and Marburg infections, investigate their pathogenetic mechanisms and study the innate immunity that allows bats to harbor these viruses.

The grants are administered through the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (Dr. Chris Basler). In one grant, Dr. Bukreyev will work on testing and developing drugs to treat these viruses as principal investigator of Project 3, “Therapeutics Targeting Filoviral Interferon-antagonist and Replication Functions: Small Molecules Disabling Dephosphorylation of Ebola and Marburg" ($1,081,253) and principal investigator of Core B “Therapeutics Targeting Filoviral Interferon-antagonist and Replication Function” ($2,469,571). In another grant, Dr. Bukreyev will investigate immune responses caused by the Ebola and Marburg viruses as principal investigator of Project 2, "Mechanisms of ‘Immune Paralysis’ Caused by Filoviruses,” for $1,707,254.

Dr. Bukreyev also will receive $1,320,028 as co-investigator and principal investigator of the UTMB subcontract “Comparative Immunology of Rousettus Aegyptiacus Reservoir of Filovirus” funded by the DTRA.

Before joining UTMB in 2010, Dr. Bukreyev worked as a Research Fellow and Staff Scientist at the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, NIAID, garnering honors including the Performance Award in Recognition of Special Achievement in Support of the Mission of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases several years in a row. This year, he served on both the Organizing Committee of the 6th International Symposium on Filoviruses and on the NIH Vaccines Against Microbial Diseases (VMD) Study Section. He is a member of UTMB’s Galveston National Laboratory, the UTMB Center for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases and the UTMB Institute for Human Infections and Immunity, as well as a Senior Scientist for UTMB’s Sealy Center for Vaccine Development.

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Bukreyev on his grant awards.

DOJ_sig
Danny O. Jacobs, MD, MPH, FACS
Executive Vice President, Provost and
Dean of the School of Medicine
Thomas N. & Gleaves T. James Distinguished Chair

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News from 2013