By Molly Dannenmaier
Eighteen years ago, when Dr. Syed Kazmi was chief medical resident at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, he was offered a great opportunity — the chance to establish a new UTMB medical service in an underserved area.
It was 1995 and there was no pediatrician in Alvin. . Dr. Kazmi was a rising medical star — a young doctor with a master’s degree in public health and a deep commitment to bringing primary care to communities where it was most needed.
Creating a new UTMB health program for a community’s children was a prestigious assignment for the young doctor. His mentors saw it as a stepping stone to further career advancement, he recalls.
Kazmi moved from Galveston to Alvin, opened the tiny 900-square-foot pediatric clinic, and for five years was the only physician working there.
“The goal was to serve the whole Alvin community — anyone who needed care for their children could bring them to us. There was a UTMB clinic right here where people needed it,” said Dr. Kazmi. “It was so gratifying to bring this program to life.”
Now, after 18 years, the clinic has four primary care providers — two doctors and two nurse practitioners. Dr. Kazmi is still there after all this time. He did not use his experience establishment of the clinic as a stepping stone to another job but instead has grown to know and love Alvin as his home.
Since moving to Alvin to start the clinic Kazmi has married, had two children, and become deeply involved in community life. Besides serving as the director of the UTMB Alvin Pediatric Clinic, he also serves as the city’s volunteer health officer.
“I have seen a whole generation of patients grow up and now I am beginning to see them again as adults when they bring their own children to the clinic. I love being so deeply connected to so many families in this community,” Kazmi said.
As the clinic’s patients have grown up, the clinic has grown up too. Nurse practitioner Gwyn Rossi has introduced a new specialty practice treating young adults ages 17 to 21. Next year the clinic plans to add adult primary care as well.
“All those children who grew up with us will soon be able to come to us as adult patients,” said Kazmi. “We have always been deeply connected and committed the Alvin’s children and families and now we are strengthening this connection even more.”