Four exceptional UTMB School of Medicine alumni were honored at the 17th annual Ashbel Smith Distinguish Alumnus (ASDA) Awards Presentation and Reception on May 30 at Levin Hall. These physicians, nominated and voted for by their peers, were honored for their service to the medical profession and humanity as for well as their integrity, stature, ability, demonstrated pride in UTMB and community contributions.

Established in 1965, the ASDA Award is the highest honor bestowed by the alumni of the SOM.  Of the more than 9,000 SOM alumni, only 189 have been honored with this prestigious award.

The newly inducted awardees are:

Dr. Ronald W. DeskinDr. Ronald W. Deskin, Class of 1969, graduated from UTMB with highest honors, was ranked third in a class of 150 and was the recipient of the Gold-Headed Cane Award.

He became the first pediatric otolaryngologist in Texas in private practice in 1982, at a time when there were only two such specialists – both in the academic centers at Baylor and UTMB.

After serving as a fellow at the Children’s Hospital of Boston and an instructor at Harvard Medical School, Deskin returned to UTMB in 1993 to serve as Professor of Pediatrics and Otolaryngology, Director of the Pediatric Otolaryngology Division and Vice Chairman of the Department of Otolaryngology.

During his career, he has:  served on various committees and boards; held many leadership positions in his field; edited numerous textbooks and journals; participated in several medical mission trips; was voted one of the Best Doctors in America multiple times; and has been a Texas Monthly Super Doctor for the past nine years.

Deskin currently serves as Professor of Pediatrics and Otolaryngology at UT Southwestern and Children’s Medical Center in Dallas.

Dr. Tedd L. MitchellSince 2010, Dr. Tedd L. Mitchell, Class of 1987, has served as President of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock, Texas.

Prior to this position, Mitchell was President and CEO of the Cooper Clinic in Dallas where he and his colleagues were the first to assess the clinical utility of electron-beam tomography in determination of coronary artery calcium scoring, publishing the nation’s first large scale age- and sex- based nomogram of coronary calcium scores.

An avid writer, Mitchell has served as Health Editor for USA Weekend and has published more than two dozen scientific papers, abstracts and chapters and is the co-author of three books.

In addition to his many outstanding awards and leadership roles, Mitchell was appointed by President George W. Bush to the President’s Council for Physical Fitness and Sports, a position he held from 2002 to 2009.

In addition to his current role as President of TTUHSC, Mitchell continues to teach medical students and residents and still sees patients at the student-run free clinic in Lubbock.

Dr. Peter P. RojasDr. Peter P. Rojas, Class of 1970, completed his surgical internship in Galveston and was called to serve his country in the U.S. Army Medical Corps during the Vietnam War.

After the war, Rojas returned to his hometown Victoria, Texas and started his surgical career with Victoria Surgical Associates – where he still remains a senior partner.

A lifetime member of the School of Medicine Alumni Association and a former board member, Rojas continues to serve on the Diversity of Medical Education Committee and has been instrumental in securing scholarships for minority medical students.

His proudest accomplishments include improving patient care and safety by founding the Cancer Program, the Continuing Medical Education Committee and the Trauma Program in Victoria.

Additionally, Rojas has been the director of an annual surgical mission trip to Guatemala – helping to introduce laparoscopic cholecystectomy and properitoneal hernia repairs to indigenous populations.

Dr. Michael Silva, Jr.Since graduating from UTMB in 1984, Dr. Michael Silva, Jr., has made a full-circle in his career and returned to his alma mater in 2004 to oversee the operations and programs of the Texas Vascular Center.

Early in his career he was Chief of Endovascular Surgery at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey where he was instrumental in developing senior endovascular training programs.

His success and expertise took him to Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center where he served as Vice Chairman of the Department of Surgery.  He was then recruited by the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio where he was appointed Chairman of the Department of Vascular Surgery. Upon his return to UTMB he was appointed Director of the Texas Vascular Center and in 2011 was named Chief of the newly formed Division of Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Therapy.

Silva’s extensive clinical work helped lay the foundation for the Dialysis Outcome Quality Initiative Guidelines. Additionally, he played a role in championing the Carotid Revascularization Endarterectomy versus Stenting (CREST) Trial and continues to be a national and international advocate on carotid stenting.