November 2022 Message from the Chair

November 2022

Hello DOM-ers,

I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving as a chance to see friends, family, and other loved ones. I also find it meaningful to reflect a bit about just how lucky I am. It is no exaggeration when I say that I am grateful to be clothed, housed, and fed; there are millions. But I also recognize that the influx of Europeans into North America wasn’t great (a gross understatement) for the indigenous populations. I’m not being political- rather- acknowledging our shared history for better and for worse.

Hopefully each of you had a few moments to enjoy some time with family and friends. And for those of you covering clinical services, thank you!

A few quick notes.

First, thanks to all of you who attended last week’s State-of-the-Department Update that I gave. The brief summary: we have made lots of improvements over the past year and I feel good about that. We also have more work to do and need to get better each and every day across our three missions: clinical care; research; and education. In a related vein, at last week’s Faculty meeting we had a chance to hear from Interim-Dean Susman. I was delighted to see so many of our faculty on the call. Dr. Susman is thoughtful, pragmatic, and extremely engaged. We are fortunate to have him.

Second, I want to mention the upcoming LCME re-credentialing of the School of Medicine. In the lead-up to the visit Dr. Woods and others shared preparatory data. While the SOM is performing well, our students report higher rates of mistreatment than their peers at other medical schools; this should concern all of us. I ask each of us to reflect on our interactions with our students and what we can do to make their experience optimal.

Third, I want to welcome Dr. Belalcazar as our Vice-Chair of DEI. She has lots of ideas and plans and I know that she wants to hear from you, our faculty and staff about how we can make our Department a more welcoming environment for everybody. Please contact her if you have suggestions or ideas.

Fourth, I want to stress the importance of planning early for promotion. Planning for your promotion should literally begin on the day that you are hired: at UTMB our Academic Planning Document should start you on your way. Your annual reviews with your Division Chief serve as an annual check-in. Just a little bit of annual planning (giving a talk at a regional or national meeting, serving on a committee for your professional society) makes things a whole lot easier when the time comes to go forward.

Fifth, what am I reading? Well…I just finished reading Atomic Habits by James Clear (; it wasn’t bad. I also read an interesting NEJM perspective on Health Information and Privacy regulations (NEJM Perspective 11.24.2022).

Finally, be sure to check out our new DOM communications. This includes a new website and a new DOM twitter feed.

If you were unable to attend the recent State of the Department or IM Quarterly Faculty Meeting presentations, we welcome you to view the presentation recordings and available slide decks by following the links below.