by Natalie GutierrezPeople say everything is bigger in Texas. So when William Henrich, M.D., M.A.C.P., took the helm as dean of the Medical School and vice president for medical affairs at the Health Science Center, he knew he had a Texas-size opportunity ahead of him. But he was more than ready.
You could say Dean Henrich knows about health care and medical education in Texas like a rancher knows the lay of the land. Thatís because he grew up in Texas, moving from Detroit, Michigan, to Dallas with his parents when he was just a year old. He earned his medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine and has held faculty positions at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School as well as lead positions at the VA Medical Center in Dallas. During his tenure as professor and chair of the department of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Dr. Henrich served twice as a visiting professor at the Health Science Center.
"There is a spirit about the place that is engaging," Dr. Henrich said. "Each time I visited San Antonio and the Health Science Center, I felt like I was coming home." He said the Health Science Centerís distinct atmosphere that is both rigorous and friendly at the same time is what drew him here.
"The Health Science Center has an entrepreneurial personality, with top-notch faculty and administrators who are willing to tackle sizeable challenges to raise the profile of the university," Dr. Henrich said. "The Health Science Center is poised to join the ranks of the nationís finest academic health research centers, and I am excited to be participating in the Medical Schoolís role in this effort."
Dr. Henrich oversees a $305 million budget that supports more than 1,000 faculty members involved in academic programs in San Antonio, Harlingen and Edinburg. He intends to expand research programs that will lead to exciting new discoveries and improve the institutionís funding from the National Institutes of Health, among others.
"Research is a difficult, time-intensive activity that requires perseverance over time. It is a particular mission of academic medical centers such as our Health Science Center," he said. "The fact that we have some of the nationís top faculty researchers positions us among the very best. I am hopeful we can raise our research portfolio significantly over the next few years."
He also plans to draw on the Health Science Centerís strengths in trauma, transplantation, urology, infectious diseases and diabetes care, and continue to build upon programs including womenís health care, cancer, heart disease and the neurosciences.
"We have an excellent and dedicated clinical faculty who care for many of the uninsured and underinsured patients of San Antonio and South Texas, and this is a role we take very seriously. I anticipate we will be able to plan, build and fortify exciting partnerships with our hospital partners and other organizations throughout Texas to assist us in this effort."
Dr. Henrich said he also looks forward to spending more time with students to find out what their needs are regarding curriculum, resources, and study/community space on campus.
"The wonderful thing about the Health Science Center is that everyone here goes out of their way to help you," he said. "You wonít find that abrazo (embracing) spirit anywhere else. The Health Science Center is in the vanguard of the most rigorous schools in the nation, but weíre still friendly. President Cigarroa has worked very hard to create this environment. I pledge to build upon his formula for success - to be nothing but the best in everything we do but to always remember that we are a team and that we must support each other."
With Dr. Henrich in the lead, the Medical School will flourish in the Texas tradition - bigger, better, and always friendly.
William L. Henrich, M.D., M.A.C.P.
Dean of the Medical School and Vice President for Medical Affairs
UT Health Science Center
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