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in Family Practice honors
San Antonio physician
The John M. Smith Jr., MD, Professorship in Family Practice has been established at the Health Science Center.
The professorship was created by family and friends to honor the San Antonio physician's more than 50 years in practice. The endowment was announced last spring at a dinner at the UT Institute of Texan Cultures.
At the event, more than 400 friends, family and former associates of Dr. Smith gathered to recognize him for his dedicated service to his patients and his leadership in helping establish the Health Science Center's Medical School and the San Antonio Medical Foundation.
A former president of the Texas Medical Association and the Bexar County Medical Society, Dr. Smith is a longtime trustee of the San Antonio Medical Foundation and a Health Science Center Development Board member who has campaigned vigorously for improved health care and health education in the city and the region.
Dr. Smith was a leader in the efforts to secure passage of House Bill 9 in 1959, the legislation that established The University of Texas South Texas Medical School at San Antonio, the institution that is today the Health Science Center. Also, as a member of the Texas State Board of Health, he helped to secure extra Hill-Burton federal funds to complete construction of the Medical School building.
In 1989, Dr. Smith received the prestigious Distinguished Service Award from the American Medical Association, a designation that puts him in a select rank of physicians including such giants as Ochsner, Menninger and Mayo.
In recognition of their father's lifetime of leadership and service to the state, the four children of Dr. and Mrs. Smith have established the John M. Smith Jr., MD, Professorship in Family Practice. Future generations of physicians selected to hold this professorship will be able to continue the life work of Dr. Smith: service to his profession and his community.
Barry Weiss, MD, chairman of the family practice department in the Medical School, is the first Smith Professor.
The endowment currently totals $151,770, and additional donations are being sought to increase the fund. Persons interested in contributing to the Smith Professorship may send a gift to the office of university relations at the Health Science Center.
James Dye estate bequeaths $1 million to HSC Strodel is new chair of surgery Bowman scholars announced Pathology selects Reddick as chair School of Nursing opens expansion Physical therapy names Hartgraves new chair San Antonio Cancer Institute receives top status designation Crosby joins HSC to develop major gifts Researchers shed new light on causes of stuttering Dental associations select Boyan, Sandoval as presidents Colon cancer patients may have alternatives to traditional surgery State and local groups support HSC projects Monitoring moles could save your lifeReturn to main index
James Dye estate bequeaths $1 million to HSC
The Health Science Center has received a $1 million bequest from the estate of James D. Dye of San Antonio to fund the James D. and Ona I. Dye Endowment. Mr. Dye's will directed that income from the endowment be "used as the president of the Health Science Center School directs."
"We are grateful to the Dyes for their wonderful contribution," said John P. Howe III, MD, Health Science Center president. "Their endowment will serve as a lasting tribute to honor the memory of our generous friends. It will provide perpetual annual income, and we are honored by the confidence shown by Mr. Dye. We are committed to meeting and exceeding his expectations."
According to W. Frank Elston, vice president for university relations, "When Mr. and Mrs. Dye came to my office, Mr. Dye told me he was impressed with what he saw at the Health Science Center. He stated that through his will, he wanted to help the university."
Mr. Dye referred to himself as a "roughneck" from Oklahoma who made his money in oil and investments. "I believe it is important to share your wealth," Mr. Dye said.
He had become friends with Dr. Frank Harrison, university president from 1972 to 1985, and Mr. Dye created the generous bequest "in recognition of my friendship with Dr. Harrison."
Strodel is new chair of surgeryWilliam E. Strodel III, MD, joined the Health Science Center in August as chairman of the department of surgery. He succeeds J. Bradley Aust, MD, PhD, Dorn Distinguished Professor of Surgery, who retired as chairman after 30 years and remains on the faculty quarter time.
Dr. Strodel, 48, previously served as professor and head of general surgery at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington. He also held the W.O. Griffen Endowed Chair and served as associate chairman of the department of surgery.
A graduate of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Dr. Strodel graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School in 1973. He completed his internship and residency in surgery at the University of Michigan Affiliate Hospitals. He is a diplomate of the American Board of Surgery/Surgical Critical Care and a fellow of the American College of Surgeons.
In 1979 he joined the University of Michigan general surgery faculty and served until his 1987 appointment to the University of Kentucky faculty.
Dr. Strodel's accomplishments in surgery encompass education, patient care and research. Dr. Strodel has received several teaching awards during his career and recently was listed in Best Doctors in America, Midwest Region. Author of more than 100 journal articles, he is the co-author of two books on surgical endoscopy and surgical education as well as numerous book chapters.
He is known for his innovations in clinical and surgical treatment of pancreatic cancer as well as research on the biology of pancreatic tumor growth.
Pancreatic cancer is different from other types of tumors, he explained. "I've had the opportunity to learn how to manage a disease that was previously believed to be unmanageable," Dr. Strodel said.
Bowman scholars announced
Drs. Richard Thielen, pharmacology, and Allison Kitten, biochemistry, are the first winners of the Barbara H. Bowman Postdoctoral Research Scholarships.
These awards honor the late Dr. Bowman, longtime chairman of the Health Science Center's department of cellular & structural biology.
Dr. Thielen, who received his PhD in biochemistry and molecular biology from the University of Indiana School of Medicine, has helped characterize putative serotonin1A receptor antagonists in rats. Serotonin is a brain neurotransmitter that may be involved in mood and depression.
Dr. Kitten, who received her PhD in physiology from the Health Science Center in 1993, is studying bone morphogenetic proteins, an interesting set of molecules that promote bone formation.
Pathology selects Reddick as chair
Dr. Robert L. Reddick, veteran faculty member at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, started Oct. 1 as professor and chairman of pathology at the Health Science Center. He holds the Frank M. Townsend, MD, Chair in Pathology.
Dr. Reddick was director of anatomic and surgical pathology at the University of North Carolina Hospitals, director of pathology for transgenic animal models, and served on numerous hospital committees. He joined the UNC faculty in 1978 after three years in the Laboratory of Pathology at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md. "My area of service concentration is in surgical pathology," he said, "and my major research interests have been in atherosclerosis and oncology. As a surgical pathologist, I have wanted to know as much about these disease processes as possible in order to facilitate patient care."
At UNC he was director of pathology for medical education development, medical director of the electron microscopic facility and director of the special procedures (electron microscopy) laboratory. He was named the Kenneth M. Brinkhous Distinguished Professor of Pathology in 1989 and in 1993 received the Black Faculty Staff Award for University Community Service.
Dr. Reddick received his medical degree in 1973 at Chapel Hill, building upon a Master of Science in experimental pathology in 1971 and a bachelor's degree in chemistry in 1969.
He was investigator or co-principal investigator on three major long-term grants in the 1980s and '90s from the National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute (NHLBI) and the Office of Naval Research.
His publications total more than 80. One of the more recent journal articles focused on prolonging the shelf-life of platelets, which have a usual storage limit of about seven days after donation. "I'm continuing to collaborate with my colleagues at Chapel Hill. We're looking at extending the life span of platelets indefinitely," Dr. Reddick said.
He is complimentary of the team already in place in San Antonio. "This is a stimulating atmosphere, which is why I came. We will continue the department's tradition of reliable, timely clinical service while fostering an atmosphere of scholarship and creativity in academic medicine."
"Dr. Reddick was selected because of his leadership and visionary goals as related to pathology and the managed health care environment," said Dr. Vernon Bishop, chairman of the pathology chairman search committee.
Dr. Reddick has two daughters. Catherine is a senior at Duke University in the pre-med program and Ramona is studying urban restoration at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Ga.
School of Nursing opens expansion
September 5 marked the opening of the School of Nursing's new 44,000-square-foot expansion.
"This expansion will allow us to move our enrollments to 800 students and above, many of whom will stay in South Texas to pursue their careers," said Patty Hawken, PhD, RN, dean of the school, at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The expansion includes a new research laboratory which will allow additional kinds of research, a 150-seat classroom and other small classrooms, a long-distance learning room, a computer room and a learning laboratory where students practice nursing skills.
The building also provides ample space for student organization meetings and group studies.
Participants at the ceremony included state Sen. Jeff Wentworth; state Rep. Christine Hernandez; Jocelyn Straus, president of the Health Science Center Development Board; Brig. Gen. Sue Turner, chairman of the School of Nursing Advisory Council; Dr. Mary Ann Matteson, chronic nursing care; Katherine Shelby, president of the Nursing Alumni Association; Rudy Gomez, nursing dean's office; and student Glen Warner.
Dr. Matteson represented the school's faculty on the dais; Gomez represented its staff and Warner its students.
Physical therapy names
Hartgraves new chair
Stanley L. Hartgraves, PhD, is the new chairman of the Health Science Center's physical therapy department.
Dr. Hartgraves was previously coordinator of the physical therapy program at The University of Texas at El Paso — a program offered in cooperation with the UT Medical Branch at Galveston. He began his duties in San Antonio on April 1.
The new PT chairman is a 21-year Air Force veteran who served as chief of physical therapy at two bases and was chief of the radiation biology branch, School of Aerospace Medicine at Brooks AFB, from 1986 to 1991.
His association with the Health Science Center began in 1988; he became an assistant professor at UTHSCSA in 1991-92 before leaving to head the El Paso PT program.
Dr. Hartgraves received some of the Air Force's highest honors — the Meritorious Service Medal in 1991, the David M. Clark Technology Transfer Award in 1990 and the Commendation Medal in 1982.
A longtime researcher who has authored or co-authored nearly 60 papers and abstracts, his research has focused on behavioral neuropharmacology, neurotoxicity and neurochemistry, and includes work to assess treatments for nerve agent poisoning.
Dr. Hartgraves holds a PhD in physiology and biophysics from the University of Southern California. His physical therapy training was completed at the UT Medical Branch, Galveston.
He is the chairman of the education committee of the Texas Physical Therapy Association and is a member of the association's research foundation.
During his years in El Paso, he was active as a physical therapist in hospital and home care settings and also directed a major international conference on border industrial health focusing on injury prevention.
San Antonio Cancer Institute receives top status designation
The San Antonio Cancer Institute (SACI), a partnership of the Health Science Center and the Cancer Therapy & Research Center (CTRC), has received a "comprehensive cancer center" designation, the highest designation given by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The San Antonio center is one of only 28 in the nation.
Comprehensive centers emphasize a multidisciplinary approach to cancer research, patient care and community outreach. The designation for the SACI is the result of years of hard work by both clinicians and researchers.
This designation substantially increases the national and international visibility of these centers and significantly improves their ability to recruit both investigators and cancer patients.
Comprehensive cancer centers are required to include basic science research centers, mechanisms for translating research into patient care, clinical trials of new anti-cancer treatments, and cancer prevention and education programs.
The SACI draws upon decades of basic research conducted at the Health Science Center, as well as a longtime tradition of clinical trials at CTRC. For many years, the San Antonio group has been among the few authorized by NCI to conduct Phase I clinical trials. These are first-time trials of promising anti-cancer agents in humans.
Crosby joins HSC to develop major gifts
Michael M. Crosby recently joined the Health Science Center as director of major gifts. Crosby is responsible for developing major gift support for the university's capital and endowment needs.
Crosby previously served as Director of Foundation Development, Endowment Fund and Capital Campaign at Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research in San Antonio.
"Mike is a tremendous addition to our fund-raising team," said W. Frank Elston, vice president for university relations. "He brings valuable experience from staffing six capital campaigns that received more than $200 million."
A veteran of more than three decades in institutional advancement, he served as vice president for external affairs at Gannon University in Erie, Pa.; vice president for development at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa; executive director of development and acting vice chancellor at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga; and director of development for Viterbo College in LaCrosse, Wisc.
Crosby also has experience as a consultant-implementor for a number of colleges, universities and private schools.
A native San Antonian, he received a bachelor's degree in economics from St. Mary's University in 1962.
He and his wife, Katherine, have four children.
Researchers shed new light on causes of stuttering
Why do people stutter? Causes ranging from psychological to physical have been theorized, but none has ever been proven. Researchers in Texas and California have shed new light on stuttering in a cooperative study published in the July 11 issue of the international journal Nature.
Using positron emission tomography (PET) to view the brains of stutterers as they speak and perform a unique set of tasks, neuroscientists at the Health Science Center and the University of California, Santa Barbara have for the first time documented what they believe is a faulty wiring system or systems within the brains of these individuals.
"Our studies show that stuttering may be due to abnormal activations in neural systems that support speech production and hearing," says lead author Peter T. Fox, MD, director and professor of the Research Imaging Center at the Health Science Center.
According to Dr. Fox, about 1 percent of the population stutters to some extent. "It is known that there are several so-called 'fluency inducing' procedures that allow stutterers to speak normally," he says. "These include singing, rhythmic speech, whispering and reading out loud in concert with others. We used the chorus speech technique to test our subjects, who ranged from healthy controls to mild and severe stutterers. We compared non-stutterers with chronic stutterers as they read aloud individually and in chorus with others.
"What we found," Dr. Fox says, "was that during paragraph reading, while the stutterers were stuttering, they showed unusually intense cerebral and cerebellar activity, especially in the right hemisphere of the brain, and significant deactivations in the auditory system.
"These findings are consistent with theories that stuttering is associated with unusual hemispheric processing of speech, and an abnormal activation in neural systems known to be associated with normal speech production. They also support theories that claim stuttering is associated with abnormal auditory monitoring of speech by the speaker."
Brain regions activated and deactivated with remarkable consistency during the tests, according to Dr. Fox. "This consistency is interesting when considering that stuttering is often characterized as being highly variable. Such consistency could bode well for development of therapies that might help a broad spectrum of patients.
"Most of these systems became relatively normal when our stutterers produced fluent speech during chorus reading. These findings suggest that treatments that focus on the modification of speech production and self monitoring may help to overcome this disorder. They also highlight the neural system activations and deactivations that might be the focus of future treatments."
Scientists on the project in addition to Dr. Fox included Drs. Roger J. Ingham and Janis C. Ingham of the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences at the University of California, Santa Barbara; and Drs. Traci B. Hirsch, J. Hunter Downs, Charles Martin, Paul Jerabek, Thomas Glass and Jack L. Lancaster of the Research Imaging Center and the radiology department at the San Antonio Health Science Center.
Dental associations select Boyan, Sandoval as presidents
Two Health Science Center faculty were leading two of the major dental associations in the United States in 1996.
Barbara Boyan, PhD, director of the Health Science Center's Industry-University Cooperative Research Center and professor of orthopaedics and biochemistry, was president of the American Association for Dental Research (AADR).
Victor Sandoval, DDS, associate professor of general dentistry, was the president of the American Association of Dental Schools (AADS).
"What a wonderful statement about the quality of our dental research and education programs," said John P. Howe III, MD, president of the Health Science Center.
"San Antonio and South Texas can be very proud that Drs. Boyan and Sandoval have been selected by their peers to lead such prestigious national organizations."
Dr. Boyan, a recognized authority on bone mineralization, directs the university's division of orthopaedic research, which is considered to be among the top bone and cartilage cell biology laboratory groups in the orthopaedic and oral health fields. She also has directed research that has shown how microorganisms contribute to buildup of dental tartar.
Dr. Sandoval has authored numerous scientific papers on chemical dependency in the health professions. His focus has ranged from identification and treatment of the chemically dependent dental patient to alcohol and drug abuse among health professionals themselves. He has served on the Executive Committee of the Texas Dental Peer Assistance Program and is an alumnus of Leadership San Antonio.
Colon cancer patients may have alternatives to traditional surgery
An alternative to traditional colon surgery is being tested in San Antonio as part of a three-year, multicenter National Cancer Institute study. The Health Science Center is the only Texas site among the 30 institutions included in the national trial.
Led by institutional principal investigator Jay S. Stauffer, MD, assistant professor of surgery at the Health Science Center, surgeons are offering some patients with cancer of the colon, or large intestine, who need surgical removal of a portion of their colon, laparoscopic surgery instead of traditional open surgery.
Colon cancer affects an estimated 155,000 individuals each year and 60,000 of these die from the problem. Men and women suffer equally from the disease and it is most often diagnosed at about age 60.
Rather than the normal incision in the abdomen, laparoscopic surgery is performed through small holes in the abdomen with the assistance of a camera inserted into the abdomen. "The procedure takes about an hour longer than traditional surgery but patients tend to go home sooner and have faster recovery," Dr. Stauffer says.
"Half of the patients enrolled in the colon study will undergo traditional open surgery and half will undergo the laparoscopic surgery," he says. "We hope to document whether the new technique offers equal survival rates without recurrence of the cancer, whether it is equally safe and whether there are any differences in quality of life following the two surgical techniques.
Leading the nationwide study of 1,200 patients is the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Dr. Stauffer already has performed 27 such operations and anticipates enrolling approximately 50 patients per year in the study.
Dr. Stauffer and other Health Science Center surgeons in the Southwest Oncology Group will perform the surgeries primarily at University Hospital and the Audie L. Murphy Memorial Veterans Hospital. They hope to expand this service to other local hospitals in the near future.
State and local groups support HSC projects
The American Heart Association's Texas Affiliate (AHA) has awarded more than half a million dollars in grant support this year to Health Science Center investigators, while the San Antonio Area Foundation (SAAF) has awarded more than $160,000.
The AHA grants, announced in July, fund research on ways to detect, treat and prevent heart and blood vessel diseases, which are collectively San Antonio's number one killer. The SAAF award, the largest amount awarded to a single institution, is supporting projects ranging from testing the eyes of South Texans to developing new therapies for children with cancer.
Over the years SAAF has awarded more than $1.3 million to the Health Science Center for research, equipment and a variety of health-related programs.
Monitoring moles could save your life
Monitoring your moles could save your life. Eric Kraus, MD, associate professor of dermatology at the Health Science Center, advises everyone to perform a skin self-check every three months. That mole on your back you never noticed before could be more than a blemish, Dr. Kraus says.
Although moles are common in adults, too many could mean you're at increased risk for malignant melanoma, a fast-spreading cancer. Moles that itch, bleed, have a poorly defined border or are mixed in color are immediately suspect, he notes.
Since melanomas often start as mole-like growths, it's important to remember the ABCD rule: A—Asymmetrical shape, B—Border irregular, C—Color mixed, D—Diameter bigger than 6 mm (pencil eraser). Moles should be removed if they appear suspicious or if they itch, bleed or cause concern to the patient, says Dr. Kraus. All moles removed are examined in the laboratory for diagnosis.