Dr. Bettie Sue Siler Masters, professor of biochemistry, distinguished herself as a scientist long before she came to the Health Science Center a decade ago. Her ongoing work in San Antonio is building upon an already sterling foundation.
This 1999 Distinguished Scholar heads a laboratory team
studying nitric oxide synthases--enzymes in the body that control production of nitric oxide. In its various forms, nitric oxide, a gaseous molecule, is critical to dilation of blood vessels, to infection-fighting responses and to brain-signal transmission. "Nitric oxide is produced where and when it is needed in the body," she said. "We have studied the three genetically determined forms of nitric oxide synthase enzymes that produce nitric oxide."
The Robert A. Welch Chair in Chemistry in the Department of Biochemistry, Dr. Masters previously served on the faculties of The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas (1968-1982) and the Medical College of Wisconsin (1982-1990). Her studies at those institutions involved cytochrome P450 reductase and the cytochrome P450 system, an enzyme system that is involved in the metabolism of many therapeutic drugs, carcinogenic (cancer-producing) compounds and fatty acids.
The Welch Chair, awarded to the Health Science Center upon Dr. Masters' arrival in 1990, provides more than $2 million in endowment. "Of the more than 20 Welch Chairs that have been established, ours was one of two boosted to more than $2 million in 1998," she said.
Almost a million dollars a year in grant funding (total costs) from the National Institutes of Health support her laboratory team's studies. Resulting peer-reviewed journal articles reveal the group's important findings on the structure and function of nitric oxide synthases, as well as research conducted on the cytochrome P450 system.
Currently, Dr. Masters is the only member from San Antonio in the prestigious Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. She has co-authored 175 full-length papers in peer-reviewed journals and hundreds more scientific abstracts. She is the author of a chapter in the last three editions of a prominent biochemistry textbook (the only textbook in which the biochemistry of nitric oxide is discussed to date) and many other book chapters.
"I spend a substantial amount of time on international and national committee work, some of which relates to the Institute of Medicine," she said. "I review research associateships for the National Academy of Sciences' National Research Council, which selects candidates for research positions at the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense and other government laboratories." She also is chair of the U.S. National Committee of the National Academy of Sciences to the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
Dr. Masters is self-effacing about her accomplishments, but subtle signs point to her stature in the scientific community. At a conference recently in Stockholm, Sweden, she and her husband, Bob, enjoyed dining with the three scientists who won the 1998 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine. One of the three, Dr. Louis Ignarro of the University of California, Los Angeles, visited the Health Science Center last year as the Brackenridge Scholar. The 1998 physiology/medicine prize was awarded in the field of nitric oxide studies.
Back on campus, Dr. Masters continues to mentor students
and postdoctoral fellows, and she is heading the Center for
Biomolecular Structure Analysis--the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences' research facility opened in 1998 in the Allied Health/Research Building. The center brings X-ray crystallographic, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopic and various other structural techniques to San Antonio scientists. Dr. Masters' previous structural studies were performed in collaboration with crystallographers and spectroscopists elsewhere.
"We will continue to develop findings about the structure and function of nitric oxide synthases, with the goal of more completely understanding the regulatory aspects of these vital enzymes," she said.
Dr. Michael J. Lichtenstein
Dr. Michael Lichtenstein discusses health care with Mrs. Irene Wilson at her home.
"I teach by modeling--caring for patients the way I would want someone to care for me. I try to teach humility, caution, care and compassion. I learn as much from my students as I learn from my patients. Hopefully, they also learn from me," wrote Dr. Michael J. Lichtenstein in his personal essay for the 1999 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Teaching.
Indeed, students learn their lessons well under his
tutelage--so well that he is one of this year's teaching award winners.
Dr. Lichtenstein is a professor of medicine in the
Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology in the Department of
Medicine. He is a practicing geriatric physician.
A native of Wisconsin, he came to Texas in 1974 to attend Baylor College of Medicine. After becoming a physician, he trained in internal medicine at Vanderbilt University and joined its faculty in 1981. He obtained research training from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the mid-1980s.
The Health Science Center welcomed Dr. Lichtenstein to San Antonio in 1989 as part of the university's growing commitment to clinical and basic research in gerontology, the study of aging.
In addition to conducting research on how to best care for the aging population, Dr. Lichtenstein enjoys helping students learn how to care for this special, growing population.
Dr. Lichtenstein said his teaching philosophy is based on
his belief that "good clinical decisions result from the
successful integration of two critical skills: First is the
ability to utilize scientific information and apply it directly
to patient care. Second, and just as significant--sometimes
more--is the ability to really communicate with the patient.
We must understand--not assume--what is going on with them emotionally and socially so their needs can be addressed."
Caring for the aging patient requires much more than identifying their physical symptoms, he tells students. Students must pay attention to the patient's social, environmental and emotional conditions, he said.
To do this, Dr. Lichtenstein believes students must develop several important skills and habits: being available to patients and their families beyond office hours, being willing to visit patients in their own homes (where more is learned about appropriately caring for them), taking the time to truly listen to patients and their families, being open to a real relationship with patients and families, and teaching patients and families.
Perhaps the best lesson learned by his students is purely by example. As a dedicated physician, an enthusiastic teacher and an innovative researcher in aging, Dr. Lichtenstein demonstrates to students how one individual can make a difference.
Dr. Mary O'Keefe
Dr. Mary O'Keefe, internal medicine, confers with her colleague, Dr. Marcus Restnepo, at the South Texas Veterans Health Care System Audie L. Murphy Memorial Hospital.
Dr. Mary O'Keefe, associate professor in the Department of Medicine, is working in her role as a clinician educator to introduce her interns and residents to the art of effective physician to patient communication.
The winner of a 1999 Presidential Excellence in Teaching Award, Dr. O'Keefe wrote in her personal essay for the award that "physician communication styles and attitudes toward patient relationships are clearly related to physician and patient satisfaction."
In an effort to stress the importance of fostering relationships, Dr. O'Keefe's curriculum for her weekly seminars with housestaff members includes an introduction to patient communication, negotiating skills, giving bad news, caring for difficult patients, caring for dying patients and improving compliance. In addition, she uses videotapes of patient interviews for group discussions on skills and how to adapt an interviewing style to different individuals.
"One thing I emphasize is relationship building with patients and having empathy for the patient," Dr. O'Keefe said. "You cannot take care of them if you do not have a relationship or if you do not have an understanding of their point of view."
An attraction of general internal medicine for Dr. O'Keefe is the potential to develop long-term relationships with the people she treats, which is a trait she passes on to her many interns and residents.
"I realized this is where I want to be--dealing with people who have chronic disorders and relieving symptoms," she said. "There are a lot of parallels between teaching and being a physician, which is why I like both aspects of the job."
A University of Miami School of Medicine graduate, Dr. O'Keefe has been on staff at the Health Science Center for eight years, and has been awarded a number of teaching accolades. She is the recipient of the 1999 Lifetime Outstanding Clinical Teacher Award from the Department of Internal Medicine, the National Award for Innovation in Medical Education from the Society of General Internal Medicine and the Clinician Educator Award from the Southern Region, Society of General Internal Medicine, among others.
She is a member of the American College of Physicians and the Society of General Internal Medicine and a charter member of the American Academy on Physicians and Patients. Dr. O'Keefe also participates as chair of the Internal Medicine Residency Education Committee and member of the Internal Medicine Student Education Committee.
Brenda J. Parton
What Brenda Parton likes best about teaching is the day-to-day contact with students. "I like to watch them learn," said Parton, who teaches certificate, bachelor's and master's courses.
Classes in preventive and community dentistry, dental materials and oral health promotion lead to pre-clinical work on models, such as "Dexter the Dummy." Eventually, first- and second-year students practice on actual patients in the dental hygiene clinic, under her supervision.
Beyond giving students outstanding instruction in the basics, Parton said, "We need to teach students to motivate patients to take care of their teeth, so the students themselves will be educators."
At the graduate level, Parton teaches master's students how to develop coursework and become dental hygiene teachers themselves. As certificate program director, a new position developed in 1997, Parton handles students' needs from the time they apply for the program until they graduate. She said the school is starting to see some men in this largely female-dominated field, as well as students with families and jobs.
"We're known as a student-friendly faculty," Parton said. "We realize that people have busy lives and try to work with them."
Parton received both her master's and bachelor's degrees at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va. She joined the Health Science Center in 1992, following private practice work in upstate New York.
Dr. Erle Adrian
The human body and its inner workings are still a fascination for Dr. Erle Adrian, cellular and structural biology. For more than 30 years Dr. Adrian has taught gross anatomy to first-year Medical School students at the Health Science Center, giving them their first in-depth glimpse into the body and medicine.
This year Dr. Adrian is being honored for his teaching work with a 1999 Presidential Excellence in Teaching Award in recognition of his efforts to introduce medical students to the human form and all of its many working parts.
In the midst of the crush of information first-year Medical
School students must absorb, Dr. Adrian said his goal is
to "try and define and reinforce what is really important--the things that every physician should know about anatomy."
"My orientation to teaching has always been from the point of view of a medical student attempting to learn material of fundamental importance to the practice of medicine while trying to remain afloat in a sea of information," said Dr. Adrian. "Having had the experience of almost drowning in that ocean myself, I have sympathy and understanding for those students who have to learn new survival skills to cope with what seems to be an impossible amount of information that must be learned the first semester in medical school."
To that end Dr. Adrian defines what is important in the class through written objectives for each laboratory period and a list of study questions and answers following each dissection session. Dr. Adrian also enlists a variety of teaching tools for the course.
"I realize that students learn in many different ways, and we try to provide many different ways for them to learn," Dr. Adrian said. "In addition to lectures, written handout materials and textbook assignments, we use movies, videos, interactive computer programs, X-rays and plastinated specimens."
Dr. Adrian also is working on a Web page that will one day contain all of the course materials in an interactive format complete with dissection guides, photos and a glossary of terms.
"The most important learning tool the students have is the cadaver, and I believe that most students agree with me on that point by the time they finish the course," Dr. Adrian said.
Students have routinely honored Dr. Adrian by selecting him as Outstanding Teacher dating back to 1969. He also has been selected as one of 10 Outstanding Professors by several graduating Medical School classes.
A Harvard Medical School graduate, Dr. Adrian later earned a Ph.D. in anatomy from The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. He joined the staff at the Health Science Center in 1969 as an associate professor of anatomy and recently retired from teaching full time.
Dr. Craig Witz
Dr. Craig Witz, assistant professor in the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, believes an opportunity to teach should never be lost.
"I start at the baseline that most Medical School students are here to learn," said Dr. Witz. "As educators, we are here to provide students with the basics of what they need to know."
A recipient of the 1999 Presidential Excellence in Teaching
Award, Dr. Witz takes his job as an educator to heart, and
believes that through teaching, he is ultimately doing the one
thing that led him to medical school in the first place--helping prevent disease and caring for people who are ill.
"Every year that I have been here, I have had the opportunity to teach a new class of 200 Medical School students," Dr. Witz said. "If I can teach them to be better physicians, then I can reach many more patients than I could by practicing medicine on my own."
As part of his duties as an educator, Dr. Witz teaches part of the second-year student "Introduction to Clinical Specialties" course, conducts lectures for third-year students and works on call with residents. He said an important part of the teaching process is being a good role model for his students.
"It is important for them to see how to treat patients properly," Dr. Witz said. "My hope is to first teach students to identify and then strive toward the good practice of medicine."
A Harvard University and Baylor College of Medicine graduate, Dr. Witz has been with the Health Science Center since 1988. He is the recipient of the 1998 American Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics Excellence in Teaching Award, the Outstanding Teaching and Leadership Award from the Medical School class of 1997 and the Chief Resident Award for Resident Education.
Dr. Witz is a member of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, the Society of Reproductive Endocrinologists, the Texas Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, among other organizations, and is an American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology fellow.
During his tenure at the Health Science Center, Dr. Witz has served as medical director of the Reproductive Endocrinology Clinic at the downtown University Health Center, and director of the Therapeutic Donor Insemination Program at the South Texas Women's Health Center. He has served on the Medical School Admissions Committee and has been an officer of the Executive Committee of the Medical Faculty Assembly and serves on that organization's executive committee.
Dr. Mickey J. Calverley
Dr. Mickey Calverley always wanted to go to dental school, but he said he never really thought about being a teacher until he got the opportunity to instruct while he was in the Army. Now he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in prosthodontics and supervises the prosthodontic residents' work in the dental clinic.
"It's rewarding to see students growing in their abilities and confidence in what they're doing," he said.
Although making and fitting dentures is still a major component of prosthodontics, especially since the fastest-growing segment of the population is over 65, but overall, fewer people need dentures now, Dr. Calverley said. "Dentistry has done a good job of teaching people how to take care of their teeth," he said. "I've seen a considerable difference over my 25 years in dentistry in the amount of care given."
Although there are still places in the United States where it is expected that a person will lose all his teeth as he ages, said Dr. Calverley, that is no longer the norm.
"Fortunately, that's not what students are learning," he said. "There is much more we can do for patients now. Dental implants have now become a very important part of prosthodontics."
Dr. Calverley has been teaching at the Health Science Center since 1993. Previously, he was director of the prosthodontic residency program at Brooke Army Medical Center. He earned his D.D.S. degree at The University of Texas Dental Branch at Houston and his bachelors degree from Texas A&M University.
Gifts for Children volunteers sought
The Gifts for Children organization will meet from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 9, in room 4.419S and on Tuesday, Nov. 23, at the same time in room
4.484T in the Medical School.
Volunteers are still needed to help with preparations for this year's Gifts for Children program and events. Through this charitable program, Health Science Center employees are able to raise money for and donate hundreds of presents to hospitalized children and youngsters receiving clinical care.
Individuals willing to attend a few planning meetings and do some work between meetings and at big events should contact Kim Johnson at ext. 2276.
Introduction to graphics training set for Nov. 11
The Division of Graphic Services is offering an introduction
to computer graphics course from 9 a.m. to noon Nov. 11 in room
409L in the Medical School.
Nancy Place, medical illustration supervisor, will instruct the class on using computer graphic digital files for printing, slides and the Web. The course will include basic scanning tips, graphic file formats and basic principles of using computer graphics.
The class is open to all Health Science Center faculty, staff and students. The cost is $25. To register, send an authorized service request with an account number to Place at the Division of Graphic Services, room 4.476T. Registration will be closed after Nov. 8. For more information, call ext. 2261.
Library training seminar Nov. 12
The Briscoe Library has licensed the resource Current Contents
Connect and will host a "hands-on" training seminar
from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Friday, Nov. 12, in library room
Current Contents Connect, produced by the Institute for
Scientific Information (ISI), is the Web-based version of the
popular Current Contents® series, providing bibliographic data and tables of contents from authoritative journals and books in the sciences and social sciences.
The library's subscription includes four editions: Life Sciences; Clinical Medicine; Physical, Chemical and Earth Sciences; and Social and Behavioral Sciences, with coverage totaling approximately 5,000 individual publications.
Seminar attendees will learn how to browse tables of contents; search the database; save and run search strategies; and print, save, and export results. The training also will cover how the database is created, the journal selection process, and ISI's editorial policies. Registration is encouraged. Call ext. 2400 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Calendar for Nov. 8 - 14
Monday, November 8
Orthopaedic Grand Rounds (MED: 309L)
Neurosurgery Grand Rounds (MED: 444B)
Medical Housestaff Specialty Conf. "Residents & Interns: M&M" (MED: 409L)
Rehab Medicine Lecture Series "Lower Limb Orthoses Components," Dr. Anna-Louise Molette, Thomas Darn & Gordon Bosker (UH: Reeves Rehab Center 3rd-floor classroom)
Biochemistry Seminar "2A Crystal Structure of the Nucleosome Core Particle," Dr. Karolin Luger, Colorado State University (MED: 309L)
Tuesday, November 9
Podiatry Case Conf. (LEC: 2.010)
Rehab Medicine Lecture Series "Lower Limb Orthoses: AFO," Dr. Michael Salas, Thomas Darn & Gordon Bosker (UH: Reeves Rehab Center 3rd-floor classroom)
Training Office "Copy Machine Orientation"
(Dental School-5th floor)
(call ext. 2320 to register)
TNT "Health Information Management: Hospital Outpatient Coding," Cheryl Spears, St. Philip's College (call ext. 2700 for information)
Medicine Research Conf. "Phage Display Cloning of Recombinant Human Antiphospholipid Antibodies," Dr. Michael Fischbach, & "Chemokines & Chemokine Receptors in Dendritic Cell Migration," Dr. Seema Ahuja (MED: 209L)
Psychiatry Grand Rounds "Neurological Basis of Unusual Delusions," Dr. Paul Malloy, Brown University School of Medicine (MED: 409L)
TNT "Laboratory Technology Issues: Protime INR Normalization & Computing the Local ISI," George Fritsma, University of Alabama (call ext. 2700 for information)
Molecular Medicine Seminar Series "Mechanisms & Regulation of Synaptic Vesicle Cycling: Insights Into Tumor Suppression, Memory & Life from Studies on the Fruit Fly," Dr. Mani Ramaswami, University of Arizona (IBT: 3.002)
Wednesday, November 10
Podiatry Grand Rounds "Peripheral Vascular Disease," Dr. Allen (MED: 309L)
Vascular Surgery Grand Rounds, Dr. Mellick Sykes (MED: 209L)
Medical Grand Rounds "Kidney Cancer, VHL and the Lymphocyte," Dr. Geoffrey Weiss (MED: 409L)
Training Office "Library Pathways" (Library room 2A) (call ext. 2320 to register)
Surgery Trauma M&M Conf., Dr. Ronald Stewart (MED: 309L)
TNT "Environmental Services: How to Prepare for an OSHA Inspection," Dr. Nancy Bethea, U.S. Department of Labor/OSHA, Lubbock (call ext. 2700 for more information)
TNT "Laboratory Management: Laboratory Computerization: Year 2000 & Beyond," Dr. Kenneth Blick, University of Oklahoma Health Science Center, Oklahoma City (call ext. 2700 for more information)
Pharmacology Seminar "Discovery of a New Anxiolytic Agent," Dr. William Stavinoha (MED: 444B)
Cellular & Structural Biology Seminar Series "HSP70 Chaperones in Spermatogenesis," Dr. Edward Eddy, National Institutes of Health (MED: 209L)
Training Office "State & Local Vouchers" (call ext. 2320 to register)
Thursday, November 11
Thoracic Surgery Resident Teaching Conf. (VA: 4th-floor CT Library A404)
Obstetrics & Gynecology Grand Rounds "Radiation Injury to the Bowel," Dr. Glenn Gross (MED: 309L)
Pain Management Grand Rounds "Extended Risk Management/Complications Discussion" (UH: Reeves Rehab Center 3rd-floor classroom)
Neurology Grand Rounds "Neuroimaging & Neuropsychology," Dr. Erin Bigler, Brigham Young University (MED: 444B)
TNT "Radiology: Renal MRA," Bartram Pierce, Good Samaritan Hospital, Corvallis, Ore. (call ext. 2700)
Pulmonary, Thoracic & Oncology Conf. (MED: 309L)
Surgery Tumor Conference, Dr. Anatolio Cruz (MED: 209L)
Citywide Thoracic Grand Rounds Conf. "The New Advancements in Antiplaetlet Therapy," Dr. Nassar Lakkis, Baylor College of Medicine (MED: 309L)
Friday, November 12
Pediatric Grand Rounds "Sick & 60 Miles From Nowhere: Pediatric TransportState of the Art," Dr. Jon Courand (MED: 409L)
Continuing Dental Education "A Spanish Class for the Dental OfficePart I: Introduction to Spanish," Manola Leibrock (call ext. 3177 for information)
Continuing Dental Education "A Continuum in Prosthodontic Procedures: Session IIRemovable Partial Dentures," Drs. Mickey Calverley, Garrett Hartman, William Kuebker, Michael Mansueto & Rodney Phoenix (call ext. 3177 for information)
TNT "Health Care Chaplains: Surviving the Holidays: Spiritual, Pastoral & Ritual Dimensions of the Holidays & Special Days," Rev. Richard Gilbert, The World Pastoral Care Center, Valparaiso, Ind. (call ext. 2700 for more information)
Continuing Dental Education "A Spanish Class for the Dental OfficePart II: Dental Terminology," Manola Leibrock (call ext. 3177 for information)
Saturday, November 13
Surgical Physiology Conf., Dr. Kenneth Sirinek (MED: 209L)
General Surgery Grand Rounds, Dr. Wayne Schwesinger (MED: 209L)
Index of issues
THE NEWS is published Fridays by the Office of Public Affairs for faculty and staff of The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Vice President for University Relations.....Judy Petty Wolf
Executive Director of Development & Public Affairs.....Dr. Charles Rodriguez
News & Information Services Manager ..... Will Sansom
Writers.....Myong Covert, Catherine Duncan, Jennifer Lorenzo
Photographers.....Jeff Anderson, Lee Bennack, Lester Rosebrock
Web Editor.....Joanne Shaw
Office of Public Affairs, 7703 Floyd Curl Drive,
San Antonio, Texas 78284-7768