The Scoop: A Publication of the University of Texas Medical School at Houston

Stinson named 2009 distinguished alumnus

Dr. Mark Stinson

Dr. Mark Stinson

Dr. Mark Stinson, ’87, founder of Medicine International, has been named the winner of the Medical School’s 2009 Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Established in 1987, the purpose of the award is to recognize outstanding contributions in the areas of medical science and education, or the prevention and treatment of diseases, as well as continued interests in the Medical School and its students.

Stinson, who died of an arrhythmia during his sleep in March 2007, spent much of his life traveling the world, showing his commitment to global health as the executive director and chief executive officer of Medicine International, a group dedicated to collaboration with established relief efforts.

He worked with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as a medical incident support deputy leader for hurricanes Dennis, Katrina, Ophelia, Rita, Francis, and Ivan. He also worked with FEMA during its response to the World Trade Center. He led medical teams in Sri Lanka, Afghanistan/Tajikistan, India, Turkey, Kosovo, and Albania, setting up mobile clinics to help people in need. He also worked to establish medical care in Ecuador, Ghana, and Nepal.

“Though Mark’s contributions were enormous during his shortened life, I believe his greatest legacy will be to inspire future physicians in training,” wrote Dr. Kim Dunn, his nominator. “His example of physician leadership is among the finest I have ever seen in health care, particularly for the most vulnerable among us, the international community.”

He completed his family practice residency at Merrithew Memorial Hospital in Martinez, Calif., and joined the faculty of the University of California, Davis as an assistant clinical professor in 1994.

His mother, Helen Stinson, said that Mark, one of four sons and a daughter, always wanted to be a doctor growing up.

“Mark was always so considerate of his family and others. He had a great habit of bringing me flowers when he came home to visit,” she said.

As to what his reaction to this award would have been, she said, “He would have said, ‘Gosh, I don’t know why they are giving this to me.’ But, he would have been very honored. He was very humble and never boasted.”

Stinson’s interest in the global community was evident as a medical student as he created an annual symposium on international health, developed international health electives for students, and participated in the school’s delegation to China.

“Mark was outstanding among his group for his enthusiasm and ability to engage faculty and students alike in conversation and exchange even though he had no common language with a majority of the people with whom he interacted,” recalled Dr. Henry Strobel, director of the China elective and associate dean of faculty affairs.

Helen Stinson said that her son was blessed with a lot of good friends and enjoyed his life. “Everyone held him in high regard,” she said. “I certainly feel honored that the Medical School is giving him this award, and I know he is looking down from heaven saying, ‘Wasn’t that nice?’”

Stinson’s family will accept the award on his behalf Feb. 28 at the Medical School’s reunion/homecoming.

-D. Brown

Clanton named interim chair

Dr. Thomas Clanton

Dr. Thomas Clanton

Dean Giuseppe Colasurdo has appointed Dr. Thomas Clanton to the position of interim chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.

Clanton, professor of orthopaedic surgery, served as chair of the department from 1997-2006. He joined the Medical School in 1982 and specializes in the treatment of the foot and ankle and knee. Former chair Dr. Kyle Dickson will remain on faculty to oversee the critical clinical population in trauma.

“I am grateful to Dr. Clanton for stepping up and providing leadership to this department,” Dean Colasurdo said.

A search committee is being formed to find the next permanent chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. It will be chaired by Dr. John Holcomb, professor of emergency medicine and director of the Division of Trauma and Critical Care, and co-chaired by Dr. Carin Hagberg, chair of the Department of Anesthesiology.

“Dr. Clanton is a long-standing leader in orthopedic surgery and sports medicine,” said Juanita Romans, chief executive officer of the Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center Campus. “I’m happy to have his support and guidance as the search begins for a permanent chair.”

-D. Brown

Humanism award nominations sought

Nominations are being solicited from faculty, residents, and students for Humanism in Medicine Award, sponsored by the Gold Foundation, to be presented to a faculty member. The award carries a substantial cash honorarium. Volunteer faculty are not eligible to receive the award.

Previous award recipients have been Drs. John Stroehlein, Philip Orlander, Philip Johnson, Oscar Rosales, Cheves Smythe, Virginia Moyer, Larry Gilstrap, Keith Hoots, Judianne Kellaway, and Pedro Mancias.

Nominations must include at least a paragraph explaining why the nominee merits the award and be accompanied by the candidate's CV. Please direct them to the attention of: Dr. Margaret C. McNeese, associate dean for admissions and student affairs, G-400 MSB. Deadline for receipt of nominations is Feb. 2.

    Criteria for the award as specified by the Gold Foundation:
  • demonstrates compassion and empathy in the delivery of care to patients
  • serves as a role model — illustrates professional behavior by example — for students and colleagues
  • is approachable and accessible to students
  • welcomes opportunities for one-on-one mentorships with students
  • exhibits enthusiasm and skill in professional and personal interactions with students
  • shows respect for everyone he/she comes in contact with
  • demonstrates cultural sensitivity in working with patients and family members of diverse ethnic or religious backgrounds
  • displays effective communication and listening skills
  • understands a patient's need for interpretation of complex medical diagnosis and treatment and makes an effort to assure patient comprehension — shows respect for the patient's viewpoint
  • pays attention and is sensitive to patients' psychological well-being
  • effectively identifies emotional concerns of patients and family members — engenders trust and confidence
  • adheres to professional ethical standards
  • is personally committed to objective self-evaluation of his/her own skills

Distinguished Lecture in the Neurosciences set for Jan. 29

Masao Ito

Dr. Masao Ito

Dr. Masao Ito, head of the Laboratory for Learning and Memory at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute of Japan, will present "Internal Model Hypothesis of the Cerebellum" as the Neuroscience Research Center’s Distinguished Lecture in the Neurosciences. The lecture will be given at 4 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 29, in MSB 3.001.

Over the last five decades Ito has studied the cellular mechanism of learning in the cerebellum. Among his major research findings are the exclusive inhibitory nature of cerebellar Purkinje cells and the phenomenon of long-term depression (LTD) in Purkinje cells.

Ito was awarded the Japan Prize and Order of Culture (Japan, 1996), Legion d’Honneur Chevalier (France, 1998), and the Peter Gruber Neuroscience Prize in 2006. He is a member of The Japan Academy and a foreign member of eight various Academy of Sciences across the world. In 2007, he was chosen to be among 18 new foreign associate members of the National Academy of Sciences of America. He served as president of the International Brain Research Organization, the International Union of Physiological Sciences, the Science Council of Japan, and is the current president of the Human Frontier Science Program.

Survey: Office of Communications increases satisfaction rate

More than 180 Medical School faculty and staff weighed in this fall to give their opinion of the Office of Communications’ services.

Ninety-four percent of respondents to the annual survey said they found the services they received to be excellent or good — which was up from 91 percent the previous year. Six percent said fair, and none responded poor. Poster printing and photography were the two most used services that the office provides.

Survey respondents said they found the work to be “prompt,” “reliable,” “good quality,” and “excellent.” However, there was a recurring theme that the prices are expensive.

“In this case, the perception is greater than the reality,” said Darla Brown, director of the office. “We need to work harder to show faculty and staff that our prices are way below the competition when comparing apples to apples.”

The office has already implemented a frequent poster printing card and is planning a campaign to reveal true price comparisons with outside competitors.

The annual survey is conducted in the fall to measure the Office of Communications’ level of service and to get feedback from its constituents. The link to the survey was sent to all Medical School faculty and staff.

Free cardiology forum set for Feb. 7

The 19th annual Preventive Cardiology Forum, a free conference for professionals and the community, will be held Saturday, Feb. 7, at the Medical School, 3.001. This year’s topic is “Preventing Sudden Death in Infants, Children, Adolescents and Adults.” Five continuing medical education hours are available.

There are over 450,000 sudden deaths in the United States affecting infants, children, adolescents, and adults. This program will educate the educators and give new insight regarding prevention of sudden death.

The CME event starts at 7:30 a.m. with registration and breakfast, followed by opening remarks by Dr. L. Maximilian Buja, executive vice president of academic affairs. Other Medical School speakers include Dr. Francisco Fuentes, professor of cardiology, and Dr. John Higgins, assistant professor of cardiology.

The program, headed by Fuentes, is presented in collaboration with the Medical School, Memorial Hermann – Texas Medical Center, the American Heart Association, Texas Children’s Hospital, the School of Public Health/Brownsville Regional Campus, the Memorial Health System of East Texas, and the Baylor College of Medicine.

For more information or to register, see or call 713.500.6576.


First patients

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First-year medical students honored their first patients at the annual Cadaver Memorial Service Jan. 14.



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Events to Know

January 15

Neurobiology and Anatomy Seminar Series: Dr. Paul Laurient (Wake Forest University) presents “6 Degrees of Cognition: Small-World Networks in the Human Brain.”
3 p.m., MSB 2.103.

Microbiology and Molecular Genetics Seminar Series: Faculty candidate Dr. Luisa Figueiredo, Ph.D. (The Rockefeller University) presents “The structure and function of chromatin during antigenic variation in African trypanosomes.”
4 p.m., MSB 3.301.

January 19

Full closure holiday — Martin Luther King Jr.

January 20

Microbiology and Molecular Genetics Seminar Series: Faculty candidate Dr. Ziyin Li (UCSF) presents “Chromosomal passengers and cell cycle regulation in Trypanosoma brucei.”
4 p.m., MSB B.645.

January 21

Family & Community Medicine Grand Rounds: Dr. Maureen Mayes, professor of internal medicine, presents “Scleroderma for the Family Physician.”
1-2 p.m., MSB 2.135.

January 22

Seminars on Applying Emerging Technologies to Your Research: Dr. Joseph McCormick (SPH Brownsville Regional Campus dean) presents “CCTS/SPH Research Opportunities in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.”
Noon - 1 p.m., UTPB 1100.55.

Microbiology and Molecular Genetics Seminar Series: Faculty candidate Dr. Gustavo Arrizabalaga, (University of Idaho) presents “Adjust or die: Drug resistance and sodium homeostasis in the pathogenic parasite Toxoplasma gondii.”
4 p.m., MSB 2.103.

January 23

Center for Nursing Research Seminar Series: Dr. Marianne Marcus, John P. McGovern Professor of Addiction Nursing, presents “A Behavioral Therapy Trial of Mindfullness-based Stress Reduction in Therapeutic Community Treatment for Substance Abuse Disorders”
Noon - 1 p.m., SON 508.


No farewells, no goodbyes, just a chance to say congratulations! Help us celebrate 34 years of Ester Fant's dedicated service at 3 p.m., Jan. 30, at the Fifth Floor Gallery.

Scoop Extra

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