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Endowments Support Surgery and Biological Science
David W. Mercer, M.D., and Theresa M. Koehler, Ph.D., have been appointed to endowed positions at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston.
Endowed positions, approved by the UT System Board of Regents, provide funding that may be used as salary supplementation or research support, and they serve as valuable recruitment and retention incentives for the university.
“Thanks to our endowed faculty appointments, we are able to draw from a pool of stellar candidates who see these positions as a great advantage to their careers and their work,” James T. Willerson, M.D., health science center president, said. “Without the competitive edge endowments offer, we might lose these bright leaders to other universities.”
Earned income from endowments, which are permanent funds held in perpetuity by the university, often “provide faculty with the extra edge to further their research, whether through funds to support a research technician, travel to a conference, or to purchase a needed piece of equipment,” said Interim Medical School Dean Jerry S. Wolinsky, M.D.
David W. Mercer, M.D., James H. “Red” Duke Jr., M.D., Distinguished Professorship in Surgery
David W. Mercer, M.D., director of general surgery at the Medical School, says he is thrilled that his new distinguished professorship bears the name of one of the school’s best-known and most widely respected faculty members.
“I consider it an honor and a privilege to be appointed to the James H. “Red” Duke Distinguished Professorship in the Department of Surgery,” Mercer said. “Dr. Duke is an inspiration to all of those around him, including faculty, residents and students. Consequently, anyone holding this professorship has to uphold the high moral and ethical standards that Dr. Duke demonstrates each and every day whether it be related to educating students, training residents, participating on the ‘DREAMS’ project or in his daily interactions with patients and colleagues.”
Duke led the Disaster Relief and Emergency Medical Services (DREAMS) project, sponsored by the U.S. Army and designed to improve patient care in emergencies on the battlefield and in civilian life. The founder and medical director of Life Flight at Memorial Hermann Hospital-Texas Medical Center, Duke is professor of surgery and the John B. Holmes Professor of Clinical Sciences at the Medical School. For years, he was television host of the nationally syndicated “Dr. Red Duke’s Health Reports.”
“This endowment will allow the Division of General Surgery, Trauma and Critical Care to enhance its efforts and commitment to academic excellence in research and education in addition to providing outstanding clinical care,” Mercer said. The Duke professorship was established through gifts from a number of Duke’s friends, colleagues and grateful patients.
Theresa M. Koehler, Ph.D., Herbert L. and Margaret DuPont Professorship in Biological Science
Theresa M. Koehler, Ph.D., said her recent appointment to the Herbert L. and Margaret DuPont Professorship in Biological Science is “particularly special because I have great respect for Dr. DuPont, and I have had the pleasure of teaching with him in various courses at the Medical School.
“The endowment provides the freedom to pursue some research paths that are not funded directly by my existing grants,” Koehler said.
Herbert DuPont, M.D., said he, too, is pleased with her appointment and sees several parallels between his and Koehler’s work.
“There are at least three obvious academic areas connecting Dr. Koehler with me,” Herbert DuPont said. “First, we both came to The University of Texas in our early 30s, developing new academic careers in Houston. I came in 1973 to develop the Program in Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology, and Dr. Koehler came in 1991, shortly after a free-standing Department of Microbiology had been created and our program expanded to include the School of Public Health.
“Secondly, we both worked with high-grade pathogens – Dr. Koehler, anthrax, while I worked with food-borne diarrhea- causing microbes.
“Thirdly, we both value teaching and have had heavy involvement with medical students, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. I am proud to be linked with this researcher, teacher and academic citizen,” added DuPont, now a faculty member at the UT School of Public Health.
Margaret DuPont serves as a research associate at the Medical School.
Koehler said she intends to establish an annual DuPont Lecture during which “graduate students interested in infectious disease will host a seminar speaker of their choosing who is a leader in the area of microbial pathogenesis.”
By Wendy K. Mohon, Institutional Advancement
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