First, I want to express gratitude for the tremendous confidence that has been placed in me and in the Dell Medical School, a product of an unprecedented partnership with the community, to help shape a new, key partner in health care delivery for Central Texas.
With my children by my side, it was an honor to recently present my vision for the Department of Pediatrics to faculty and staff of Dell Children’s Medical Center, Seton Healthcare Family, the medical school, and to many other members of the Austin community.
Here’s an excerpt from my presentation outlining my vision:
It is overwhelmingly clear that we have an incredible opportunity to build upon the long and honorable history of the University of Texas at Austin and pediatric health care in this region and create a new kind of pediatrics department, one that will help make Austin a model healthy city and improve the lives of children throughout this region.
Our department and its faculty will do this by uncompromisingly developing clinical and educational resources for children, by conducting novel research into the causes and treatments for pediatric diseases, and by reaching out throughout the community to serve as expert resources, thought leaders and advocates for children in need.
When we consider the challenges of health care we know that we must not only develop new therapies for treating difficult problems such as extreme prematurity, asthma, and epilepsy, but also focus on making all of our children healthier through support of good nutrition, exercise at home and in schools, and on-time, complete vaccination for all children. If we focus only on very ill children then we are not doing all we can to change the face of health and create a department that serves all children and changes the way future generations become and stay healthy.
Solving problems in health care means working together and limiting an unnecessary “leader-centered” approach to decision-making that can sometimes be found in medicine. I am reminded of the phrase my children and I have heard many times since the passing last year of my wife and their mother, Rabbi Judith Abrams (Z”L). This phrase is “Baruch Dayan Emet”, which means “Blessed is the Judge of Truth”, and is said on hearing of the death of a member of the Jewish faith. This phrase reminds us that no human judges the Truth of our life. I can assure you that neither I, nor any one person, is the Judge of Emet, of Truth, in our department. We are in this together and we will build the department together learning truths from each other. I understand your concerns about the role of a new academic entity in a well-established pediatric health care environment and assure you that our plan is to collaborate, support and enhance, not to replace or unnecessarily try to change the outstanding care that has been provided to children here for many years.
This department will be an inspiration to students, physicians, members of the medical community and the community at large.
We can help make Austin, Travis County and Central Texas a model for the nation.
Read the full transcript of my welcome speech, and view the video of its presentation: