Dr. J. Mack Slaughter: Texas College of Emergency Physicians Award

Dr. J. Mack Slaughter
Dr. J. Mack Slaughter, recipient of the 2013 Texas College of Emergency Physicians Award

By Lin Lofley

Dr. J. Mack Slaughter spent the better part of his 29 years in one spotlight or another, and now he’s ready to move to the next stage: a residency appointment in emergency medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

When he begins his career on campus soon as a newly minted physician, Dr. Slaughter will be the holder of the 2013 Texas College of Emergency Physicians Award. The honor annually goes to a graduating student who has demonstrated excellence in emergency medicine, with special recognition for dedication to Texans who need emergency care.

“The Texas College of Emergency Physicians Award is given to the student who has contributed both to the art as well as the science of emergency medicine for the citizens of Texas,” said Dr. Jeffrey Van Dermark, Associate Professor of Surgery in the Division of Emergency Medicine. “As someone who has been outstanding in all of his activities outside of UT Southwestern, J. Mack is a natural leader whom others gravitate toward.

“We believe he will be an outstanding spokesman for emergency medicine in Texas. His career choices are endless, and we are honored that he represents the innovative spirit that is so entwined with the people of Texas.”

Dr. Slaughter grew up in a “real-life Partridge family,” performing on stage at Fort Worth’s venerable Casa Manana Theatre when he was 3 years old. 

As a high schooler, he spent time in a boy band made up of Dallas-Fort Worth teenagers, later juggling studies at Fort Worth Country Day School with a 20th Century Fox development deal in Hollywood. 

He had a part in the 2004 movie “Fat Albert” and was considering a seven-year deal, but he realized the boy band era was beginning to fade away. “I wondered where I’d be at the end of seven years,” he said, “and that made me think that it was time to look beyond show business.”

He had graduated from high school mostly by taking long-distance courses, and from the moment he entered Texas Christian University as a neuroscience student, he knew two things: He wanted to go to medical school, and he needed to relearn how to sit in a classroom.

“I’ll be honest, I didn’t know for certain that I had what it takes for medical school. I enjoyed learning, but my high school career had been unconventional, to say the least,” he said.

Like a lot of fellow students, Dr. Slaughter came out of each rotation specialty thinking that would be the area he’d pursue.

“I loved internal medicine. Then, in obstetrics and gynecology, I got to deliver a couple’s first child. That really got me to thinking,” he said. “And then I got the ‘bug’ in emergency medicine. You get to do a bit of everything in that field, and I thought, ‘That’s what I want.’ ”