Medical breakthroughs, new hospital highlight event

Innovation, interdisciplinary collaboration, and strong research funding are reducing surgery times and boosting life expectancy, according to a panel of UT Southwestern Medical Center physicians. The physicians spoke to nearly 200 invited guests gathered for the 2014 Carolyn P. Horchow Women’s Health Symposium.

The 2014 co-chairs of the Women’s Health Symposium were Ginny W. Eulich and Gloria Eulich Martindale. Dr. Karen Bradshaw, Director of the Lowe Foundation Center for Women’s Preventative Health Care, served as faculty advisor for the event, and pediatrician Dr. Carol Podolsky served as physician advisor.

Invited guests Sandra Schneider, Mary Ramsey, and Barbara Stuart.
Invited guests Sandra Schneider, Mary Ramsey, and Barbara Stuart.

This year’s event was titled “Get Smart: Taking Charge of Your Health,” and topics ranged from neurosurgery to plastic surgery, and from the latest imaging equipment to the most advanced robotics. The audience also received a preview of the new William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital opening later this year.

“In so many ways, 2014 promises to be another watershed year for UT Southwestern,” said Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, President of UT Southwestern, who welcomed guests and speakers with a report on “UT Southwestern: State-of-the-Art and Beyond.”

In detailing UT Southwestern’s progress as a leading academic medical center, Dr. Podolsky noted that, “Women are the principle decision-makers when it comes to health care issues in most families,” Dr. Podolsky, a world-renown gastroenterologist, told the virtually all-female audience. “We hope that you leave today with resources to be better informed for that vital responsibility.”

Many of the UT Southwestern strengths Dr. Podolsky discussed will be showcased in the new William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital, which will open in late 2014. The hospital was designed to uniquely blend UT Southwestern’s missions of providing state-of-the-art patient care, world-class research, and top-flight medical education for current and future physicians.

Dr. John Warner, Vice President and CEO for UT Southwestern University Hospitals, provided a glimpse of the innovations that will be built into the $800 million, 12-floor, 460-bed hospital.

Floor plans were meticulously designed so nurses’ work spaces are directly adjacent to patient rooms, providing faster access and fewer interruptions. Patient care floors were also designed to include comfortable waiting areas for family and friends, designed with Wi-Fi and other amenities for today’s technology demands, such as smartphones and laptops, which didn’t exist when St. Paul was constructed. The design also includes research areas and learning environments for medical students and residents, as well as dedicated building maintenance elevators and routes at the back of the hospital to separate hospital activity from patient care areas.

“It’s the Disney concept, everything occurring off stage, away from patients and their families,” Dr. Warner said. “We’re making the hospital a quiet environment, while still making it a learning environment for our trainees.”

Dr. Warner presented a slide show highlighting everything from educational rooms that will have smart boards for instruction to patient rooms that will have interactive TVs and a remote control to regulate nearly every patient-comfort feature of the room from the bedside. “Everything you have in this room is at your control, including room temperature and light,” he said.

Operating rooms will be the largest in Texas, he noted. The surgery that will take place in those rooms will be some of the most advanced in the world, said Dr. Kemp Kernstine, Professor and Chief of the division of thoracic surgery in the Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery. Dr. Kernstine’s presentation was titled “Robotic Surgery: Star Wars, Medicine, and the Next Frontier.”

He also noted that UT Southwestern is a leader in this technology with more than 3,200 robotic surgical procedures since 2006, including 186 robotic lung and esophageal surgeries since September 2011.

Dr. Elizabeth Maher, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine, said comparable advances in imaging have vastly improved treatment of brain tumors. She recognized the collaborative work of a diverse team of experts in imaging and neuro-oncology, as well as the commitment of more than 100 patients who participated in translational imaging studies. “We’re not interested in hope, we’re interested in a cure. We’re going to get a cure,” Dr. Maher said.

In his presentation, “Safe, Wise, and Rejuvenated: Innovations in Plastic Surgery,” Dr. Rod Rohrich, Chairman of Plastic Surgery, outlined how to safely select the best plastic surgeon and described noninvasive therapies ranging from non-surgical treatments to the form-stable silicone gel breast implants and a hyaluronic acid facial filler designed to treat mid-face volume loss.

“We’re getting there. Non-surgical treatments that are going to work are on the horizon. In the next three or four years, we’re going to be replacing the scalpel,” Dr. Rohrich said.

Carolyn P. Horchow, co-founder of The Horchow Collection, the first luxury mail-order catalog, founded the annual symposium in 1999 at UT Southwestern with her friend, Patricia M. Patterson. Mrs. Horchow, the late wife of Dallas philanthropist and retail entrepreneur Roger Horchow, served on several boards, including the Board of Visitors of UT Southwestern University Hospitals & Clinics.


Dr. Maher holds the Theodore H. Strauss Professorship in Neuro-Oncology.

Dr. Podolsky holds the Philip O’Bryan Montgomery, Jr., M.D. Distinguished Presidential Chair in Academic Administration, and the Doris and Bryan Wildenthal Distinguished Chair in Medical Science.

Dr. Rohrich holds the Crystal Charity Ball Distinguished Chair in Plastic Surgery, and the Betty and Warren Woodward Chair in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

Dr. Warner holds the Jim and Norma Smith Distinguished Chair for Interventional Cardiology, and the Audre and Bernard Rapoport Chair in Cardiovascular Research.