Dr. David Willcutts: Pediatric Society of Greater Dallas Award

By Lin Lofley

Dr. David Willcutts
Dr. David Willcutts

Dr. David Willcutts, an Irving native who earned an undergraduate degree in biological science at the University of Notre Dame, came to UT Southwestern Medical School to earn a medical degree. But it’s a fact that he also was looking to make his mark in community volunteering.

It all worked out.

Dr. Willcutts is the recipient of the 2017 Pediatric Society of Greater Dallas Award, which annually recognizes an outstanding graduating Medical Student who has the personal character and dedication to serve and to be an advocate for children.

 “I am grateful and thrilled to be chosen by the Pediatric Society of Greater Dallas for this award,” he said. “It’s also humbling to think that a society of physicians in your specialization is aware of who you are, let alone that they decided to recognize you.”

After his rotation in pediatrics, the medical student was certain that was the way he wanted to go.

“This award is very flattering, mostly because a major reason I chose pediatrics was the people who make up this profession and how much I’ve enjoyed working with and learning from them,” he said.

Dr. Soumya Adhikari, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the Pediatric Clerkship program, said he sees Dr. Willcutts as a credit to his new profession.

“David builds roots in communities by extending himself through volunteer service opportunities,” Dr. Adhikari said. “He already has demonstrated himself to be a natural leader amongst his peers, and I look forward with great enthusiasm to seeing his skills emerge as he pursues the next stage of his training with our residency program here at Children’s Medical Center Dallas.”

In addition to proving to be a standout Medical Student, Dr. Willcutts spent four years proving to be a leader.

In his journey to graduation, Dr. Willcutts and his friend, Dr. Sachin Shah, served for four years as co-Presidents of the Class of 2017. Drs. Willcutts and Shah share the Leadership Award, but much more comes to mind beyond that singular recognition.

“I count myself as very lucky to have served my class as a co-President,” Dr. Willcutts said. “In that time, I’ve undergone a lot of personal growth from both the success and setbacks of student government. On the whole, I’m thankful for the experience, and I’ve enjoyed being able to both revive lost traditions and establish new ones, as well as to improve student life in a number of ways.

“And it might sound cliché, but the best part has been the people. There are too many people to mention who helped Sachin and I serve our classmates, but I’m certain that we couldn’t have done it without the Associate Deans and their colleagues in that office, Wes Norred and Suzy Smith, and their staff.”

Dr. Willcutts’ list of organizations and activities is long, and often geared toward helping children. In 2014, he founded the Medical Students’ Pediatric Nutrition Group. He also had an enduring involvement with United to Serve, the student-run health care event that annually takes place at the nearby Thomas J. Rusk Middle School. In 2014, he was one of the students who educated families on the proper use of car safety seats; the next two years he coordinated health screenings offered by UT Southwestern to the underserved community of Dallas.