Dr. Kevin C. Walters: Texas College of Emergency Physicians Award

By Connie Piloto

Dr. Kevin Walters grew up listening to his grandfather tell stories about his medical cases as a thoracic surgeon. And as far back as Dr. Walters can remember, he always knew he wanted to be a doctor.

He imagined he’d specialize in emergency medicine “because it seemed exciting as a little kid.” It also may be attributed to his grandfather’s entry into emergency medicine after spending long hours in the operating room grew too strenuous for him.

Dr. Kevin Walters

“He worked as an emergency physician in one of the Memphis, Tenn.-area hospitals and he was involved in setting up the emergency medical services system there,” Dr. Walters said. “Perhaps that had something to do with it.”

After graduating from the University of Tennessee with a degree in biochemistry, Dr. Walters decided to leave his home state and attend UT Southwestern. After all, one his cousins, Dr. D. Trey Cole III, graduated from the medical school in 1997 and his older sister, Dr. Kendall Yokubaitis, is a 2009 graduate. She is now a radiology resident at Baylor University Medical Center.

But when he arrived on campus, emergency medicine was the last thing Dr. Walters wanted to do.

“After each rotation, I thought, ‘This is what I want to do,’” said Dr. Walters, whose younger sister, Amanda, is a nurse in Charleston, S.C. “In the end, I realized that I couldn’t do everything and that emergency medicine definitely was for me. This allows me to do a little of everything.”

Faculty in the division of emergency medicine selected Dr. Walters as the winner of the 2010 Texas College of Emergency Physicians Award. The recognition is conferred upon a student who demonstrates excellence in emergency medicine with special recognition for his or her dedication to the people of Texas who need emergency care.

“I was fortunate enough to work with Kevin both in the emergency department and on the toxicology service,” said Dr. Kurt Kleinschmidt, professor of emergency medicine at UT Southwestern. “In my letter of recommendation, I referred to him as a ‘stealth star’ because he combined a low-key, quiet approach with superb knowledge and clinical skills. I greatly sensed that Kevin will become a player in emergency medicine and whatever subspecialty he desires to pursue.”

Dr. Walters will remain at UT Southwestern and complete his residency in emergency medicine at Parkland Memorial Hospital.

“I like the idea of working in a safety-net hospital,” he said. “The emergency room doesn’t discriminate — we are ready to treat anybody at any time for anything. That appeals to me. It’s the type of role a physician should play, or at least the type of physician I want to become.”

Dr. Walters recently married a fellow classmate, Dr. Elaine Chiu, and they purchased their first home. Dr. Chiu is specializing in pediatrics and will complete her residency at Children’s Medical Center Dallas.

After completing his residency, Dr. Walters would like to complete a fellowship training practice in an academic medical setting.