Dr. Phillip Dauwe: Claude and Catherine Rohrich Family Excellencein Plastic Surgery Award

By Russell Rian

For Dr. Phillip Dauwe, it is a personality match.

“I think surgery picks you, rather than you picking surgery,” Dr. Dauwe said. “It was really an interest that developed over the entire length of my childhood. My initial inspiration was my grandfather Dr. Albert Dauwe, who is a dentist in Lokeren, Belgium. Surgery is a career that I thought would match me well, and I decided well, because I have been very happy so far in everything that I have done.”

Dr. Dauwe, a graduate of Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas and Southern Methodist University, said he particularly enjoys the creative component to his field of interest: plastic and reconstructive surgery.

Dr. Phillip Dauwe

“The innovation and need for versatility are the most attractive things about plastic surgery to me,” he said. “It requires an artistic component. You cannot just follow the steps and come out with a beautiful finished product. There are adjustments throughout a surgery and treatment process that can only be taught and performed by experts.”

Dr. Dauwe demonstrated his expertise, becoming the inaugural recipient of the Rohrich Family Foundation’s Claude and Catherine Rohrich Family Excellence in Plastic Surgery Award. The private family foundation created the award to honor the parents of Dr. Rod J. Rohrich, chairman of the Department of Plastic Surgery. The award recognizes the plastic surgery student who demonstrates superior dedication and achievement in research and clinical care in the department and the profession.

“Dr. Dauwe is an excellent selection for the inaugural award,” said Dr. Rohrich, holder of the Crystal Charity Ball Distinguished Chair in Plastic Surgery and the Betty and Warren Woodward Chair in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. “He embodies all the qualities one would want in a future surgeon, physician-scientist and the next generation of plastic surgery leaders. Phil strikes me as someone who will share and give back to not only medicine, but also to the specialty of plastic surgery over his lifetime, much like my parents did in raising my brothers and me. When you give back you get so much more in return. That is why this award is in honor of my parents, Catherine and Claude Rohrich.”

In expressing his appreciation, Dr. Dauwe said, “Dr. Rohrich is always very good about recognizing people who work hard for him. He tells everybody to strive toward being a future leader in plastic surgery, and that is definitely one of my aspirations.”

Dr. Dauwe’s residency will be at UT Southwestern as an integrated six-year resident in the Department of Plastic Surgery, which is one of the most competitive residency training programs in the U.S. His research involves new techniques in prosthetic-based breast reconstruction.

“I chose UT Southwestern because it offers the most comprehensive plastic surgical training in the United States,” Dr. Dauwe said. “Every faculty member invests themselves in the education of the residents, and the breadth of clinical and scientific exposure prepares the residents to act independently as physicians in whatever ambitions they have.”

In addition to his medical interests, Dr. Dauwe is an avid cyclist who races weekly, plays in a team soccer league and is an accomplished licensed pilot. He also acts as an executive board member of The One Society, a charity benefiting Children’s Medical Center Dallas.

“His diligence in pursuing his goals is legendary,” said Dr. James Thornton, associate professor of plastic surgery and a longtime colleague of Dr. Rohrich who helped inspire Dr. Dauwe’s interest in surgery. “He was known for sleeping under tables in the surgeons lounge to be ready for rounds during his clinical rotations. His knowledge base is already strong and we expect great things.”