Commencement 2014: Baron, Parada to speak

Internal Medicine Board President to address Medical School; Developmental Biology Chair to talk at Graduate School ceremony

Dr. Richard J. Baron, President and CEO of the American Board of Internal Medicine and the ABIM Foundation, and Dr. Luis Parada, Chairman of Developmental Biology at UT Southwestern Medical Center, will deliver commencement addresses at exercises honoring the Class of 2014 in the UT Southwestern Medical School and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

Dr. Richard J. Baron
Dr. Richard J. Baron

Graduate school exercises begin at 7 p.m. on May 29 in the Tom and Lula Gooch Auditorium on the South Campus. The medical school ceremony will start at 7:30 p.m., May 30, in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House in downtown Dallas.

Dr. Baron has been a leader in accountable-care practices and health care reform and innovation. Prior to his ABIM service, he was Group Director of Seamless Care Models at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Innovation Center, where he led efforts related to accountable care organizations and primary care. Prior to CMS, Dr. Baron practiced general internal medicine and geriatrics at Greenhouse Internists, P.C., located in Philadelphia. Greenhouse has been a pioneer in the comprehensive adoption of electronic health records in the small-practice environment.

Until joining the federal government, Dr. Baron also served on the Board of the National Quality Forum and their Health Information Technology Advisory Committee, as well as the Standards Committee of the National Committee for Quality Assurance.

Dr. Baron also served previously as Chief Medical Officer of Health Partners, a Medicaid HMO set up by four teaching hospitals in Philadelphia. He was the architect of the Best Clinical and Administrative Practices program, working with medical leadership of Medicaid health plans around the country in learning collaborative strategies to improve the quality of care for their members. This program influenced plans that serve more than half of the Medicaid managed care population in the U.S.

A Harvard College graduate who earned a medical degree from Yale University, he trained at New York University’s Bellevue Medical Center before serving three years in rural Tennessee as part of the National Health Service Corps.

Dr. Luis Parada
Dr. Luis Parada

He has written a number of journal articles on medical phenomenology, electronic health records, primary care, and meaningful use. He also speaks frequently on the importance of the patient-centered medical home.

Dr. Parada, Professor of Developmental Biology and a member of the UT Southwestern faculty since 1994, earned a bachelor’s degree, with honors, in Molecular Biology from the University of Wisconsin. He completed his doctorate in Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1985 and served postdoctoral fellowships at the Whitehead Institute in Cambridge, Mass., and at the Pasteur Institute in Paris.

He was head of the Molecular Embryology Section in the Mammalian Genetics Laboratory of the National Cancer Institute, and has received numerous honors, including election to the National Academy of Sciences in 2011, to both the NAS’ Institute of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2007, and as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2008. He was named an American Cancer Society Basic Research Professor in 2003.

Dr. Parada’s research integrates the fields of molecular genetics, embryonic development and signal transduction. His studies have provided critical insights into brain development, associated disorders and cancer biology, and have led to the identification of molecules that inhibit nerve regeneration after injury.

In the laboratory, Dr. Parada and his colleagues focus on the regulatory pathways that control the complex process of nervous system development and the consequences of inappropriate development, which can include behavior and mood disorders, as well as cancer.

Degrees will be conferred upon 225 medical students and 99 graduate students by Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, President of UT Southwestern.

Dr. Todd Pollock, President of the Dallas County Medical Society, will administer the Physician’s Oath. Dr. Pollock completed a residency in General Surgery at UT Southwestern in 1995.

Edward H. Cary III, honorary trustee of the Southwestern Medical Foundation, will present the Ho Din Award – the top award given to a graduating medical student – to Dr. Andrew “Drew” Avery. Mr. Cary is the grandson of the man whom the award was created to honor: Dr. Edward H. Cary, the first president of Southwestern Medical Foundation.

Medical school marshals are Dr. Dennis Burns, Professor of Pathology; Dr. Rody Cox, Professor of Internal Medicine; Dr. Mary Jane Pearson, Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology; Dr. Harikrishna Raja, Professor of Internal Medicine; Dr. Amit A. Shah, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine; and Dr. James M. Wagner, Associate Dean of Student Affairs and Associate Professor of Internal Medicine.

Graduate school marshals are Assistant Deans Dr. Deirdre L. Brekken, Dr. Lisa P. Gardner, and Dr. Stuart E. Ravnik, as well as Dr. Nancy E. Street, Associate Dean.


Dr. Burns holds the Jane B. and Edwin P. Jenevein, M.D., Chair in Pathology.

Dr. Cox holds the Rody P. Cox, M.D., Professorship in Internal Medicine.

Dr. Parada holds the Southwestern Ball Distinguished Chair in Nerve Regeneration Research, and the the Diana K. and Richard C. Strauss Distinguished Chair in Developmental Biology.

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.