Dr. Greg J. Haro: Hudson-Penn Award for Excellence in Surgery

By Russell Rian

Greg Haro
Dr. Greg Haro

Dr. Greg J. Haro almost seems destined to the future now awaiting him as a surgical resident at the University of California, San Francisco.

“This has been a lifelong pursuit. Since I was a young boy, I wanted to be a physician,” the 28-year-old native of Modesto, Calif., said. Before Dr. Haro wad born, he had a sister, Alissa, who passed from neuroblastoma. “Hearing my family talk about the care Alissa had received and the respect they had for the physicians who cared for her, I knew I wanted to be a physician. I wanted to be able to help families similar to my own.”

Moreover, the UCSF campus is where his sister had been cared for.

“This is really special for me and my family,” he said. In addition, Dr. Haro couples-matched at UCSF with fellow fourth-year student Sara Hagen-Longmire, who will be pursuing a pediatric residency. The couple married on April 12 in the Texas Hill Country.

A classical trumpet player who majored in music at Rice University and played in the band The Associated Symptoms with six other fourth-year UT Southwestern students, Dr. Haro actually found his passion for surgery in part thanks to another twist of fate. After accepting a disco-themed gig, he chatted about his plans to attend medical school with the trombone player, who turned out to be a heart surgeon with the Texas Heart Institute. The surgeon invited him to see his laboratory, and Dr. Haro ended up spending three summers in the lab on a highly publicized project involving the surgical implantation of continuous-flow total artificial hearts.

“That’s when I knew surgery was for me,” he said. “I was drawn to the team-based approach, the procedural basis, and the need for expeditious thinking and subsequent action. The milieu of the OR is also what I enjoy about music – a group of highly trained individuals with specific roles unite to perform a work of art in real time.”

His talents were just as sound for surgery. Dr. Haro was honored with the Hudson-Penn Award for Excellence in Surgery, established in 1979 and named for Dr. Lee Hudson, Chief of Surgery at Parkland Memorial Hospital when UT Southwestern was founded, and for Robert Penn, Dr. Hudson’s brother-in-law.

“This special award is given to a senior medical student who has demonstrated excellence in the specialty of surgery,” said Dr. Michael Choti, Chairman of Surgery. “Greg is an exemplary medical student with a promising career in surgery.”

Dr. Sergio Huerta, Associate Professor of Surgery and Clerkship Director, echoed that sentiment.

“Greg Haro is an excellent example of the characteristics consistent with the philosophy of the Department of Surgery at UT Southwestern,” Dr. Huerta said. “He is conscientious, hardworking, has a warm spirit, and is a good team player. Above all, he has a great sense of humility that is inspiring to all those who observe such a talented student constantly rising to be one of the best. He is the student that makes us proud to be educators at every turn he takes.”

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Dr. Choti holds the Hall and Mary Lucile Shannon Distinguished Chair in Surgery.

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