Dr. Hooman Heravi: MT ‘Pepper’ Jenkins Outstanding Medical Student Award in Anesthesiology and Pain Management

Hooman Heravi
Dr. Hooman Heravi

By Patrick McGee

Dr. Hooman Heravi has a simple formula that has worked for the past 10 years: apply, work extremely hard, then apply for the next opportunity.

“I’ve been filling out applications my entire life. It’s never ending,” said Dr. Heravi, recipient of the 2014 MT ‘Pepper’ Jenkins Outstanding Medical Student Award in Anesthesiology and Pain Management. “That’s why I was so shocked. This is the first thing I didn’t apply for, and I got it.”

Originally from Iran, Dr. Heravi applied in 2004 for a diversity visa, a program that randomly chooses qualified applicants for immigration into the U.S. After receiving the visa, he moved to Austin where his uncle lives and applied to community college. There, he earned a 4.0 grade-point average, applied to and was accepted by UT Austin. He studied electrical engineering because he believed that was the easiest way to get another 4.0. He found the field’s heavy dependence on mathematical formulas to be a way to ease a full course load in English, his second language.

While carrying a full load of courses, he worked a full-time job during the week and a part-time job on the weekends, but still earned another 4.0 GPA. He then applied to medical school at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

“This was the med school in Texas. It is the best med school in Texas. It’s also one of the best in the nation. I decided to apply,” he said.

Applying himself in medical school, he discovered that anesthesiology had some surprising parallels to the electrical engineering he studied as an undergraduate student.

 “There’s a huge overlap. Circuits, systems, black boxes, inputs, outputs all those engineering concepts that we used to use every day, now I am using on my patients. I have inputs; I give you medicine, I have outputs; I’m monitoring every single vital that I can. I’m manipulating all of the physiology just as I was manipulating the circuits,” said Dr. Heravi, who is staying at UT Southwestern for his residency. “Before you know it, I was too involved to change my mind. I thought, ‘Wow I think I could become a successful individual in this field.’ ”

UT Southwestern faculty members thought the same thing, nominating him for the MT ‘Pepper’ Jenkins Award. The recognition is named for the late Dr. Jenkins, who established and served as Chairman of the Department of Anesthesiology from 1948 until 1981. It is awarded to a student seeking a career in anesthesiology who had an exemplary performance in medical school, takes an empathetic approach to patient care, and exhibits the characteristics of leadership, scholarship, and thirst for knowledge exemplified by the award’s namesake.

“Hooman is an extraordinarily dedicated student. Like me, he has an engineering background,” said Dr. Charles Whitten, Chairman of Anesthesiology and Pain Management. “Due to the systems-based learning mentality of engineers, they thrive in perioperative medicine. He was instrumental in analyzing data for a project related to the postoperative care of neurosurgical patients that will be presented at the Association of University Anesthesiologists national meeting.”

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Dr. Whitten holds the Margaret Milam McDermott Distinguished Chair in Anesthesiology and Pain Management.

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