Regents name Mullins Ashbel Smith Professor

Dr. Charles Mullins has been named an Ashbel Smith Professor by the UT Board of Regents.

Dr. Mullins, former executive vice chancellor for health affairs for the UT System, is a professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern and holder of the J. Fred Schoellkopf Jr. Chair in Cardiology at UT Southwestern.

The Board of Regents created the Ashbel Smith Professorship, awarded for excellence in teaching and scholarship, in 1963 to honor the board's first president and the father of the UT System. Dr. Smith, who died in 1886, was a physician, a Texas patriot and an educator. He was surgeon general to the Republic of Texas and was founder of the Texas Medical Association. One of his goals was to create a premier university-level education system in Texas.

UT Southwestern president Dr. Kern Wildenthal, who nominated Dr. Mullins for the honor, said, "This award is a testament to Dr. Mullins" years of dedicated and effective leadership at UT Southwestern and in the entire UT System. His contributions have had profound impacts on Parkland Memorial Hospital, on the medical school, on all of Texas" state-medical institutions and on national health policy."

Dr. Mullins said the appointment "came quite unexpectedly" and that he was honored to receive a professorship named for "a man of all seasons like Ashbel Smith."

Dr. Mullins retired as executive vice chancellor in September 2001 after 20 years in that position, returning to UT Southwestern as a full-time faculty member. Before joining the UT System, he was chief executive officer at Parkland Memorial Hospital.

Prior to that he had served as professor of internal medicine, chief of clinical cardiology and associate dean for clinical affairs at UT Southwestern.

Since returning to campus, he has worked on a number of special projects and several clinical committees, including one to help implement the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Dr. Mullins also has been a liaison to members of the Texas Legislature and outside organizations, including the Association of American Medical Colleges, the National Association of Public Hospitals, the Texas Association of Public Hospitals and the Texas Healthcare & Bioscience Institute.

Dr. Mullins is a 1958 graduate of Southwestern Medical School. He completed a general internship at the University of Colorado in Denver and spent three years as a flight surgeon in the U.S. Air Force. He was chief of medical residents at Dallas" Parkland, after which he served as a cardiology fellow and instructor at Harvard Medical School. He returned to Dallas in 1968 to join the UT Southwestern faculty.

Dr. Mullins served as chief executive officer of the Dallas County Hospital District from 1979 to 1981 and led the planning for a major expansion of Parkland's facilities, including an $80 million bond election that at the time was the largest in Dallas history. During his tenure as head of the hospital, he initiated a significant improvement in Parkland's patient services.

He joins Dr. Burton Combes, professor of internal medicine, and Dr. Jack Reynolds, professor of radiology, as current holders of the Ashbel Smith Professorships on the UT Southwestern campus, along with Dr. Philip O'Brien Montgomery Jr., an Ashbel Smith professor emeritus and professor emeritus of pathology.