Surgical oncologist Mansour selected for Watson Award

Dr. John C. Mansour
Dr. John C. Mansour

Growing up, John Mansour witnessed firsthand how a great physician acts. His father, a noted surgical oncologist in Cleveland, would set aside the daily pressures of medical work to spend time with his family, eating meals together and helping out around the house. His father made sure all the children knew he was interested in their schoolwork and outside hobbies.

The Watson Award

Watson medal

The Watson Award is UT Southwestern’s highest clinical honor and is bestowed upon an outstanding physician whose work exemplifies the Medical Center’s commitment to patient care.

Made possible through a generous gift from UT Southwestern alumnus Dr. William Watson and his wife, Patricia, the award creates an annual opportunity for the campus community to recognize a faculty physician who has had a profound impact on students, trainees, colleagues, and patients through excellence in clinical care. Dr. Watson, who maintained a private practice in Waco until his retirement in 1992, died in 2012.

Past Watson Award recipients are Dr. Gary Reed, Associate Dean for Quality, Safety, and Outcomes Education, (2009); Dr. Claus Roehrborn, Chairman of Urology (2010); Dr. Duke Samson, Professor Emeritus of Neurological Surgery (2011); Dr. Sharon Reimold, Professor of Internal Medicine (2012); Dr. Barbara Haley, Professor of Internal Medicine (2013); Dr. Marilynn G. Punaro, Professor of Pediatrics (2014); Dr. Carlos E. Girod, Professor of Internal Medicine (2015); and Dr. William Laurence “Larry” Thornton, Professor of Psychiatry (2016).

Dr. Girod holds the Ron Anderson, M.D. Professorship in Clinical Care and Education at Parkland Memorial Hospital.

Dr. Haley holds the Charles Cameron Sprague, M.D. Chair in Clinical Oncology.

Dr. Punaro holds the Nadine and Tom Craddick Professorship in Medical Education.

Dr. Reed holds the S.T. Harris Family Distinguished Chair in Internal Medicine, named in his honor; and the Eva A. Rosenthal Professorship in Internal Medicine, also in his honor.

Dr. Reimold holds the Gail Griffiths Hill Chair in Cardiology.

Dr. Roehrborn holds the E.E. Fogelson and Greer Garson Fogelson Distinguished Chair in Urology and the S.T. Harris Family Chair in Medical Science, in Honor of John D. McConnell, M.D.

Dr. Thornton holds the McKenzie Foundation Chair in Psychiatry II.

Today, Dr. Mansour is a great physician in his own right. An Associate Professor of Surgery and Chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology, Dr. Mansour has been selected to receive the 2017 Patricia and William L. Watson Jr., M.D. Award for Excellence in Clinical Medicine. Established in 2009, the Watson Award recognizes a UT Southwestern faculty physician who exemplifies excellence in patient care and is a leader in advancing clinical innovations.

The award will be presented on Oct. 17 at 4:30 p.m. in the Zale Foundation Lecture Hall, D1.600.

AMA CEO to deliver Watson Lecture

Dr. James L. Madara

Dr. James L. Madara, CEO and Executive Vice President of the American Medical Association, will discuss “Health Care: 21st Century Needs and Roles of Physicians” as featured speaker at the Watson event.

Since taking the reins of the AMA in 2011, Dr. Madara has helped shape the organization’s long-term strategic plan. He also serves as Chairman of Health2047 Inc., an independent, design-driven innovation firm based in San Francisco whose mission is to help advance the AMA’s goal of improving the health of the nation through innovative solutions.

“We are honored to have Dr. Madara – a noted physician-scientist, health care innovator, and national leader – as our 2017 Watson Lecturer. At the American Medical Association, his leadership focused on helping to shape the roadmap of medicine and our national strategy to improve health,” said Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, President of UT Southwestern.

Dr. Madara worked for more than 20 years at Harvard Medical School, where he received both clinical and research training. He served as a tenured Professor of Pathology and as Director of the National Institutes of Health-sponsored Harvard Digestive Diseases Center. After five years as Chair of Pathology at Emory University, Dr. Madara served as Dean of the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, and as CEO of the University of Chicago Hospitals. While there, he oversaw the renewal of the institution’s biomedical campus and engineered significant new affiliations with community hospitals, teaching hospital systems, community clinics, and national research organizations.

A 5:30 p.m. reception will follow the lecture and award presentation. Overflow seating for the event will be available in D1.602.

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.

“I work with an incredible Surgical Oncology group every day,” Dr. Mansour said. “To be recognized is such an honor, but providing clinical care is not one doctor’s job – it can be upturned or enriched by a number of people. It’s impossible to do what we are credited for doing without this talented cast of characters, this team that provides our patients the best care possible.”

“Dr. Mansour is a highly respected surgical oncologist, widely admired for his surgical expertise and for his engagement with his patients and commitment to their well-being,” said Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, President of UT Southwestern. “He is also considered an outstanding colleague and an exceptional educator – of patients, as well as of medical students and trainees.”

Those characteristics were established by that constant example found in his father, Dr. Mansour said.

“My father is the best doctor I know,” he said. “I’ve had the opportunity to be exposed to and work with amazing physicians, but no one I’ve encountered is better. How he approaches people – everyone’s concern is important, everyone’s peace is important – is incredible. The No. 1 doctor I know is my father.”

With his father as a role model, Dr. Mansour pursued medicine. He earned his M.D. at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, then went on to a surgical residency at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics. Dr. Mansour then completed his fellowship in surgical oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in 2007 before joining the UT Southwestern faculty.

Dr. Mansour is a member of the nationally recognized gastrointestinal cancer team at UT Southwestern’s Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, where he specializes in treating patients with malignancies of the stomach, pancreas, liver, bile duct, and other abdominal organs.

“We take on the toughest cancer cases, and I frequently give people the worst messages they can get,” Dr. Mansour said. “But to see the reaction of family members in the waiting room when you can tell them their loved one is fine, that everything went great, is a powerful thing. You get to give them this gift. It’s the best.

“You also realize how fragile, and delicate, their condition is. Every cancer patient needs two things – hope, and a plan. If you give them that, they can process it. So many can say, ‘I don’t feel so scared anymore,’ because they have been educated and have been told what is happening.”

For Dr. Mansour, there is a rewarding reciprocity to his involvement with his patients; he said he receives as much positive energy from them as they receive from him and the members of his team.

“The thing I love most about cancer patients is the clarity they have,” he said. “They live with a clarity few of us experience. You see such personal beauty in their lives, a grace and graciousness you just don’t expect.

“For them, everything else falls away. And it’s impossible for that daily example not to transfer to me. Being exposed to that kind of thinking gives you a perspective on what’s important. I’m not going to leave that kind of environment and those kinds of examples and then get mad about someone cutting me off while driving home. You realize it’s not important.”

Dr. Mansour’s office furnishings include a former patient’s hand-carved wood sculpture, a finely shaped near-circle straining to touch at its endpoints. It’s thick and strong at some points of its circumference, and quite delicate and thin at its midpoint.

“He finished it three weeks before he died,” Dr. Mansour said. “His wife said he so wanted to complete the work, and he did. She said her husband said the circle meant something special to him, but that he wanted me and others to determine for ourselves what it means.”

Dr. Mansour said his educational duties at UT Southwestern allow him to support and challenge limits – his and learners’.

“I’m proud to be a teacher. It’s a profound way to make a mark long after my career is over, and I am extremely proud of our UT Southwestern trainees,” he said. “I am lucky in that I work with other faculty members and with students who are the best in the country.”

Dr. Mansour’s family includes his wife Christine, an attorney practicing in Dallas, daughters Kelly, a high school junior, and Erin, a fifth-grader, and son Will, who is in eighth grade. He is thrilled that the Oct. 17 Watson Award presentation and Lecture also will include his parents, Dr. Edward Mansour and Mary Beth Mansour.

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.

About UT Southwestern Medical Center

UT Southwestern, one of the premier academic medical centers in the nation, integrates pioneering biomedical research with exceptional clinical care and education. The institution’s faculty has received six Nobel Prizes, and includes 22 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 18 members of the National Academy of Medicine, and 14 Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigators. The faculty of more than 2,700 is responsible for groundbreaking medical advances and is committed to translating science-driven research quickly to new clinical treatments. UT Southwestern physicians provide care in about 80 specialties to more than 100,000 hospitalized patients, 600,000 emergency room cases, and oversee approximately 2.2 million outpatient visits a year.


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