As we celebrate the milestone of UT Southwestern’s 75th anniversary in 2018, we are deeply grateful for your support, which has been essential to the accomplishments of our faculty in advancing biomedical research, educating and training the next generations of scientists and physicians, and providing innovative and compassionate patient care.
Comparatively speaking, UT Southwestern is a young institution, especially for the stature it has achieved as a nationally pre-eminent academic medical center, internationally renowned for the quality of its research. Founded as Southwestern Medical College by visionary and philanthropic members of the Dallas community in May 1943, UT Southwestern’s development over the years has been integrally connected to – and generously supported by – the Dallas community, as well as the State of Texas. Without this support, UT Southwestern would not be the expansive, thriving Medical Center it is today.
As a snapshot of current priorities and programs, I am pleased to send you this Annual Review of the 2016-17 academic year. As you will see, also included is a supplement that notes highlights of the past 75 years and identifies opportunities we see ahead.
As a society, we face especially compelling challenges in brain disease, cancer, and heart disease, as well as in the overall cost and delivery of health care. This 2017 Annual Review is dedicated to illuminating these issues and to informing you about the cutting-edge science, education, and patient care going on at UT Southwestern to address these challenges, as well as innovative approaches we are taking to health care delivery.
The brain in its mysterious functions and many illnesses may be medicine’s ultimate frontier, driving the scientific work and clinical care advancing under the overall aegis of UT Southwestern’s Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute. Our scientists are using the most sophisticated equipment and techniques available to advance knowledge about the fundamental mechanisms of brain functioning – and are also providing the very best in innovative clinical care possible today to patients and families faced with devastating brain diseases.
As you will find in this issue, UT Southwestern faculty are making especially important scientific contributions in areas such as regenerative medicine, which holds great hope for those who have suffered from spinal cord injuries, and in the genetics of sleep, which furthers understanding of issues related to memory and information processing. And at the same time, our physicians are caring for patients suffering from problems such as depression, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, concussion, and brain cancer.
The opening of the William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital – Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center Radiation Oncology building in April 2017 further advanced our commitment to provide the very best in care for those suffering from cancer. It is the largest and most comprehensive radiation oncology facility in North Texas.
And in Simmons Cancer Center laboratories, UT Southwestern cancer biologists are working on the cutting-edge area of immunotherapy. Their efforts have resulted in a nanoparticle vaccine immunotherapy that targets several different cancer types in experimental models. Another important area is approaching the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer through the analysis of massive data sets by faculty in the Lyda Hill Department of Bioinformatics; this work can lead to sophisticated predictions of risks faced by individual patients and to the development of treatments tailored to their specific situations.
We are proud of the transformative work being done by UT Southwestern scientists and physicians in heart disease. The Annual Review features an article about a patient whose life was saved by a UT Southwestern cardiac surgeon who is one of the very few experts in the country whose specialty is a rare, minimally invasive procedure for valve replacement that reduces the trauma of heart surgery.
We are looking forward to opening next summer the first of what will ultimately be a complex of five buildings on our West Campus site. This first building, on the site of the former St. Paul University Hospital, will provide multidisciplinary clinical space, faculty offices, and a state-of-the-art Simulation Center.
I am also pleased to report that we have begun construction on an expansion of William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital, several years ahead of original expectations. The expansion will include a third tower with nearly 300 beds. We are also planning a new building for the North Campus that will house both expanded services of the Simmons Cancer Center and laboratories for the O’Donnell Brain Institute.
I hope you share my pleasure and pride in UT Southwestern, and I also hope you will plan to join us for events in 2018 to celebrate UT Southwestern’s 75th anniversary. On behalf of the entire campus community, I thank you for your generous support and for all that you have done to enable UT Southwestern to discover and deliver the future of medicine, today.
Daniel K. Podolsky, M.D.
President, UT Southwestern Medical Center