Monday, October 15, 2012 - 9:41am
A town hall meeting Friday for employees and students of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) showcased UT System Regents’ choice of Giuseppe N. Colasurdo, MD, as the new president of the university. He has been serving as president ad interim since the 2011 resignation of Larry R. Kaiser, MD.
UT System Executive Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs Kenneth Shine, MD, said Colasurdo was chosen after an international search that led to 40 nominations, eight interviews, three finalists and, finally, Colasurdo as the Regents’ choice. By state law, 21 days must elapse between the announcement of a sole finalist and that choice becoming final.
Shine said 18 people, including community representatives, two regents and two presidents of health science campuses, served on the presidential search committee, and a search firm also helped with the process.
Colasurdo thanked Shine and said it is a great honor to serve the university.
“I promised Dr. Shine, the chancellors and the Regents that the brand of UTHealth in the next five years will be so strong that all of UT System will be astonished by what the people of UTHealth are doing,” Colasurdo said.
Building relationships, assembling teams, recruiting the best people and then retaining them through mentoring are proven strategies for getting things done, he said. “That’s what I’ve believed in the last 17 years and what I’ve been doing every day.”
He spoke of the need “to maintain an institution that is financially stable, with a sound strategic plan, [as] we continue to protect and grow the funding to support our education and research mission.”
Understanding the new healthcare reform legislation and addressing gaps in education and healthcare delivery are also challenges facing the university, Colasurdo said, adding, “I strongly believe … that collectively, our schools and the people in our schools have a competitive advantage.”
Colasurdo and Shine answered questions from the audience, as well as some submitted online. One question was whether Colasurdo, a pediatrician, will continue to practice medicine.
The answer: He will. However, the university will launch a national search for a new dean for the medical school.
Colasurdo is an internationally known researcher and pediatrician who joined the faculty of the UT Medical School at Houston in 1995. He was named chair of the division of pediatrics in 2005. In 2007, he became dean and the H. Wayne Hightower Distinguished Professor in the Medical Sciences. In 2011, he assumed the role of UTHealth president ad interim.
A native of Morrone del Sannio, Italy, he completed his undergraduate education at Liceo Scientifico Galileo Galilei in Pescara, Italy and earned his medical degree summa cum laude from G. D'Annunzio School of Medicine in Chieti, Italy.
He came to the United States in 1988 for a residency at The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, subsequently serving fellowships at the University of Colorado Health Science Center and the National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver.