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School of Medicine faculty impart Doctors’ Day wisdom

Posted on Tuesday, April 02, 2013 · Volume: XLVI · Issue: 7

David F. Jimenez, M.D., FACS, visits with Roman Gonzales from Whittier Middle School in San Antonio about the brain. Dr. Jimenez is a professor and chair of neurosurgery. Click on photos to see a larger view.
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David F. Jimenez, M.D., FACS, visits with Roman Gonzales from Whittier Middle School in San Antonio about the brain. Dr. Jimenez is a professor and chair of neurosurgery. Click on photos to see a larger view.clear graphic

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Contact: Will Sansom, 210-567-2579

SAN ANTONIO (March 27, 2013) — Two dozen School of Medicine faculty members from the UT Health Science Center San Antonio visited local schools March 27 in observance of National Doctors’ Day.

Another five faculty members from the Regional Academic Health Center visited Valley schools. These selfless academic physicians, joined by some Ph.D. researchers, made a timeless imprint on students’ minds. Thanks to UT Medicine San Antonio, students also received FUTURE DOCTOR T-shirts.

Setting goals for your life
UT Medicine’s David F. Jimenez, M.D., FACS, professor and chair of the Department of Neurosurgery, enriched the thinking of students at Whittier Middle School in the San Antonio Independent School District. He challenged youngsters at the science and health magnet school to set goals. “Where you set the bar will dictate where you go in life,” he said.

Then he told his story.

Hard work paid off
When he was 4 years old, at the end of kindergarten, the teachers asked the parents to talk with their children about what they wanted to be and to dress the little ones accordingly — firefighter, farmer, ballerina. “I wanted to be a doctor,” he said. “My mom made a little outfit for me with a white coat and surgeon’s cap and borrowed my pediatrician’s stethoscope. That was pretty early [in my life].”

In high school he spent long hours working hard to help his family. The Philadelphia native remained there to attend Temple University and the Temple University School of Medicine. “Those four years [in medical school] were long and hard, but in life you get what you put into it,” he told the students.

Next came seven years of residency training at Temple as a neurosurgeon. “How many hours are in a week?” he asked. “168. We worked 130 hours a week out of 168 for seven years.”

After his fellowship, he became a university professor. “I chose to teach and educate,” he said. Now the chair of a department, he teaches the future neurosurgeons of the country.

Pamela Otto, M.D., professor and interim chair of radiology, spoke to students at East Central High School.
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Pamela Otto, M.D., professor and interim chair of radiology, spoke to students at East Central High School.clear graphic


Career in academic medicine
Dr. Jimenez described a day at the office for a neurosurgeon. He clicked on a PowerPoint slide of a human brain, which elicited a gasp from the young audience. Pointing out several features such as the frontal lobe and the speech area, he said: “That’s a beautiful computer, the most priceless there is. Protect it, don’t do drugs or alcohol.”

After showing images of the brain’s ventricles taken by an endoscope, he returned to his initial challenge for the young people with the words, “You’re never too young to dream and set goals.”

Two dozen committed faculty, countless lives touched
The following faculty members visited the listed area schools to discuss their love of medicine, all with the understanding that one day a student who dares to dream will follow in their footsteps:
  • Carmelito Arkangel, M.D., emergency medicine, Kennedy High School;
  • Jodi Gonzalez Arnold, Ph.D., psychiatry, Marshall High School;
  • Chatchawin Assanasen, M.D., pediatrics/hematology-oncology, Sky Harbor Elementary School;
  • Fred Campbell, M.D., medicine/general medicine, Johnson High School;
  • Donald Dudley, M.D. , obstetrics and gynecology, Providence High School;
  • N. Carol Dornbluth, M.D., radiology, Reagan High School;
  • Michael Freckleton, M.D., radiology, Roosevelt High School;
  • Jaime Garza, M.D., D.D.S., medical dean’s office/plastic surgery; Mark Twain Middle School;
  • Marijan Gillard, M.D., family and community medicine, Lee High School;
  • Robert Gilson, M.D., dermatology and cutaneous surgery, Edison High School;
  • David Jimenez, M.D., neurosurgery, Whittier Middle School;
  • Daniel Johnson, M.D., ophthalmology, Pat Neff Middle School;
  • Lori Johnson, M.D., Ph.D., ophthalmology, Southwest Elementary School;
  • Kaparaboyna Kumar, M.D., family and community medicine, Alamo Heights High School;
  • Helen Markowski, M.D., surgery, Lowell Middle School;
  • Dora Martinez, M.D., Regional Academic Health Center (RAHC), St. Anthony’s Catholic School, Harlingen;
  • Maria Munoz, M.D., RAHC, La Paloma Elementary School, San Benito;
  • Travis Murray, M.D., orthopaedics, Medio Creek Elementary School;
  • Nkeiruka Onyenekwu, M.D., emergency medicine/internal medicine, Roosevelt Elementary School;
  • Augusto Parra, M.D., M.P.H., neurosurgery, Fox Tech High School;
  • Nolan Perez, M.D., RAHC; Treasure Hills Elementary School, Harlingen;
  • Sophie Pina, Ph.D., graduate dean’s office/microbiology, Warren High School;
  • Luis Rios, M.D., RAHC, Edinburg North High School;
  • Gillian Schmitz, M.D., emergency medicine, Harris Academy;
  • Aaron Sugalski, D.O., pediatrics/hematology-oncology, Frank Madla Elementary School;
  • Pamela Otto, M.D., radiology, East Central High School;
  • Eugene Sprague, Ph.D., medicine/cardiology, Stevens High School;
  • Adela Valdez, M.D., RAHC, St. Anthony’s Catholic School, Harlingen;
  • Leonel Vela, M.D., M.P.H., RAHC, Milam Elementary School, Harlingen;
  • Sadie Trammell Velasquez, M.D., medicine/hospital medicine, Pershing Elementary School;
  • Yanping Ye, M.D., family and community medicine, Health Careers High School

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, one of the country’s leading health sciences universities, ranks in the top 3 percent of all institutions worldwide receiving National Institutes of Health funding. The university’s schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, health professions and graduate biomedical sciences have produced approximately 28,000 graduates. The $736 million operating budget supports eight campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. For more information on the many ways “We make lives better®,” visit www.uthscsa.edu.

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