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HOPE: From research to saving lives

April 2013

William L. Henrich, M.D., MACP
William L. Henrich, M.D., MACP
President
Professor of Medicine
UT Health Science Center at San Antonio
I have waited eight months to say six simple words – I am thrilled to be back. This past summer, my career as a nephrologist and president of the UT Health Science Center San Antonio was put on hold. I was diagnosed with myelodysplasia. I underwent a stem cell transplant in August.

Thanks to the love and support of my family and community, modern medicine and 378 million cells from my son, John, I am doing well and convalescing quickly.

My return to work is, in many ways, a product of leading-edge science, superb clinical care and support from family, friends and colleagues.

A major reason I take pride in and continue leading the Health Science Center is because of the same determination, collaboration and spirit I see in our own students, faculty and researchers. I am inspired by their dedication to improving the human condition, to fight back against dreaded diseases, and ultimately to defeat them. The by-product of this work is the most precious commodity in the world, one that I treasure more than any gold: hope, hope that there is a chance for a cure, for a reduction in suffering and for healing.

Terra Bibb, featured on the cover of this issue of Mission is a perfect example of this hope. Because of the research and treatment Andrew Brenner, M.D., Ph.D., provided her at our Cancer Therapy & Research Center, Terra has been given promise and precious time to spend with her husband, Jeremy and three young sons, Rylan, Conor and Parker. Please take a moment to read Terra’s story (page 12) and the many other extraordinary accounts of how our Health Science Center investigators are translating research into therapies that enhance and save lives.

Although we are advancing at record speed, we continue to do so in an uncertain and unfavorable financial climate. The National Institutes of Health budget has remained relatively flat for the past few years, and the ongoing budget crises could devastate our national research programs. It is not just the scarcity of federal funding that threatens vital projects, it is the cloud that is cast over making a career choice to pursue the health sciences that discourages our best and brightest and leads them to turn to other careers.

We thank our generous donors such as The USAA Foundation, Bill Greehey, Joe and Teresa Lozano Long, the Kolitz family, the Hamilton Oliver and Adler families and so many others highlighted in this issue. Their gifts are making it possible for the UT Health Science Center to produce lifesaving research and treatments, recruit stellar scientists and students, and educate and train the next generation of health care providers.

One cannot predict who will lead the next major scientific breakthrough. But what motivates us is the sure hope that, among our 1,900 faculty and 3,300 medical, dental, nursing and health professions students, there is someone who will make a major scientific or clinical breakthrough and solve a difficult, seemingly insoluble problem,and thereby save millions of lives.

Thank you for your partnership that ennobles our work every day.

Sincerely,

William L. Henrich, M.D., MACP
President
Professor of Medicine
UT Health Science Center at San Antonio

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