Friends of the Health Science Center

Dr. Avery

Medical alumnus helps create professorship

After being fortunate enough to have trained and practiced in the field of anesthesiology, Chris Avery, M.D., looked for a way to repay his residency program at the Health Science Center.

“I wanted to give something back,” said Dr. Avery, president and chief operating officer of James Avery Craftsman, Inc. “I just love the field of medicine, especially anesthesiology. I figured I would always do anesthesiology. However, the family business drew me away eight years ago.”

Dr. Avery leads James Avery Craftsman, Inc., a company begun in 1954 by his father, who served as a B-26 pilot in World War II and later taught design at the college level. After renewing his Christian commitment and deciding to leave teaching, James Avery moved to Kerrville and worked in his garage creating jewelry. Now, the business, which is renowned for its simple but beautiful designs in gold and silver, has grown to 29 stores in Texas, Georgia and Oklahoma.

Dr. Avery said he has fond memories of his time at the Health Science Center. In an effort to repay the university, he decided to contribute to the anesthesiology endowment.

However, he soon learned there wasn’t one: The Department of Anesthesiology was able to create the Anesthesiology Endowment in May 1996 with an initial gift of $25,000 from Dr. Avery and his wife Ruth.

With contributions from other donors and a recent additional contribution of $25,000 from the Averys, the endowment fund reached $100,000, which elevated it to the level of professorship. The new R. Brian Smith, M.D.,  Professorship in Anesthesiology honors Dr. Smith’s 21 years as department chair.

Joseph J. Naples, M.D., the new anesthesiology chair, said the professorship is a wonderful tribute to Dr. Smith, who joined the Health Science Center as chair in 1978.


Dr. Trinkle

Transplant pioneer’s legacy continues

The late J. Kent Trinkle, M.D., a pioneering cardio-thoracic transplant surgeon and Health Science Center professor who characterized himself as “just a country doctor,” left $250,000 in his will to increase an endowment fund he established in his name in 1993.

The Dr. J. Kent Trinkle Professorship in Cardiothoracic Surgery endowment will ensure ongoing support for teaching and research within the Division of Thoracic Surgery, now headed by John Calhoon, M.D.

Dr. Trinkle joined the Health Science Center in 1972 as chief of the division and headed the team that performed the first heart, heart-lung, and single-lung transplants in South Texas. Under his direction, San Antonio became one of the four most active centers in the world for single-lung transplants.

In 1995 the University Health System and the Health Science Center dedicated a new 25,000-square-foot transplant center in his name: The Dr. J. Kent Trinkle Center for Transplant Sciences.

Dr. Trinkle’s widow, Barbara, said, “Kent was so committed to his patients and students. He wanted to leave a meaningful legacy. This is a wonderful way to do that.”


Family creates endowment to honor father’s memory

In memory of their beloved husband and father, a Texas family has created an endowment to fund resident education for the Department of Ophthalmology in the Medical School.

R. Michael Nisbet, M.D., a retina specialist in Corpus Christi, and his mother, Helen D. Nisbet of San Antonio, are honoring his father and her husband’s memory by establishing the Alfred A. Nisbet Resident Education Endowment at the Health Science Center.

The late Alfred A. Nisbet, M.D., arrived in San Antonio in 1940 to begin his private ophthalmology practice.

“My father was one of the early clinical faculty members when the Health Science Center first started. He really enjoyed working with the residents,” said Dr. Michael Nisbet. “As a way to continue his work with residents, we decided to create the resident education endowment to fund resident research and to help residents travel to national meetings to present their research findings.”

The endowment funds will be used at the discretion of Wichard A.J. van Heuven, M.D., chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology. In addition to the endowment, the Nisbet family’s longstanding affiliation with the Health Science Center is continuing through Michael’s son, Alan Nisbet, a second-year medical student.


MAPA awards scholarships

During the annual White Coat Ceremony on July 4, the Mexican American Physicians Association (MAPA) awarded scholarships to 30 first-year Mexican American medical students at the Health Science Center.

Steven Ramos, M.D., MAPA president, and Ernesto Parra, M.D., MAPA president-elect, were on hand for the presentation of the scholarships.

The scholarships paid for medical instruments required during the first-year “Introduction to Physical Diagnosis” course.