The Galveston Causeway’s getting closed down again for about 30 minutes Sunday morning, Sept. 17, at 8 a.m. The bridge contractor has a series of underwater explosions planned to help remove the foundations from previous spans. To keep the damage from flying rubble and pieces of unhappy fish to a minimum, they stop traffic in both directions. It’s old hat to those of you who’ve been reading my blog regularly; to the rest, the Daily News has all the details in an article published Tuesday. After Sunday, there’ll be about six more of these explosions (and corresponding closures) to go, about one a month into 2007.
Archive for September, 2006
A good rainy Saturday morning project: I changed the image in my blog header, and created a page to archive and tell you a little bit about the different images I’ve used. You can see it here. (A link to the page also lives in the menu on the right.)
OK, as I’d hoped, one of our campus colleagues was able to get a decent digital shot of the new nuclear sub, the USS Texas, at its temporary Port of Galveston berth. The image was captured by Bert Martin from the SON Multimedia Lab. If you want a better look and more information, the US Navy is happy to oblige. http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=25249
We all like a little good news, right? So how about a bunch of good news, one nice and meaty item in each of our mission areas? We start with a research item: This week the NIH posted its list of cumulative grants to institutions in 2005. UTMB fared very well, ranking in the top third nationally (38th overall). The list is online; it’s interesting to see where others fall in the rankings. While the dollars are great, what they represent is even better: in an extremely competitive peer-review process, funds were allocated to UTMB researchers. That wouldn’t happen if their work wasn’t important, meaningful and of high quality.
Next item, from the academic camp: UTMB is number three on the list of top 10 medical schools for Hispanic students. You can read about it here. Watch for additional details on both of these items in the coming days in some of our official venues.
Last but not least was a letter that ran Thursday in the Daily News about the folks in the ER and on the clinical side of our house. These “thanks for great care” letters are always wonderful and run with some frequency (there was another this past week), but this particular one I really liked. It left me feeling good about our caregivers and about us. I’m not surprised that our patient satisfaction scores have been going up all summer.
Are we perfect? No. Do we have what it takes to be truly great? That’s a winning bet in my book.
This is the big weekend for the commissioning of the new nuclear sub, the USS Texas. (I blogged it last week.) We were hoping to have a lot of details to share by now, but the one message that’s pretty clear is: avoid Harborside Drive on Saturday, Sept. 9 entirely, if possible. It promises to be packed, congested and slow-moving. There’ll be about as much security as anything we’ve ever seen, including last year’s presidential visit. The Parking Office is opening the garage on Market Street across from the Moody Medical Library for staff to use Friday night and Saturday, while the UHC garage is closed. Parking at the garage (on Market and 9th) will be free. Employees who have after hours/weekend access to the UHC garage will also be able to park in Garage 1, adjacent to the Administration Building.
In terms of getting a peek at the sub, a friend who works at UTMB and lives in Fish Village went looking for a good vantage point. I originally thought the UHC garage might offer a nice view, but they’ve got the sub tucked too far away and mostly out of sight. I understand you can see a little of the sub’s mast from land bordering the yacht basin, and someone said from Pelican Island. Supposedly the guys and gals in MRB also have a pretty good view. (If you can see it from your lab or office, snap and send me a digital pic and I’ll post it.)
Next Monday is the five-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. There’s a campaign making its way around the Internet. I can’t speak for its source or confirm that it’s legit, but the idea seems solid enough. Here’s the general concept:
On Monday, September 11th, 2006, every individual should make it their duty to display an American flag on this fifth anniversary of the tragedy of 9/11, in honor of those who lost their lives, their families, friends and loved ones who continue to endure the pain, and those who today are fighting at home and abroad to preserve our cherished freedoms.
In the days, weeks and months following 9/11, our country was bathed in American flags as citizens mourned the incredible losses and stood shoulder-to-shoulder against terrorism. Sadly, those flags have all but disappeared. Our patriotism pulled us through some tough times and it shouldn’t take another attack to galvanize us in solidarity.
I think we let some important folks down recently. It’s likely something we’ll take up in detail in Rumors & Trumors and/or the Financial Improvement Plan site, so I’d rather not do a deep dive here, but let me say to our Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners: I understand how you feel. PAs and NPs practicing in some areas at UTMB took a fairly hard hit during our recent RIFs. Some blunt responses to a town meeting question about their roles at UTMB seemed to marginalize them. I think that was unintentional, but it still stung. I guess without getting into economics I don’t understand, into talk of “physician extenders” (hate that term) and productivity and billing practices and a host of other issues that will need to get addressed elsewhere, I guess I’d go back to a UTMB principle that might have been simplistic but always made me proud: the concept is team-based care, a working partnership among health care professionals with complementary skills, built on trust, talent, respect and professionalism, and focused on the well-being of the patient. Physicians play an important role in team-based care. And so do nurses, PAs, therapists, social workers and many others. We’ve taught team-based care, we’ve practiced and preached it merits, we’ve valued it. I can’t imagine a scenario where its qualities wouldn’t continue to hold true, to be good. So while the words may waylay us and the dollars cast their fog, let common sense and goodwill prevail. Let’s start mending fences.
Hello friends. Did you miss me? Our blog server went offline for a few hours Tuesday morning, the accidental victim of an incompatible plugin. All is well again and we didn’t lose any data, so it’s back to business. I received a few emails wondering if I’d purposely pulled the plug. What, and miss all the fun?
Galveston’s hosting a big shindig the second weekend in September, the commissioning of a new nuclear submarine, the USS Texas. It’ll take place Saturday, Sept. 9, at the Port of Galveston’s 10th St. dock, which happens to be right behind the UTMB campus. I think the sub arrives late this weekend and someone told me the Elissa was headed out to meet it and escort it in. I’d check the newspaper for event details and viewing opportunities; I know the actual commissioning is by invitation (don’t feel bad; mine got lost in the mail also). There might be a nice view of the sub from the north side of campus next week, maybe from the UHC garage. Just don’t try to get in there on the 9th or 10th, or you might end up having a conversation with big guys in dark suits and earpieces. Most of us remember the security when “W” was here last summer, and Mrs. W is supposed to attend this. We posted a traffic advisory Friday, and will try and keep you in the loop as details affecting our campus change.
Wow, this holiday weekend snuck up on me and I am so very glad it’s here. I hope you get to spend some time this weekend doing whatever you enjoy with those you love most. Happy Labor Day. Here’s what it’s about from the U.S. Department of Labor.