Faculty MDs Have Fingers on the Pulse of Field
Real-World Perspectives Prized by Students Planning Health Careers
As UT Dallas continues to produce successful medical school applicants at a rate exceeding the national average, the students benefit along the way from a number of physicians on the faculty.
The faculty MDs play an important role in the education of pre-med students as well as those preparing for other types of healthcare careers, administrators and students say.
“The physicians on our faculty bring real-world experience to their work both inside and outside the classroom,” said Dr. Scott Wright, director of the Health Professions Advising Center. “The clinical perspective that they bring to their courses benefits our students because doctors are uniquely qualified to speak from personal experience.”
Real-world perspectives are especially prized in a field that is as rapidly evolving as medicine, Wright said.
“Interacting with doctors on campus can really enrich the experience of our students,” Wright said. “I have heard so many times from students how much they appreciate hearing the clinical stories from the MD faculty.”
Dr. Ruben Ramirez, a senior lecturer in the School of School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (NS&M) Biology department, uses the early days of his medical career to prepare students for the realities of patient care. Ramirez did his residency in general surgery in Mexico, where he was the only doctor in a town of about 500 mostly impoverished people. There was no phone and no ambulance. One patient told him he had no money to pay for his services and handed Ramirez a chicken.
“I almost broke into tears,” said Ramirez, who will be teaching several biology courses and workshops this fall. “I was very young but, from then on, I began to see things from a different perspective. This is what I try to transmit to my students. When you go into medical practice, you are there because of the patients. It doesn’t matter if you are tired, hungry or have a personal problem. If you are performing an operation, you can’t just leave.”
Other physicians include Dr. John Hart, medical director of the UT Dallas Center for BrainHealth; Dr. Van Miller in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences; Dr. Betty Pace, director of the UT Dallas Sickle Cell Disease Research Center; Dr. Ilya Sapozhnikov, a senior lecturer in the Biology Department; and Dr. Wayne Cooper in the School of Arts and Humanities. In addition, Dr. Mark D’Esposito is a visiting distinguished scholar and professor of neuroscience and psychologyat the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences.
“I love the way that the MDs on campus are spread across a variety of schools,” Wright said. “It really shows the broad-based aspects of medicine in our world and emphasizes that medicine is not just about biology, but is an occupation that reaches into all parts of the human endeavor.”
Dr. Forney Fleming, who heads up the graduate Healthcare Management program in the School of Management, also brings a physician’s perspective to the classroom, having been in clinical practice for nearly 35 years.
“The advantage of real-world experience is especially important in the world of healthcare management,” said Fleming, who is teaching two healthcare management courses this fall. “Like it or not, if you are going to be involved in a career in healthcare management, you’re going to have to deal with physicians.”
Cris Brown, a master’s student in the Healthcare Management program, appreciates Fleming’s insights.
“Dr. Fleming provides his students a unique real-world perspective that textbooks don’t always convey. He brings the human component squarely front and center, which only enhances the business concepts we’re being taught.”Dr. Ruben Ramirez (left) uses the early days of his medical career to prepare students for the realities of patient care. Dr. Forney Fleming (right) brings 35 years’ experience as a physician to the Healthcare Management program in the School of Management.
“The physicians on our faculty bring real-world experience to their work both inside and outside the classroom,” said Dr. Scott Wright, director of the Health Professions Advising Center.
Health Professions Advising Center
Master's in Healthcare Management
Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].