(Left to right: Ben Dupree and his sister, Christi Dupree) Ben Dupree and his family have spent years battling against the devastating, untreatable disease known as Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD.) With the help of CRISPR gene-editing technology, pioneering research at UT Southwestern is offering a chance at treating this disease for the first time in history.


Thanks to the unwavering generosity of our donors, 2019 was a year of triumph, hope, and celebration. Our community plated a vital role in making 2019 a year of many accomplishments and memorable moments. Words cannot express our deep gratitude to all who have joined us in supporting progress in medicine and committed to the advancement of health care for all. Here’s a look back at our top 10 milestones you made possible this year:


(Left to Right) James R. Huffines, Kathleen M. Gibson, Daniel K. Podolsky, M.D., Terry and Bob Rowling

1.        New Leadership and a Growing Board of Trustees

In 2019, we paid tribute to the lasting legacy of our outgoing Chairman of the Board Robert B. Rowling, celebrating his five years as Chairman and continued dedication to the Foundation. At the same time, we welcomed our new Chairman, James R. Huffines, who has served as a board member since 2011. With the arrival of Mr. Huffines, the Foundation also welcomed four new Trustees: Timothy P. Costello, Sarah K. Miller, Matthew S. Ramsey, and Sam L. Susser.


2019 Ho Din Award winner Dr. Bethany Werner, M.D., at UT Southwestern Medical School Commencement Ceremony

2.       Ho Din Award

In 2019, the Ho Din Award was presented to Dr. Bethany Werner. The Ho Din Award, instituted by Southwestern Medical Foundation in 1943, recognizes those who embody the qualities inherent in all great physicians— medical wisdom, human understanding, and compassion. It represents the ideals and aspirations on which the school was built and continues to be the highest honor bestowed on a UT Southwestern medical student today.


The Southwestern Medical Foundation team attending the 2019 Family Philanthropy Festival at NorthPark Center in Dallas, Texas.

3.       North Texas Giving Day

In September, we joined our community in celebrating the power of philanthropy on North Texas Giving Day under the incredible leadership of Communities Foundation of Texas. With support from our donors, we made our first appearance on North Texas Giving Day’s official Leaderboard! We raised more than $375,000 on North Texas Giving Day, leading into a successful Annual Campaign fundraising season. We also participated in the annual Family Philanthropy Festival at NorthPark Center in Dallas, where we interacted with community members one-on-one and shared our mission with other leading nonprofits across the region.


(Left to right) Marc Diamond, M.D., Eric Olson, Ph.D., and William Dauer, M.D.

4.       Leading the Conversation on Health

On October 1, 2019, Southwestern Medical Foundation continued its ongoing speaker series, Leading the Conversation on Health, with a talk titled “On the Cusp: Innovation and Commercialization in Neurodegenerative and Neuromuscular Disease” at UT Southwestern Medical Center. The discussion was moderated by William T. Dauer, M.D., who was announced in February as the inaugural director of the Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute at UT Southwestern. The panel included Marc Diamond, M.D. and Eric Olson, Ph.D., who are both established researchers and directors at UT Southwestern. Both researchers are also on the cusp of major breakthroughs in their respective areas of research.


(Left to Right) H. Dwight Cavanagh, M.D., Ph.D., and Ellen Louise Heck at the Transplant Services Celebration hosted at Southwestern Medical Foundation.

5.     Transplant Services Celebration

On the evening of July 23, 2019, guests gathered at Southwestern Medical Foundation to celebrate the work of the Transplant Services Center at UT Southwestern. The event, however, was more than just a celebration – it was an opportunity for friends, family, and colleagues to recognize two very special individuals with a surprise. Dwight Cavanagh, M.D., Ph.D. was presented with the news of the establishment of the Corneal Disease and Transplantation Lectureship, in Honor of H. Dwight Cavanagh, M.D., Ph.D., and Ellen Louise Heck was presented with a separate tribute and the news of the establishment of a Chair in Tissue Transplantation, in Honor of Ellen L. Heck. The event was also an opportunity to celebrate the profound impact the Transplant Services Center had on the history of our nation by providing 70 square feet of skin for burn victims following the 9/11 attacks. Learn more in Perspectives Part III.


The latest issue of Southwestern Medical Foundation’s magazine features opinions from leading experts around the world on the ethical implications of a technology that has the power to alter the code of life itself.

6.        Perspectives: The CRISPR Revolution

In December, Southwestern Medical Foundation unveiled its latest Perspectives issue, “The CRISPR Revolution.” The latest edition of the Foundation’s magazine features the gene-editing technology of CRISPR and its revolutionary impact on humanity. The magazine includes contributions from 15 globally-renowned researchers and thought leaders, providing insight into the history and science behind CRISPR as well as the ethical debates surrounding the technology.


UT Southwestern Graduation Ceremony

7.     Attracting Top Talent to Texas

Thanks to the generosity of our donors, the Foundation more than doubled our funds dedicated to scholarships for medical students. With this increase in scholarship funds, the Foundation can continue sustaining a standard of excellence in medical education, carrying the momentum of innovative research in our community by bringing the nation’s leading talent to North Texas.


8.     Maximizing Our Impact Through Endowment 

Generous hearts in our community have committed to endowments for decades, sustaining our mission of giving the gift of better health to all. 2019 witnessed a steady increase in our endowed gifts, supporting the development of patient care centers, research programs, students, professorships, and more. Your endowed gifts allow us to think about not just today’s needs, but also about tomorrow’s challenges and the needs of our children and grandchildren.


(Left to Right) Amanda Eagle George, Event Co-Chair, Michael Kahn, Chairman, Lana Constantine, Event Co-Chair

9.    Continuing to Foster Young Leadership in Dallas

Through engaging programming like a Learning from Leaders speaker series and behind-the-scenes experiences at UT Southwestern, The Cary Council made substantial progress in catalyzing a new generation of community leaders in 2019. The Cary Council also experienced significant growth this past year, building momentum leading up to its 5 year anniversary in September 2020. Don’t forget to mark your calendars for The Cary Council’s signature fundraising event of 2020:  An Evening with DocStars on April 17. Click here for tickets and sponsorships.


10.    Foundation in Action

2019 marked a year of notable community involvement, with our team representing the Foundation at several events in North Texas, from hackathons to conferences. Deepening these connections allow us to further share our mission and drive awareness of our community’s vital role in driving progress in medicine.


What Inspires You?

Above all, 2019 was an opportunity tell the extraordinary stories of hope, discovery, and advancement that your gifts make possible. We look forward to all that 2020 has in store, knowing your support will continue sustaining remarkable progress in medicine.