As we close an extraordinary year at Southwestern Medical Foundation, we are filled with gratitude for what has been achieved together. Years are marked with both challenges and triumphs, but the unwavering support of the North Texas community remains our greatest strength and leads us to the threshold of a healthier tomorrow. This support reminds us of the profound impact that can be made when we are united in a common goal – to inspire progress in medicine.
Here are 10 standout moments that we’re celebrating as we walk toward 2024:
1. Community Leaders Joining in Our Work
We were honored to welcome six distinguished members of the North Texas community to our Board of Trustees. Tucker Bridwell, Ken Hersh, Dr. Joan Buchanan Hill, Christopher Kleinert, Marshall Payne, and Jennifer Scripps will bring their unique experiences and leadership expertise to support Southwestern Medical Foundation and see its endeavors flourish. Learn more.
2. 80 Years of the Ho Din Award
For the past 80 years, Southwestern Medical Foundation has bestowed the Ho Din Award on UT Southwestern Medical School graduates or members of faculty who exemplify the ideals of medicine. Winners have gone on to teach at Harvard, lead major hospitals, make research breakthroughs, and earn prestigious awards in medicine – including the Nobel Prize. One beloved graduate even had a statue erected in his honor. In 2023 we had the pleasure of honoring our stellar awardee, Dr. Whitney Stuard Sambhariya, and we also enjoyed a glimpse of where Ho Din Award winners are now.
3. An Everlasting Legacy: Dedicating the White Coat of Dr. Charles Sprague
Dr. Charles Sprague is a person whose legacy will forever be etched in the history of UT Southwestern Medical Center and Southwestern Medical Foundation. Now, his famous white coat is on display in the college which bears his name. Not only did Dr. Sprague help shape the hearts and minds of aspiring physicians, but also helped shape the medical landscape in Dallas, the surrounding region, and beyond. Learn more about Dr. Sprague’s impact and see photos from the dedication ceremony, hosted by Dr. William Turner, Master of Sprague College at UT Southwestern.
4. The Wildenthal Society
In honor of Dr. Kern Wildenthal’s many years of service and leadership at UT Southwestern and Southwestern Medical Foundation, The Heritage Society was renamed to The Wildenthal Society. To celebrate this honoring, we co-hosted a luncheon and distinguished guests enjoyed tributes to Dr. Wildenthal from Nobel Laureate, Dr. Michael Brown; Jere Thompson, Jr., Chair, Southwestern Medical Foundation; and Bill Solomon, Past Chair, Southwestern Medical Foundation.
5. Honoring Kathleen M. Gibson
Community leaders, friends, and family came together to celebrate Kathleen Gibson and her 11 years of leadership as President and CEO of Southwestern Medical Foundation. During her tenure, Kathleen Gibson was instrumental in growing the Foundation’s endowment to more than a billion dollars, ensuring a permanent funding source for medical research advancement and continued support for a higher standard of clinical care at UT Southwestern. UTSW faculty, the Southwestern Medical Foundation team, and distinguished guests gathered to honor Kathleen’s many successes and wish her well on her next endeavors. See photos.
6. Welcoming a Global Public Health Leader to the New O’Donnell School of Public Health
The O’Donnell School of Public Health welcomed its inaugural class this year, and we welcomed Dr. Saad Omer, an internationally recognized epidemiologist who previously directed the Yale Institute for Global Health. The new school was launched with tremendous community support, including a $100 million gift from the O’Donnell Foundation, the largest gift to a School of Public Health at a public university in the U.S. Learn more about Dr. Omer, and be sure to follow him on X (formerly Twitter).
7. Welcome Dr. Efron
Dr. Jonathan Efron accepted the role of Executive Vice President for Health System Affairs to lead UT Southwestern’s clinical operations. Dr. Efron previously served as Senior Vice President for Johns Hopkins Medicine’s Office of Physicians, President of the Johns Hopkins Clinical Practice Association, and Interim Vice Dean for Clinical Affairs. Recognized among the Top 20 Honor Roll by U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals listing for 2023-24, the UT Southwestern Health System includes 11 nationally ranked medical specialties, eight among the top 25 and three among the top 50. UT Southwestern’s 875-bed William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital is ranked the No. 1 hospital in Texas (tied) and No. 1 in Dallas-Fort Worth – the nation’s fourth-largest metro area. Learn more.
8. A Major Win for Health Innovation and Texas
The new federal Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) selected a Texas consortium for one of the three regional hubs in its $2.5 billion health innovation network initiative. The Customer Experience Hub will be in Dallas’ Pegasus Park, a 26-acre life science and social impact-focused campus. ARPA-H aims to address some of the biggest health problems our society faces today, including cancer, diseases of the brain, obesity, diabetes, and more. We will be sharing details in the coming months about the exciting benefits of this initiative. Learn more.
9. The Sprague Award
For more than three decades, Southwestern Medical Foundation has honored the outstanding leadership of those who inspire hope for a better future through its highest community distinction – The Sprague Award. This year we had the honor of celebrating our 2023 awardees: Bonnie Bass Smith, Barbara Bass Moroney, James (Jim) E. Bass and the Rita Crocker Clements Foundation. As children of the late Richard D. Bass and Rita Crocker Clements, the Bass family siblings are passionate about preserving their family’s legacy, which spans multiple generations and has transformed the landscape of UT Southwestern. Learn more.
10. The Cary Council
Since their founding in 2015, The Cary Council has provided seed funding to 18 early-career researchers at UT Southwestern. These small grants have led to the recipients securing more than $13 million in follow-on funding for their research, which spans several important areas including breast cancer, brain cancer, genomic technologies, infectious disease, and pediatrics. To celebrate, enjoy these photos and video from An Evening with DocStars, their signature event that brings together some of the brightest minds in the field of medical research with generous hearts in our community.
These milestones are not just achievements of the few but reflect the collective effort and support of our community. We extend our warmest wishes to all our supporters, friends, and partners for a holiday season filled with health, happiness, and joyful moments. May the holidays bring you and your loved ones peace as we welcome the new year ahead.
President and CEO, Southwestern Medical Foundation