San Antonio (Nov. 9, 2004) – More than 200 distinguished philanthropists joined Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., president, at the San Antonio Country Club Oct. 26 for the annual fall luncheon and awards program of The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio President’s Council and Development Board.
Dr. Cigarroa made several announcements demonstrating the generosity of the President’s Council, which has about 400 members. He also recognized and thanked a Dallas-area couple for their generosity in providing scholarships and a recent $1 million gift that will help South Texas infants and toddlers.
Robert M. Campbell Jr., M.D., professor in the department of orthopedics, was awarded the new President’s Council Chair for Excellence in Pediatric Orthopedic Surgery at the Health Science Center. He also gave the luncheon keynote address.
Dr. Campbell, who earned his medical degree from Georgetown University in 1977, invented the Vertical Expandable Prosthetic Titanium Rib to save the lives of children whose rib and spine abnormalities do not allow normal lung growth. Families come from around the world to San Antonio, where Dr. Campbell has performed 210 titanium rib implants at CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Children’s Hospital. He serves as director of the hospital’s Thoracic Institute.
Dr. Campbell has trained surgeons in other U.S. cities and worldwide to do the procedure. The titanium rib recently received U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval following completion of a clinical trial conducted at seven U.S. children’s hospitals.
Dr. Campbell and one of his colleagues, Melvin Smith, M.D., have described a new disease called thoracic insufficiency syndrome. The titanium rib is an effective treatment for children with this set of problems.
Members of the Rodriguez family, a San Antonio family whose 6-year-old daughter, Itzel, is benefiting from the titanium rib therapy, were on hand to celebrate with Dr. Campbell, who was joined by his wife, Dr. Corey Campbell, and his daughter, Abbey.
Dr. Campbell is so well thought of that one of his mentors, Dr. Dean MacEwen, flew in for the presentation from the Northeast, where Dr. MacEwen is senior orthopedic physician at Shriners Hospital in Philadelphia.
Dr. Cigarroa also announced a new academic endowed chair in the Dental School. He called forward Mary J. MacDougall, Ph.D., associate dean for research in the Dental School and professor of pediatric dentistry. Her research of tooth regeneration is considered to be pioneering.
Dr. MacDougall now holds the new President’s Council Chair for Excellence in Dental Research.
One of the nicest moments occurred when Dr. Cigarroa honored Dr. William and Mrs. Rita Head, the Frisco couple who in October gave $1 million for an academic endowed chair in neonatology at the Health Science Center. Dr. Head was able to fly in for the occasion. Dr. Cigarroa announced that Rajam Ramamurthy, M.D., the Health Science Center neonatologist who is president of the Bexar County Medical Society, has been selected to hold the new chair, which is named the “William and Rita Head, in honor of their children, Brice and Gretchen, Distinguished Chair in Developmental and Environmental Neonatology.” The chair will support research into the causes of premature births and innovations in the care of high-risk infants, with particular emphasis on the South Texas/Border Region.
Dr. Cigarroa remembered Tom Pawel and Sally Cheever, both of whom died this year. In attendance was Mr. Pawel’s widow, Nancy.