50 Heroes: Dr. John Podgore

November 9, 2020

Dr. John PodgoreLong before it was established as the anchor tenet of the HSC’s Values proposition, Dr. John Podgore was modeling behaviors to demonstrate his passion for “serving others first.” 

Dr. Podgore, a 1967 graduate of the College of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery, in Des Moinesbegan his 50-plus year medical career in the militarywhere he served his country as an Army Medical Officer in Vietnam and at multiple posts in the United States.  He then transitioned into academics, first spending four years at Michigan State before joining the faculty of the HSC Department of Pediatrics in 1993.  In the 28 years since, Dr. Podgore has served scores of students as teacher/mentor, served patients as a clinician, and partnered with colleagues to publish extensively on infectious disease research.   

Today, Dr. Podgore continues to teach and mentor students at HSC, and to lead an anchor option in TCOM’s International Clerkship program that offers students a four-week rotation in the African nation of Malawi.  

The Malawi Clinical Elective was established in 2011 to introduce students to the practice of medicine in one of the poorest countries on the globe.  Dr. Podgore and his wife, Ione, truly “host” the students from their second home that is located on the campus of Daeyang Luke Hospital and University.  “Work in impoverished countries makes students better equipped to handle whatever comes up in any underserved area, home or abroad,” says Dr. Podgore. “When you don’t have CAT scans, MRIs and other tests, you use the great skill of physical diagnosis.”  TCOM students in the ROME (Rural Osteopathic Medical Education) program often choose the Malawi elective as a balance to time spent on rural rotations across Texas. 

Dr. Paul Bowman, Chair of Pediatrics at HSC, has known Dr. Podgore since the 1990s when they often consulted together on complex pediatric cases at Cook Children’s Medical Center.  “John had unique experience and talents,” said Bowman. “He had differential diagnosis expertise that often helped shape successful treatments for our young patients.” 

How to now cap a 50+ year medical career?  “We are on the cusp of a grant to better serve our patients in Malawi,” says Dr. Podgore.  The grant would allow increased use of mobile ultrasound as a screening tool for a pediatric lymphoma that is quite common among children in that tropical region.  “We so hope to bring this technology to the children and families there.” 

Serving others remains at the heart and in the heart of Dr. John Podgore.  We are honored to recognize his history of service and drive to do even more as a hero of the HSC’s 50th anniversary.


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Join us throughout 2020 as we celebrate the people, events and innovations that made UNTHSC all it is today — and look ahead to the next 50 years.

For the 50th anniversary, team members nominated people whose contributions make them HSC Heroes. Each week, a new Hero will be revealed.

View the list of all our Hero profiles published so far this year. There is a new one each week.

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