Nearly 40 years ago, I volunteered at the Edna Gladney Home alongside my TCOM classmates on our paths to becoming physicians. I realized how fortunate I was to be able to use my skills to provide medical care that helped infants and mothers at the adoption agency.
Our sense of service has always been a part of UNT Health Science Center. “Serve others first” is not only a core institutional value but also a common thread that binds our six schools and colleges into One University.
Earlier in August, I was reminded of this at the UNT System Board of Regents meeting, where students representing each of our programs spoke of community service that had impacted their education and future careers.
A physician assistant student talked of bonding with classmates while building a family’s home through a project at Habitat for Humanity. A medical student shared a story of working at a homeless clinic that gave her insight and knowledge that’s impossible to glean from a classroom or a textbook. And a PhD candidate in GSBS spoke of how participating in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s reminded him of what is at stake when he’s in the lab.
According to the UNTHSC Volunteer Council, our students and employees logged more than 60,000 community service hours in Fiscal Year 2017. Our people volunteered with medical partners such as JPS Health Network, Mission Arlington and Cook Children’s Medical Center; community partners such as Broadway Baptist Church, Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Tarrant Area Food Bank; and at community events including the Cowtown Marathon, DO Dash and the AIDS Walk.
Our community involvement is staggering. You’ll find UNTHSC represented at the Back to School Roundup. You’ll see our Catholic Medical Association of Students providing care at a clinic for the homeless. At the Cowtown Marathon, you’ll find a man with ALS in a wheelchair crossing the finish line with assistance from a UNTHSC employee. We’re everywhere.
Forty years ago, I first experienced the impact I could have on others, thanks to my training at TCOM. In service to others, we demonstrate compassion, care and humility. This helps us achieve our purpose to transform lives in order to improve the lives of others.
Over and over again, I have seen our commitment to serve others first, and it makes me proud to be your president. Thank you for all the work – and the volunteering – that you do on behalf of the Health Science Center.
My best always,
Dr. Michael R. Williams