From groundbreaking to lip syncing: April event recap

April was a busy month for the College, with events ranging from the groundbreaking of the new Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center bed tower to the Avon Walk that supports local breast cancer programs, including those right here at Baylor.

Avon 39 The Walk to End Breast Cancer

More than 1000 walkers from more than 30 states hit the pavement during Houston’s AVON 39 The Walk to End Breast Cancer on April 23 and 24, and Baylor College of Medicine medical volunteers made sure they were well taken care of.

For the ninth year in a row Baylor served as the official medical sponsor. Dr. Julia Nangia, medical director for the Avon Walk and director of the Breast Cancer Prevention and High Risk Clinic at Baylor, led the group of medical volunteers as they helped hydrate the wakers and tended to blisters, sprains and other health issues.

The walk, 26.2 miles on the first day followed by 13.1 miles the next day, helped raise $2.2 million to advance access to breast health care. During the closing ceremonies Baylor was awarded a $100,000 grant from the Avon Foundation for Women to increase access to state-of-the-art diagnostics and treatment for women in Houston through resources at Baylor and Harris Health System’s Smith Clinic.

Baylor employees also helped out by manning a cheer station outside the Cullen Building, handing out Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center bandanas soaked in ice water to help cool down the tired but determined walkers.

McNair Symposium

It was standing room only April 5 as the distinguished lecturer for the Fifth Annual McNair Symposium at Baylor College of Medicine, Nobel Laureate Dr. Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard, spoke about how the beauty of nature is actually based on evolutionary development.

Speaking of the many different colors and patterns found on animals, specifically fish, Nüsslein-Volhard, who is also director emeritus at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen, Germany, asked how such intricate patterns evolve over millions of years.

She explained that while some variations in appearance are genetic, propagated in part visually within a species as animals make selections for mates, patterns are formed for protection and communication. She described her latest research, which names the different cell types that play a role in pattern formation, growth and cell migration in zebrafish.

Her talk was followed by three presentations by McNair Scholars Drs. Russel Ray, François St.-Pierre and Xaq Pitkow, all assistant professors of neuroscience.

The McNair Scholars Program was founded in 2007 by The Robert and Janice McNair Foundation to recruit and enable world-class physician and scientific scholars to conduct collaborative and transformative biomedical research.

Alexander Lecture

Dr. Richard Kogan, clinical professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College and artistic director of the Weill Cornell Music and Medicine Program, presented a lecture and performance after receiving this year’s Joan and Stanford Alexander Award in Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine.

The annual award honors a mental health professional who has made significant contributions in research, education, and clinical or community service for people suffering from severe and persistent metal illness. The award consisted of an annual prize and lecture.

Kogan’s unique combination of lecture and performance, which he is internationally recognized for, was tilted, “Creative Genius and Psychiatric Illness.” Kogan explored the role of music in healing, and the influence of psychological issues and psychiatric illness on composer, Robert Schumann, through the combination of psychiatric insights and musicianship.

Baylor St. Luke’s groundbreaking

Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center celebrated the groundbreaking of Tower 2, a 420-patient bed tower, on Baylor St. Luke’s McNair Campus, on April 5.

The 27.5-acre, $1.1 billion McNair Campus will be home of the collaboration between Baylor College of Medicine and Catholic Health Initiatives, and will also be the future site of the Texas Heart® Institute (THI). As announced in December, the campus will feature a $916.8 million, 650-bed hospital built across two bed towers, a medical office building and ambulatory care complex, and new facilities for basic science and translational research. All clinical services currently provided at the Texas Medical Center location of Baylor St. Luke’s will relocate to the new campus.

“Today’s groundbreaking for Tower 2 is an important sign of the success of the joint venture partnership of Baylor College of Medicine and CHI St. Luke’s,” said Dr. Paul Klotman, President, CEO and Executive Dean of BCM. “When the replacement hospital, additional clinics and research activities are completed in three years, the clearest winners will be the people of Houston who will have nationally recognized services in one location with easy access.”

You FIRST barbecue

The You FIRST program hosted a barbecue lunch on the grassy courtyard at main Baylor for the college Community. The festive event gave colleagues an opportunity to interact and meet new people at Baylor and also included a lip sync challenge. Winners of the challenge were:

First Place: “Survivor” by Destiny’s Child, performed by Lianna White, Chasity Washington and Tamika Collins

Second Place: “The Best Song Ever” by One Direction, performed by Jason Tan, Amber Miller, Lauren Figard, Deanna Acosta, Crystal Shin and Kathleen Kong

Third Place: “Last Dance” by Donna Summers, performed by Adetola Vaughan