The University of Texas at Austin reports that Dr. Robert Askew — a beloved Austin physician who passed away this year — will be the namesake of the first endowed faculty chair in oncology at UT Austin’s Dell Medical School, which is scheduled to admit its first class in 2016.
The Dell Medical school will offer a unique opportunity in medical education. As part of one of the nation’s leading research universities, it will pursue excellence in transdisciplinary and interprofessional education.
Dell Medical School President Bill Powers on his website homepage message expresses confidence that central Texans of the future will enjoy better health and a more robust economy than they do today, and that the University of Texas will be more dynamic and prestigious moving forward. “The historical reason for all of these trends,” he says, “will be that between 2013 and 2016, The University of Texas supported by key partners across the region built and opened a world-class medical school, the Dell Medical School at UT Austin.”
The plan is that by 2016, the medical school will be guiding 50 students toward their MDs. Upon graduating, many of the new physicians will continue their medical education in residency programs established by Seton Healthcare Family at a new associated teaching hospital, where they will treat thousands of local patients. And after that, many will remain in Central Texas, increasing the volume and variety of specialists.
The Shivers Cancer Foundation has contributed $1 million to endow the Askew Chair in Oncology, just the second faculty chair that has been created at the Dell Medical School. The foundation celebrated Dr. Askew, who passed away July 4, and commemorated the gift to the medical school at its meeting this past Friday, Nov. 7.
“My father very much enjoyed the honor of being a physician,” comments his son, Dr. Robert Askew, Jr. in a UT Austin release. “He loved Austin, and he loved The University of Texas. My father was so proud to see his university build a medical school on its campus. I cannot think of a more meaningful or loving gift to honor him, a gift that will mean so much to the university and our community.”
The medical school has not yet hired a faculty member to fill the chair.
“The gift will help ensure that the Dell Medical School has a top-flight physician providing cancer care to Travis County residents and training the next generation of doctors,” says medical school Dean Clay Johnston, adding that the Askew Chair in Oncology will be a model for how UT Austin recruits and retains the best faculty members and shapes the Dell Medical School into a world-class institution.
“Part of our mission is to make Austin a model healthy city, so its wonderful that a man who did so much to keep this community healthy will be the namesake for one of our first faculty chairs,” Dr. Johnston notes. “Cancer care is important to the people of Travis County — it’s a big reason why they voted in 2012 to help fund the medical school. The person who holds the Askew Chair will help validate the community’s faith, both by treating patients and training doctors to treat even more patients.”
The gift is among the largest in the Shivers Foundation’s history. A 501(3)(c) tax exempt organization, the Shivers Cancer Foundation,was originally funded with the proceeds from the sale of a non-profit radiology and cancer treatment center. The original intent was that Shivers Cancer Foundation would contribute its entire corpus to facilitate the development of a comprehensive cancer treatment center serving all Central Texans regardless of their ability to pay. The vision was to consolidate the broad spectrum of diagnostic and treatment services into a single facility to provide top-quality care that was readily accessible, convenient, cost-efficient and most importantly, effective. The group’s mission is to help Central Texas cancer patients by supporting, among other things, additional cancer treatment capacity and access in the region, cancer research, and the education and training of new doctors.
“There aren’t many ways to make a bigger difference for cancer care in Austin than to support oncology training at the Dell Medical School, and there aren’t many doctors who made a bigger difference for Austin patients than Bob Askew,” observed Clarke Heidrick, chair of the Board of the Shivers Cancer Foundation. “He was the dean of Austin surgeons for a long time. He took a lot of time with younger physicians to help them be as good as they could be. He left a great legacy to this community. We hope this gift will extend that legacy.”
The Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin is the first medical school in decades to be built on the campus of a Tier 1 research university. Established in unprecedented partnership with its community, the school is focused on creating a vital and inclusive health ecosystem and on making Austin a model healthy city. Pending preliminary accreditation, the first class of students will start in the summer of 2016.
For more information, visit:
The University of Texas at Austin
The Dell Medical School
The Shivers Cancer Foundation
The University of Texas at Austin