Support Comes in Many Forms
UTHealth supporter Nancy Guinee is no stranger to health care. Her late husband, Vincent Guinee, M.D., chaired M. D. Anderson Cancer Center’s Department of Epidemiology for many years. For a native Houstonian and wife of a physician, finding a personal physician would seem like a simple task. Yet Nancy was looking for a very special physician—one not satisfied just to treat symptoms but focused on caring for the whole person. She wanted a physician who really listened to her personal goals as she aged and gave solid recommendations in a confident, consistent, and straight talking way.
“I was looking for a new physician when Lynn Cutrer, manager of patient and community relations at the UTHealth Medical School suggested I might want to meet a highly respected gerontologist named Dr. Carmel Dyer. I went to see her and she was exactly what I was looking for,” notes Guinee. Through Dr. Dyer she gained new insights and understanding about the aging process—a process involving physical, mental, and social well-being changes that each of us undergo as we age.
When Nancy’s husband Vince became ill, he also went to see Dyer and could not have been happier. Dyer and her team guided both husband and wife carefully through difficult times as Vince’s medical needs increased—providing the exceptional care, compassion, and follow up that Dyer and her team are known for.
Through it all Nancy Guinee has gained a renewed appreciation for the special skills of gerontologists and the teams of expert caregivers and educators needed to provide quality care to older patients. In recent years Nancy has focused on making a difference. She became involved with UTHealth’s Consortium on Aging – a very special program led by Dr. Dyer that brings together experts in geriatric care from several institutions in the Texas Medical Center and city/county agencies to address the needs of medical care for our growing elderly population with innovative and integrated new approaches for care. Nationwide there is a shortage of trained professionals addressing the special needs of elder care. As Guinee puts it, “People are banging on the door for personalized care, sensitive to the needs of aging Americans. This is a national problem and UTHealth is in the right place at the right time to become a trendsetter and model for addressing elder care,” she adds.
“I’m just fortunate to have the means to get involved and help UTHealth through several gifts I’ve made over the years to support Dr. Dyer’s work,” she adds. Most recently she created an endowed fund supporting Dr. Dyer’s work. Through her generosity a large-scale strategic planning initiative has been launched involving nearly 50 community-wide professionals—each with specific expertise in key areas of elder care including elder abuse, mental health, cancer, trauma care, and palliative care.
Nancy not only invested her resources, but she also invested her time and enthusiasm and has been an active participant throughout the process of developing a five-year strategic plan. Says Dr. Dyer, “Nancy Guinee is smart in so many ways. She is a sharp observer and asks incisive questions that make us think through various aspects or our joint projects. She keeps us focused on the dignity and grace of aging in healthy ways.”
Guinee clearly sees the big picture and is out to make a difference. Thanks to her passion and support, UTHealth is poised to lead the way in geriatric care in Houston and beyond.