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UTHealth Houston Alumni News Winter 2021 Inaugural Issue Logo Image

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Paying it forward to pave the path

As the demand for health professionals—from physicians to dentists to nurses to researchers to public health experts—continues to rise, Many Faces. One Mission. sets the stage to bolster the health care workforce at a pivotal moment. The university’s first fundraising campaign and largest philanthropic effort yet, Many Faces. One Mission. aims to raise $500 million to address pressing health challenges and secure the institution’s future as a top health science center.  

The following alumni spotlights showcase how alumni from across UTHealth Houston are paving the way for our students to follow in their footsteps, aligning with our campaign’s commitment to training the next generation of health professionals.

Mimi Cho-Rohlfsen, MD, PhD ’00
Mimi Cho-Rohlfsen, MD, PhD ’00, who graduated from the MD/PhD program at MD Anderson UTHealth Graduate School and McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston in 2000, established the first endowment to benefit the program. Since creating the MD/PhD Endowment Fund in Honor of Peter Davies, MD, PhD, and Dianna Milewicz, MD, PhD, she has made significant contributions to enhance the support it provides. Resources from Cho-Rohlfsen’s endowment enable the MD/PhD program to recruit and retain outstanding students and enrich their educational experiences through scholarships, fellowships, and other awards. 

“The MD/PhD program is vital to training physician-scientists to better understand the science behind medicine and all of the hard work that goes into it. I had so many amazing mentors and professors, and I give back in gratitude for the opportunities they provided me to help train the next generation of thinkers and innovators.”

Laura Kreiner, MD ’08
Laura Kreiner, MD ’08, established the Roger B. and Frances O. Miller Memorial Scholarship at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston to empower students to pursue their dreams. As an alumna leading a fulfilling career as a trauma surgeon and Assistant Professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, she hopes her scholarship helps pave the path for those following her lead. 

“Medical students face many challenges during their educational careers, and financial instability can be a limiting factor. My hope is that this scholarship will offset the costs of attending medical school, such as books and certification exams, to reduce the overall financial stress. I also want to offer an uplifting hand to students and encourage them to push on and earn their degree because it is worth it. The cycle of support from alumni to students started before me, and I want to encourage it to continue.”

Jeffrey B. Geno, DDS ’82
UTHealth Houston School of Dentistry alumnus Jeffrey B. Geno, DDS ’82, echoes the importance of alumni leading by example to support future dental professionals. His gift to a crowdfunding campaign to enhance the Rodney F. Beetar, DDS, MS, Award will help recognize and encourage fourth-year dental students, residents, and faculty who go above and beyond in prosthodontics education. 

“My philosophy as a graduate of the School of Dentistry has always been you learn, you earn, and you return. Dr. Beetar gave me and several generations of students the knowledge and skills to become exceptional dentists. I gave to honor his memory and carry that legacy long into the future.”

As our communities continue to contend with shortages of health professionals and pressing health issues, the generosity of friends and alumni like Cho-Rohlfsen, Kreiner, and Geno helps UTHealth Houston rise to meet these challenges through Many Faces. One Mission.

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