My most proud moments are to see my students use the material I have taught to conduct health promotion work in the “real world”— and to do it better than I could have.
At the May 2004 graduation at UT Medical School at Houston, virtually every graduating medical student modified the typical protocol to come over to me as a member of the graduation stage party and shake my hand in thanks for my commitment to their education over the previous four years. This event remains for me a most gratifying moment in my professional career.
Every graduation I attend I am proud of the accomplishments of graduates I have taught and mentored. I am also the proud recipient of an award for mentoring. Subsequently, MD Anderson Postdoctoral Association named this annual award in my honor as the Robert M. Chamberlain Distinguished Mentor Award. My colleagues in the American Association for Cancer Education also honored me with their highest award — the Margaret Hay Edwards Medal for outstanding contributions in cancer education.
My proudest moments are yet to come. They will be when our son graduates from UT Austin next year with a double major in computer science and mathematics plus a business certificate (computing and math from me, business from his father) and when our daughter, a Dean's Scholar graduate of UT Austin, graduates M.D., Ph.D.. from U Penn (M.D. from me, Ph.D.. from her father). Together, my family shows you can have it all!
I was very proud to be asked to participate in the development of a nursing doctoral program at UT Tyler. At that time there were no doctoral programs in any domain in NE Texas. This program was unique in that it reached students in every corner of the state and beyond. As one colleague put it, "the piney woods curtain forever lifted to the highest levels of academic achievement."
Perhaps the proudest moment in my medical career was when UTHSCSA President Francisco Cigarroa recognized me with the 2004 Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching for my contributions to medical student and resident education. My sister, Elizabeth, flew from Denver, Colorado, to surprise me at the event. That was a truly wonderful day.
In 1983, 28 years after I began my scientific career, I was honored to receive the General Motors Cancer Research Foundation Prize for accomplishments in cancer research. The formal events were preceded by a visit to the Oval Office at the White House where we met President Ronald Reagan. This event was recorded by an official White House photographer, and when we returned home we received a signed photograph of the president and me shaking hands.
The proudest moment of my career was when I was asked to represent UTHSCT on a steering committee tasked to create an esteemed academy with a mission to recognize distinguished educators; and then years later, humbly accepting the nomination as president of the UT Academy of Health Science Education.
The proudest moment in my career occurs each time I read a course evaluation — or sometimes an e-mail — and realize that I have helped a student to understand an idea or concept and to enjoy learning.