LYNN CUTRER DESCRIBES herself as “the messenger.” When doctors see her coming, “they know I’m going to ask them for something,” she says. The patients and families who seek her help, however—along with the caregivers she nurtures just as fervently—have another name for Cutrer. To them, she’s an angel.
Cutrer is a patient navigator in the Dean’s office of the UTHealth Medical School. Her job is to help patients find the services they need. And, in a system as big as the one in which she works, Cutrer’s role is critical: UTHealth’s practice plan, UTPhysicians, is the largest in Houston, with more than 900 physicians in its network. The Texas Medical Center is the largest in the world. To a patient—even a patient from the Houston area—it can be overwhelming.
Many hospitals offer programs designed to guide patients, but Cutrer is known to go far beyond the call of duty. In addition to providing names, numbers and directions, she is also likely to be at the Emergency Department when the patient arrives. On duty essentially 24/7, she is also available to explain patients’ needs to physicians.
Barry Lewis, a member of the UTHealth Medical School Advisory Council and Development Board, had seen how dedicated Lynn was when she helped his friends deal with serious health issues. “Every person she touches is blown away by her caring attitude. Doctors and nurses respect her. She cares for caregivers, too. That’s the way she does her job. It’s not window dressing. It’s care, tenderness, well beyond what most people provide. She is so angelic.”
Indeed, Lewis was so impressed that he, along with fellow Development Board and Medical School Advisory Council members Sally Harvin and Drew Kanaly, decided to honor Lynn by establishing an endowment in her name. With the unanimous agreement of the Advisory Council Steering Committee, Lewis also commissioned a sculpture of an angel.
The Lynn Cutrer Angel Scholarship Fund creates a student scholarship at the Medical School. The endowment, kept secret for months, was finally announced at an Advisory Council meeting in September and the statue—a Bill Meek work in iridescent glass, which now stands in the Medical School conference center—was unveiled. Kanaly, past Council co-chair with Lewis, joined Lewis in paying tribute to Cutrer, with a crowd of colleagues and friends looking on.
“That moment is indelible, a peak moment for me,” says Cutrer. “It’s the highest honor I will ever receive because I love the Medical School. I feel that I have a calling and I just can’t wait to get to work in the morning. I could understand that people would honor our doctors and nurses, who are so wonderful. But to do something like this for me? I couldn’t believe it! And the more I reflect on what the endowment will do for this school and all the people here that I love so dearly, the more grateful and amazed I feel.”
Of Barry Lewis, Cutrer observes: “He leads with his heart. He has such generosity of spirit. Really, Barry is my angel.”
If you’d like more information about how to start an endowment, please contact:
Betsy Frantz / Elizabeth.C.Frantz@uth.tmc.edu / 713-500-3202