Searching for Solutions
Type “medical research” into a Google image search, and you will find pictures of scientists in white coats peering into microscopes or staring at beakers. However, those images do not offer the full perspective. Research at Houston Methodist is translational, equaling a living enterprise that moves throughout the hospital system to accelerate discovery. It brings the most promising therapies and treatments of tomorrow to patients today.
President, Houston Methodist Academic Institute Ernest Cockrell, Jr. Presidential Distinguished Chair at Houston Methodist

How does research drive Houston Methodist’s MODEL?

Research defines who we are. If Houston Methodist didn’t have research, it would not be Houston Methodist. Since the hospital’s early days, when Dr. Michael DeBakey pioneered breakthroughs in surgery and cardiology, our experts have been creating new knowledge and applying it directly to patient care and human health.
In the modern world, an institution can become either a knowledge maker or a knowledge taker. You can create new knowledge and apply it, or you can obtain it secondhand. Here at Houston Methodist, research is a process, a mindset and an approach. It is about people who not only work in a lab but also protect patients’ health and welfare. It is about constantly re-evaluating what you do with a critical eye and never being satisfied that you know all you need to know.

How do you connect research to patient care?

Many leaders whose hospitals perform well in the clinical care setting are content to keep doing what everyone else does, and they’re usually good at it. However, because our medical knowledge is far from perfect, they will repeatedly make the same mistakes.
The truth is that if you’re not conducting research, you will not move forward with discovery. If you’re not moving forward with discovery, you’re being complacent. When research is alive within a health system, it creates a self-fulfilling expectation of medical progress.
Dr. Marc L. Boom, Houston Methodist’s CEO and president, speaks of an OR vs. AND concept. At Houston Methodist, we don’t have one or the other. We conduct top-tier research AND provide unparalleled patient care AND train next-generation superstars — so that families can stay together, celebrate holidays and milestones with one another, and not be robbed of precious time and love. That is my personal goal. We cannot preserve lives at this level without research; it’s very much an AND concept.

Why is philanthropy critical to moving research forward?

Philanthropy fuels the engine of research innovation. Our academic medical system runs on a virtuous cycle. If you do a great job of providing high-quality patient care, then you may have some money left over to reinvest in new technologies, people and research. In turn, those investments will enable you to provide more effective clinical care and treatments tomorrow than are offered today. Philanthropy heightens all those possibilities. It quickens that cycle into one that will repeat and improve with time.
That repeating cycle allows our hospital to be a successful, self-sustaining enterprise. When someone makes a gift, we do not direct it toward fixing a building or buying a piece of equipment that we could secure on our own. Those aspects are a given at Houston Methodist. Philanthropy from our community focuses on advances in research, education and patient care. It’s a win for everyone.