Stories

Leading the Charge: Inspiring
Physicians of Tomorrow

Mohanakrishnan Sathyamoorthy, M.D., FACC

In a nondescript building in the center of the bustling Fort Worth medical district, patients wait to be seen by one of the city’s premier cardiologists.

There’s no signage to alert passers-by of what’s happening – just a big, red heart on the door signifying the core values of the physician inside.

Mohanakrishnan Sathyamoorthy, M.D., FACC, is a professor and academic chair of the Department of Internal Medicine at the new TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine.

To his patients and students, he’s Dr. Mo.

With his trademark bow tie, Sathyamoorthy is known for taking time to listen to his patients, explain procedures in detail and build relationships with every person who walks through the door – traits that align well with the mission and vision of the Fort Worth medical school, a partnership between TCU and UNTHSC.

“Dr. Sathyamoorthy is a perfect fit for our medical school. He has a stellar reputation as a physician and scientist, being a role model in both areas for our students and faculty, and he offers a robust national network of peers to our school,” said Stuart D. Flynn, M.D., dean of the TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine. “His leadership, passion and vision for training future physicians and his drive for excellence fuel our school and ensure our students will have excellent mentors and training.”

The medical school welcomed its inaugural class in July, and the 60 students have enthusiastically embraced the journey to become Empathetic ScholarsTM.  The forward-thinking curriculum includes communication skills training embedded through all four years, no lectures, active learning and flipped classrooms where reading and videos are watched at home and students come to class for discussions and application sessions. The students are also introduced to new technology such as virtual reality, genomics, biomedical informatics and artificial intelligence.

Sathyamoorthy was attracted to the school because of its unique curriculum and the opportunity to have a direct impact on the way future physicians are trained.

“This fantastic new medical school is unique in American education. Our goal is to create an environment that completely focuses on the excellence of education for the students,” Sathyamoorthy said. “We inspire our students not just to be knowledgeable in medicine, but also to do so in the most empathetic fashion possible.”

In his role as an academic chair, Sathyamoorthy oversees faculty recruitment and retention in his department, advances its educational and research mission and represents the school within the community and greater medical field.

“Over time, we hope our medical school will elevate the academic profile of TCU, both nationally and internationally, and attract faculty who will see this model of medical education as transformative,” Sathyamoorthy said.

Sathyamoorthy earned his bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering and a master’s degree in engineering from Johns Hopkins University, during which time he pursued research in finite element biomechanical modeling of the heart. He earned his M.D. with Distinction in Research from the SUNY Stony Brook School of Medicine, where he was honored at graduation with the Award for Outstanding Achievements in Research and The Citizenship Award for Outstanding Contributions to the School of Medicine.

Currently at Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center, Sathyamoorthy serves as chief of the medical staff and chief of the Cardiovascular Division.

At the community launch of Lead On: A Campaign for TCU, Sathyamoorthy urged community members to support the important mission of both TCU and the school of medicine: “Your support of this campaign will really help transform lives, help transform health, and frankly, help transform the entire health care landscape for the city of Fort Worth and beyond.”

Just like with his patients, Dr. Mo leads on with his heart.

Leading the Charge: Next
Generation of Physicians

Charna Kinard, Empathetic Scholar™

Charna Kinard had already made her decision to go to Dartmouth for medical school but decided to visit Fort Worth to learn about a new school.

“When I interviewed for this medical school, I was at the end of the interview cycle so it had to be something special,” Kinard recalls “I had already been accepted to multiple schools, including Dartmouth.”

She had told her close-knit group of friends and family on the South Side of Chicago that the TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine had to “wow” her.

“From the moment I arrived in Fort Worth for my first visit to the medical school, there was something special in the air. Maybe it was that Horned Frog hospitality,” she said. “I was blown away.”

Kinard said she had researched several medical schools and thought those schools were teaching medicine “the same way.” But the Fort Worth medical school was unique.

The curriculum was radically different – with no lectures, a flipped-classroom approach and communication embedded throughout all four years of learning. Students would also learn new technology, such as genomics, artificial intelligence and virtual reality. Unlike most medical schools, first-year medical students saw actual patients in the first weeks of school.

By lunchtime of interview day, the Loyola University Chicago graduate knew this medical school was where she wanted to go and called her mom to tell her. Mom asked: “Are you sure?”

To which she replied: “Absolutely!

“I loved the community feeling and I felt acknowledged as an up-and-coming physician. Everyone knew my name. I felt welcomed and supported,” she told her mom.

Then, Kinard was waitlisted, but she didn’t give up.

“Unfortunately, I was waitlisted. So, that began my love-letter campaign to get into the medical school. I sent countless letters to ensure I could go here,” she said. “I even mentioned Mr. [Paul] Dorman in one of my love letters.”

Paul Dorman, chairman and CEO of Fort Worth-based DFB Pharmaceuticals, generously established a scholarship that provides full first-year tuition to the inaugural class, known as the Dorman Scholars.

In July, Kinard became one of the 60 members of the first class of the TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine.

“I made the absolute right choice. All of my love letters were completely worth it. I am so grateful for this opportunity,” she said.

As she embarks on her journey to become a physician, Charna takes pride in being a pioneer as an Empathetic ScholarTM. As promised, she began seeing patients with a physician preceptor in the Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship in the first few weeks of school.

“To me an Empathetic Scholar is someone who forms a connection with a patient and then uses science and his/her knowledge to help that patient reach his/her goal,” she said. “It’s not just treating the symptoms but acknowledging the full life and full spectrum of a patient and working together in a partnership.”

Kinard said she couldn’t have come this far without the generosity of people such as Dorman.

“I am a proud Dorman Scholar. Thank you, Mr. Dorman, for paying for our first year of medical school,” Kinard said. “You made this year stress-free for us. My whole class is grateful for this gift.”

Did she make the right choice?

“The school has exceeded my expectations. I have made invaluable relationships, and I have learned so much already. I’m so grateful for the experiences in the Fort Worth community, and already feel like a strong part of the community,” Kinard said. “This is where I’m supposed to be. I feel like I’m transforming as a student, as well as a person.”