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Doctors Grown Here

Doctors Grown Here
The college has inspired thousands of students to become doctors. The stories of the alumni who enter the health professions—as so many of our alumni do—can be as different from each other as the story of a Google programmer to a chemist at Pfizer. The medical degree is not the sum of who our doctor-alumni are, but as these three stories show, just a starting place. Dr. Everett Simmons, for instance, treats animals (and their owners) in Austin, the city where he grew up. Dr. Angela Moore has followed her faith, and her instincts, into the practice of dermatology. Dr. Bruce Moseley has combined his love of sports with his passion for medicine into a career that’s taken him to the Olympics, to the NBA, and to the forefront of “evidence-based” medical research.

Everett Simmons, D.V.M.
Burnet Road Animal Hospital
Austin, Texas

Dr. Everett Simmons

The veterinary life, for Everett Simmons, has been a good one. It has been with him through nearly forty years of marriage and the raising of two sons (one of whom is now a veterinarian and a co-worker). It has enabled him to live and work in the city of Austin, where he grew up. He has played a role in the lives of thousands of Austin pets and their owners. And it has given him a way to stay involved with the study of insects, which he began as a graduate student at The University of Texas at Austin.

“I came here, after college, basically on a handshake deal. They said, ‘Don’t screw it up.’ And I didn’t,” says Simmons, who’d grown up around the university by way of his father’s barbershop, which was across the street from the law school.

Simmons spent three years in the Zoology Department, working with professor Osmond Breland and co-publishing papers with Breland on the unusual spermatazoic strategies of the whirligig beetle. He left with his master’s degree, after being accepted to the College of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M.

In 1973, Simmons returned to Austin as a doctor of veterinary medicine, and was hired by the owner of the Burnet Road Animal Hospital. He bought the clinic a few years later, and has been practicing there for more than 30 years.

“I guess you’d call us a full-service, neighborhood, general small animal practice. Dogs and cats are the thing,” says Simmons, though both father and son have master’s degrees in the study of insects, which helps them treat animals who suffer from parasites. Their partner, Dr. Rusty Toth, is one of the few vets in Austin who treats pot-bellied pigs.

“At its heart, it’s a neighborhood practice,” says Simmons. “I love it. The relationships we form, with the pets and their owners, are incredibly rewarding. We’re really each other’s therapists, in a way.”

Simmons is, he says, incredibly grateful to the university for the opportunities it gave him. In his free time, he now works with students at the Brackenridge Field Laboratory. His entomology and parasitology expertise continue to enhance his practice. Just recently, he identified a rare species of blood fluke that was threatening the lives of Austin dogs.

Angela Yen Moore, M.D.
Dermatologist
Arlington, Texas

Dr. Angela Yen Moore

Even though she has to employ a staff of 30 to deal with all the paperwork, Angela Yen Moore believes that it’s a great time to be practicing medicine.

“Fifteen years ago, we didn’t even have a diagnosis for diseases for which we now have treatment,” says Moore, a dermatologist in Arlington, Texas, who graduated in 1988 with an honors degree in biology.

Moore, who graduated from the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston in 1992, chose dermatology in part because of the flexibility it offers. She can treat kids, adults and the elderly. She’s able to do both medicine and surgery, treating conditions such as acne, psoriasis and skin cancer. Her satisfaction with dermatology is also, she says, just a gift from God.

“It’s funny,” she says, “because at every step of the way, it hasn’t been clear what I’m going to do. In college, I looked at doing an MBA, at law school, at graduate school. In medical school, I liked every rotation I did, and I seriously thought about specializing in each one. But in retrospect, there couldn’t have been a better field for me. It’s been a blessing.”

In addition to managing her clinic, the Arlington Center for Dermatology, Moore is an active researcher, teacher and philanthropist. She’s an assistant clinical professor at Baylor University Medical Center and The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. She’s participated in more than 50 clinical trials, published more than 55 publications in peer-reviewed medical journals and textbooks, and is the co-editor of a dermatology textbook, Mucocutaneous Manifestations of Viral Diseases.

What’s been particularly gratifying, says Moore, has been the chance to do pro bono medical work for patients without adequate health care. “It’s biblical,” she says. “It’s what Jesus said in Luke 12:48, ‘to whom much has been given…much will be required.’”

Moore has also given back to the university. She and her two brothers—all of whom were given scholarships to attend the university, and all of whom are now doctors—have just endowed a scholarship, in their parents’ name, for natural sciences students.

Bruce Moseley, M.D.
Orthopedic Surgeon
Houston, Texas

Dr. Bruce Moseley

When Bruce Moseley realized that he wasn’t ever going to make the NFL, he began looking for another way to orient his life around sports. By the time he left Richardson, Texas, for college at The University of Texas at Austin, he’d figured it out.

“I went to college to be a doctor,” says Moseley, who’s now an orthopedic surgeon in Houston, the team doctor for the WNBA’s Houston Comets, and the former team doctor for the 1996 “Dream Team” Olympic men’s basketball team.

After graduating from the university in 1979, and getting his M.D. at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, Moseley did his residency in Salt Lake City. He then worked at the Kerlan-Jobe orthopedic clinic in Los Angeles.

“It was just about the best place in the world to learn the ropes in sports medicine,” he says.

Moseley then settled in Houston, where he’s been practicing since, treating everyone from middle school soccer players to Charles Barkley.

“I probably see more high school football players and women soccer players than any other kind of athlete,” he says. “And I do more arthroscopic shoulder surgery than just about anything else.”

In addition to being the team doctor for the Dream Team, Moseley was also, for a number of years, the team doctor for the NBA’s Houston Rockets.

“I joined the team in September of 1993, and was celebrating a championship the next June,” says Moseley. “Then the next year, they won again. The players were great, and it was just a wonderful experience.”

Moseley’s life isn’t just games. He works to stay at the cutting edge of orthopedics. He teaches at Methodist Hospital in Houston, and he keeps a hand in the world of research. A study he published in 2001, for instance, demonstrated that when treating knees afflicted with osteoarthritis, arthroscopic surgery is no more effective than a placebo (some of the patients participating in the study were given shallow cuts with a scalpel to convince them they’d had the surgery).

In general, he just loves being in orthopedics. “If you’re mechanically inclined at all, it’s a great field,” he says. “If you enjoy helping people get better, then it’s a great thing. It’s a field about quality of life, not life or death. And if you enjoy athletes, and taking care of athletes, there’s hardly a better field to be in.”

This article also appeared in the Spring 2008 issue of Focus magazine. Photos by Brett Buchanan.
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Monday, 20 November 2017

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