The Compass Winter 2022 | Page 7


Byron Cryer , MD

Chief of Internal Medicine Baylor University Medical Center

n September 2022 , Byron Cryer , MD , joined Baylor University Medical Center as chief of internal medicine and the Ralph Tompsett Endowed Chair in Medicine . Over the course of his career , Dr . Cryer has dedicated himself to three important missions : exceptional patient care , investigational research and educational efforts to identify , develop and train future physician leaders . With these areas of passion at the forefront , he spent many years working as a gastroenterologist at the Dallas VA Medical Center and as associate dean for faculty development at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas , Texas . Additionally , Dr . Cryer has many years of accomplishments in clinical and translational investigation , including 150 peer-reviewed publications , and most recently has been working in medical workforce development and leadership training for physicians .
What led you to a career in medicine ?
When we were kids , we used to play school and I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up . When I was around 6 years old , my parents planted the idea in my head about being a doctor and we had weekly conversations about it . By the time I entered college , I knew this was what I wanted to do , but that I wanted to find a place where I could combine my passions — to practice medicine while teaching medicine .
What attracted you to the opportunity at BUMC ?
There were many things that made the role at BUMC very interesting . First was the patients we serve — they cut across the fabric of society . We see patients across the socioeconomic spectrum of Dallas , and they need us . Many are very ill , and many haven ’ t had good outpatient pre-hospital care . When I was here interviewing , I was able to tour the Emergency Department and that gave me a great opportunity to see who our patients are , and that tour is one of the things that moved me to want to come here — we have a big tent , and we take care of everyone .
Second , the researcher in me became aware of the electronic health records at Baylor Scott & White — there are 1 million lives covered . From my time with the VA , I knew that this was a powerful resource to be able to look at a large data set of aggregate trends and outcomes in an evidencebased way . We can draw from that to answer questions related to population health , how to best standardize care and better understand our quality , safety and outcomes metrics . Not many physician researchers have access to information like this and it was very exciting to consider the possibilities associated with it .
Third , Baylor Scott & White has a culture of doctors who are really exceptional at providing multi-specialty , complex care , who at the same time are dedicated to the service of their patients . These are physicians who believe in exceptionalism and at being the best they can be in their craft . As chief of internal medicine , I oversee the largest number of physicians at BUMC , and I was excited to work alongside and lead a team with
these commitments and this culture .
The final deal-clincher for me was the opportunity to utilize my previous skills in medical workforce engagement , recruitment and retention — to help train and develop new doctors into good leaders . I also learned BUMC is a principal training site for Texas A & M University medical students , which means we have a huge opportunity for engagement with a robust pipeline of medical students and future
BUMC alums coming through . I have been given the opportunity to work toward a very worthwhile goal , and I ’ m all in .
What impact do you see philanthropy having in the lives of our patients ?
It ’ s all about philanthropy . I was previously at another large health system and there was a clear flagship amongst their entities — the differentiator was philanthropy . I recognized philanthropy has a huge space in healthcare , because we can ’ t do all the things we want to do . It helps us attract the best , have the best services , the best equipment , the best buildings . Philanthropy serves as the catalyst to greatness and is what helps take us from good to great .
What are you most proud of ? The number of physicians whose lives I ’ ve impacted by being part of their development and journey . By investing in the careers of others , we have the greatest opportunity to change the way medicine is delivered — we can do that as individuals , but the impact is much greater when you do it through those you train .