Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center’s latest installment in the Rick Smith Gallery, a small art gallery located near the main lobby of Memorial Hermann-TMC in the Hermann Atrium, is a tribute to the late UTHealth trauma surgeon, Dr. James H. “Red” Duke. “Our Dr. Duke,” which opens to the public today, features stories from some of Dr. Duke’s closest friends and colleagues in the Texas Medical Center who walked the hospital’s hallways with him every day. Also included in the exhibit are photographs and memorabilia from his legendary life that are as rich as the tales told in his memory.
“There are countless physicians, colleagues and patients who benefitted from Dr. Duke’s passion and guidance,” said Brian Dean, Senior Vice President and CEO of Memorial Hermann-TMC. “His legacy can be seen throughout our hospital, from Life Flight to our incredible lifesaving trauma services. This gallery is yet another example of the positive effect he had on all those with whom he came in contact.”
The exhibit’s grand opening coincides with the 40th anniversary of Memorial Hermann Life Flight®, a milestone the program celebrated on Aug. 1. Dr. Duke was instrumental in developing Life Flight, Texas’ first lifesaving air ambulance service, and served as medical director of the program for nearly four decades. In order to express gratitude to the city that helped make the lifesaving air ambulance service possible, Memorial Hermann launched a “40 Years of Life Flight, 40 Days of Thanks” campaign and has joined the community in celebrating Life Flight’s trailblazing history and excellence in aviation safety and high quality, clinical care.
The week also marks one year since Dr. Duke passed away on Aug. 25, 2015. As the John B. Holmes Professor of Clinical Sciences at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) Medical School, he was a dedicated physician who was known for his extraordinary patient care and efforts to teach medical students and surgeons. Dr. Duke was instrumental in establishing trauma services at Memorial Hermann-TMC and transforming trauma care, not just for the city of Houston but for the entire country. Earlier this year, the Memorial Hermann Texas Trauma Institute was renamed the Memorial Hermann Red Duke Trauma Institute in his honor.
The Rick Smith Gallery, which was funded through employee contributions to an annual employee campaign, was created in memory of Rick Smith, the late director of Chaplaincy Services at Memorial Hermann-TMC who understood the importance of healing the body, mind and soul. It is open to all employees, patients and visitors, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“Rick Smith led by example, and demonstrated how spirituality in the workplace supports an environment of healing,” said Brent Peery, Director of Chaplaincy Services at Memorial Hermann-TMC. “The gallery is an expression of his vision and spirit.”
This is the gallery’s eighth installment since it opened in 2012. Previous exhibitions have featured paintings, photographs, mixed media and sculptures by physicians and hospital employees; professional photographic images of the Campus’ beloved therapy pets; hand-drawn portraits of caregivers by pediatric patients; Holocaust Museum Houston’s Butterfly Project; and a history of Life Flight.