In honor of the late James H. “Red” Duke, Jr., M.D., Memorial Hermann Health System has renamed the Memorial Hermann Texas Trauma Institute. Now named the Memorial Hermann Red Duke Trauma Institute, the System is proud to honor the legendary surgeon who is known for transforming trauma care for not just the city of Houston, but for the entire country.
The renaming was officially announced Saturday evening, May 7, at the System’s annual Circle of Life gala which honored Memorial Hermann Life Flight®, trauma care and Dr. Duke. The gala, along with the approaching 40th anniversary of Life Flight in August, created the perfect backdrop to announce the Institute’s new name.
“Renaming our trauma program in honor of Dr. Duke is a testament of our appreciation for the man who revolutionized trauma care,” said Craig Cordola, Senior Vice President and Regional President for the Central/West Region for Memorial Hermann. “Dr. Duke was a mentor, teacher and friend to so many, and we are privileged to work with the Duke family to continue his legacy.”
Dr. Duke, who was the John B. Holmes Professor of Clinical Sciences at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, was instrumental in creating Life Flight in 1976, the first life-saving air ambulance service in Texas, and served as the medical director of the program for nearly four decades. He spent many years dedicated to discovering new ways to better care for patients and enhance the trauma center overall.
“Having Memorial Hermann rename its renowned trauma Institute after my father is a recognition that I know he would be tremendously humbled by,” said Sara Duke, Ph.D., daughter of Dr. Duke. “He was a good father, but his passion was serving humanity through his surgical skills and his desire to teach and mentor. He cared so much for both the Memorial Hermann and UTHealth family, the Houston community, Texas, and the world at large. His passion for improving trauma care was driven by his unending focus on the big picture and at the same time every patient being the most important individual in the room. Our entire family is grateful that his legacy lives on through the Memorial Hermann Red Duke Trauma Institute.”
Dr. Duke was a founding member of the American Trauma Society and played a critical role in the development of the EMS and trauma system in the state of Texas. He was well-known within Memorial Hermann, the greater Houston community, Texas and beyond for his commitment to educating the public about health issues and accident prevention, while providing extraordinary patient care and training of EMS, paramedics, medical students and surgeons.
The Institute is one of only two Level I trauma centers in the Greater Houston area treating adult and pediatric patients under one roof and brings together a world-class team of clinicians, researchers and educators armed with the latest in research and technology to deliver comprehensive, life-saving services.