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Healthcare Heroes – Tom Rogers, MD

by Paul K. Harral, Fort Worth Business Press

Tom Roger’s dedication to his patients is legendary. In a 58-year career, he has always put his patients at the center of his focus, says nominator Stuart D. Flynn, MD, the founding dean of the TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine.

“In addition, Tom has served as a mentor to countless TCU pre-medical students who have observed his skills and compassionate practice of medicine,” Flynn said.

Rogers graduated from TCU with a degree in biology in 1957 and earned his medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

He lettered in baseball at TCU and was inducted into TCU’s Letterman’s Hall of Fame in 1999.

Rogers has received the Gold-Headed Cane Award from both the Tarrant County Medical Society and the Cook Children’s Physician Network, a mark of respect physician to physician dating to the 18th century.

“When the winds of uncertainty and disruption swirled in the 1990s, Dr. Tom Rogers came to the president and CEO of Cook Children’s, Mr. Russ Tolman, with a new idea,” Flynn said.

“He suggested that the Cook Physician Network move quickly to harness the loyalty and influence of the pediatricians in town as an essential part of the network. In a few months the first primary care groups had joined, and Dr. Rogers became the first chairman of the board. His foresight set precedent which has made the network an integral part of the Cook Children’s system.”

He served in multiple roles in local medical associations and organizations but Rogers was and is active in the community outside medicine.

He chaired the Fort Worth ISD’s Citizen’s Advisory Committee on Desegregation in 1990 and the Citizens Advisory Committee for Facilities Improvement Program in 1985, that passed and implemented a hugh bond issue.

“The committee supervised projects for the next years and these came in under budget and completed on time,” Rogers noted.

Other community service includes the Fort Worth Heart Association, the United Way, the March of Dimes, the Lena Pope Home, the Fort Worth Opera Association, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, First United Methodist Church, a variety of roles at TCU, the Child Study Center, the Parenting Center and Schola Cantorum of Texas, where he was president of the board and a member of the chorus for 20 years.

Asked if there was a specific person who influenced his decision to become a physician, Rogers said he came from a non-medical family “so I really had no background to rely on.  I just admired the medical profession.”

That “non-medical family” part ended with him. He and his wife Joan started their own family tradition with a son, a daughter, a son-in-law and a daughter-in-law in practice. And now there are two grandsons in medical school.

“I think each of us looks for two primary ingredients in our health-care providers: First, we want someone who is competent, who will make the correct diagnosis and masterfully handle the ‘science’ of medicine. Second, and equally as important, we look for someone with the communications skills and compassion, a person who truly cares about us as human beings,” Flynn said. “Tom is the epitome of both. He is a personal Health Care Hero to many in Fort Worth.”

Q & A

Q Why do you do what you do?
A I’m a physician. I do it because I love helping people with my skills.

Q What inspires you during the tough times?
A My family, especially my wife. 

Q What’s your best advice for people wanting to enter the health care profession?
A Be willing to work hard and always put the patient first. 

Q If you could make one change that would improve health care for everyone, what would it be?
A In a dream world, be able to disregard cost.

Q Is there something else that we wouldn’t have known to ask?
A What I miss most in retirement is the daily connection with my families.  I am getting into sleeping until 7:30.

This article was originally published in The Fort Worth Business Press. Reprinted with permission.

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