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Each month, Get to Know… will feature two members of UT System Administration’s talented and diverse staff as they offer insights into their lives in and out of the office. Each new edition will be published here.
David Lakey, M.D.
Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and Chief Medical Officer
Office of Health Affairs
What are your primary job responsibilities?
I work to improve collaboration and coordination across our health-related institutions and partnerships with other state entities to improve health in Texas. Examples of this work include coordinating meetings of the chief medical officers across the UT System, administration of the Texas Child Mental Health Care Consortium, and developing projects such as the UT Systemwide Trauma and Combat Casualty Care Collaborative and the Healthier Texas Summit. I also provide oversight for the Texas Health Education Services based here at UT System.
What do you most enjoy about your job?
The people I work with. They are passionate, talented and service-oriented. This not only includes the people here in the office of Health Affairs and the UT System, but also the wonderful people out in our UT institutions who are really trying to make a difference in the lives of the people and communities they serve.
What is your proudest work moment?
The establishment of the Texas Child Mental Health Care Consortium. The initiative began here at UT System when we brought the psychiatry chairs from our UT medical schools to meet with the psychiatry chairs from the non-UT System medical schools, the state agencies involved in mental health services and the Texas mental health philanthropic agencies. In 2019, the Consortium was put into Texas statute and funded, and now UT System administers it. Today, through the support of the state legislature, it is transforming mental health services in Texas for children and adolescents by providing telehealth services in schools across Texas, supporting primary care providers with immediate consultation support, building our mental health workforce and improving our understanding of mental health needs here in Texas. I think it is a good example of what can happen when our institutions work together to solve the challenges our state faces.
What advice would you give someone who is new to UT System?
I would advise people to get out of your office and meet your colleagues, both here at the UT System and in the UT institutions. Go grab lunch with some of them and get to know them. The best ideas that I have seen frequently occur when people from different backgrounds and expertise have casual conversation, learn the challenges each is facing and then start brainstorming together on how they could be addressed and solved.
What do you do to disconnect or de-stress?
I like being outside and being with my family. I go hiking and mountain biking frequently and enjoy working in my yard. I also like to see movies and have dinner with my family. I mostly leave work at work and concentrate on my family once I leave.
Who is currently playing on your Spotify playlist?
I really listen to a mix of music and podcasts. The range goes from Bruce Springsteen, ZZ Top, Mumford and Sons, Willie Nelson, ELO, Shakey Graves and Stevie Ray Vaughn. The podcast I listen to most is Freakonomics Radio.