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President’s Perspective: Summer Olympics

President’s Perspective: Summer Olympics

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The Summer Olympics are officially here, which means the world is watching Rio. We’re rooting for our athletes, feeling inspired by their stories and sharing in their triumphs and disappointments. In this issue of TMC Pulse, you will read about individuals here in Houston who have connections to the Games, some of whom will even be vying for gold on our very own Team USA.

It’s an exciting time for citizens across the globe to come together and test their limits, overcome obstacles and remember the importance of values like sportsmanship, integrity and loyalty. I think I speak for everyone when I say our world could use more of these values.

I was somewhat disappointed when I learned the news that many of my favorite players would be skipping the Games due to concerns over the Zika virus. You may have read some of the controversy surrounding these announcements, that athletes are using this public health crisis as an excuse to opt out of the Games. I have my own private opinions about that, but I do want to say this: The Zika virus, when it leads to microcephaly, is devastating. This is particularly true for low-income countries in tropical locations where Aedes aegypti mosquitoes run rampant and citizens are left vulnerable without bed nets, windows, air conditioning, bug spray—all the luxuries we have here in Houston. Locally, our risk of having any substantial, uncontrolled outbreak is very low because of our access to these resources, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be doing everything we can to protect any woman who is pregnant or may become pregnant from becoming infected by the virus, be it here, in Brazil or anywhere else in the world.

I am proud that many of our member institutions, particularly Baylor College of Medicine and UTMB Galveston, are working to understand the virus, create testing capabilities and, hopefully, a vaccine. So while the rest of our nation is rooting for swimming and gymnastics victories, I’ll be here cheering on advancements in medicine. Go Team TMC!

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