Leaders in Clinical Excellence Awards
Patricia and William L. Watson Jr., M.D. Award for Excellence in Clinical Medicine
The Watson Award is UT Southwestern’s highest honor in clinical care. Established in 2009 through a gift from Dr. William L. Watson Jr. – a UT Southwestern alumnus – and his wife, Patricia, it provides the opportunity to recognize a UT Southwestern faculty physician who exemplifies excellence in patient care, is a leader in advancing clinical innovations, and has had a profound impact on students, trainees, colleagues, and patients.
The Watson Award recipient is chosen by a select committee of physician leaders who review nominations. All members of the UT Southwestern community are welcome to submit a nomination.
More in 2021 Leaders in Clinical Excellence Awards
The 2021 Winner:
Diane M. Twickler, M.D., FACR
Professor of Radiology and Obstetrics and Gynecology
In her more than 30 years on the UT Southwestern faculty, Dr. Twickler has earned a reputation for outstanding patient care in two departments – Radiology and Obstetrics and Gynecology – while continuously advancing clinical innovations and improving the education of students, residents, fellows, and colleagues through hands-on clinical work.
In fact, one of her nominators for this year’s Watson Award called Dr. Twickler both a “clinical rock star” and a “true triple threat” in both departments she serves: “Her clinical expertise, scientific output, and teaching skills are beyond comparison,” the nominator wrote. “Furthermore, she is entrenched in the fabric of both departments and is looked to for her leadership, mentoring, and teaching.”
A pioneer in fetal and gynecologic imaging, Dr. Twickler is known for bringing the concept of fetal MRI to North Texas. She serves not only as the Vice Chair at Large for the Department of Radiology and as the Medical Director of Obstetric and Gynecologic Ultrasound for the Parkland Health & Hospital System, but also as the point person for a consultation service relied upon throughout North Texas and adjacent states.
In his nomination letter, Professor and Chair of Radiology Neil Rofsky, M.D., noted that in these consultations, “Dr. Twickler provides patients and their families with the perfect blend of honesty and empathy to empower them to make the important, life-changing, and time-sensitive decisions frequently associated with the often-troublesome diagnoses.”
Dr. Rofsky added: “Every day on a busy clinical service, Dr. Twickler interacts with patients as a real-time consultant, scanning them and discussing the findings along with potential management options. She performs this in concert with trainees from Radiology and Ob/Gyn, admirably serving their educational needs, and is the reference of choice in challenging cases encountered by Ob/Gyn faculty on the sonography service. She is the ‘source of truth’ for our campus.”
Another nominator, Professor and Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology Catherine Spong, M.D., echoed those sentiments, saying, “Dr. Twickler is synonymous with women’s imaging and is an astute clinician with unparalleled expertise. Whenever a problem is raised at the University or department with a question or tough case, Dr. Twickler is the one who comes to mind and is always available to talk through a case.”
In addition to her clinical roles on campus, Dr. Twickler was one of five members of the Strategic Planning Committee for Undergraduate Medical Education, a group tasked with implementing an innovative medical school curriculum at UT Southwestern. She is also a member of the University’s Promotion and Tenure Committee, and served as the course director for Radiology Grand Rounds in her previous role of Vice Chair of Academic Affairs.
In addition to authoring more than 100 publications, Dr. Twickler is Associate Editor of Williams Obstetrics and has written 13 book chapters emphasizing her areas of clinical expertise. She serves as a reviewer for multiple academic journals and as a distinguished reviewer for other specialty journals.
Dr. Rofsky concluded his nomination, saying, “It is noteworthy that Dr. Twickler has been an encouraging role model for all trainees and faculty, yet stands out in a salient manner by serving as an inspirational exemplar to women in medicine and an ardent advocate for diversity in the medical profession. As a shining example for trainees and practicing clinicians in two disciplines, her translational prowess and compassionate care have yielded extraordinary impact to hosts of patients and have consistently enhanced the clinical reputation of UT Southwestern.”
A Distinguished Teaching Professor and holder of the Dr. Fred Bonte Professorship in Radiology, Dr. Twickler is a true alumna of UT Southwestern, having completed her medical degree and all of her subsequent postgraduate medical education here, including her internship in internal medicine, her residency in diagnostic radiology, and a fellowship in ultrasound.
Dr. Twickler is an active member of local, state, national, and international societies, including medical, radiologic, and ultrasound communities. She is a Fellow of the American College of Radiology and has assumed many roles in the Texas Radiological Society. She is a founding member of the Texas Radiological Society Foundation.
In her words: “Heartfelt thanks for the Watson Award. I am honored to receive this award, acknowledging the many worthy UTSW recipients. Over three decades ago, the chairmen of two departments envisioned a collaborative effort in obstetric and gynecologic imaging, combining the skill sets of each of the specialties – their vision allowed me to pursue my passion for women’s imaging. Many thanks to the Women and Infants Specialty Health (WISH) clinic, and in particular its sonographers, for helping to build and maintain our superb, specialized Ob/Gyn ultrasound service. Thanks to the Obstetric MRI team and the Placenta team whose care of women is admirable and standard-setting. To my colleagues in Radiology and Obstetrics and Gynecology, I am grateful for all you do. To the UTSW community, thank you for the opportunity to work with you and to discover the broader scope of the academic enterprise. Nothing has been more rewarding for me than caring for our patients and training others in this mission.”
“Watson Award recipients embody the special combination of clinical expertise and humanism that results in the delivery of truly exceptional patient care. The Watson Award winner is widely regarded as a ‘physician’s physician’ and a model of clinical commitment and excellence.”