Rising Star Award
This award recognizes exceptional early-career clinical faculty whose actions and activities consistently exemplify enthusiasm, commitment, professionalism, and leadership.
The 2022 Winners:
Associate Professor of Internal Medicine
Division of Infectious Diseases and Geographic Medicine
Dr. James Cutrell's receipt of the Rising Star Award is just one of a series of honors he has been awarded during his medical training and in his professional career, beginning with the 2007 Ho Din Award presented to the top UT Southwestern medical student. Dr. Cutrell completed all his training at UT Southwestern, served as the Chief Medical Resident in 2010-11, and was twice voted best resident teacher by UTSW medical students.
One of his nominators called Dr. Cutrell a triple threat: a physician with exceptional clinical, education, and leadership skills.
From the onset of the COVID-19 epidemic, Dr. Cutrell, an infectious diseases (ID) specialist, has been called upon to flex all three skill sets. During the ongoing pandemic, Dr. Cutrell has been involved in almost every aspect of the institutional response. Notably, he led the development of inpatient and outpatient COVID-19 treatment protocols.
In addition to being at the forefront of caring for patients with the novel coronavirus, he has played a crucial role in creating UT Southwestern policies for COVID-19 prevention, serving on UT Southwestern’s COVID-19 Recovery of Operations Committee, the Committee for Deployment of COVID-19 Antibody Testing, the COVID-19 Vaccine Science Review Committee, and other related task forces. He has also played a key role in educating the UT Southwestern campus and the wider community on COVID-19 prevention and management, including frequent participation in “What To Know” video updates.
“Dr. Cutrell's expertise in infectious diseases has been key in formulating UT Southwestern's occupational health pandemic workflows regarding testing, tracing, and return to work, which have been paramount in keeping the organization safe,” a colleague said. “He has the ability to explain complex concepts in a way that is understandable by audiences at UTSW and in the community.”
The pandemic has also brought Dr. Cutrell into the national spotlight. His article, “Pharmacologic Treatments for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): A Review,” published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2020 remains one of the most-cited articles about COVID-19. He has been quoted in national media outlets such as The Washington Post, MSNBC, and Bloomberg News.
Dr. Cutrell is the medical director of the UTSW Outpatient Parenteral Antimicrobial Therapy program, which improves the quality of life for patients receiving intravenous antimicrobial therapy by making it possible for them to have treatment in their home, rather than requiring a long-term stay in a hospital.
He is also the program director for UT Southwestern’s Infectious Diseases Fellowship Program, a Distinguished Teaching Professor, and a member of the Southwestern Academy of Teachers. He is the outgoing president of the Texas Infectious Diseases Society. He has been selected as a D Magazine Top Doctor and a Texas Super Doctor Rising Star in Infectious Diseases and was twice chosen as one of the VA North Texas Health Care System Top Doctors. He also chairs several committees for national infectious diseases organizations.
Despite his numerous accolades and accomplishments, one of his nominators said, “he remains humble and has the interest of patients, their families, and the community as his true north.”
In his words: “I am deeply honored to receive the Rising Star Award this year. Growing up with a father and uncle who went to medical school at UTSW, I heard stories of the rich tradition and legacy of this Medical Center. Now, to be able to give back and serve the UTSW community in my career is a true privilege and joy. I want to share this award with all of my colleagues – the faculty, fellows, ID pharmacists, and staff – in the Division of Infectious Diseases and Geographic Medicine, who have contributed so much, particularly over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. They inspire me every day to grow more as a clinician and teacher, to continue to strive for excellence in our collective work, and to show deep respect and empathy for those we get to serve and train. And, most importantly, I dedicate this award to my beautiful wife and two sons who have been steadfast in their love and support for me no matter what comes and without whom I couldn't have done any of this.”
Assistant Professor of Surgery
Early in the COVID-19 pandemic when many physician practices had slowed or moved to telemedicine, Dr. Dultz was moving at full speed as a trauma and acute care surgeon and Medical Director of Parkland Memorial Hospital’s Surgical Intensive Care Unit.
Not only did her workload increase during a difficult time, but she also volunteered to do more by covering the COVID-19 ICUs and regularly operating on patients who had the virus.
“Medical Director of Surgical Intensive Care is one of the most demanding roles in the Surgery Department, and the fact that she has taken on this challenging task shows her determination to be at the helm of her specialty in a major surgical center,” her nominator said.
Taking over leadership of the Surgical ICU, Dr. Dultz hasn’t just maintained operations but has taken steps to improve the quality of care. For instance, she has established protocols to reduce ventilator-associated pneumonia. She also established new protocols for care of patients with traumatic brain injury.
Another component of her work is mentoring younger physicians. Dr. Dultz is the Program Director of UT Southwestern’s Surgical Critical Care Fellowship. Since stepping into that position, she has grown and fine-tuned the program.
“She took over a fellowship and helped bridge the divide between William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital and Parkland by establishing a world-class curricula. These curricula not only included surgery faculty, but also anesthesia, medicine, and cardiac surgery,” her nominator added.
Additionally, Dr. Dultz worked to secure funds that enabled the expansion of the fellowship program to eight students a year, making it one of the largest in the country.
Dr. Dultz’s dedication to her work extends to genuine care and concern for her colleagues as well. When several fellows in the Surgical Critical Care program lost power during the freeze of February 2021, Dr. Dultz hosted them in her home.
“Ultimately, patient care is a reflection of caregiver wellness,” the nominator continued. “Dr. Dultz has focused on establishing a culture that supports wellness, connection, and collaboration on her teams. Having mentored and supported many faculty, I can say that Dr. Dultz stands out based on her clinical skills, her leadership, and her commitment to excellence in education, research, and clinical care.”
An Assistant Professor of Surgery, Dr. Dultz joined the UT Southwestern faculty in 2017; her clinical specialty is trauma, emergency general surgery, and surgical critical care. She earned her medical degree at New York Medical College in 2008, followed by her general surgery residency at New York University School of Medicine. She completed fellowships in both surgical critical care and trauma and acute care surgery at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
In her words: “Being a physician is an honor and a privilege. A regular day for me can often be the worst day of my patients’ lives. I care for them at their most vulnerable and they put their trust in me to heal them and bring them back to their families. It is an enormous responsibility and one that I am honored to carry. Being recognized for my dedication to the people of our community and mentoring young trainees is truly humbling and has been made possible by the support of so many. I want to thank my partners and the surgical leadership for believing in my abilities and cultivating them. I also want to acknowledge my parents for instilling in me a strong sense of responsibility and service at a young age. Lastly, I want to thank my husband and three daughters for giving me the strength to keep going and striving to make this place better.”