2012 Ashbel Smith Distinguished Alumnus Awards Ceremony

The School of Medicine Alumni Association honored Drs. Bohn D. Allen, Gerald Callas, Mark W. Newton, John D. Oswalt and Frank C. Schmalstieg, during the 2012 Ashbel Smith Distinguished Alumnus Awards Ceremony and Reception held June 1 on the UTMB campus.

The Ashbel Smith Distinguished Alumnus Award is the highest honor bestowed by UTMB’s School of Medicine Alumni Association and recognizes outstanding service to the medical profession and to humanity. The award is a special honor given through nomination. It pays tribute to the memory of Dr. Ashbel Smith, a prominent figure in the history of Texas medicine, politics and education.

The awards ceremony and reception bring together award recipients, their families and friends, Alumni Association members, UTMB faculty and former awardees to recognize physicians who have made immense contributions to the medical profession. During the ceremony, recipients expressed their appreciation and gratitude to family and friends whose support and encouragement has been indispensable.  

A full profile for each of this year’s honorees follows.

Bohn D. Allen, MD, FACSBohn D. Allen, MD, FACS – Class of 1961

Dr. Allen attended the University of Texas in Austin and graduated from the University of Texas Medical Branch in 1961. He served an internship at Fitzsimmons General Hospital in Denver, Colorado, a residency in general and vascular surgery at Madigan General Hospital in Tacoma, Washington and a fellowship in burns at the Institute of Surgical Research Burn Unit at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio.

Dr. Allen is past president of the Arlington Medical Society, Tarrant County Medical Society and Fort Worth Surgical Society. He is past president of the Texas Medical Association (TMA), having served various positions on TMA boards, councils and committees. He was a delegate to the American Medical Association from Texas for sixteen years, and he is a past president of the Texas Surgical Society.

Dr. Allen is chairman of the Board of Trustees of Arlington Memorial Hospital and serves on the Board of Trustees of the Texas Health Resources hospital system. Dr. Allen was in private practice in Arlington, Texas for thirty-two years. He now serves as the physician director of the Outpatient Surgery Clinic at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, teaching surgical residents and medical students.


Gerald Callas, MD, PhDGerald Callas, MD, PhD – Class of 1967

Dr. Callas received a bachelor of science degree from Lamar State University. He was accepted in the graduate program at UTMB and went to work in the accelerated program to begin his PhD and MD degree. Dr. Callas funded his education by teaching gymnastics and, as a result, with his wife Carolyn, Dr. Callas owned a dance academy for 47 years.

Dr. Callas received his PhD in 1966 and his MD in 1967. With his dual degree, he dedicated his career to giving aspiring physicians the biomedical knowledge that is the foundation of medical practice. Dr. Callas was a faculty hooder for graduating medical students for many years, and his Gross Anatomy class was voted Best Course Award Freshman Year for seven years.

In addition to the many students’ lives Dr. Callas touched, he also had the privilege of teaching his two sons, Ray and Jamie. Both are successful practicing physicians. Dr. Callas personified one of UTMB’s most cherished values: a devotion to instilling knowledge in the university’s aspiring physicians.  Dr. Callas passed away on Saturday, September 1, 2012, at the age of 79.


Mark W. Newton, MD, FAAPMark W. Newton, MD, FAAP – Class of 1987

Dr. Newton received his medical degree from UTMB in 1987. He completed both an internship in pediatrics and a residency in anesthesiology at the University of Texas Health Science Center.   He completed a fellowship in pediatric anesthesiology at Denver Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Newton began participating in international medical work in the mid-1980s while still a medical student at UTMB. In 1986, during his senior year at UTMB, he spent two months in Nigeria in a mission hospital which prompted his passion to serve the poor in Africa. From 1992-1997, Dr. Newton worked as a pediatric (cardiac) anesthesiologist at Denver Children’s Hospital and a clinical instructor for the Department of Anesthesiology at the University of Colorado Health Science Center. During this time, he continued to participate in medical mission work, working in Nigeria, Guatemala, El Salvador, Ecuador and Mexico.

Dr. Newton is an associate clinical professor in the Department of Anesthesiology at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and a pediatric anesthesiologist at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital in Vanderbilt. In addition to his many responsibilities, accomplishments, education and research while at Vanderbilt, Dr. Newton received the 2012 Dr. Nathan Davis International Award in Medicine, awarded by the American Medical Association in recognition of his humanitarian work. Named for AMA’s founder, the award recognizes physicians whose influence reaches patients around the globe..

Dr. Newton serves as chief anesthesiologist at Kijabe Hospital, Kenya and faculty member of the University of Nairobi, Department of Surgery (anesthesia) where he is involved in physician anesthesia training, CME and national anesthesia development programs.  Dr. Newton and his wife, Sue, have five children.


John D. Oswalt, MD, FACSJohn D. Oswalt, MD, FACS – Class of 1971

Dr. Oswalt is a member of the Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgeons in Austin, Texas. He earned a biology degree from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas in 1968 and medical degree in 1971 from the University of Texas Medical Branch.

Dr. Oswalt completed his internship at Brackenridge Hospital in Austin, and following his service in the United States Air Forces as a flight surgeon, he carried out his residency at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio in the area of general surgery. He completed a cardiothoracic surgery fellowship in 1980.

In 1980, Dr. Oswalt joined Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgeons; at that time there were six members. He became president in 1996 and, under his leadership, the group now numbers twenty-two surgeons–one of the largest practicing groups of its kind in the United States. In addition, he has held several academic and administrative appointments with various hospitals across Texas.

One of Dr. Oswalt’s greatest achievements has been the founding of the HeartGift Foundation. The foundation brings children from developing countries with congenital heart defects to the U.S. for life-saving surgery. The care is provided in children’s hospitals by surgeons, nurses and health care providers pro bono. Over the course of his career, Dr. Oswalt has collected a mantle shelf full of honors. He received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Texas Christian University in 1995, was named Cardiac Provider of the Year from the American Heart Association in 1999 and was honored with the 2010 Health Care Hero Award in 2010.

Born in Houston, Dr. Oswalt was raised in Fort Stockton, Texas. His father Dr. Charles Oswalt and brother Chuck are also graduates of UTMB’s School of Medicine. Dr. Oswalt and his wife, Karen, reside in Austin where they raised their two daughters, Sara and Claire, who are now married. They have one grandson, Ozzie, who is named after his great grandfather.

Frank C. Schmalstieg, MD, PhDFrank C. Schmalstieg, MD, PhD – Class of 1972

Dr. Schmalstieg received a PhD in physical organic chemistry from Texas A&M University in 1967. During his post-doctoral work at Georgia Institute of Technology, he helped demonstrate that certain chemical reactions could be influenced by quantum mechanical effects. Later work at Ohio State University confirmed that that polyethylenimine polymers could be constructed with enzymatic properties.

Dr. Schmalstieg became interested in applying his physical chemistry background to medicine and subsequently graduated from the University of Texas Medical Branch with a medical degree in 1972. Attracted to the molecular puzzle of congenital immunodeficiency diseases, he completed a residency in pediatrics in 1974 and fellowship in allergy and immunology in 1976.

He joined the faculty of medicine in 1976 as an assistant professor. Since then, he has made significant contributions to understanding the molecular defects in the leukocyte adherence syndrome and X-linked severe combined immunodeficiency. In addition to his scientific efforts, Dr. Schmalstieg has served on numerous university committees, including a term as chairman of the Institutional Review Board. He has also maintained a clinical and laboratory service for immunodeficiency and pediatric rheumatology patients for many years. He participates with his colleague and mentor, Dr. Armond Goldman, in studies of the history of medicine.

Dr. Schmalstieg is married to Dr. Elizabeth, a UTMB School of Medicine graduate and faculty member. Their son, Dr. William Schmalstieg, is a post-doctoral fellow in neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.


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