You don’t need an X-ray to see the incredible heart Arvin Robinson, M.D., has for Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) El Paso and what he has meant to its Department of Radiology for nearly 20 years.
Dr. Robinson was instrumental in building the radiology department and starting the radiology residency program at TTUHSC El Paso.
On Monday, July 18, TTUHSC El Paso held a special naming event to honor the Robinsons’ longtime contributions to the radiology department and the university. Officials unveiled the Dr. Arvin and Beverly Robinson Conference Room at the Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso clinic on Alberta Avenue, located on the TTUHSC El Paso campus.
Thomas M. Dykes, M.D., FACR, FSAR, holds the Robinson-Furman Family Endowed Chair in the department. He appreciates the road Dr. Robinson paved for radiology in our region.
“It’s been an honor to lead the department that was built on the vision of a trailblazer – Dr. Robinson,” Dr. Dykes said. “Beverly and Dr. Robinson have embraced my wife, Pam, and I, and have been by our side since we arrived in El Paso.”
By 2033, the United States faces a shortfall of nearly 42,000 radiologists and other clinical specialists, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. The shortage will have a dramatic impact on patient care because of the role radiology plays in finding illnesses and diseases as early as possible. Because residents often remain in the areas in which they train, the TTUHSC El Paso radiology residency program is vital to combating shortages locally.
A Legendary Mentor
Dr. Robinson retired from TTUHSC El Paso in 2015 and became chairman emeritus of the radiology department. He joined the university’s radiology department in 2004, part of a remarkable 50-year career in medicine. In addition to launching the department’s residency program, he served as department chair from 2006 to 2013.
Dr. Robinson is so admired by past residents and colleagues that a radiology symposium held in his honor in 2016 attracted attendees and guest speakers from around the world. Each invited speaker lectured on different aspects of radiology, but also held special ties to the retired doctor. While some were Dr. Robinson’s former residents or fellows, others were colleagues he practiced with throughout his career.
Jesus R. Diaz, M.D., DABR, associate professor of radiology and radiology residency program director at TTUHSC El Paso, completed his residency training under Dr. Robinson from 2008-2012.
To this day, he carries a long list of lessons learned from his mentor.
“From Dr. Robinson, I learned to be a resident advocate, facilitate educational experiences and to be collected and calm,” Dr. Diaz said. “I also learned to have an open-door policy, to ensure balance of service not at the expense of education, to foster and support scholarly and research activity, as well as leadership in early years of training, and to provide compassionate care for patients and patients’ relatives before, during and after procedures.”
Dr. Robinson’s impact at TTUHSC El Paso has been wide-ranging and included a mission to provide care for the underserved.
“He facilitated hiring fellowship-trained radiologists needed to provide care to this underserved area,” Dr. Diaz said. “He expanded and balanced faculty positions to provide the best educational experience for residents.”
Edmundo Calleros-Macias, M.D., associate professor of imaging and interventional radiology at TTUHSC El Paso, has known Dr. Robinson since he arrived in 2004, when the El Paso campus was a regional arm of TTUHSC in Lubbock. Coming off a long and successful career at the University of Rochester’s academic medical center in Rochester, New York, Dr. Robinson arrived on the El Paso campus unannounced, looking for a job in the radiology department for a couple days a week.
“He had a vision for the future the moment he stepped foot in this place. Boy, did he work – he was working all day, reading a lot of cases, evaluating new techniques.”
After a few months, Dr. Robinson became the interim chair of the department, and by 2006 he was named chair, a position he held until 2013.
Part of Dr. Robinson’s vision included establishing a new residency program in radiology.
“If somebody had told me in 2004 that we would have a residency in radiology by 2008, I would have laughed,” Dr. Calleros-Macias said. “There was nothing here to build off of, but he started recruiting. He brought new people in.”
“It’s amazing – he fulfilled a vision that nobody in the department shared at the time, that nobody in the department thought possible, and he did it basically by his will and hard work,” Dr. Calleros-Macias said.
Radiology Department Continues to Thrive
Dr. Robinson and his wife inspired a major gift to the Foster School of Medicine’s Department of Radiology in 2019 from their daughter, Robin Furman, and her husband Tony.
The Furman family gave $540,000 to establish an endowed chair in radiology to honor the Robinsons. TTUHSC El Paso matched the gift, and the Robinsons directed $420,000 from a previously established fund in their name to create the $1.5 million Dr. Arvin and Beverly Robinson-Furman Family Endowed Chair in Radiology.
Endowed faculty positions are critical to TTUHSC El Paso’s mission. They allow the university to attract and retain world-class talent, benefiting our students and the future of health care. Endowed chairs are a prestigious honor in academia and give department leaders the ability to invest in their vision by supporting scholarships and fellowships, and funding research activities.
“Dr. Robinson and Beverly have had a tremendous impact on our university and our community,” said Richard Lange, M.D., M.B.A., TTUHSC El Paso president and Foster School of Medicine dean. “Having a radiology residency program is key to educating and training the next generation of health care leaders, while also ensuring that our region has access to physicians who can help diagnose and treat a variety of conditions. We can’t thank them enough for their contributions to the Borderplex and its residents.”