Lasting Affection

On Valentine's Day, four alumni share why they swoon for UT Southwestern

Image of multiple peoples hands arranged in the shape of a heart in front of a photo of William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital.
William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital at UT Southwestern Medical Center

Whether they graduated from one of the university’s three schools or completed postgraduate training in one of its clinical programs, UT Southwestern Medical Center alumni share an affection for the institution that extends far beyond Valentine’s Day.

For some, it’s the place where they found their passion or achieved career success. For others, it’s a more traditional love story, complete with marriage and kids. But all who have spent time on campus share a deep connection filled with memories and friendships to last a lifetime.

Attracting opposites

When people refer to married couples as polar opposites, they’re usually talking about personalities. Gaurab Chakrabarti, M.D., Ph.D. (Medicine ’17) and his wife, Rima Shah Chakrabarti, M.D. (Medicine ’17), literally grew up on opposite sides of the world.

He was born in Kolkata, India. She hailed from Scranton, Pennsylvania. They met by chance at a student mixer at Brown University, where they were both studying neuroscience as pre-med students.

Dr. Gaurab Chakrabarti and Dr. Rima Shah Chakrabarti
Gaurab Chakrabarti, M.D., Ph.D., and Rima Shah Chakrabarti, M.D. Photo courtesy of Gaurab Chakrabarti, M.D., Ph.D.

But it was their time at UT Southwestern Medical School that cemented their bond and led to marriage. Ten years later, they share two daughters and successful careers. Dr. Gaurab Chakrabarti is Co-Founder of Solugen, a clean manufacturing start-up that uses all-natural ingredients to make chemicals with zero waste or emissions. Dr. Rima Chakrabarti is a Partner with KdT Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm supporting companies solving industry-wide problems with computational biology. They credit UT Southwestern with being a catalyst for transforming their early romance into a lifelong bond.

“We were together through the emotional rigors and draining experiences of Medical School,” Dr. Rima Chakrabarti said. “It made us grow up as a couple. Having a built-in buddy with the same ambitions helped us get through the most challenging times.”

Looking back with fondness and amazement, the couple remembers sharing their commute in the pre-dawn darkness, arriving at the hospital for 4 a.m. shifts, and drinking chocolate-flavored nutrition shakes to keep up with their unrelenting schedules.

“It was like living together for 30 years,” Dr. Gaurab Chakrabarti said. “Every part of the relationship was accelerated. Experiencing all the joys and the worries – all those things were compressed into a small period of shared time. You learn so much about the other person.”

Just like Mom

Like many children, Nicole Corrigan-Garrett, M.D. (Resident ’11), grew up wanting to be like her mother. That included becoming a pediatrician and following in her footsteps at UT Southwestern.

Dr. Carolyn Bradley-Guidry
Nicole Corrigan-Garrett, M.D., right, and her mother, Suzanne LeBel Corrigan, M.D., seated, with their family. Photo courtesy Nicole Corrigan-Garrett, M.D.

They shared a special connection: a love of medicine and close ties to UT Southwestern. When her mother passed away two years ago, Dr. Corrigan-Garrett and her family – including her younger sister Danielle Corrigan Beachler (Fellow '15) – made a gift to establish a scholarship endowment in memory of Suzanne LeBel Corrigan, M.D. (Medicine ’76, Resident '79).

“This scholarship really symbolizes the passion my family and I have always had for UT Southwestern,” Dr. Corrigan-Garrett said.

She looks back with gratitude on her residency and time spent post-residency working in the emergency room at UT Southwestern and Children's Health. Today, as a physician in private practice with Pediatric Associates of Dallas, she credits the comprehensive residency program at UT Southwestern with preparing her to handle almost any challenge.

“UT Southwestern taught me so many valuable lessons,” Dr. Corrigan-Garrett said. “Like the old adage says: in any challenging situation, first take your own pulse and then don’t panic.”

An emotional home

Growing up, Carolyn Bradley-Guidry, Dr.PH., M.P.A.S. (Health Professions ’98), dreamed of becoming a nurse.

She soon put those dreams to the test. One day during lunch at Nathaniel Hawthorne Elementary School in Dallas, one of her friends began choking on their food. Dr. Bradley-Guidry calmly performed the Heimlich maneuver, successfully dislodging the food from her friend’s throat and probably saving her life.

Dr. Carolyn Bradley-Guidry
Carolyn Bradley-Guidry, Dr.PH., M.P.A.S. Brian Coats/UT Southwestern Medical Center

“I remember feeling like a hero for a day, and that experience solidified my desire to pursue a career in health care,” said Dr. Bradley-Guidry, Interim Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in UT Southwestern’s School of Health Professions and a Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Department of Physician Assistant Studies.

A first generation college graduate, she earned a bachelor’s degree in Nursing from Texas Christian University. She stayed in North Texas, working at Parkland Memorial Hospital before joining the Department of Nephrology at UT Southwestern. There, she met Robert Toto, M.D., Associate Dean of Translational Science and Professor in UT Southwestern's Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Dr. Toto mentored her and encouraged her to become a physician assistant.

After completing her training, Dr. Bradley-Guidry saw the severe lack of diverse health care providers in Dallas’ undertreated communities and was moved to serve. In 2010, she saw an opportunity to make a greater impact as an educator and joined the faculty at UT Southwestern, breaking new ground as the first African American hired to teach in the Physician Assistant Studies Program. Her passion for health disparities and workforce diversity led her to obtain a doctorate in public health.

“UT Southwestern has always emotionally felt like home to me,” she said. “I’ve literally grown up here, professionally. UT Southwestern has given me an opportunity to advance my career from nursing to a physician assistant educator to leadership roles, and it has been a wonderful experience.”

  • Dr. Toto holds the Mary M. Conroy Professorship in Kidney Disease.