2022 CNS-PECN Training Director Award

Timothy Lotze, MD

Profile written by Gary Clark, MD

Dr. Timothy Lotze grew up in Houston, Texas. While completing his physics degree at Texas A&M University (Class of 1991), Tim felt the pull of medicine. This was in part because of his father’s distinguished career in obstetrics and gynecology along with a desire to directly help people in need. While attending the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, Tim found an early love for neuroscience in medical school and initially considered pursuing adult neurology. However, his love for working with children steered him into a categorical pediatrics residency in 1995 at Nationwide Children’s Hospital (then known as Columbus Children’s Hospital). Through the course of this residency, Tim found child neurology to be an ideal career for his interests and set his sights on training at Baylor College of Medicine to achieve that goal. Prior to coming to Baylor, Tim spent an extra year in Columbus serving as the Chief Resident in pediatrics from 1998-1999. This year was highly influential in developing his interest for clinical education and established a foundation upon which he continued to develop his skills in this area.

Upon completion of his residency training in child neurology in 2002, Tim joined the faculty at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital. While early in his career, he started to develop his clinical interest and expertise in neuromuscular disorders and pediatric multiple sclerosis. He remained active in training the child neurology residents at Baylor, however, to include ongoing development of residency program activities. Back in those days of paper charts and limited computer technology, he created an early electronic medical record system that utilized Microsoft Access to document resident encounters as well as to track various diagnoses and capture faculty billing on inpatient rounds. Tim received the ACGME Marvin Dunn Award in 2008, when he presented this work at the ACGME annual meeting.

When Tim was offered the opportunity to serve as the Child Neurology Residency Program Director in 2005, he jumped at the chance. Over the subsequent 17 years, Tim has continued to build and refine the residency program into one of the best in the country. Tim has led the program through a variety of enhancements to include expanding from two to five hospital-funded residency slots per year (two of which are reserved for basic neuroscience pathway residents) and the incorporation of the Neurodevelopmental Disabilities residency into the curriculum. With the onset of the Covid pandemic, Tim was instrumental in helping the program to quickly pivot resident education and clinical activities into an online format.

Tim has continually worked with colleagues in pediatrics and adult neurology to assure the residents are receiving the best education while making sure to meet ACGME and ABPN requirements. Leveraging the resources available at Texas Children’s Hospital, Tim continually refined the education programs to help assure that residents in training would be ready for modern practice. Examples of this include increasing resident exposure to genetics and gene therapy, fetal neurology, neurocritical care, neuroimmunology, and palliative care.

Tim has also promoted scholarship amongst the residents through teaching critical evaluation of the literature, research methodology, and presentation and writing skills. Nearly all graduates have presented at national meetings as well as published in peer-reviewed journals; most of these publications are collaborative with other residents as well as faculty within the Division.

Tim has rare qualities that make him invaluable as a program director. Tim is a leader, is well-organized, utilizes technology optimally to leverage complicated systems in medicine, is an outstanding physician, a great teacher, a visionary, has a wonderful sense of humor and is the ultimate professional. He inspires trainees to love to learn and to be the very best child neurologist and neurodevelopmental disabilities specialist. Tim engenders a love of learning and a professional approach to the practice of medicine. He finds his greatest satisfaction in helping others to be successful, and this is especially true when it comes to the residents that he has helped to train. He blends clinical teaching with humor and establishes an environment that promotes a growth mindset. The American Neurological Association (ANA) recognizes institutions that get the most students to go into neurology, and Baylor College of Medicine has been recognized for many years as top in the US, largely due to Tim’s efforts in student teaching. Through his modeling, residents aspire to likewise become clinical and educational leaders in the field, and many of the graduates have achieved that goal.

Tim is consistently ranked as one of our top teachers at Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine. In 2009, he simultaneously received two Rose Fulbright Awards from the College in recognition of Education Leadership as well as Evaluation and Teaching. That same year, he was inducted into the Baylor Academy of Distinguished Educators. His ongoing hard work and success in educational leadership led to him receiving the American Academy of Neurology Program Director Recognition Award in 2016. A letter of support from a former trainee at that time stated: “Dr. Lotze’s professionalism, dependence on evidence-based medicine, and patient compassion and advocacy has strongly influenced me during my training. He has been a model not only in his role as a teacher but more as an example. … He was also key in teaching me how to care for a complex patient with an organized systematic approach, while not losing sight of the family and the child.”

As part of his nomination for the PECN Program Director Award, his former chief residents made this key observation about a key quality in Tim’s leadership: “It has always been clear to us that Dr. Lotze has a primary interest: the wellbeing of his patients and the residents in the child neurology and neurodevelopmental disabilities programs. He takes an active role in overcoming obstacles – allowing residents to outline the changes requested and following it with effective execution, prioritizing the resident’s success and wellness over all other administrative interests and clinical service obligations. When residents propose programmatic changes to Dr. Lotze, he always responds with “why not?” in place of “why?” This simple act of allowing residents to advocate for themselves and entrusting them with their own education epitomizes the care and guidance he provides trainees on their journey of growth to become the best child neurologists they can be.”

This statement speaks to Tim’s recognition and support for his residents and the faculty to be active participants in the ongoing construction and development of the program. This shared responsibility provides everyone with an opportunity for improving the quality of the program as well as a sense of accomplishment when effective change is made.

Another former chief resident made this observation, which speaks to Tim’s open and giving nature: “He has always had an “open door” policy, and wholeheartedly assists trainees in overcoming personal and professional challenges. Certainly, being a program director has its fair share of crises and stumbling blocks, but Dr. Lotze manages to approach any issues with a professional, level-headed mindset, and optimistic attitude. I found this to be of utmost importance and I have tried to emulate his example while I co-managed such issues as a Chief Resident. All of this to say, that it is abundantly clear that Dr. Lotze truly cares about each individual in his training program and sees to it that their educational as well as personal needs are met.”

Tim has done all of the above while developing his nationally recognized expertise in neuromuscular and neuroinflammatory disorders. He is one of our busiest clinicians but is always ready to volunteer to take more service time, especially when this involves teaching, mentoring and being an outstanding example to our trainees. His dedication to the success of our large Child Neurology training program has no doubt been the driving force of its evolution and continued growth. I believe his innovative, holistic-minded, and supportive approach to the trainees and program make him one of the best residency program directors of Child Neurology in the country, and thus fully deserving of this award.