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Monday, January 25, 2021

W. Paul Bowman

Lifetime Achievement Award

UNT Health Science Center Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine Cook Children’s Medical Center

When Dr. Paul Bowman pioneered the first pediatric bone marrow transplants for acute lymphoblastic leukemia at the old Cook Children’s Hospital almost 30 years ago, the survival rate for this most common form of all childhood cancer was only about 50 percent. There was not much “life after cancer.” Today, the overall 5-year survival rate is greater than 90 percent, and Bowman is medical director of Cook Children’s Medical Center’s “Life after Cancer Program,” which focuses on quality of life for young survivors. Even though his first bone marrow transplant patient, a baby born with leukemia, relapsed and lived only a few months after she returned home to Odessa, her parents were so impressed with the kind and daring young doctor that they donated money to Cook to start the first pediatric bone marrow transplant program in the southwest United States. The program now treats 30 to 32 patients each year. Bowman is also professor and chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine/UNT Health Science Center and director of academic pediatrics at Cook, where his colleagues often call on him to discuss particularly complex cancer cases – and he has helped develop Cook’s telemedicine program to follow up on cancer patients from as far away as Midland and Odessa and augment on-site Cook specialty clinics, throughout North Texas. “Our cancer survivors program helps young adults transition into the adult health care world,” Bowman says. “We follow up and learn what our treatments have done for the good of the patient and the bad effects, especially toxic neurological effects, but also things like fertility and sleep problems and marriage and family life. We want our survivors to enjoy independent and autonomous lives.” Research from the program and data from the human genome project “give us more opportunity to develop individual treatment programs that get the best therapeutic index and least long-term side effects,” Bowman noted. While he is an M.D., rather than a D.O., he said he believes strongly in the osteopathic philosophy of “looking at the whole person to give the best shot at healing” and teaching patients to be their own best advocates. He sees his position at TCOM as “a great way to diversify and do good over the long-term.” Bowman, 62, is a native of Winnipeg, Canada. He came to Fort Worth from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., where he completed a fellowship in pediatric hematology-oncology. He and his wife, Lois, also from Winnipeg, have been married 41 years and have three adult children and four grandchildren.    What drew you to the health care field? I was drawn to health care by the example of my father, William David Bowman, who was a leading pediatrician and clinical educator for over 40 years in my hometown of Winnipeg, Canada. Who is your biggest inspiration? My biggest inspiration comes from the many patients and families I have worked with over the years who have struggled to overcome deadly diseases, such as childhood leukemia and related illnesses. What is your advice for people getting into the health care field? Whatever path you choose, I recommend an emphasis on wellness and prevention. The future of health care depends on not focusing entirely on patching up the sick, but also in working with patients as partners in promoting their health and longevity. Do your best, and you will always have plenty of job security! – Carolyn Poirot

Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

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