(January 21, 2011)

Contact: Rick DelaHaya, Centenary News Services, 318.869.5073

Centenary alumnus to aid in recovery of Congresswoman

SHREVEPORT, La. (Centenary News Service) — Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is expected to begin the next phase of her recovery at Memorial Hermann's level one trauma center in Houston, Texas where she will be evaluated prior to being transferred to nearby TIRR Memorial Hermann.

John Holcomb
Dr. John Holcomb
WATCH Dr. Holcomb's interview on Good Morning America

By her side and helping in her recovery will be Centenary alumnus Dr. John Holcomb, M.D. ('81).

Dr. Holcomb graduated from Centenary College in 1981 with a B.S. in Biology with Honors Cum Laude, from the University of Arkansas Medical School in Little Rock in 1985, and served in the U.S. Army from 1985 until 2008, retiring with the rank of colonel. He currently serves as professor and chief of acute care surgery and director of the Center for Translational Injury Research at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston and is one of the nation's preeminent trauma surgeons, specializing in traumatic brain injuries.

"The congresswoman has received exceptional care while in Tucson and we are encouraged by her progress," said Dr. Holcomb. "Upon her arrival, our experienced, multidisciplinary team in the Neuro-trauma intensive care unit (ICU) will evaluate her condition to ensure she is ready for the next step in her recovery. We anticipate that her time in the ICU will be brief and that she will move quickly toward a tailored and comprehensive rehab plan at TIRR Memorial Hermann."

Holcomb is one of the nation's preeminent trauma surgeons, specializing in traumatic brain injuries. In 2008, Dr. Holcomb received the Lifetime Achievement Award in Trauma Resuscitation Science from the American Heart Association, the United States Special Operations Command Medal, and the Service award from the American College of Surgery, Committee on Trauma for outstanding scientific contributions to the surgery of trauma and dedication to the care of wounded warriors.

Early Friday morning, Rep. Giffords left the Tucson, Ariz. hospital where she has been treated since receiving a gunshot wound January 9. The ambulance she was in was escorted by a group of motorcyclists from the Veterans of Foreign Wars according to her office. She will depart from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base for the flight to Houston.

The move is the latest in a string of milestones for Giffords since the 40-year-old congresswoman was shot in the forehead in an assassination attempt at a meeting with constituents she was hosting outside a Tucson grocery store. Six people died and 13 were wounded.

Congresswoman Giffords will begin her recovery process at Memorial Hermann's level one trauma center that is affiliated with The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

"Like so many others across the country, we have watched Congresswoman Giffords' progress with great interest," said Memorial Hermann president and CEO Dan Wolterman. "We are honored that her family and medical team have entrusted her ongoing care to Memorial Hermann."

WATCH Dr. Holcomb's interview on Good Morning America

About Centenary College of Louisiana

Centenary College is a private, four-year arts and sciences college affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Founded in 1825, it is the oldest chartered liberal arts college west of the Mississippi River and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Centenary is one of 16 colleges and universities constituting the Associated Colleges of the South and has been recognized as "One of the Best 371 Colleges" by the Princeton Review and one of "America's Best Colleges" and one of "America's Best Private Colleges" by Forbes.com. In 2008 Centenary College celebrated 100 years in Shreveport and Bossier City.