Dr. Vicki Lee Hopwood

Dr. Vicki Hopwood


Dr. Vicki L. Hopwood, 53, a faculty member of the School of Health Professions, Assistant Professor of Cytogenetic Technology, passed away on February 11, 2016 after a long battle with cancer.

Vicki joined MD Anderson Cancer Center in 1985 and she has received a 30 Employee Service Award last year as a program director of Cytogenetic Technology.

“Ironclad integrity, relentless dedication, and bottomless compassion are the words that come to mind when we were asked to describe Dr. Vicki Hopwood” said colleagues at the School of Health Professions. Under her directorship, she has graduated over 100 cytogenetic technologists who are currently working across the United States and in the world.  Prior to this role, she was the laboratory manager for Dr. Sen Pathak and before that to Dr. T. C. Hsu.  Some of the world leading cytogeneticists came from these laboratories that were mentored by her.

To describe her abilities as a program director, students in the Cytogenetic Technology program have consistently scored well above the national average, and have won numerous competitive awards, both locally and nationally.  These awards include:  Houston Minority Faculty Scholarships, UTMDACC School of Health Sciences Scholarships (only 5 are awarded each year), Barbara J. Kaplan Scholarship (only 1 is awarded per year across the nation), Best Student Research Award at the Annual Association of Genetic Technologists (AGT) Conference (only 1 is awarded per year), and Best Poster Award at the Annual AGT conference (only 1 is awarded per year).  Furthermore, a student’s posters have been presented at both the annual MDACC Trainee Recognition Week and the Annual Texas Genetic Symposium.  All this is accomplished through the direction of Vicki Hopwood.  Institutionally, Vicki has served on the Education Resource Committee from 1997-2002, a member on the Diversity and Cultural Competence Course Project Team in 2003, served as Sub-Committee Chair for High School Day on the Education Week Committee from 1999-2000 and for the past 10 years she was involved with the accreditation process through Southern Association of College and Schools.

Vicki served as President for the Genetic Educators and Mentors Committee for AGT and has been a member since its conception in 2003.  She also served as Chair of Education Committee for the Foundation of Genetic Technology.  In terms of professional memberships, Vicki is a member of the Association of Genetic Technologists, Texas Association of Advisors for the Health Professions, and The Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions.  She received the Outstanding Educator Award from MDACC for 2002, 2003, the Outstanding Manager of Education Award from MDACC for 2004, the 2012 Joseph Warren Excellence in Teaching Award, 2014, and the recent 2014 Gordon Dewald lecture series.  Vicki Hopwood was the only recipient of the 2015 AGT Outstanding Achievement Award. Finally, Vicki was either the first author or co-author for 39 peer-reviewed journals, 52 published abstracts, 3 book chapters, and 95 local, state, nationwide presentations. 

In the laboratory Vicki Hopwood is an advocate for support of laboratory personnel and quality improvement.  Vicki holds various workshops throughout the year and often invites people not only from the Clinical Cytogenetics Labs but also Research Lab personnel to attend.  She has an open door policy for anyone with questions on projects, education, or just to pick her brain for ideas, which is why she is so highly regarded by her peers throughout the institution.

Vicki Hopwood is a very forward thinker.  She looks at all the possibilities and is not averse to changing things for the better.  Vicki understands the Mission and Vision of this institution and that is why she will do what she can in “Making Cancer History”.  Excellence, dedication, and compassion are the building blocks of a great educator. With Vicki’s lifetime commitment and dedication, currently the Cytogenetic Technology program at MD Anderson is the largest NAACLS-accredited Cytogenetic degree program in the United States. 

Visitation will take place on Saturday, February 20, 2016 from 3–7:00 p.m. and Sunday from 11–1:00 p.m. with 1:00 p.m. Funeral Services to follow at Carnes Funeral Home – Texas City, 3100 Gulf Freeway 77591.