Dr. Thomas Schlenker received a warm, or rather hot, welcome to San Antonio, when he joined our team in the midst of Texas’ hottest summer in recorded history. After nearly four months on the job, and with temperatures plummeting into the cool 90s and upper 80s, Schlenker says he feels right at home in San Antonio, with its friendly people and culture. Here are a few questions that will help you get to know our Wisconsin cheese connoisseur, Packers-fan, new cowboy in town.
Q: Why did you choose San Antonio?
A: The city’s proximity to Mexico, my wife’s home country and where her family lives. It will hopefully bring us to more frequent contact with them. Also, at the time of the interview I was told the organization was ripe for change while addressing the most pressing public health needs of the community. Also, the Tejano culture, blend of Spanish, Anglo and Indian, it was very attractive.
Q: What was difficult to leave behind in Wisconsin?
A: The outdoors, the lush green country, with water everywhere and the four seasons (not the hotel)
Q: What were you most surprised by upon your arrival in Texas?
A: How friendly and open people are, the wide open spaces and how much San Antonio spreads out geographically.
Q: What is your major goal for SAMHD?
A: To align the work of our department with the major public health needs of the community.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about our industry?
A: People confuse health with health care and they don’t understand the role of the local health department.
Q: What was your first job ever?
A: Working at an Italian grocery store making sausage in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Q: Favorite CD?
A: Kind of blue, by Miles Davis.
Q: Favorite gastronomic experience in San Antonio so far?
A: Eating sopes at Tito’s Mexican Food on South Alamo.
Q: Best advice for younger generations?
A: Make learning fun.