Growing up in upstate New York, Dr. Caudy developed a passion for the piano, leading her to acceptance at the prestigious Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. Despite her passion for the piano, she discovered she had a greater passion for people and shifted her training to pursue a career in medicine. After graduating with honors from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Dr. Caudy made it to Texas (as soon as she could) through her acceptance to the internal medicine residency and later oncology fellowship programs at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. Dr. Caudy is board certified in the specialties of internal medicine and medical oncology.
After starting the first Texas Oncology P.A. practice in Denton, Texas, she continued to care for patients in a growing and hectic oncology practice. She was later drawn back the Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, where she narrowed her practice to the specialty of breast cancer. Colleagues and patients agree that her practice was characterized by true compassion for her patients and an unwavering commitment to the highest standard of care.
Dr. Caudy’s fourth child, Jon, was diagnosed early on with moderate to severe autism. Debra retired from her medical practice, wanting to fully support her son and her three beautiful daughters. Under the direction of and in cooperation with some remarkable BCBAs, she has taken on the responsibility to teach and directly manage her son’s educational programming, ensuring that he continues to make meaningful progress.
Together with her husband of 29 years, Clay Heighten, M.D., they have funded the Jon Brigham Heighten endowed scholarship at UT Southwestern which is dedicated to recruiting and funding new scientists to pursue research in autism spectrum disease. Both have also provided funding directly to researchers and other scientific projects in autism research at UT Southwestern.
Dr. Caudy was also integral in working with Dr. Wildenthal and his team at Southwestern in their successful request for funding for the Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities (CADD) at UT Southwestern.
Looking for options for their son, Caudy and Heighen recently founded 29 Acres, with a mission to improve the quality of life for adults living with autism by creating an independent living community for adults with autism and other neurodiversities in North Texas.
Her work has been highlighted as an honoree in the 2018 Women That Soar Awards.
Epitomizing energy and hard work, Dr. Caudy is an avid runner, having completed more than a dozen marathons across the U.S., and will forever remain a fierce advocate for those living with autism.
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