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Executive Updates

Health Science Center Executive Update

Howdy!

Last week was an eventful week for the Health Science Center that will have a profound impact on our future. We announced a strengthened partnership with CHI St. Joseph Health and expanded our reach within the largest medical complex in the world as a founding member of the TMC3 initiative. Our partnership with CHI St. Joseph aligns with our commitment to rural population health and provides invaluable education experiences for our students. TMC3 will be an important resource for expanding our research portfolio in Engineering and Health and for the training of our EnMed students. I left these events excited about our future, because I know Texas A&M has the ability and the drive to lead the way in 21st century health care.

As we near the end of the 2017—2018 academic year, we have much to be proud of. I would like to share recent accomplishments across the institution and provide updates on important initiatives for the new academic year.

College of Dentistry Clinic and Education Building progresses:

The College of Dentistry’s new Clinic and Education Building is on track for an estimated opening in January 2020. Concrete on the first through third floors has been poured and the placement of steel and installation of utilities is currently underway. This nine-story, 157,756-square-foot facility is designed to serve a new era in dental education by fostering team-based practice settings that emphasize patient-centered care. Students and patients are at the heart of the new facility. Photos of the construction site can be found on the college’s website.

Lasker Lecture and Spring Symposium hosted by EnMed:

Last week I had the honor of attending the 2018 Spring Lasker Lecture and Biomedical Imaging Symposium hosted by the EnMed program, strengthening the partnership between the Colleges of Engineering and Medicine and the Houston Methodist Hospital and Houston Methodist Research Institute. Event attendees came from around the county and shared best practices and attended sessions led by some of the nation’s most renowned experts in biomedical imaging. Dr. Tony Guiseppi-Elie expertly organized the event and we are grateful to Dr. Claire Pomeroy of the Lasker Foundation for her support. Dr. Roderic I. Pettigrew, CEO of EnHealth and executive dean of EnMed, presented the Lasker Lecture, which was an incredible overview of the convergence of Engineering and Medicine. The health of all Americans will all benefit from this convergence. The Texas A&M and Houston Methodist EnMed program is pioneering this new field and we embrace the future we will help to create. I am grateful to all EnMed faculty, whose work was instrumental in our being chosen to host this prestigious event.

Tackling the opioid epidemic:

The Health Science Center has responded to the opioid crisis by forming a multidisciplinary opioid task force to reduce the burdens of opioid addiction, misuse and overdose on individuals, families, communities and the health care system. The task force is made up of representatives from all five Health Science Center components (dentistry, medicine, nursing, public health and pharmacy) as well as the Coastal Bend Health Education Center. Led by the School of Public Health’s Marcia Ory, PhD, MPH, the task force will serve as a focal point for research, education and practice issues critical to addressing the opioid epidemic and its impact on Texas.

College of Pharmacy students launch initiative to prevent opioid deaths:

College of Pharmacy students are spearheading a program called Operation Naloxone, in which pharmacy students train others in the community how to reverse opioid overdoses with Naloxone. Operation Naloxone will teach participants the signs of an overdose and how to use Naloxone to prevent death until the person can be transported to the hospital. You can read more about their work in the Houston Chronicle.

School of Public Health and College of Nursing celebrate anniversaries:

The School of Public Health is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2018. The Texas Legislature established the school in 1995 as part of a rural health initiative and upon receiving its degree-granting authority from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the inaugural Master of Public Health class was welcomed in September 1998. Today, the school consistently ranks among the top 25 graduate schools in public health by U.S. News & World Report.

The College of Nursing is celebrating its 10—year anniversary in 2018. Established in 2008 on the Bryan-College Station campus with 44 students, the program has grown to three additional locations—Round Rock, McAllen and Lufkin—and is home to more than 400 students pursuing bachelor’s, master’s and graduate certificates in nursing. Today, the college is recognized as a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education by the National League for Nursing and repeatedly boasts a 99 percent pass rate on the National Council Licensing Examination.

Health Science Center faculty awarded T3 grants:

Texas A&M University recently awarded grants to more than 30 faculty members at the Health Science Center for its T3, or Triads for Transformation, program. T3 provides funding to groups of three faculty members (the triads in T3’s name) to stimulate and support innovative interdisciplinary research. I’m proud of the success of all faculty members who were awarded these grants, and I’m excited to see the great research produced!

Staff recognized for meritorious service:

Congratulations to Health Science Center staff members who received 2018 President’s Meritorious Service Awards last week for their commendable service to Texas A&M. Loria Lynce from the Office of Business Affairs at the College of Medicine received the individual award and Healthy South Texas was the team recipient. The team includes Tiffany Bond, Patricia Mayland, Maria Garcia, Jill Crouch, Delia Martinez, Sandra Garcia, Cheryl Bullen, Liza Cardenas, Maira Caudillo-Balandran, Diane Cavazos, Rudy Flores, Veronica Ford, Evelia Castillo, Rose Lucio and Debra Kellstedt. Thank you for your commitment to our mission and embodiment of the Aggie core values. I am proud of each of you!

College of Medicine task force continues work for LCME accreditation:

I am thankful for committed faculty and staff, led by Dr. Amy Waer, vice dean of education and academic programs at the College of Medicine, who provide their expertise as we plan for the LCME accreditation visit in February 2020. Last month, 85 College of Medicine faculty members attended a planning retreat where we framed our strategy and developed goals and tactics to support excellence in our education, clinical and research enterprises. Now, a smaller group of faculty and staff have formed a task force that will refine findings and continue charting our path for the future. The LCME accreditation preparation is a top priority for the college and we are fortunate to have dedicated individuals engaged in this process.

In closing, thank you for all you do to represent the Texas A&M core values and help the Health Science Center offer transformational learning and service experiences, discover new advances in science and impact our state and nation in positive ways. For real-time updates, please follow me on Twitter @carrie_byington and visit the Vital Record news site.

With warmest wishes,
Carrie L. Byington, MD