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Senior Vice President Updates

October 2018: Senior Vice President Update


I am continually impressed by the productiveness and dedication of our faculty, staff and students and this semester is no exception. In this executive update, I want to share recent accomplishments, news and events of interest around the Health Science Center.

Flu vaccination clinics

Our annual interprofessional education and service event, flu vaccine clinics, will soon be underway. Health Science Center students, under supervision of faculty, will be administering the vaccinations at clinics across the Bryan-College Station campuses in collaboration with Texas A&M Health Community Clinic (formerly known as Texas A&M Physicians). This is a collaborative effort that benefits the local community and gives students in diverse health professions the opportunity to work together to vaccinate thousands of patients. For up-to-date information about the times and locations of the walk-in and drive-through clinics, visit Vital Record.

Screening and panel discussion of Showtime’s The Trade

The Opioid Task Force held a screening of an episode of Showtime’s The Trade, followed by a panel discussion with local opioid addiction and recovery experts who shared their perspectives. The Trade is a five-episode series that shines a spotlight on the opioid crisis in America, including the suppliers, law enforcement and those addicted to opioids. The event was well-attended and was an important aspect of the task force’s community outreach arm. Chair, Dr. Marcia Ory, served as the moderator and student ambassadors helped welcome event attendees. Photos from the event can be found on our website.

As a reminder, if you are a health sciences student with an interest in addressing the opioid epidemic through research, education or service, and would like to become involved as a student ambassador, it’s not too late to apply.

SHIFT Case Competition

I am honored to share that the College of Medicine hosted our first ever SHIFT Texas Health Challenges Case Competition recently on the Bryan-College Station campus. Medical students from across the state came to Texas A&M for the competition to tackle a complex health challenge: rural health care. The winning team, five students from the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, received the grand prize. I appreciate the help of our esteemed judges, including State Representative Nicole Collier; Romeo Bachand, Jr, MD, PhD, FACCP, medical director at Ruth’s Place Clinic; Douglas Curran, MD, president of the Texas Medical Association; Lieutenant General Mark Ediger, retired surgeon general of the U.S. Air Force; Mary Kirkendall, MD, medical director of the Baylor College of Medicine Children’s Hospital of San Antonio; and Kia Parsi, MD, chief medical officer of CHI St. Joseph Health. I am also thankful to our very own Dr. Nancy Dickey, who provided the keynote speech during the opening session. Finally, congratulations to our medical students, Jared Laney, Rhett Butler and Thomas Dowlearn, for a successful inaugural event.

New associate dean of research at the College of Nursing

Jane Nelson Bolin, BSN, JD, PhD, who has long been a professor at the School of Public Health and director of the Southwest Rural Health Research Center, will now also serve as the associate dean of research at the College of Nursing. She will work to enhance the college’s research portfolio, a priority of both the Health Science Center and College of Nursing. Look for more information to come soon on Dr. Bolin’s new role in Vital Record.

Health Resources & Services Administration grants

A number of Health Science Center programs and components have recently received grants from the United States Health Resources & Services Administration:

New grants:

  • The A&M Rural and Community Health Institute (ARCHI) is the sole recipient of a five-year, $4 million grant to create the Center for Optimizing Rural Health, a technical advisory center for the nation that will actively help rural communities maintain their hospital or create other means of access to care after hospitals close. Nancy Dickey, MD, ARCHI executive director and president emeritus of the Texas A&M Health Science Center, will serve as principal investigator on the grant.
  • The College of Dentistry received a $1.6 million grant to help bring more dentists to health professional shortage areas. All of the state’s dental schools (Texas A&M College of Dentistry, UT Health San Antonio, School of Dentistry and University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston) will work together on this grant, with Peggy Timothé, DDS, MPH, MA, assistant professor in public health sciences at Texas A&M College of Dentistry, serving as a principal investigator.
  • The College of Nursing received $1.47 million to recruit and train nurses from rural and underserved areas in Texas to become certified adult sexual assault nurse examiners (SANE) and to help forensic nurses receive enhanced experimental learning or certification. Stacey Mitchell, DNP, SANE-A, SANE-P, DF-AFN, FAAN, clinical associate professor, will serve as principal investigator.
  • The School of Public Health received $975,000 to address mental health care disparities through telehealth counseling services. Carly McCord, PhD, research assistant professor, will serve as the principal investigator on this project which will increase mental health services for low-income residents in the Brazos Valley.


  • The College of Dentistry has received a continuation of their five-year, $5.4 million grant to expand predoctoral and postdoctoral training through collaborations with Dallas-area health care institutions and community partners. Now in year three, Daniel Jones, PhD, DDS, professor and chair of public health sciences, is the principal investigator on the grant, aimed at increasing interprofessional training to help integrate dentistry into the broader health care delivery system, a vital component to increase access to care for underserved populations.
  • The College of Dentistry’s Center of Excellence received a continuation of their nearly $3.5 million, five-year grant to advance student and faculty diversity in the college. The center’s director, Ernestine S. Lacy, DDS, serves as principal investigator on the project—aimed at increasing access to quality, affordable oral health care in underserved communities.
  • The Texas A&M Southwest Rural Health Research Center received a continuation of funds for their four-year, $2.8 million grant to research critical health issues facing rural populations in our country. Now in year three, the team—led by Jane Bolin, BSN, JD, PhD, associate dean for research at the College of Nursing and director of the Southwest Rural Health Research Center—plans to examine the following: differences in rural and urban communities; community health worker roles, regulation and growth in rural America; disaster planning, preparedness and response for rural long-term care providers; and rural and urban differences in intimate partner violence and domestic abuse.

These grants show recognition at the federal level of our efforts to collectively bring health care to rural and underserved communities. I am also excited to announce that we are forming a HRSA/Rural Medicine Research Interest Group that will be led by Steve Brown, MD, chief clinical officer and AVP of clinical strategy. More information on this group is forthcoming.

College of Pharmacy receives FDA grant

Mansoor Khan, RPh, PhD has received a $750,000 grant from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). He will be studying tobacco products and drug delivery systems. Dr. Khan, professor and vice dean of the College of Pharmacy College Station Campus, specializes in formulations design and development of new pharmaceuticals. Congratulations, Dr. Khan!

Medication Assistance Program expands services

Healthy South Texas’ Medication Assistance Program has expanded services throughout South Texas to reach more people in need. Impact has nearly doubled from last year, from $5.9 million in prescription savings in 2017 to $11 million in 2018. The program’s staff is able to lower participants’ prescription costs by assisting them with filling out lengthy and often complex applications that offer a limited supply of free or low-cost medications through pharmaceutical companies’ patient assistance programs. I am proud of this work that seeks to improve the health of South Texans with chronic diseases who would not otherwise be able to afford their medications.

Thanks to each of you for all you do for our communities across the state. I look forward to sharing additional information and exciting developments in the coming months. 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