September 2017 Update: Announcing TMC Natural Disaster Policy Grants

In response to the unprecedented impact of Hurricane Harvey, the Texas Medical Center Health Policy Institute will award $100,000 in grants to support research on ways to reduce the impacts of natural disasters facing the Houston area. Click here for more information.

About the Program

The TMC Grant Program in Collaborative Health Policy Research unites multiple perspectives to support innovative approaches to health policy. By enabling TMC’s leading policy researchers to share insights in a new way, the grant program integrates diverse expertise from multiple institutions. Since 2016, the TMC Health Policy Institute has awarded $1.5 million in grants to support synergistic policy research among the Texas Medical Center’s 59 institutions.

Each research team includes collaborators from three or more TMC organizations working together for the first time. In addition, the team’s one-year project must promise results that benefit the health of Texas in the near future.

Current grant recipients are exploring policies related to at-risk populations, reducing readmissions, freestanding emergency departments and improving treatment of refugee children. Drawing on one another’s strengths and the resources of the Texas Medical Center, these teams are working to not only enhance policies but also improve the lives of the people they touch.

Applicants submitted 39 letters of intent expressing interest in receiving grants in 2018. Those who have been invited to submit full applications have been notified. Winners will be notified in the fall.

2017-2018 Research Initiatives

Improving Vaccination Rates within the Houston Independent School District: Closing the Vaccination Gap

The project will study the vaccination rates of pre-kindergarten and kindergarten children across eight low-performing Houston schools and identify effective methods for improving low vaccination rates.

Susan Wootton, M.D., associate professor of pediatric infectious diseases at the Center for Clinical Research and Evidence-Based Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) McGovern Medical School, will collaborate with the UTHealth School of Public Health, UTHealth School of Nursing, Baylor College of Medicine and the City of Houston Department of Health and Human Services.

Developing a Multi-Institutional Collaborative Policy for Zika

Researchers will study the recent rise of Zika by identifying areas in the health care system that impede testing, caring for and advising patients about Zika. Based on their findings, they will develop policy proposals for more effective Zika response throughout the TMC, the City of Houston and Harris County.

Stephanie Morain, Ph.D., assistant professor of medical ethics and health policy at Baylor College of Medicine, will be joined by experts from Texas Children’s Hospital, UTHealth and Ben Taub General Hospital-Harris Health System.

Go, Slow, Whoa! Utilizing a Food Labeling System to Make “Healthy” the Easy Choice

This initiative aims to promote healthier food choices by working with 10 local corner stores to implement a simple yet effective red-yellow-green nutritional labeling system. The project seeks to address the education gap in nutrition in minority groups and low-income communities.

E. Lisako J. McKyer, Ph.D., associate professor and associate dean of Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health, will partner with researchers from Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Southern University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

Policies and Practices Addressing Medical and Mental Health Needs for Children in Foster Care

The project will examine the medical and mental health of children in the greater Houston area foster care system, and evaluate the policies that affect their care. Researchers will use their research to provide recommendations that can improve long-term outcomes.

Christopher Greeley, M.D., professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, will partner with researchers from UTHealth McGovern Medical School, Texas Children’s Hospital and Rice University.



Susan Wootton



Stephanie Morain



E. Lisako J. McKyer

Texas A&M Health Science Center


Christopher Greeley

Baylor College of Medicine

2016-2017 Research Initiatives

Increasing Health Care Access for At-Risk Populations: Research-Based Policies for Mobile Health Clinics
Rigoberto Delgado, PI, UT-SPH, collaborators: University of Houston, MD Anderson Cancer Center, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, and Texas Children’s Hospital

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Tracking Implications of Freestanding Emergency Departments for Texans
Vivian Ho, PI, Rice University, collaborators: University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health, Baylor College of Medicine, Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center

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Policies, Practices and Structures Impacting the Health and Care Access of Refugee Children
Kenneth Smith, PI, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, collaborators: University of Houston, Texas Children’s Hospital, Baylor College of Medicine

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The TEXAS Project: Transitions Explored and Studied: Leveraging Data to Prevent Readmissions in the TMC
Robert Phillips, PI, Houston Methodist, collaborators: MD Anderson Cancer Center, Baylor College of Medicine, CHI-ST. Luke’s Health, Texas A&M Health Science Center

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Rigoberto Delgado

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston


Vivian Ho

Rice University


Kenneth Smith

The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB)


Robert Phillips

Houston Methodist