Institutes

Two heads (or more) are better than one


By Shanley Chien | December 22, 2015

The Texas Medical Center announced Monday the four recipients of the inaugural Grant Program in Collaborative Health Policy Research.

Among the 21 applicants who submitted their research proposals, four were selected to receive a portion of the $750,000 grant funding. Each research initiative, which includes collaboration between two or more TMC member institutions, was reviewed and selected by a team of out-of-state health policy experts.

“The major goals of our Institute are to generate innovative practical approaches to improvement in health policy, and to support collaboration across the 56 member institutions. This program serves both of those goals,” said Arthur Garson, M.D., director of the TMC Health Policy Institute.

“It’s gratifying to see that, while there are a lot of institutions that make sure they attract the most number of patients and can look like they may be competitive at the research level, the collaboration is just terrific,” he said.

In keeping with the theme of collaboration, each of the four research initiatives takes an interdisciplinary and cross-institutional approach, pooling together various subject matter experts to examine specific issues that affect the health of Texans.

“We are very excited and we’re really happy that we were selected,” said principal investigator Rigoberto Delgado, Ph.D., assistant professor of management, policy and community health at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health. Delgado’s research initiative — which includes collaboration from the University of Houston, MD Anderson Cancer Center, The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston and Texas Children’s Hospital — focuses on increasing health care access via mobile health clinics for at-risk populations by using epidemiological data, management approaches and industrial engineering to develop an optimal region of operation for those services.

“What we’re looking at now is combining the efforts of different organizations that have been working somewhat independently, […] but now we have the elements in place to say, ‘Let’s come together. Let’s see what resources we can share,’ not only from the clinical point of view, but also from engineering, economics, epidemiological and community health points of view, and come up with a logical model that will help us bring these efforts together for the benefit of the community and maximize our limited resources,” Delgado added.

Vivian Ho, Ph.D., director of Center for Health and Biosciences at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, was also one of the four recipients to receive the inaugural grant.

“I’m so excited that the TMC Health Policy Institute is giving incentives to encourage researchers to work together across institutions,” Ho said. “This is actually forging a collaboration that wouldn’t have existed otherwise and I think that’s how we’re going to [generate] the best policy when we pull in expertise from different institutions in the TMC, which are all strong in particular fields.”

Ho will team up with experts from UT-SPH, Baylor College of Medicine and the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center to identify the motivation and track the implications of freestanding emergency departments in Texas. Especially with the surge of new emergency centers, Ho and her colleagues plan to conduct a closer examination of this trend to decide whether they are located in areas where there are unmet needs for emergency services or in areas where there’s more potential for earning a higher profit.

“Over the last five years, there’s been tremendous growth of freestanding emergency departments here in Texas, and anyone who lives here in Houston has seen them pop up somewhere along the streets that they drive on,” Ho said. “They represent potential convenience; however, they may have extremely high costs.”

While Delgado and Ho’s research projects examine health care services, fellow grant recipients Robert Phillips, M.D., Ph.D, chief medical officer of Houston Methodist Hospital, and Kenneth Smith, director of the Center to Eliminate Health Disparities at UTMB, will lead their respective research initiatives to study the patients.

Phillips and his team of collaborators from UTMB, Baylor and CHI St. Luke’s Health-Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center received the planning grant to analyze preventable readmissions in TMC institutions by developing strategies to reduce unplanned readmissions and using predictive analytics for existing models to identify risk of readmission. Ultimately, Phillips said, the goal of this research project is to improve the TMC as a whole.

“People always told me coming here that the TMC is the largest medical center in the world, so I want to use this grant to be the best medical center in the world,” Phillips said. “In putting everyone into the mix together, I think we’re going to come up with something really phenomenal.”

Smith, who will work with the University of Houston, Texas Children’s and Baylor, said he and his team plan on studying ways to reduce health risk and increase care access for child refugees, primarily children from Central America between 13 and 18 years of age who are escaping violence in their countries.

“I was very excited about [receiving the award],” Smith said. “This is actually a very good project that brings people from multiple perspectives and disciplines together, and that’s going to be great,” Smith said.

Garson said the TMC Health Policy Institute will host a seminar early next year for grant recipients to present their research ideas to a panel of senior experts from the TMC who will provide insights and recommendations. The panelists will serve as “on-the-spot advisers” to each of the four principal investigators to “kick these grants off in an even better direction than maybe when they started.”

Tags | Institutes, People



RELATED NEWS

picture

Obamacare: Cost of Care

December 04, 2015
picture

Obamacare: Quality of care

November 04, 2015
picture

Green Means Go

November 04, 2015

Social Posts

profile_image

Rice University

@RiceUniversity

https://t.co/wT6FtbjNnk

27 mins ago
profile_image

BCMHouston

@bcmhouston

RT @MenningerClinic: Save the Date: @BCMHouston's Advances in Clinical Psychiatry: Treatment-refractory Depression will be held Oct. 7. htt?

52 mins ago
profile_image

BCMHouston

@bcmhouston

RT @EUROIMMUN: Finally:? Human #norovirus ? scientists succeed at growing the virus in lab ?https://t.co/NHaMC0Rc1G via @bcmhouston https:/?

53 mins ago
profile_image

UniversityofHouston

@UHouston

Coog defensive tackle Ed Oliver brings ? to #HTownTakeover. https://t.co/U1QDRzjX7W ?: @HoustonChron https://t.co/qsivmvWPMR

7 hours ago
profile_image

Baylor College of Medicine

BaylorCollegeOfMedicine

Congratulations to Dr. Mary Rocha, named deputy editor for the American Academy of Pediatrics' Pediatrics Review and Education Program - Hospital Medicine!

10 hours ago
profile_image

BCMHouston

@bcmhouston

Baylor joins Chinese University of Hong Kong to host the Inaugural Joint Symposium in Clinical Genetics next May: https://t.co/QDGNkRmRic.

10 hours ago
profile_image

UniversityofHouston

@UHouston

@UHcougar308 @mason5plumlee @UHpres @TilmanJFertitta @UHBauerCollege @CNBC @BillionDollarTV The upcoming season will be better and REDDER!

10 hours ago
profile_image

UniversityofHouston

@UHouston

Can't wait to see @UHpres, @TilmanJFertitta & @UHBauerCollege's Ken Jones featured on @CNBC's @BillionDollarTV! ? https://t.co/LksIqpkxj5

11 hours ago
profile_image

Memorial Hermann

@memorialhermann

Oncology nurse navigators discuss methods helping people live beyond cancer @GreatDayHouston https://t.co/y3uncXrToW https://t.co/zebNJeZGgu

12 hours ago
profile_image

Rice University

@RiceUniversity

Yay! ? https://t.co/kVGky9qvE7

12 hours ago
profile_image

Baylor College of Medicine

BaylorCollegeOfMedicine

Register today for the Metastatic Breast Conference co-sponsored by Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center at Baylor College of Medicine.

12 hours ago
profile_image

Veterans Affairs

@DeptVetAffairs

#VeteranOfTheDay Charles Jay Roland @USArmy #WWI #infantry https://t.co/ImzC3KyUwx https://t.co/C4GaH66DEp

14 hours ago
profile_image

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

VeteransAffairs

Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran Charles Jay Roland. Charles served for two years during World War I with Company E, 8th Ohio Infantry and Company E, 1...

14 hours ago
profile_image

Veterans Affairs

@DeptVetAffairs

VA program to provide service dogs for some Veterans with mental health conditions https://t.co/0FDezt8ZnS via @MilitaryTimes

14 hours ago
profile_image

TexasHeartInstitute

@Texas_Heart

RT @HeartNews: Young women w/heart disease & stress are more susceptible to reduced blood flow to the heart https://t.co/hbBgYGK4LZ https:/?

14 hours ago