Health Policy

A Conversation between Inaugural Health Policy Grant Recipients & TMC Leaders

Tuesday, April 4, 2017 | 5 p.m. - 7 p.m. Add to Calendar

The Texas Medical Center’s (TMC) Health Policy Institute awarded $750,000 last year through a new grant program aimed at promoting collaboration between TMC institutions, shaping health policy, and improving the lives of Texans. To celebrate the conclusion of the grant program’s inaugural round, TMC is hosting a free event for students, faculty, doctors, nurses, and other members of the healthcare, academic and Houston community to learn more about the findings from our four, grant-supported projects.


The program required those seeking grants to form teams that included investigators, whom they have never worked with before, from multiple TMC member organizations. The $750,000 in inaugural awards supported four one-year projects on the following topics:

  • Hospital readmissions
  • Mobile health clinics
  • Refugee health care
  • Freestanding emergency departments


The principal investigators from these four projects will present their research findings and participate in a panel discussion with leaders from TMC institutions:

  • Eric Boerwinkle, Ph.D., Dean, UT School of Public Health
  • Marc Boom, M.D., MBA, President and CEO, Houston Methodist Hospital System
  • Paul Klotman, M.D., President, CEO, and Executive Dean, Baylor College of Medicine

Moderators will be the Health Policy Institute’s Director, Arthur (Tim) Garson, Jr., MD, MPH and Associate Director, Stephen H. Linder, Ph.D.


Each brief presentation of the results and policy impact will be followed by a panel discussion of its implications.

Grant Descriptions

Robert Phillips, PI, Houston Methodist
Collaborators: UTMB, Baylor, Texas A&M

The TEXAS Project: Transitions EXplored and Studied: Leveraging Data to Prevent Readmissions in the TMC

Preventable readmissions (PRAs) burden patients and the health system. Each of the TMC institutions faces this issue, which is accentuated for patients who receive care in the TMC and then return to a rural setting. The long-term goals of this project (The TEXAS Project) are to (i) determine which of a number of strategies will be most effective and least costly to reduce unplanned readmissions back to participating acute care hospitals in the TMC, and (ii) assess the validity of existing models used to predict risk of readmission.

Roberto Delgado, PI, UT-SPH
Collaborators: U of H, MDACC, UTMB, and TCH

Increasing Healthcare Access for At-Risk-Populations: Research-based Policies for Mobile Health Clinics

Mobile clinics play an important role in providing healthcare to at-risk populations in both urban and rural areas. This project aims to propose evidence-based policies which stimulate the coordinated expansion of mobile clinic programs while maximizing benefit for underserved populations and reducing healthcare costs.

Vivian Ho, PI, Rice
Collaborators: UT-SPH, Baylor, VAMC

Tracking the Implications of Freestanding Emergency Departments for Texans

Freestanding emergency departments (FSEDs) potentially relieve overcrowding in hospital emergency rooms and deliver care in lower cost settings. Alternatively, FSEDs may increase spending by delivering supplemental emergency care at high prices. We will test whether opening FSEDs increases an area’s use and spending on emergency services. We will also examine whether FSEDs open in areas of highest need, or instead in areas that yield higher profits. Findings will guide future licensing requirements and potential consumer protections.

Kenneth Smith, PI, UTMB
Collaborators: U of H, TCH, Baylor

Policies, Practices and Structures Impacting the Health and Care Access of Refugee Children

This research aims to uncover policies, agency practices and environmental factors associated with child refugee health. The results will enable the development of policy alternatives and inform constructive policy dialogue among relevant stakeholders to improve child refugee health and access to health care.


For more information and registration, visit:


Third Coast

6550 Bertner Ave., Floor 6


Tatum Boatwright