Skip to Content

Newsroom

Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center Joins Growing Health Disparities Consortium

Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center Joins Growing Health Disparities Consortium
M. D. Anderson News Release 10/25/04

The Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center has joined 15 other leading Houston and Texas academic and medical centers as the newest member of the Health Disparities Education, Awareness, Research & Training (HDEART) Consortium.

With the addition of the VA Medical Center to the statewide consortium, comes the opportunity for the group to extend its reach beyond Texas borders by utilizing the VA’s extensive telemedicine network. With the addition of the VA and its teleconferencing system, the consortium now has the potential to reach students, researchers, physicians and health care workers at more than 200 VA centers with its educational opportunities on health disparities.

According to Lovell Jones, Ph.D., director of the Center for Research on Minority Health at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and a founder of the consortium, the VA Medical Center brings a wealth of resources to the group as well as a patient population and staff that have much to offer -- and gain -- from the consortium’s shared research, educational opportunities and funding sources. 

As one of its goals, the consortium is working towards developing a Continuing Medical Education (CME) unit or certification in health disparities. Ultimately, the group would like to develop a curriculum for an advanced academic degree in the burgeoning specialty.

“The consortium is pleased to welcome the VA Medical Center and we invite its hundreds of
Houston-based employees and thousands of national employees to take advantage of and contribute to the many educational programs and research studies we have under way,” said Jones.

“We have been engaged in research to determine the effects of health disparity for several years, including the development of more effective communication strategies between patients and providers. The opportunity to collaborate with M. D. Anderson and other outstanding organizations strengthens our efforts and offers the potential to improve the delivery of health care to veterans and the broader population,” said Edgar L. Tucker, director of the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center.

 “We are extremely proud of one of our investigators, Cayla Teal, Ph.D., who is pursuing research on cultural influences on health beliefs and decisions as a Kellogg Scholar of the HDEART Consortium,” said Carol Ashton, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Houston Center for Quality of Care and Utilization Studies at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center. “Dr. Teal, who will conduct her research at the VA, is one of a new generation of scientists preparing for a career and leadership role in health disparities research.”

The consortium launched its inaugural anchor course entitled, “Disparities in Health in America: Working Toward Social Justice,” at the University of Houston in the fall of 2002. Later, other workshops and courses were held at M. D. Anderson and Rice University. Texas Southern University is presently hosting the anchor course for this academic year. The second course, “ Human Genomics,” is being conducted at Prairie View A& M University and teleconferenced to the Texas Medical Center.

The consortium began in early 2002 when faculty from the Center for Research on Minority Health at M. D. Anderson, the Texas Program for Society and Health at Rice University, the University of Houston, and Texas Southern University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences came together to form the Health Disparities Consortium. Later renamed, the consortium has touched more than 300 students and acquainted them with health disparities solutions and challenges.

Members of the consortium now include: Texas A & M University System Health Science Center, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Prairie View A & M University and its College of Nursing, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, University of Houston, Rice University, Texas Tech University Health Science Center, Lee College, San Jacinto College, Texas Southern University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Baylor College of Medicine, Texas A & M University, Texas Woman’s University and The University of Texas Health Center at Tyler.


© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center