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Home | Tag Archives: Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso

Tag Archives: Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso

$3M gift by Rick, Ginger Francis to TTUHSC El Paso will be matched by University

On Tuesday, officials with Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso), along with the Paso Del Norte Community Foundation and Rick and Ginger Francis, announced a $3 million gift to the university.

“We love El Paso and the borderland region and feel it is important to make a difference on our watch,” Rick and Ginger Francis said. “We’ve had success and we want to share that success with the community, leaving it a better place for future generations.”

The Francis’ $3 million gift to TTUHSC El Paso will go to endow four deanships, as well as the endowed chair for the TTUHSC El Paso president, named in their honor.

This gift will be matched by TTUHSC El Paso, doubling its impact.

“Endowed positions allow us to attract and retain talented leadership from across the country who embody our university’s mission. That is what we have done in assembling an exceptional group of deans for our university,” said TTUHSC President Richard Lange, M.D., M.B.A. “Endowed deanships are one of the greatest ways to amplify what we do best here at TTUHSC El Paso: educate the next generation of health care professionals and conduct research on health issues affecting our border population.”

“TTUHSC El Paso has created an institution that will forever impact El Paso with new educational opportunities for future generations,” Rick and Ginger Francis said. “This gift will go toward the next phase of attracting the best and brightest faculty to help propel the university forward.”

Additionally, the Francis have established the Ginger G. and L. Frederick Francis Foundation in the Paso del Norte Community Foundation.

Tracy Yellen, CEO of the PDN Community Foundation, said the gift illustrates the collaboration needed to push the West Texas region forward.

“Rick and Ginger established the Ginger G. and L. Frederick Francis Foundation as a donor advised fund in the Paso del Norte Community Foundation to facilitate their charitable giving and support organizations like TTUHSC El Paso that are essential to the future of our region,” Yellen said. “We are honored to partner with Rick and Ginger and TTUHSC El Paso in this way. It is a testament to Rick and Ginger’s leadership and generosity, and the power of collaboration.”

The gift comes as the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine celebrates its 10-year anniversary. TTUHSC El Paso would not be what it is today without the generous support of many champions, including Rick and Ginger Francis — Texas Tech alumni with a long and meaningful history of leadership and giving.

University officials add that, Rick and Ginger Francis were among the earliest and most ardent supporters of TTUHSC El Paso before shovels even broke ground on what is the campus today.

TTUHSC El Paso will be the only health sciences center in Texas to have all its deanships endowed. The deans lead the four schools that comprise TTUHSC El Paso: the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine, the Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, and – coming in 2021 – the Woody L. Hunt School of Dental Medicine.

UTEP Awarded $324k grant to expand Men’s Diabetes Program

The Diabetes Garage, a men’s diabetes management and self-care program, will offer men in Texas who have the disease the gift of health to last a lifetime.

With support from a $324,800 grant, Jeannie Concha, Ph.D., assistant professor in UTEP’s Department of Public Health Sciences, will implement the program in El Paso and in two other Texas cities by 2021.

Concha received the grant from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), a federal public health agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“Despite the availability of diabetes treatment and management programs in clinical and community settings, men remain underserved,” Concha said. “The Diabetes Garage was created to provide men a space where they could talk about their diabetes with other men. What we are also finding is the men come to the garage with a lot of information and a lot of misinformation about diabetes. The Diabetes Garage is a place to help men organize and prioritize accurate information to meet their needs.”

Created by UTEP in collaboration with the El Paso Diabetes Association (EPDA), Southwest University, University Medical Center, and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso, the Diabetes Garage uses automotive maintenance and repair analogies to engage men in diabetes education and support sessions.

They learn how to manage their glucose and prevent diabetes-related complications, such as limb amputations, impotence, blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks and strokes.

According to the CDC and the National Institutes of Health, men of Mexican descent are 150% more likely to have diabetes compared with non-Hispanic white individuals. Hispanic men also are 50% more likely to die from diabetes or chronic liver disease.

Concha will lead the project with co-principle investigators Gregory Schober, Ph.D., visiting political science professor, and Laura Gonzales, Ph.D., English assistant professor.

They will work with Texas DSHS to implement the program in El Paso County, San Antonio, and Harlingen.

Funds also will be used to enhance the services provided by The Diabetes Garage in El Paso County. The program is currently recruiting men with type 2 diabetes to participate in sessions offered at the EPDA located at 3641 Mattox Street

The next available Diabetes Garage series will be offered from 5-8 p.m. Aug. 20, 6-8 p.m. Aug. 27, 6-8 p.m. Sept. 3, 5-8 p.m. Sept. 10, and every other month thereafter. Participants will receive a Diabetes Maintenance Manual, Diabetes Essentials Toolbox with a glucose and blood pressure monitor, and certificate of completion.

For residents wishing to register, call the El Paso Diabetes Association at 915-532-6280 or email caalvidrez@miners.utep.edu.

McKee Foundation gives $10k to Support Southwest Brain Bank

For the third consecutive year, the El Paso-based Robert E. and Evelyn McKee Foundation has donated $10,000 to the Southwest Brain Bank at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso.

The Brain Bank is a research organization that collects, studies and distributes brain tissue to scientists who study mental disorders. Studying brain tissue enables scientists to develop new approaches to diagnosis and improve treatments. Obtaining brain tissue from those with and without illnesses is essential to continue this important work.

The McKee Foundation has a history of philanthropy going back to 1952. TTUHSC El Paso was honored to join the list of organizations the foundation supports when it first donated to the Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso Breast Care Center in 1995.

Since then, the foundation has donated more than $130,000 to the university — most recently, three annual $10,000 gifts to the Southwest Brain Bank

Louis McKee is the only surviving child of Robert and Evelyn McKee’s eight children. Louis McKee, 84, has been a trustee since 1958 and is now president of the McKee Foundation.

Based in El Paso, Robert McKee ran what was, at the time, the “world’s largest individually owned construction company,” Louis McKee said. The foundation’s office is full of the history of Robert McKee’s construction business, as well as the history of the foundation. Louis McKee works hard keeping that history alive, writing books and creating DVDs that tell his parents’ story.

“We’ve given away nearly $17 million since 1952, despite the fact that we’re not a large foundation, just one that my mother and dad created,” Louis McKee said. “I think they would be glad to see it continuing the way it is.”

Lawmakers approve funding for Hunt School of Dental Medicine at TTUHSC El Paso

The Texas Legislature has approved a $250.7 billion, two-year state budget that includes an appropriation of $20 million to establish the Woody L. Hunt School of Dental Medicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso.

The Hunt School of Dental Medicine, expected to welcome its first class of students in 2021, will be the first in Texas in over 50 years and the very first at a health sciences center based on the U.S.-Mexico border.

“We are very pleased that our state lawmakers recognized the need to close the gaps of dental health disparities in West Texas and support the creation of the Hunt School of Dental Medicine in El Paso,” said TTUHSC El Paso President Richard Lange, M.D., M.B.A. “I applaud our El Paso legislative delegation for their work in pursuing funding for the school, and thank the community for supporting our vision of improved dental health care for the Borderland and West Texas.”

El Paso has a 57 percent shortage of general dentists compared to the national average, and is designated as a Dental Health Professional Shortage Area by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The vision of a dental school for the region became a reality in 2016 when businessman Woody L. Hunt and his wife Gayle gifted $25 million to TTUHSC El Paso through the Hunt Family Foundation to establish the school.

That gift was soon followed by a $6 million grant from the Paso del Norte Health Foundation to fund the dental school’s curriculum.

The Hunt School of Dental Medicine will be housed in the five-story Medical Sciences Building II, now under construction on the TTUHSC El Paso campus.

The 86th Texas Legislative Session concluded on Monday, May 27. The spending bill now heads to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk for his signature.

GECU presents donations to TTUHSC El Paso; Will support Nursing, Student Run Clinic

On Tuesday, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso officials thanked GECU for their donation in support of improved health care for the West Texas region.

“We are so grateful to be a part of the incredible work and impact that Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso is making in our community,” Long said. “We hope that students will achieve their goals through the incomparable resources and opportunities that TTUHSC El Paso provides. We are so proud to partner with universities that believe in the value of education.”

GECU announced a gift of $5,000 to go toward nursing scholarships, and $4,000 in support of the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine’s Medical Student Run Clinic.

Andrea Tawney, Ph.D., associate vice chancellor for Institutional Advancement at TTUHSC El Paso, said she was thankful for GECU’s commitment to health care in West Texas.

“TTUHSC El Paso is happy to be ‘Teamed Up For Health’ with GECU,” Tawney said. “The Medical Student Run Clinic does such important work for the community of Sparks, bringing health care to an underserved area. Scholarships are an investment in students who have a calling to serve our community as nurses. Support from our partners is critical for our students to succeed but also inspire them to push forward and complete their nursing degree.”

The Medical Student Run Clinic provides free primary health care screenings and other health care services to the Sparks community in Far East El Paso County.

Volunteer work at the clinic provides students from the Foster School of Medicine with an opportunity to work in a real clinical environment while also developing a relationship with the community.

In a show of solidarity, GECU President and CEO Crystal Long declared Tuesday as TTUHSC El Paso day with GECU.

TTUHSC El Paso and GECU team members donned “Teamed Up for Health” T-shirts, symbolizing the positive impact the collaboration will have.

Gallery+Story: The Journey Home – An El Paso Micro-Preemie defies odds

A baby who weighed just over a pound when she was born last fall is now at home, happy and healthy in her mother’s arms.

Carla Duran gave birth to Camila Duran in November, four months before she was due. Weighing only 1 pound, 4 ounces and at 22 weeks gestation, Camila was considered a “micro-preemie” – a special patient that would require lots of care to beat an extremely low survival rate of 0 to 5 percent.

But little Camila is a fighter. On March 6, she was discharged from El Paso Children’s Hospital without any major health problems.

“She just has mild respiratory illness, which is not un-expected for a baby born at extreme prematurity,” said Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso pediatrician Devaraj Sambalingam, M.D., FAAP, who helped deliver Camila.  TTP El Paso is the clinical arm of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso.

Dr. Sambalingam is part of the team who cared for Camila in The Laura & Pat Gordon Family Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Level IV at El Paso Children’s Hospital. He said Camila went home on oxygen support, which is normal in cases like this, and would soon be weaned off the oxygen as her lungs grew stronger.

Dr. Sambalingam said it is rare for a baby born so premature to survive without significant health issues. According to a 2017 study in the New England Journal of Medicine, babies born between 22 and 24 weeks gestation have a very low chance of survival, and if they do survive, are likely to have serious neurological problems.

Throughout the duration of the study, only one percent of babies born at 22 weeks’ gestation survived without neurodevelopmental impairment.

TTP El Paso pediatrician Ajay Pratap Singh, M.D., FAAP, who delivered Camila and has cared for her since birth, said medical teams that deal with complicated births “have to be ready for all eventualities.”

“We were actually prepared for this baby to not make it,” Dr. Singh said. “To see this baby go home is a very happy, joyous moment for us. This is a miracle child for us, and I will remember her for the rest of my life.”

It’s an experience mother Carla Duran will never forget either. She said two weeks before her daughter was born, she felt something was not quite right. Speaking in Spanish, Carla Duran described it as an “unusual pressure” within her body.

“Every time I walked, I felt like I needed to rest, because it felt like I needed to go to the restroom,” Carla Duran said.

A few days later, she went to the restroom and discovered she was bleeding. She was taken to University Medical Center of El Paso and was told she could not leave because she was already completely dilated.

Four months earlier than anticipated, it was time to bring Camila into the world.

After a successful delivery, Camila was placed in the Level IV neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at El Paso Children’s Hospital.

For weeks, physicians, nurses and other members of the neonatal team remained by her and her family’s side as Camila gradually gained weight and reached the milestones necessary to be released from the NICU.

“I thank God for all the doctors here, and that God enlightened them to take care of my daughter,” Duran said. “I thank them for helping my little girl so much. They were there always attending to her, helping to do all they could and more.”

While doctors, much like quarterbacks on a football team, tend to get credited with success, Dr. Singh is quick to point out it’s a team effort to provide the best health care for patients.

UMC, El Paso Children’s Hospital and TTP El Paso work in partnership on cases such as Camila’s premature birth and decide on a course of action for the patient.

“As a doctor, we are automatically given credit for something which is not truly dependent on us,” Dr. Singh said. “We do play a part, but it’s a combined-multitude, multidisciplinary team effort — from the bedside nurse, to the volunteers, to the respiratory therapist, to the speech therapist, to the radiologists, and to other specialists. It is not just me. It is everybody who works here.”

El Paso Electric donates $10,000 to TTUHSC El Paso Initiatives

At the 2019 Community Partner Awards Reception, El Paso Electric donated $10,000 to the Texas Tech Foundation in support of programs at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso.

The gift will be split between nursing scholarships, the Medical Student Run Clinic and sponsorship of the university’s Cookies, Cocoa and Holiday Cheer community event, which invites the community to the campus to enjoy holiday treats, festive skits and a holiday lights show.

Nursing scholarships are especially important in El Paso to help students who normally could not afford school, helping to ease the nursing shortage in the city.

The Medical Student Run Clinic provides free primary health care screenings to the Sparks community in Far East El Paso County.

Volunteer work at the clinic provides students from the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine with an opportunity to work in a real clinical environment while also developing a relationship with the community.

Eddie Gutiérrez, vice president of strategic communications, customer and community engagement, said community partnerships and giving are important to El Paso Electric.

“While providing safe, clean, reliable and sustainable energy for our growing community is at the core of our business, serving as a community partner is part of our mission in moving us all forward. The EPE Community Partner Program is incredibly intentional about who is awarded these donations, ensuring that these organizations are making a positive and local impact.”

El Paso Electric gave out awards to more than 70 community partners at the April 11 event.

$1.5 Million Will Fund Jim and Julie Cardwell Endowed Chair in Neurology

Thanks to a generous $750,000 gift from the Jim and Julie Cardwell Fund and the Cardwell Family Foundation, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso) announced Wednesday that they would establish an endowed chair in the department of neurology.

“We have a serious physician shortage in El Paso and Southern New Mexico,” El Paso businessman Jim Cardwell said. “This is an opportunity to bring TTUHSC El Paso to the forefront in the training of physicians. Hopefully some of them will stay here in El Paso, but if not, at least we’re training more, so there are more doctors. We need more access to medical providers so that families do not have to leave our region to receive specialty care.”

“The inspiration for this gift was to help the future generations of this region,” Cardwell said. “This is a building block of many things to come.”

TTUHSC El Paso is matching the gift, establishing the Jim and Julie Cardwell Endowed Chair in Neurology. The chair will be supported by a $1.5 million fund thanks to the combined gift and match.

The gift and endowed chair are part of a long-term effort to increase the number of neurologists available to treat the El Paso community.  The Cardwell Family Foundation is an affiliate of the El Paso Community Foundation.

Matching funds are being leveraged by TTUHSC El Paso to recruit and attract physicians in specialty areas that are underserved in our region. The goal is to build upon these specialties so that both patient care and research expertise expand over time.

There are additional matching funds for endowed chairs and professorships in several areas, such as psychiatry, emergency medicine, orthopedics, surgery and internal medicine.

There is a shortage of neurologists nationwide, leading to a “neurology desert” in areas with no neurologists.

Though El Paso is not in that situation, with about 20 practicing neurologists, there are too few for a city this size, and El Paso patients are faced with waiting lists, said Dr. Salvador Cruz-Flores, professor and chair of TTUHSC El Paso’s department of neurology.

According to the American Academy of Neurology, a city should have three to five neurologists for every 100,000 inhabitants – a minimum of 35 if there are 700,000 people in El Paso County. El Paso neurologists serve patients from the entire Paso del Norte region, Dr. Cruz-Flores said.

About 45 percent of the care provided by neurologists at TTUHSC El Paso is uncompensated care for the uninsured or underinsured. Though part of their mission, Dr. Cruz-Flores said this adds to the need for more neurologists.

“This endowment is meant to grow the activities of the department of neurology, perhaps creating more residency opportunities and clinical lines of service such as a multiple sclerosis clinic, or growing an epilepsy service,” Dr. Cruz-Flores said.

“In general, this will expand the services of the neurology department with the idea of providing more access to neurological care for our community.”

For more information on how to make an investment in the future of health care in the Paso del Norte region and take advantage of matching funds, contact Andrea Tawney, associate vice chancellor of TTUHSC El Paso’s Office of Institutional Advancement, at andrea.tawney@ttuhsc.edu

TTUHSC El Paso Accredited for Area’s First Geriatric Psychiatry Training Program

After recently gaining accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso, along with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, will soon begin offering the first training program in the El Paso area for geriatric psychiatry.

“We have a health care emergency with the aging of our population,” said Peter Thompson, M.D., professor and department chair of TTUHSC El Paso’s department of psychiatry. “Ten thousand baby boomers are retiring a day. Our geriatric population is just exploding and we need people who are experts to treat these individuals.”

The training program for resident physicians is desperately needed in El Paso because of a shortage of medical care for the elderly, both locally and nationally, Dr. Thompson said.

The fellowship in geriatric psychiatry will be a combined program with the VA, with most of the funding coming from the VA. The VA’s site director is Deborah L. Dallam, M.D., who is board certified in geriatric psychiatry. The accreditation allows for two residents to take part in the fellowship.

The yearlong training will be split between working in TTUHSC El Paso’s clinical rotation and facilities of the El Paso VA health care system.

Another important part of the training will be the use of the national Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) as the model of service, said Ricardo Salazar, M.D. Dr. Salazar is an associate professor in TTUHSC El Paso’s department of psychiatry, chief of the division of geriatric psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences and head of the new training program.

The residents will spend time at El Paso’s Bienvivir, one of the pioneer programs in the nation for all-inclusive care of the elderly.

“We will be exposing the residents to this interdisciplinary model of care, where they have social workers, psychologists, physicians in primary care, etc.,” said Dr. Salazar. “They’ll also have rotations in palliative care medicine and end-of-life issues.

“We’re also going to be working very closely with the University Medical Center where the trainees will be exposed to different psychopathologies through the psychiatry consult service, and they will be rotating through the geriatric acute care for the elderly unit that we have at UMC,” said Dr. Salazar. “So, it’s going to be a very diverse program.”

The long-term hope is that, after the fellowship, the residents will stay in the El Paso region, helping to care for the elderly.

“We are the only training site in the nation that will be concentrating on serving the elderly population on the U.S.-Mexico border and joining the few accredited programs in the Southwest,” said Dr. Salazar. “Our fellows will receive unparalleled academic and clinical training in a multicultural and vibrant city.”

TTUHSC El Paso Professor Awarded $50,000 Grant for Sepsis Research

Wendy Walker, Ph.D., assistant professor in Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso’s Center of Emphasis in Infectious Diseases, recently received a $50,000 grant to study how the immune system plays a role during the life-threatening infectious process termed sepsis.

The 2019 Society of Critical Care Medicine Weil Research Grant will allow Walker to continue research that focuses on how different immune cells contribute to the body’s response during this life-threatening disorder, which has a mortality rate of up to 50 percent.

“The immune system is a double-edged sword in this context, because it is essential in fighting the infection, but over-activation of some of its parts can contribute to a worse outcome,” Walker said.

Each year, at least 1.7 million adults in America develop sepsis, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

In 2017, 4,268 Texans died as a result of septicemia, a bacterial infection that spreads into the bloodstream, triggering sepsis. Texas’ death rate was seventh-highest in the United States.

Using a mouse model of sepsis, Walker is working toward understanding the different roles in sepsis of two populations of immune cells, known as macrophages and monocytes, with a long-term goal of manipulating their actions to improve clinical outcomes.

“This grant will allow me to define the functions of these cells as sepsis develops,” Walker said. “I hope that the new insights that we learn will give us an idea of how we might target them to reduce mortality and, ultimately, to cure this serious disorder.”

The Weil Research Trust was created in 2015 to fund research grants. Named for the Society’s founder and first president, Dr. Max Harry Weil, the Weil Research Trust represents the Critical Care Medicine Society’s commitment to the discovery and innovation needed to improve medical care.

TTUHSC El Paso Fires Up Holiday Celebration Friday Night

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso’s Cookies, Cocoa and Holiday Cheer celebration gets the holiday season underway for the fourth consecutive year.

The annual event will offer a free light show, food and health care information for El Paso families. The light show is presented by the same team behind the Fred Loya holiday light show.

After the show, TTUHSC El Paso’s seasonal campus lights will be turned on for the first time. After snapping some pictures of the lights, attendees can visit the selfie station and are encouraged to share via the hashtag (#TTUHSCEP).

Special guests will include Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, the Grinch, Cindy Lou Who, Belle, and the Snowflake Princesses from the movie “Frozen.”

Photo booths will provide free photos with Santa Claus and the other special guests. In addition to a performance from the holiday special guests, the Jefferson/Silva High School Drumline will take the stage.

For the first time, this year’s festivities will include a health fair. TTUHSC El Paso students will offer blood pressure readings, the United Way will give out discount prescription cards, and representatives from several TTUHSC El Paso departments and clinics will be on hand with information.

Treats and apple cider will be catered by Crave Kitchen and Bar, with hot cocoa generously provided by Price’s Creameries. Also, the first 1,000 guests will receive a TTUHSC El Paso drawstring backpack.

Sponsored by El Paso Electric, all activities will be free, including parking in campus lots.

What: Cookies, Cocoa and Holiday Cheer

When: 6 p.m. Friday, November 30  |  Light show will begin about 7 p.m.

Where: Medical Education Building (MEB) lawn, 5001 El Paso Drive

Golf Tournament, 5K Fun Run This Weekend Support Medical Clinic in Sparks

Medical students from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso will host two weekend events to benefit the Medical Student Run Clinic (MSRC) located in the Sparks community in far east El Paso County.

The MSRC provides free medical services to the underserved community.

“We’re doing a Sparks weekend,” said Liliana Bonilla, a second-year medical student and a member of the student leadership team at the MSRC. “It’s going to be a lot of fun, and all the proceeds go to a great cause. The clinic runs on grants and fundraising, so participating in these events helps provide health services to the Sparks community.”

Started in 2013 by Paul L. Foster School of Medicine students, the MSRC operates twice a month on Tuesday evenings.

The MSRC provides free primary health care screenings, such as diagnostics, blood work and patient education. Run entirely by students with faculty oversight, the clinic not only benefits the Sparks community, but gives students real-life opportunities to hone their medical and Spanish-language skills.

On Saturday, the Hearts for Sparks Golf Tournament moves to Topgolf El Paso for the first time. Six-person teams will battle for prizes in front of a crowd of leaders, volunteers, and faculty from the MSRC, as well as other physicians from the El Paso area. Participants can register at Online.

On Sunday, the Sprint for Sparks 5K Fun Run will take place along Scenic Drive. The race will begin at 8 a.m. at Newman Park. Participants can register via this link.

SATURDAY

What: Hearts for Sparks Golf Tournament

When: 8:45 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 27

Where: Topgolf El Paso, 365 Vin Rambla Drive

SUNDAY

What: Sprint for Sparks 5K Fun Run

When: 8 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 28

Where: Newman Park, 2212 Alabama Street

TTUHSC El Paso’s Medical Practice Reaccredited for Providing Top-Quality Patient Care

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso’s medical practice has been reaccredited by The Joint Commission for outpatient care.

Accreditation by TJC is a symbol of quality that reflects a commitment to providing safe and effective patient care.

Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso, a multi-specialty medical practice with seven locations throughout the city of El Paso, underwent a rigorous on-site survey in April 2018. TJC’s team of surveyors evaluated the clinic sites for several quality standards: care coordination, monitoring of procedures involving sedation or anesthesia, infection prevention and control, medication management, and patient education and training.

“[Having The Joint Commission accreditation] is a badge of honor,” said Michael J. Herrera, assistant director for the TTUHSC El Paso Office of Quality Improvement. “It says we are at a higher standard of quality and a higher standard of patient safety. We’re taking these extra steps for our patients.”

Established in 1975, TJC’s ambulatory health care accreditation program encourages high-quality patient care in all types of outpatient facilities. Today, the program serves 2,100 clinical providers, with more than 8,500 sites serving over 83 million patient visits annually.

TJC develops its accreditation standards by consulting with health care experts and providers, performance measurement experts, and patients. Scientific literature and expert consensus also are used to create the standards, which help organizations measure, assess and improve performance.

“The Joint Commission accreditation provides ambulatory care organizations with the processes contributing to improvements in a variety of areas, from the enhancement of staff education to the demonstration of leading practices within the ambulatory setting,” said Michael Kulczycki, M.B.A., CAE, executive director for The Joint Commission’s ambulatory health care accreditation program. “We commend Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso and its staff for achieving this pinnacle demonstrating a commitment to patient safety and quality.”

The hundreds of providers, residents and staff at the clinics are critical to maintaining the high standards required for TJC accreditation.

Irma Montes-Gomez, TTUHSC El Paso’s senior director for quality improvement/occupational health, added that TTUHSC El Paso conducts quarterly inspections of its clinics to maintain compliance with TJC standards and other regulatory agencies even while not under survey.

In addition to TTP El Paso’s reaccreditation this year, TJC recently conferred Comprehensive Stroke Center status for University Medical Center of El Paso. UMC is an affiliate and primary training site for TTUHSC El Paso’s medical and nursing students.

TTP El Paso’s TJC accreditation went into effect in April 2018 and will last for three years.

The Joint Commission provides accreditation to Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso. As the clinical practice of TTUHSC El Paso, Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso has received accreditation under the legal parent name of TTUHSC El Paso.

TTUHSC El Paso Students to Honor Kharisma James During Day of Service

About 200 Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso) medical students will participate in community service events Saturday, September  15, as part of the annual Corazón de Oro (Heart of Gold) community outreach event.

This year’s Corazón de Oro will honor Kharisma James, who graduated from the Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing in May 2017. James passed away Aug. 13 after being struck by a car while picking up her children at Tippin Elementary School in El Paso.

Organized by TTUHSC El Paso’s Student Government Association (SGA), Corazón de Oro 2018 will include students from all three TTUHSC El Paso schools—the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine, the Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS)—in an effort to give back to the community. The students will volunteer at 13 different sites.

SGA President Sajid Leelani said the event serves as a reminder to TTUHSC El Paso students of why they went into the medical field: to serve the community. He said students also asked to honor James, who often answered that call to service.

“Kharisma James was one of the founding officers of the SGA,” Leelani said. “It’s a day of service, and she was also very much about service. She served in the military. She was a nurse and she served in the SGA. So we are honored to remember her on this day.”

Sept. 15 will also mark the fourth anniversary of the RotaCare Clinic. The El Paso RotaCare clinic was opened by the Rotary Club of El Paso in September 2014 in the Lower Valley to provide free medical care for those in need. The clinic provides learning opportunities for TTUHSC El Paso’s medical students. As part of the anniversary celebration, students will host a health fair at the clinic Saturday morning.

 

List of sites – Students will volunteer at the following sites from 8 a.m. to noon Sept. 15:

YWCA, 201 E. Main St.: Students will assist with transitional living center activities.

Center Against Sexual and Family Violence, 580 Giles Road: Students will provide landscaping and facility maintenance.

Compadres Therapy, 6631 Strahan Rd.: Students will provide maintenance around the barn.

GiGi’s Playhouse, 960 Chelsea St., Suite B: Students’ volunteer work to be determined.

Habitat for Humanity, 11221 Rojas Drive, Building B: Students will work on a restoration project.

El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food Bank, 9541 Plaza Circle: Students will help sort food.

Salvation Army, 4300 E. Paisano Drive: Students will reorganize thrift store donations.

Rescue Mission Center of El Paso, 130 N. Cotton St.: Students will sort donations and clean living areas.

Candlelighters of El Paso, 1900 N. Oregon St., Room 402: Students will sort donations and provide maintenance.

Opportunity Center for the Homeless, 1208 Myrtle Ave.: Students will distribute meals and organize donations.

Baptist Clinic, 2700 N. Piedras St.: Students will clean and organize at the clinic’s new location.

RotaCare Clinic, 301 S. Schutz Drive: Students will assist at the health fair.

Texas Special Olympics: On Sept. 8, students took vitals for athletes.

TTUHSC El Paso Cancer Intervention Program Recognized by National Cancer Institute

A Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso initiative that is increasing the number of screenings for colorectal cancer across West Texas has caught the eye of the National Cancer Institute.

The federal agency has added TTUHSC El Paso’s ACCION (Against Colorectal Cancer in Our Neighborhoods) program to its database of Research-Tested Intervention Programs, making ACCION instructional and educational materials available to public health practitioners across the world.

Colorectal cancer is one of the leading causes of death from cancer in the U.S. for both men and women. But in many cases the disease can be cured, or even prevented, with early detection through colorectal cancer screenings.

Unfortunately, many at-risk people don’t have easy access to colorectal cancer screenings. Poverty, lack of health insurance, lack of transportation, and low levels of health education are some of the barriers that prevent adults from receiving screenings. The beginning recommended age for colorectal cancer screenings is 50.

“If you get screened and you get the appropriate follow-up, you really do prevent cancer,” Shokar said. “You find it early and the outcome is a lot better.” | Photo Courtesy TTUHSC El Paso

Launched in 2011 by , director for Cancer Prevention and Control at TTUHSC El Paso, ACCION brings colorectal cancer screenings and preventative information to the community, in settings such as churches, health fairs, food pantries, low-income housing complexes, community centers and clinics serving the uninsured.

Its aim has been to increase screening rates across West Texas, currently around 50 percent, compared to a national average of about 70 percent. The program has been funded by grants from the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT).

“If you get screened and you get the appropriate follow-up, you really do prevent cancer,” Shokar said. “You find it early and the outcome is a lot better.”

The program uses promotoras—bilingual community health care workers—to connect with at-risk individuals. ACCION currently works with over 160 community organizations to help make screening more accessible.

“People have big transportation barriers,” Dr. Shokar said. “They don’t have access to cars, or the person with the transport is working and they only have one car. It’s very important that this program go to the community where people live, work and play, and that’s what we try to do.”

The success of the program has led to additional CPRIT funding. In August 2017, CPRIT awarded Dr. Shokar a three-year, $3.7 million grant to implement ACCION in major hospital and clinic systems throughout El Paso County. The grant will also be used to expand the program into West Texas; ACCION’s service area will now cover a 25-county area by partnering with service providers in those areas.

And now, thanks to the National Cancer Institute, the methods and materials behind the ACCION’s success can reach across the globe.

Learn more about ACCION and download program materials from the NCI’s RTIPs website.

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