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Science & Technology

NIH Grant Gives UTHSC The Lead In Regional Health Research

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UT Health Science Center
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Left to right, Dr. David Weiss, vice president for research; Dr. Francisco González-Scarano, dean of the School of Medicine and vice president for medical affairs; and Dr. Robert Clark, director of the Institute for Integration of Medicine and Science, an"

The University of Texas Health Science Center and a coalition of 11 South Texas health concerns will share a $22.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. The grant, which will be spread over a five-year period, will fund research for Bexar and 38 surrounding counties.

The Clinical and Translational Science Award is designed, in part, to accelerate research discoveries from the laboratory to practical applications.

Dr. Paula Shireman, vice dean for research at the School of Medicine at the UT Health Science Center, said clinical research involves more than just test tubes.

"Once you've decided that a treatment is effective, that's usually under very controlled circumstances often in big university settings," Shireman said. "Will that same therapy that work so well under this really controlled environment also work for the small doctor's office in Boerne, Texas?"

The theme of the award is to address health concerns particular to San Antonio and the 38-county region, where the military and Hispanic demographics comprise a large percentage of the population.

Shireman said the Health Science Center has a community engagement corps to work with people in different counties and with different needs.

"Comal County has selected pediatric obesity as a very difficult problem for their local community, and they're convening a summit to try to understand what the implications of pediatric obesity will be for their community."