by Natalie GutierrezEvery woman enjoys shopping. San Antonio women soon will benefit from a different kind of shopping one-stop shopping in women’s health care.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has designated the Health Science Center as one of three new National Centers of Excellence in Women’s Health this year. This makes the Health Science Center the only center of its kind in Texas.
The other two new centers are The University of Missouri, Kansas City, and the West Virginia University Health Sciences Center. They join 19 centers already established throughout the nation that serve as models of innovative, comprehensive and integrated health care systems for women.
Donald Dudley, M.D., professor of obstetrics and gynecology and the center’s director, said the center of excellence (CoE) will target women living in nine ZIP-code areas identified by the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District as being underserved in women’s health care. "Women across the city will be able to come to the Health Science Center for ‘one-stop shopping’ in women’s health. They’ll simply call one number for all their health care needs," he said.
As a National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health, the Health Science Center will receive a $600,000 grant over four years to focus on specific prevention programs targeted at diseases that plague women, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and HIV/AIDS.
The grant is part of $2.86 million in awards from the HHS for the transformation of the National Centers of Excellence in Women’s Health. The new CoEs will emphasize leadership, preventive programs and collaboration with allied health programs, and will focus on health concerns of women in ethnically, racially and culturally diverse communities and rural areas.
Colleen Keller, Ph.D., R.N., professor of family nursing care, is the co-director. Drs. Dudley and Keller will work with an executive committee of faculty members from the various schools at the Health Science Center and will partner with Fernando Guerra, M.D., M.P.H., director of health for the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, and the University Health System to achieve set goals in research, community outreach, clinical services, leadership development and professional education. Other significant support for the CoE comes from the University Physicians Group, the School of Nursing, the School of Allied Health Sciences and the San Antonio Cancer Institute.
Dr. Dudley said designation as a National Center of Excellence is a major achievement for the Health Science Center and San Antonio. "It recognizes the importance of women’s health issues in this region and the essential role the Health Science Center plays in those issues. This designation not only will allow us to concentrate on providing the best care for patients, but also will allow us to provide leadership development for our women faculty, offer exciting new curriculum programs throughout the five schools and establish women’s health fellowships in the School of Medicine," Dr. Dudley said.
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