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Dr. and Mrs. William Head
establish endowed chair


November 2004

by Natalie Gutierrez

Dr. William and Rita Head with President Cigarroa
Dr. William and Rita Head with President Cigarroa
The rate of premature infants born in the United States has doubled in the last decade. The low-birth-weight rate for Hispanic infants in Bexar County alone is 7.5 percent and rising. For these children and their parents, the first few years of life are the most difficult and most critical. Thanks to the generous support of Dr. and Mrs. William Head of Frisco, these tiny miracles can look forward to a long and healthy future. Dr. and Mrs. Headís
$1 million gift established the William and Rita Head, in Honor of their Children, Brice and Gretchen, Distinguished Chair in Development and Environmental Neonatology at the Health Science Center.

"We are so blessed to have the friendship and support of Dr. and Mrs. William Head," said Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., Health Science Center president. "Their gift will support the work of a top-level neonatologist, capable of pushing back the frontiers of knowledge and overseeing the research and care in this medical field that is so vital to the South Texas region."

The endowment will build upon the already successful Premature Infant Development (PREMIEre) Program established in 1981 and will add a focus on the needs of the growing Hispanic population in Bexar County and the Rio Grande Valley.

Rajam Ramamurthy, M.D., professor of pediatrics and medical director of the PREMIEre Program, said advances in technology and knowledge about the pathophysiology of the premature infant have ensured a survival rate of 90 percent of the infants cared for by Health Science Center physicians.

"These advances have outpaced the understanding of environmental factors influencing optimum growth, cognitive development and behavioral outcome in the Hispanic population," Dr. Ramamurthy said. "Dr. and Mrs. William Headís generous gift is the answer to our prayers as it will allow us to fill the void in this vital information and help ensure a healthy outcome for so many more children in South Texas."

The Heads also have generously supported scholarships for the Health Science Center in recent years.





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