SAN ANTONIO - Four institutions of The University of Texas System have formed the Borderplex Health Council, a new partnership promoting education and research to address the health challenges of the South Texas Border Region. The Council will promote multi-institution collaboration among all UT institutions along the Texas-Mexico border, and during the next year will invest $1 million in projects targeting diabetes, obesity and the nursing shortage.
Founding members of the Borderplex Health Council are The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and its Regional Academic Health Center campuses in Harlingen and Edinburg, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and its School of Public Health, The University of Texas-Pan American and The University of Texas at Brownsville/Texas Southmost College. The Council will work collaboratively with the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio Laredo Campus Extension, The University of Texas at El Paso and the UT School of Public Health's El Paso regional campus.
"The Borderplex Health Council brings together the immense scientific and health research strengths of two of our state's great health science centers with the engineering, computer science and other great capabilities of our general academic universities that are right here along the border," said Juliet V. Garcia, Ph.D., president of UT Brownsville/Texas Southmost College and chair of the Borderplex Health Council.
"The philosophy is that together we can do more, and this is certainly in keeping with the goal of Chancellor Mark Yudof and The University of Texas System," said Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., president of the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio.
"This project heralds a new age in collaboration with each Borderplex partner bringing respective strengths to the table," said Blandina Cárdenas, Ph.D., president of The University of Texas-Pan American. "Together, we will undoubtedly improve the health of the growing border population."
A primary goal of the Council is to create a strong environment for research support and scientific inquiry that will be enhanced through the collaborations of the institutional partners. Borderplex members agreed that the initial areas of focus would be diabetes/obesity and the nursing workforce shortage.
"We are proud to be a partner in this endeavor, and to provide the special expertise of our School of Public Health to the study of these urgent health topics," said James T. Willerson, M.D., president of the UT Health Science Center at Houston.
The Borderplex Health Council announced its first request for proposals from investigators at the UT institutions. Grants are $25,000 to $50,000. The deadline in this first round for investigators to submit proposals for consideration is 5 p.m. (CT) Oct. 7, 2006. Proposal deadlines will be the seventh day of February, May and October thereafter. More information and the proposal form are at http://www.uthscsa.edu/ogm/borderplex.htm.