Health Science Center, partners celebrate women’s center

(L-R) Rebecca Cervantes, Elvira Cisneros, Graciela Cigarroa and Gregg Muenster enjoy the reception with emphasis on women’s health.

The Health Science Center recognized three outstanding community partners – the University Health System, the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District and KLRN-TV – at a reception Sept. 23 in the lobby of the Academic and Administration Building. The event showcased the National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health, a collaborative initiative with the UHS, the Metropolitan Health District and the Cancer Therapy & Research Center. The national center designation is the first in Texas and one of 21 nationwide.

Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., president, recognized the community volunteers and philanthropists in attendance and said a national center of excellence designation “does not happen without proving we walk the walk and not just talk the talk.” He singled out each partner, including the UHS, which is providing significant clinical resources to the national center.

The reception was scheduled to coincide with the KLRN Women’s Health Conference. Gregg Muenster, chairman of the board of KLRN, said the event regretfully had to be canceled due to Hurricane Rita. He thanked the event steering committee, which included Graciela Cigarroa, attorney, community volunteer and wife of President Cigarroa.

Donald J. Dudley, M.D., director of the National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health, said the national center would serve as a catalyst for change in the way a health science center cares for women. He recognized the center’s five component directors and areas: Martha Medrano, M.D., M.P.H., professional education (center co-director); Janet Williams, M.D., leadership development; Jane Dimmitt Champion, R.N., Ph.D., community outreach; Elly M.J. Xenakis, M.D., clinical services; and Robert S. Schenken, M.D., research. The administrative coordinator is Melissa Palomo-Ramon, M.P.A.

Dr. Dudley also announced that the National Center and its partners have received a $3 million, five-year grant from the National Cancer Institute to launch a patient navigator/promotora program to help women receive care after an initial cancer screening.

Mrs. Cigarroa announced the formation of a National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health Advisory Council. Members will be announced in coming months.

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