SAN ANTONIO (Oct. 12, 2007) – The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio has landed a five-year, $11.3 million contract from the U.S. Army to support trauma research.
Ronald M. Stewart, M.D., associate professor of surgery at the Health Science Center and trauma medical director at University Hospital, said the contract will support studies of resuscitation, monitoring and metabolic control of injured soldiers and civilians. “This funding makes it possible for us to mobilize more researchers to pursue projects aimed at reducing deaths and complications associated with traumatic injuries, whether they occur on the battlefield or here at home,” he said.
The U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command at Fort Detrick, Md., is the sponsor of this research.
Stephen M. Cohn, M.D., FACS, professor and chairman of the Health Science Center Department of Surgery and the Witten B. Russ Chair in Surgery, said in his travels in international trauma settings, he has noted that the U.S. stands out in its limited expenditures for trauma research. “The contract announced today will no doubt enhance our ability to care for both military and civilian trauma and burn patients,” he said.
Dr. Cohn also said the U.S. Army contract is another step forward in the ongoing collaborative relationship the Department of Surgery enjoys with its partners in the Department of Defense.
Trauma costs the nation $406 billion annually and is the leading cause of death in persons 1 to 44 years of age. Such injuries result in 37 million emergency room visits, 2.6 million hospital stays and more than 160,000 deaths in the U.S. annually, including 16,000 in Texas. Yet, for every $3.51 of federal funds spent on HIV research and $1.65 on cancer, only a dime is spent on injury research.*
“The U.T. Health Science Center at San Antonio is proud to support trauma research, particularly at the level made possible by this new funding,” said William L. Henrich, M.D., MACP, dean of the School of Medicine and vice president for medical affairs at the Health Science Center. “We thank our military partners and University Health System for their collaboration in this lifesaving endeavor.”
The U.T. Health Science Center is a partner in research and emergency care along with other preeminent San Antonio institutions. Collaborating institutions are Brooke Army Medical Center, Wilford Hall Medical Center, the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research and the University Health System. Brooke Army Medical Center, Wilford Hall Medical Center and University Hospital are the sites of Level I trauma centers.
George B. Hernandez Jr., president/chief executive officer of the University Health System, said: “We can do more together than separately. That is why this integrated relationship among partners is so vitally important.”
The contract is not the first large infusion of support for trauma research recently.
On Sept. 12, U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, a member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, announced $2 million in funding for trauma and emergency care research based on the significant contributions San Antonio has already made to these areas. That funding was part of the Fiscal Year 2008 Defense Appropriations bill passed by the Appropriations Committee.
* These funding figures are based on years of potential life lost per 100,000 population.
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The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is the leading research institution in South Texas and one of the major health sciences universities in the world. With an operating budget of $576 million, the Health Science Center is the chief catalyst for the $15.3 billion biosciences and health care sector in San Antonio’s economy. The Health Science Center has had an estimated $35 billion impact on the region since inception and has expanded to six campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. More than 22,000 graduates (physicians, dentists, nurses, scientists and allied health professionals) serve in their fields, including many in Texas. Health Science Center faculty are international leaders in cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, aging, stroke prevention, kidney disease, orthopaedics, research imaging, transplant surgery, psychiatry and clinical neurosciences, pain management, genetics, nursing, allied health, dentistry and many other fields.