State’s top public health, energy experts to gather in Houston for medicine and engineering conference

Dr. Amelie Ramirez of the UT Health Science Center San Antonio joins panel on obesity and its related diseases

SAN ANTONIO (January 5, 2012) — Next week, The Academy of Medicine, Engineering & Science of Texas (TAMEST) will hold its 9th Annual Conference in Houston. This event will explore innovations in energy, from the challenges of meeting global energy needs to research advances in human energy metabolism.

On the panel discussing the mechanisms and prevention of obesity and its related diseases is Amelie Ramirez, DrPH, professor of epidemiology and biostatistics in the School of Medicine of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, and director of the Health Science Center’s Institute for Health Promotion Research.

Obesity kills more than 100,000 Americans a year, costs Texas more than $15 billion a year and has the potential to shorten U.S. life expectancy for the first time since the Civil War. It is the common denominator behind the top chronic illnesses — heart disease, diabetes, stroke and colon, breast and prostate cancers, among others — that routinely cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to treat. And its rate among adults in Texas has doubled over the past 20 years.

“Obesity has such serious long-term consequences that it is vital for us, from a public health perspective, to better understand how to prevent it,” Dr. Ramirez said. “Some of the best minds in diabetes, nutrition and obesity research will be sharing their knowledge at this conference.”

Over the past 30 years, Dr. Ramirez, who also is associate director of health disparities at the Health Science Center’s Cancer Therapy & Research Center, has directed many research studies and programs focused on reducing cancer and chronic disease health disparities among Latinos. Her projects have led to unique health communication models and interventions that have helped Latinos develop better preventative health behaviors and healthy lifestyles. She has received many awards for her work, including 2007 election to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.

The conference will be January 12-13 at the Omni Houston Hotel, 4 Riverway, Houston, Texas. Dr. Ramirez’ panel convenes at 8:35 on Friday morning. For the agenda, visit

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, one of the country’s leading health sciences universities, ranks in the top 3 percent of all institutions worldwide receiving federal funding. Research and other sponsored program activity totaled $228 million in fiscal year 2010. The university’s schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, health professions and graduate biomedical sciences have produced approximately 26,000 graduates. The $744 million operating budget supports eight campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. For more information on the many ways “We make lives better®,” visit

The Academy of Medicine, Engineering & Science of Texas (TAMEST), was founded in 2004 to provide broader recognition of the state’s top achievers in medicine, engineering and science, and to build a stronger identity for Texas as an important destination and center of achievement in these fields. TAMEST plays a critical role in cultivating collaboration and speeding the pace of innovation in Texas by bringing together the state’s top scientific, academic and corporate minds to further position Texas as a national research leader.

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