UT School of Public Health San Antonio inaugural dean receives $1.6 million UT System Faculty STARs award

Vasan S. Ramachandran, MD

Vasan S. Ramachandran, MD, founding dean of The University of Texas School of Public Health San Antonio, a strategic collaboration between UT Health San Antonio and The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), has received a UT System Faculty Science and Technology Acquisition and Retention (STARs) award for more than $1.6 million to fund infrastructure and renovation to advance public health in South Texas.

Ramachandran, an internationally known and respected physician-scientist, clinical epidemiologist and principal investigator and director of the Framingham Heart Study since 2014, joined UT Health San Antonio on Sept. 1. Ramachandran had previously served on the faculty of the Boston University School of Medicine and School of Public Health for more than 25 years.

“In Boston, I put together three clinical stations for examining participants in the Framingham Heart Study, which is the longest-running epidemiological cohort study in the country,” Ramachandran shared.

Ramachandran explained how, over a span of more than 20 years, he helped establish a state-of-the-art cardiac imaging laboratory that takes pictures of the heart, along with a vascular laboratory that looks at the function of arteries. A second station looks at the body’s bit-by-bit variation in blood pressure and heart rate in response to daily living activities such as sitting, walking and standing, and a third station he helped establish for cardiopulmonary exercise testing.

“What the STARs award will allow me to do,” Ramachandran said, “is in a very short period, construct all three stations together under one roof here at UT Health San Antonio.”

In November 2021, recognizing the region’s unique population and persistent health disparities in key health indicators, The University of Texas Board of Regents authorized UT Health San Antonio and UTSA to found the development of a new public health school.

The STARs program was initiated in 2004 by The UT System Board of Regents to help attract and retain the best-qualified faculty with multiple types of STARs awards to support the enhancement of UT System institutions across the state.

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