Texas Health Resources Announces $1 Million Grant from the AT&T Foundation to Support Advanced Technology Initiatives, New Direction for Research Organization
May 17, 2006
The Research & Education Institute for Texas Health Resources Launches Expanded Focus with New Name, New President.
Arlington, Texas, - Texas Health Resources (THR), the largest nonprofit health care system in North Texas, today unveiled a newly expanded focus on medical research and education. Supporting the efforts, the AT&T Foundation —- the philanthropic arm of AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) —- announced it has awarded a $1 million grant to THR’s research organization to fund several information technology initiatives as well as a national educational forum on community health issues.
Reflecting its new direction, THR introduced a new name and a new president for its research organization. The research arm, formerly known as Texas Health Research Institute, is now named The Research and Education Institute (TREI) for Texas Health Resources. Russell Poland, Ph.D., a nationally known leader in the medical research field, has been named the president of TREI.
“Texas Health Resources greatly appreciates the AT&T Foundation’s support of our strategy to leverage advanced technology to improve community health,” said Doug Hawthorne, president and CEO of THR. "With the support of this AT&T Foundation grant, TREI and THR will be able to explore more innovative applications of technology and educate more physicians and other health care professionals to meet the health needs of our growing communities.
“THR’s mission is to improve the health of the people in the communities we serve,” added Hawthorne. “We sincerely thank the AT&T Foundation for joining with us to accomplish this mission.”
“Few things are as important to our communities as good healthcare. This grant will help ensure that doctors and patients alike benefit from advancing technology in medical care,” said state Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Lewisville, and chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.
The grant is the largest single corporate grant ever awarded to a THR entity. The AT&T Foundation provides funding to nonprofit organizations to improve their abilities to meet their missions through enhanced technology access and resources. The AT&T Foundation will provide more than $60 million in 2006 in charitable contributions, thereby, placing it among the top five largest corporate foundations in the country.
“We commend Senator Jane Nelson for her leadership in ensuring that Texas’ communities have the health care resources they need in order to meet the needs of citizens,” said Holly Reed, senior vice president of External Affairs, AT&T Inc. “AT&T is proud to award this grant to support THR’s important research and technology initiatives. Through this funding, we hope THR can continue to enhance the vital services and education it provides.”
Leveraging Technology to Improve Community Health
TREI and THR will use the $1 million AT&T Foundation grant to address opportunities for leveraging technology to improve the health of people throughout the community. Efforts will be designed to explore and demonstrate how health care providers can marry the concept of a comprehensive electronic health record with technology solutions that could enable people’s ability to better manage their health and improve their lives.
“Hospitals simply cannot build enough bed capacity to meet the future needs of a growing and aging population,” said THR’s Hawthorne. “We must find innovative ways to help people outside the walls of our hospitals. Part of TREI’s efforts will be to expand what others have started by exploring approaches that will favorably impact outcomes through improved health and reduced hospitalizations.”
For example, the AT&T funds will enable TREI to explore in-home wireless and Internet-based monitoring of patients with serious conditions such as congestive heart failure, asthma and diabetes. Research will also involve creating a value model for understanding the impact these types of technology have on improved treatment outcomes.
TREI will also explore ways in which health care providers can implement the electronic health record to facilitate preservation and sharing of vital medical information in the event of disasters such as last year’s Gulf hurricanes.
National Forum Slated for November
The grant will also fund a lecture series on critical health issues. The first AT&T —- TREI Health & Technology Forum is planned for November 2006. Plans call for a series of national forums focusing on the impact of technology on patient care and community health. The forums will bring together community leaders, health care providers and nationally recognized experts from a variety of disciplines. Details of the November forum program and a call for participants will be announced soon.
Poland Guides New Developments
Russell Poland, Ph.D., oversees development and implementation of THR’s research and continuing medical education strategy. Dr. Poland assumed his new post as president of TREI on April 10. As TREI president, Dr. Poland guides the development of new studies focused on key clinical services and population-based research and clinical trials research and product evaluation and testing. In addition, he directs the expansion of continuing medical education and distance-learning opportunities for THR-affiliated physicians and others locally, nationally and internationally. He also will help develop a clearinghouse for research opportunities to assist physician investigators.
“The new name —- The Research and Education Institute for Texas Health Resources —- reflects the enhanced role the organization will have within THR,” said Michael Deegan, M.D., executive vice president, chief clinical and quality officer of THR. "Our ability to attract a medical research leader of Dr. Poland’s caliber is a testament to the potential impact TREI can have on the future practice of medicine.
“Dr. Poland comes to TREI with an impressive portfolio of medical research experience,” Deegan said. “He will oversee development of several new initiatives of TREI which will enhance existing programs and expand the scope of both the research and education components.”
Dr. Poland joined TREI from Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, where he was director of the Burns and Allen Psychiatric Research Program in the Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health since 1999. He also served as professor of psychiatry at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Before joining Cedars-Sinai, Dr. Poland was professor of psychiatry at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and associate director of the Research Center on the Psychobiology of Ethnicity, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. He also was director of the Psychobiology Laboratory.
Dr. Poland has served on several editorial boards and written articles for peer-reviewed publications, including the Journal of Psychiatric Research and Progress in Neuropsychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry. In addition, Dr. Poland has written several book chapters based on his findings. He is a member of many professional organizations and has served on various review committees for the National Institutes of Mental Health.
Dr. Poland received his bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and his doctorate from the UCLA School of Medicine, Department of Pharmacology.
About Texas Health Resources
Texas Health Resources is one of the largest faith-based, nonprofit health care delivery systems in the United States. The 13-hospital system is the largest in North Texas in terms of patients served and includes Harris Methodist Hospitals, Arlington Memorial Hospital and Presbyterian Healthcare System. For more information about Texas Health Resources, visit www.texashealth.org.
About the AT&T Foundation
The new AT&T Foundation, the philanthropic arm of AT&T Inc., supports programs that build communities and improve access to information technologies, technology training and professional skills development. The new AT&T Foundation will provide more than $60 million in 2006 in charitable contributions, thereby, placing it among the top five largest corporate foundations in the country. The new AT&T Foundation combines more than 40 years and $1.7 billion of philanthropic commitment to communities across the country.
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