Deans of Texas SPHs Testify on State of Public Health in Texas

March 4, 2011

The deans of the three Texas Schools of Public Health testified before the Texas House Committee on Public Health on how the schools can impact the overall health of Texans and how public health programs can ultimately save Texas billions in future health care spending. In the history of the committee, this is the first time the deans of the schools of public health have been asked to testify together.
Dean Craig Blakely of Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health, Dean Richard Kurz of the University of North Texas Health Science Center School of Public Health, and Dean Roberta Ness of The University of Texas School of Public Health worked together to address many of the important public health issues in Texas.

During their testimony, both Dean Ness and Dean Blakely addressed how schools of public health can help the House Committee on Public Health lower Medicaid costs in Texas. Currently the state spends $8.6 billion in Medicaid payments annually.

“Prevention keeps people out of hospitals,” Dean Ness said. “It’s as simple as that. An estimated 75% of hospitalizations are avoidable. Not smoking, eating a healthy diet, exercise, vaccination and injury prevention would prevent a large share of healthcare bills in Texas. ”

Read more of this story at The ASPH’s Friday Letter website

— Rae Lynn Mitchell