The Texas A&M University System Health Science Center has appointed Laura Smith as its new vice president for governmental affairs. Smith comes to the A&M Health Science Center from the staff of Lieutenant Governor Bill Ratliff and replaces Michael O’Quinn, who now holds the equivalent position at Texas A&M University.
In her new position, Smith will serve as the institution’s liaison to the Texas Legislature, with responsibility for monitoring, evaluating, tracking and facilitating legislation through the Texas House of Representatives and the Texas Senate and for coordinating efforts to ensure support for the A&M Health Science Center and higher education during the legislative process. She will also represent the institution with federal agencies and Congress.
“Ms. Smith brings substantial experience with state government and the funding process,” said Nancy W. Dickey, M.D., president of the A&M Health Science Center and vice-chancellor for health affairs. “She is enthusiastic and knowledgeable, and we look forward to having her on the A&M Health Science Center team.”
Smith, who earned a law degree from the University of Texas School of Law, has held a wide variety of governmental positions in addition to serving as Lt. Gov. Ratliff’s director of research, including special assistant for health and human services in the same office, senior budget analyst for the Texas Senate Finance Committee, associate commissioner for policy development at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, special assistant for research and policy development for Texas House of Representatives Speaker Gib Lewis, director of governmental affairs for the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation, staff counsel for the Texas Senate State Affairs Committee under Senator Ray Farabee, and staff attorney for the Texas Legal Services Center.
Smith also has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin and a master’s degree in child care from Incarnate Word College in San Antonio.
The Texas A&M University System Health Science Center provides the state with health education, outreach and research. Its five components located in communities throughout Texas are Baylor College of Dentistry, the College of Medicine, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, the Institute of Biosciences and Technology and the School of Rural Public Health.

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