(COLLEGE STATION, TX) — The U.S. National Science Foundation has awarded funding to the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health and the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology to establish the Center for Health Organization Transformation (CHOT).

Transformational change in health organizations can focus on issues related to implementation of information technology, quality and safety management, chronic disease management, clinical change initiatives and other evidence-based management approaches (such as Six Sigma and Toyota Lean Production Methods).

Based at the HSC-School of Rural Public Health, the Center for Health Organization Transformation will address these health issues by combining the strength of the participants’ expertise. In joining the school’s knowledge in health care management, information systems and organizational change with Texas A&M University and Georgia Tech’s expertise in systems engineering and information technology, its researchers and clinical professionals, CHOT will help transform health care.

Larry Gamm, Ph.D., professor and head of health policy and management at HSC-School of Rural Public Health, is CHOT director and is joined by CHOT co-director Eva Lee, Ph.D., director of the Center for Operations Research in Medicine and HealthCare at the Georgia Tech H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering.

“The faculty and students from these great universities look forward to developing even stronger working relationships with visionary health systems – urban and rural – who share a commitment to transformation in health care,” Dr. Gamm said. “All of us seek to ensure that the center adds value for all participants taking health care research and education to the next level.”

“Health care organizations need continual innovation in management and clinical practices to address critical issues related to care that is safe, effective, patient-centered, timely and equitable in addition to offering the latest clinical technologies to remain competitive,” said Dr. Rathindra DasGupta, NSF program director. “CHOT links excellent faculty and student talent to advance research and practice in health systems management, information systems and systems. We are delighted to welcome this new center and its partners.”

The center’s total research budget is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), along with a number of progressive health-focused organizations including health systems composed of multiple hospitals and outpatient clinics in Texas and several other states. Health system leaders and their staff will collaborate with the universities in guiding and conducting the center’s research.

A listing of health systems and their transformation leaders who are participating in the Center for Health Organization Transformation will be online beginning in September at http://sph.tamhsc.edu/research/centers/chot.html

For information on the National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers Program (I/UCRC), visit http://www.nsf.gov/eng/iip/iucrc/.

The Texas A&M Health Science Center provides the state with health education, outreach and research. Its seven colleges located in communities throughout Texas are the Baylor College of Dentistry in Dallas, the College of Medicine in College Station and Temple, the College of Nursing in College Station, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, the Institute of Biosciences and Technology in Houston, the Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy in Kingsville, and the School of Rural Public Health in College Station.

— Rae Lynn Mitchell