Sumaya appointed to Gulf oil spill board

January 11, 2011
Ciro V. Sumaya, M.D., M.P.H.T.M.

Ciro V. Sumaya, M.D., M.P.H.T.M.

Ciro V. Sumaya, M.D., M.P.H.T.M., professor and holder of the Cox Endowed Chair in Medicine at the Texas A&M Health Science Center (TAMHSC) School of Rural Public Health, has been appointed by Texas Gov. Rick Perry to the Gulf of Mexico Initiative (GRI) Research Board.

British Petroleum has committed up to $500 million to the GRI open research program to study the impact of the Deepwater Horizon incident, and its associated response, on the environment and public health in the Gulf of Mexico.

“I feel very privileged to participate in setting a research agenda that will expand the knowledge to address environmental disasters in general and improve, in particular, the environmental conditions of the Gulf of Mexico region following this major oil spill,” Dr. Sumaya said.

Craig Blakely, Ph.D., dean of the TAMHSC-School of Rural Public Health, said, “While the majority of the dollars BP has committed to research following the Deepwater Horizon event will flow to studies of the impact on ecosystems and preventive engineering applications that may lessen the length of the release of crude following the next event, it is reassuring to see some recognition of the broader public health issues that must be considered as well. This is reflected in Texas’ decision to include Ciro Sumaya, former federal Health Resources and Services Administration administrator and founding dean of the School of Rural Public Health at the Texas A&M Health Science Center, as a member of the Gulf of Mexico Alliance oversight committee responsible for refining the overall research agenda and the proposal review process. Sumaya has an impressive grasp of big picture population health issues and the myriad approaches to their attenuation and future prevention. I look forward to the research agenda as refined by this committee.”

Dr. Sumaya served as founding dean for 10 years. Previously, he was a presidential appointee at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. He first served as an administrator at the Health Resources and Services Administration, a federal focal point for innovation in health care delivery and health professions education, and subsequently as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health, spearheading the federal Initiative on the Future of Academic Health Centers.

Dr. Sumaya currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Ascension Health, the largest nonprofit health system in the country. He has previously served on the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the principal recommending governmental body for vaccines administered to the American public. He also was appointed chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Hispanic Medical Association, which represents 36,000 licensed Hispanic physicians.

— Rae Lynn Mitchell