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Texas A&M establishes multidisciplinary Institute for Healthcare Access

New institute will work to expand and improve health care across Texas and the nation
physician checks pediatric patient's heart sounds in a clinic exam room

The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents has approved the establishment of the Texas A&M University Institute for Healthcare Access, a collaboration between Texas A&M Health Science Center (Texas A&M Health), Texas A&M University School of Medicine and Texas A&M University School of Law. The institute will lead interdisciplinary health policy research, help advance interdisciplinary and interprofessional education, and create innovative clinical and community partnerships across Texas A&M to expand health care access and improve health in Texas and across the nation.

From affordability to availability, access to health care is a major concern in Texas. The Institute for Healthcare Access was formed to bring together researchers, health care professionals, organizations and experts to identify barriers to care and explore solutions that advance health. One of the institute’s first projects is working with the Texas A&M School of Public Health on a grant funded by the National Academy of Sciences to increase the role of vulnerable Gulf Coast communities as data partners in public health surveillance.

A central premise of the institute’s engagement is that most of the challenges to health care access are neither new nor unsolvable. Rather, the conversations around them—among policymakers, stakeholder groups and the broader public—have stalled,” said William Sage, MD, JD, founding faculty director of the Institute for Healthcare Access. “The institute will approach health care access pragmatically, building a flexible portfolio of issues and activities that offer the potential for transformative impact.”

Sage is a nationally renowned authority on health law and policy. He is a tenured professor at Texas A&M School of Medicine and Texas A&M School of Law and an associate vice president at Texas A&M Health. He has written more than 200 articles and is an elected member of both the National Academy of Medicine and the American Law Institute.

The institute’s leadership also includes the following:

Executive Director Keegan Warren, JD, LLM, is one of the nation’s leading experts on medical-legal partnership—a care model that bridges health care and law to address the root causes of non-medical drivers of health.

Bryn Esplin, JD, HEC-C, CPPS, a national and international speaker on subjects such as bioethics, health law and medical humanities, will lead the Institute for Healthcare Access’s educational activities, focused on building interdisciplinary bridges.

Susan Rudd Bailey, MD, special assistant for strategic projects at Texas A&M School of Medicine, is past president of the American Medical Association. She will use her wealth of experience in health care to shape the institute’s mission and goals and advance its initiatives.

“Our mission is to establish the preeminent forum to challenge conventional thinking about barriers to access to health care,” Warren said. “We will engage stakeholders, inspire decision-makers and generate breakthrough advances that improve health—and people’s lives.”

The Institute for Healthcare Access is based in Fort Worth and will be housed on the Texas A&M-Fort Worth campus, which is currently under construction and slated to be completed in 2025.

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