Monday, August 8, 2022

Boston researcher Ramachandran elected as inaugural dean of The University of Texas School of Public Health San Antonio

Image: Vasan Ramachandran, MD, of the Boston University School of Medicine and School of Public Health, has been named the inaugural dean of The University of Texas School of Public Health San Antonio. A student census of approximately 400 is planned within the first five years, with a Master of Public Health degree to be offered in 2024 and a Doctor of Public Health degree program to be developed.
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Credits: Vasan Ramachandran, MD

San Antonio –Vasan Ramachandran, MD, a distinguished public health researcher at Boston University and principal investigator of the Framingham Heart Study, has been named founding dean of The University of Texas School of Public Health San Antonio. The new school is a strategic collaboration of the Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UT Health San Antonio) and the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) and is one of three schools of public health at the University of Texas. ,

Heinrich, MD, MACP, president of UT Health San Antonio and Taylor Aghamey, PhD, president of UTSA, jointly announced Ramachandran’s appointment, effective Sept. 1.

An internationally known and highly respected physician-scientist and clinical epidemiologist, Ramachandran’s research has focused on heart failure, blood pressure and cardiac remodeling. “Vasson is the ideal person to lead and build our city’s new School of Public Health,” Heinrich said. “Her leadership of numerous studies collecting data on biological and lifestyle risk factors, her impressive track record of National Institutes of Health funding, her mentoring diverse students, and her experience directing the first public health school in India all confirm this.”

In addition to Ramachandran’s extensive and relevant experience, he is “a thoughtful, collaborative and authentic leader who has the heart of a public servant,” Heinrich said.

The founding of the School of Public Health and the recruitment of its dean heralds a new era in the shared mission of UTSA and UT Health San Antonio for the public good, Aghamy said. “We seek to improve public health in close partnership with the City of San Antonio, Bexar County, our research and development partners, and the health care community. This new school allows us to meet the needs of the critical public health workforce and the public. Health provides a major boost to both the positive momentum and commitment of the institutions to be centers of excellence in education, service and research,” he said.

“The new joint School of Public Health by UT Health Science Center San Antonio and UTSA will be a tremendous resource for San Antonio and South Texas, and the appointment of an outstanding inaugural dean demonstrates the power of this collaboration,” said UT System Chancellor James B. Milliken said. “The Board of Regents and I look forward to Dr. Ramachandran’s leadership and the success of this important new school.”

Pandemic increased the problem

“The launch of the new School of Public Health in San Antonio is a transformative opportunity of a lifetime,” Ramachandran said in a phone interview this week. “We are starting the School of Public Health at a very important time in the history of the country, state, city and region. We are still more than two and a half years into the grip of the pandemic, and this crisis has exposed how challenging it is to tackle major public health challenges on the scale of the COVID-19 pandemic. ,

Ramachandran said much of the frontline battle of the pandemic is fought by public health workers, and yet there are gaps in infrastructure related to the training of public health workers. “Meanwhile, the epidemic continues in terms of the burden of chronic disease, which is very high in the region,” he said.

Ramachandran said the pandemic has also revealed “a social pattern of the disease”. The demographic characteristics of those worst affected are frontline workers, people of color, people lacking health insurance, mothers of young children and other vulnerable populations.

“During the pandemic, we have navigated feeling our way, because it is so dynamic,” Ramachandran said. “And we’ve tried to take the masses with us, not always successfully.”

UT Health San Antonio and UTSA each provide complementary programs and synergies for the new School of Public Health, said Jennifer Potter, PhD, vice president of research at UT Health San Antonio. For example, infectious diseases, cancer, epidemiology and many other areas of study are UT Health’s strengths. UTSA contributes to a diverse range of fields such as data science, kinesiology, demography, and more. Potter co-chairs the discovery advisory committee with Heath Shipley, PhD, senior vice provost for academic affairs and dean of University College at UTSA, along with seventeen colleagues from UT Health San Antonio, UTSA and the San Antonio community.

decades of experience

Ramachandran has served on the faculty of Boston University School of Medicine and School of Public Health for more than a quarter century and served as principal investigator of the Framingham Heart Study since 2014. The Framingham Study is a population-based, observational study. Funded in 1948 by the US Public Health Service and later by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to conduct a prospective investigation of epidemiological and risk factors for heart disease. It developed as an ongoing, longitudinal study of three generations of participants and omni groups of non-white individuals on a variety of biological and lifestyle risk factors and on cardiovascular, neurological and other types of disease outcomes. Collects potential data with

Ramachandran has also served as one of the principal investigators for the Rural Areas Longitudinal Study (RURAL) at Risk Since 2019, which aims to address critical gaps in knowledge of heart and lung disorders in rural counties in the southeastern US . This study is of 4,600 individuals of age. 25-64 from 10 rural counties in southern Appalachia and the Mississippi Delta.

With a current active annual research grant portfolio of approximately $20 million and a recipient of over $100 million from the National Institutes of Health over the past 20 years, Dr. Ramachandran is a prolific and collaborative investigator. He has more than 1,060 publications to his name, including several leading journals such as The New England Journal of Medicine, The Journal of the American College of Cardiology, The Journal of the American Medical Association And Spreading,

unique needs of the region

San Antonio is a majority-minority city that, with its large and growing Hispanic population, reflects the demographic future of the nation. The city and several areas in the South Texas area are recognized as Health Professional Deficiency Areas (HPSAs) by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration.

Unique health challenges include infectious diseases, diabetes, maternal and child health, mental health and substance use disorders, health care disparities, cancer and injury prevention. The faculty of the new school will propose innovative public health solutions to these problems.

Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic created a strong demand and need for public health education around vaccination, masking, social distancing and hand washing. The School of Public Health will enable local residents to train for public health careers to meet the ever-evolving health challenges.

The University of Texas System Board of Regents recognized that the region’s persistent disparities in key health outcomes required a public health approach. In November 2021, the regent voted to authorize UT Health San Antonio and UTSA to develop a new public health school.

A student census of approximately 400 is planned within the first five years, with a Master of Public Health degree to be offered in 2024 and a Doctor of Public Health degree program to be developed.

The total startup cost for the School of Public Health is approximately $40 million, which includes existing building renovations, program development and the recruitment of Ramachandran as dean. In June, Bexar County allocated $10 million to support school development.

The public is invited to visit The University of Texas School of Public Health San Antonio website.

University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UT Health San Antonio) is a primary driver for San Antonio’s $42.4 billion health care and biosciences sector, the city’s largest economic producer. As the largest research university in South Texas with an annual research portfolio of approximately $350 million, UT Health San Antonio through its five professional schools, a diverse workforce of 7,200, an annual operating budget of more than $1 billion, and a substantial has an economic impact. Clinical practice that visits over 2 million patients each year. In addition, UT Health San Antonio plans to add more than 1,500 high-paying jobs over the next five years to serve San Antonio, Bexar County, and South Texas. To learn about the many ways we make life better®, visit,

Stay Connected with the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio Facebook, Twitter, linkedin, instagram And youtube,

University of Texas at San Antonio is a Tier One research university and a Hispanic service institution specializing in cyber, health, fundamental future and socio-economic change. With over 34,000 students, it is the largest university in the San Antonio metropolitan area. UTSA advances knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. The university embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and commercialization of intellectual property – for Texas, the nation, and the world. Learn more online at UTSA TODAY or hereafter TwitterInstagram, Facebook, YouTube or LinkedIn.

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