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Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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Houston VA Selected as Women's Health Research Site

January 4, 2012

HOUSTON – The Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center was recently selected as a Women’s Health Practice-Based Research Network Member Site by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“We believe our participation in the VA Women’s Health Practice-Based Research Network will result in improved health and health care for our women Veterans,” said Rola El-Serag, M.D., Women’s Health Center medical director. “This population needs more recognition and attention; women now comprise more than 13 percent of the total U.S. Armed Forces.”
The Women's Health Research Network, composed of Consortium and Practice-Based Research Network (PBRN) components, focuses on VA investigators with demonstrated interests in women's health research and investigators interested in adding women to their research. Through the Consortium, VA develops education and training sessions in key content and methodological areas, provides technical consultations, enhances communication networks, develops a mentoring program, and fosters effective dissemination. Through the PBRN, VA has developed an infrastructure across partnered VA facilities to facilitate multi-site research.
“I am very pleased Dr. El-Serag’s tremendous efforts toward providing the best care anywhere to women Veterans have been recognized by this designation,” said Adam C. Walmus, M.H.A., M.A., F.A.C.H.E., Medical Center Director. “Her leadership role and the great women’s health program we have here in Houston will be an important resource for researchers across the VA health care system.”

El-Serag received her medical degree from Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston and is also an assistant professor of Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine.

Women are the fastest growing group within the Veteran population. VA Women Veterans Health Care addresses the health care needs of women Veterans and works to ensure that timely, equitable, high-quality, comprehensive health care services are provided in a sensitive and safe environment at VA health facilities nationwide. VA strives to be a national leader in the provision of health care for women, thereby raising the standard of care for all women.

To fulfill this mission, Women Veterans Health Care works to make certain that all eligible women Veterans requesting VA care are assured of comprehensive primary care by a proficient and interested primary care provider; privacy, safety, dignity, and sensitivity to gender-specific needs; the right care in the right place and time; state-of-the-art health care equipment and technology; and high-quality preventive and clinical care, equal to that provided to male Veterans.

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Awarded re-designation for Magnet Recognition for Excellence in Nursing Services in 2008, the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center serves as the primary health care provider for more than 130,000 veterans in southeast Texas. Veterans from around the country are referred to the MEDVAMC for specialized diagnostic care, radiation therapy, surgery, and medical treatment including cardiovascular surgery, gastrointestinal endoscopy, nuclear medicine, ophthalmology, and treatment of spinal cord injury and diseases. The MEDVAMC is home to a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Clinic; Network Polytrauma Center; an award-winning Cardiac and General Surgery Program; Liver Transplant Center; VA Epilepsy and Cancer Centers of Excellence; VA Substance Abuse Disorder Quality Enhancement Research Initiative; Health Services Research & Development Center of Excellence; VA Rehabilitation Research of Excellence focusing on mild to moderate traumatic brain injury; Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center; and one of the VA’s six Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education, and Clinical Centers. Including the outpatient clinics in Beaumont, Conroe, Galveston, Houston, Lufkin, Richmond, and Texas City, MEDVAMC outpatient clinics logged almost 1.3 million outpatient visits in fiscal year 2011. For the latest news releases and information about the MEDVAMC, visit