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Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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Houston VA Receives Grant from Lance Armstrong Foundation

April 12, 2012

HOUSTON – The Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC) received a $3,000 grant from the Lance Armstrong Foundation to enhance quality of life for Veterans with cancer.

The MEDVAMC was one of 20 hospitals selected through an online voting campaign held March 7 through 23, 2012 to help replicate and implement the Pillars4Life program.

Pillars4Life is a patient/caregiver support program that has been proven to enhance quality of life for cancer patients and allows hospitals and their social workers to more efficiently triage and attend to the psychosocial needs of a much greater number of patients.

“Our counselors will begin training this summer. Cancer patients and caregivers will be able to attend video conferencing online and access other virtual offerings from Pillars4Life,” said Teresa G. Hayes, M.D., Hematology-Oncology Section chief and associate professor of Medicine-Hematology & Oncology at Baylor College of Medicine. “Individuals living with cancer, no matter what stage they are in, can benefit from the program.

According to the National Cancer Institute, cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. However, improvements in cancer detection, diagnosis, and treatment have increased the survival rate for many types of cancer.

In 2006, the MEDVAMC opened a multi-disciplinary Cancer Center which brought together health care specialists from all parts of the medical center including Medical Oncology, Hematology, Surgical Oncology, Urology, Radiation Oncology, Digestive Diseases, Pulmonary Medicine, Social Work, and Pathology. The goal of this 14,000 square foot facility is to ensure each Veteran receives state-of-the-art cancer care.

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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 and provides some of the most complex care within the VA Health Care System. The DeBakey VA employs nearly 3,600 staff and is one of 49 institutions within the prestigious Texas Medical Center, one of the largest health and research centers in the world. The DeBakey VA is home to a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Clinic; Network Polytrauma Center; award-winning Cardiac and General Surgery Program; Liver Transplant Center; Epilepsy and Cancer Centers of Excellence; Substance Abuse Disorder Quality Enhancement Research Initiative; Health Services Research & Development Center of Excellence; Rehabilitation Research of Excellence focusing on mild to moderate traumatic brain injury; Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center; $26.8 million Research and Development Program; and Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education, and Clinical Center. The hospital offers sophisticated, cutting-edge technology such as PET/CT imaging, the Evident™ microwave ablation system, a CyberKnife®, a Varian Trilogy linear accelerator, a Philips Wide Bore Computed Tomography Simulator, the OR•Control System, the Abiomed Impella 2.5 catheter-based heart pump, and the Sapien heart valve. For more than 50 years, the DeBakey VA has served as the primary teaching facility for our major affiliate, Baylor College of Medicine and operates the largest VA residency program in the nation with 270 residents. Each academic year, more than 2,179 students are trained through 194 affiliation agreements with institutions of higher learning. 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