Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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Houston VA Selected as Site for VA Epilepsy Center of Excellence

July 31, 2009

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“The Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center was selected based upon our existing strengths in epilepsy and epilepsy surgery, and because we have an advanced polytrauma treatment program here,” said Richard A. Hrachovy, M.D., Neurology Care Line deputy executive and director of the new Epilepsy Center of Excellence. Above, Navy Veteran David Garcia undergoes testing with (from left) epilepsy experts David Chen, M.D., Hrachovy, and Neurology Outpatient Clinic Director Vitor Pacheco, M.D. Photo by Fran Burke, Public Affairs Specialist

 

HOUSTON – On July 29, the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC) was notified it had been selected as a Department of Veterans Affairs Epilepsy Center of Excellence.

The VA National Neurology Office had previously conducted an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses for epilepsy care and electrodiagnostic capabilities within VA. There was a need to enhance epilepsy care to treat veterans with epilepsy and to provide care for veterans who would develop epilepsy as a consequence of traumatic brain injury.

“I am ecstatic the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center was selected to be an Epilepsy Center of Excellence,” said Blase A. Carabello, M.D., F.A.C.C., acting MEDVAMC director. “It speaks volumes about our staff, our research and health programs, and our efforts to provide the best possible health care to Veterans in southeast Texas. The knowledge gained through this Center’s work will benefit Veterans and the community for years to come.”

The new Epilepsy Center will be funded at $2.5 million over five years and will provide services to veterans living in the Southwest and develop a network with VA medical centers in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Albuquerque. After the initial five year period, the program will be evaluated to determine if it should be continued.

“The Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center was selected based upon our existing strengths in epilepsy and epilepsy surgery, and because we have an advanced polytrauma treatment program here,” said Richard A. Hrachovy, M.D., Neurology Care Line deputy executive and director of the new Center.

Other Center members include epilepsy experts David Chen, M.D., Neurology Outpatient Clinic Director Vitor Pacheco, M.D., Neurosurgery Chief Bruce Ehni, M.D., and Daniel Yoshor, M.D. The Center will collaborate closely with the MEDVAMC Rehabilitation Care Line Executive Helene Henson, M.D. and her Polytrauma Rehabilitation Program staff as well as her colleagues within the Southwest region.

“One focus of the center will be epilepsy that follows head trauma and to expand our knowledge and expertise for this condition,” said Thomas A. Kent, M.D., Neurology Care Line executive and co-director of the Center. “It will permit us to double our long-term epilepsy monitoring capacity.”

MEDVAMC is home to two VA-funded Research Centers of Excellence: Houston Center for Quality of Care and Utilization Studies and Neurorehabilitation: Neurons to Networks Center of Excellence. It is also home to a VA Quality Enhancement Research Initiative in Substance Use Disorders, a Mental Illness Research and Clinical Care Center, and a Parkinson’s Disease Research and Clinical Care Center.

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