Texas Governor Announces Trauma Research Grant

Published August 1, 2008

Initiating an intensive taxpayer-supported effort to support injury trauma research and awareness, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) has awarded the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHSC-H) Center for Transitional Injury Research a $5 million grant, effective this summer, to recruit leading scientists and surgeons in trauma care to the state and to establish a trauma research center utilizing modern medical technologies.

Injury is the leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of one and 44, according to the National Trauma Institute. Approximately 160,000 Americans die from injuries each year, as do 5 million people around the world.

Trauma research receives less funding than disease and hazard research. Of the 27 institutes and centers that constitute the National Institutes of Health–each of which focuses exclusively on a single area of medicine or medical science–none is exclusively devoted to trauma research.

Seeding Tech Expansion

The grant, announced in early June, will be paid out of the Texas Emerging Technology Fund, a $200 million program created in 2005 and reauthorized in 2007 at Perry’s request to seed technology companies, facilitate technology transfer from universities to the private sector, and fund technological research with potential commercial applications.

“The Emerging Technology Fund makes Texas a global competitor in drawing the brightest minds in research and innovation to our state,” said Perry.

“Medical breakthroughs should never rest on a shelf,” Perry continued, “but rather be brought to the marketplace to help those in need. Continued expansion of our research and development capabilities in medical technologies will create more jobs, generate substantial capital investments, and most importantly, aid those who are suffering at home and around the world.”

“Medical breakthroughs should definitely be brought to the marketplace to help those in need,” agreed Jeff Emanuel, a research fellow for health care policy at The Heartland Institute and managing editor of Health Care News.

“It is encouraging that Gov. Perry recognizes the need for private-sector involvement in medical innovation,” Emanuel continued. “It would be even more encouraging if he would allow this investment to flourish further by pushing for a decrease in regulation of the state’s health care and technology markets, allowing the private sector to do even more work for the health and welfare of the people of Texas.”

Encouraging Commercial Development

“The research and commercialization of new trauma care technologies this center develops will save lives here in Texas, across the country, and on the battlefield where Americans are defending our freedom,” said Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R).

“The center will also enhance Texas’s reputation as a national leader in clinical research of emergency medicine that will help attract more industry and capital investment in this critical field,” Dewhurst noted.

As new trauma care and emergency medical technologies are developed, commercialization officers will assist in establishing public-private partnerships to move the innovations into the private sector for commercial development, UTHSC-H officials said in a release.

Katie Flanigan ([email protected]) writes from Texas.