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Steve Murdock
Steve Murdock

UTHSC, UTSA partner on health workforce research

By Marianne McBride Lewis
UTSA Director of Public Affairs
and
Will Sansom,
UTHSC Director of News and Information

(Aug. 7, 2006)--Francisco Cigarroa, M.D., president of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, and UTSA President Ricardo Romo announced Aug. 3 a partnership to study health workforce supply and demand in Texas.

The Health Science Center and UTSA facility will study many issues including projected shortages of health professionals as the state's population ages and diversifies.

The Regional Center for Health Workforce Studies and the Center for Health Economics and Policy, both at the Health Science Center, will join the School of Medicine's Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics.

The new organization will be jointly governed by the UTHSC Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and the UTSA Institute for Demographic and Socioeconomic Research.

"The combined capabilities of the Health Science Center and UTSA in this field are substantial," Cigarroa said. "Pooling our resources to study population size, distribution and characteristics -- and factors such as the location and accessibility of the health workforce and health care facilities -- will permit us to more effectively help our state and nation to address health service demands."

Steve Murdock, state demographer, UTSA Lutcher Brown Distinguished Chair in Demography and director of the Institute for Demographic and Socioeconomic Research, accepted a joint faculty appointment at the Health Science Center and will head the research facility.

"This partnership is an excellent example of how UTSA and the Health Science Center can collaborate to address challenges affecting the people of Texas," Romo said. "We look forward to providing the demographic expertise of Steve Murdock's group to help the Health Science Center determine where critical health care needs exist in the state and how it can help fill that void."

One of only six centers of its kind in the nation, the Regional Center for Health Workforce Studies was created under the sponsorship of the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration to inform national and regional health workforce policy. It is a major source for data and analyses of health workforce issues in Texas, neighboring states, and the U.S. and Mexico border regions from Brownsville to San Diego.

The center's extensive databases and reports can be viewed at www.uthscsa.edu/rchws. Its former director, Antonio Furino, recently retired after decades of distinguished service.

The Regional Center for Health Workforce Studies will complete two national studies -- a health workforce profile of the U.S.-Mexico border regions and the first national assessment of the size and quality of the community health worker workforce involving a survey of employers in each state. The center also will launch its fourth biennial survey of job satisfaction and career plans of Texas registered nurses.

Murdock's population study programs have provided analysis of demographic patterns across Texas for more than 25 years. Estimates and projections by the Texas State Data Center headed by Murdock are used by the state for budgetary, facility and personnel planning. Some of these reports can be read at the Institute for Demographic and Socioeconomic Research Web site.

The Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics was established this summer with epidemiologist Brad Pollock as professor and chair. The department manages large regional and national databases on disease incidence and clinical outcomes and is engaged in interdisciplinary research activities at the local and national levels. .

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