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UT MD Anderson’s Lynda Chin named Chancellor’s Health Fellow

AUSTIN – Lynda Chin, M.D., chair of Genomic Medicine at UT MD Anderson, has been named a University of Texas System Chancellor’s Health Fellow to coordinate the planning and development of a collaborative effort in the use of technologies and big data to improve healthcare delivery, focusing on management of diabetes in South Texas.

The UT System Office of Health Affairs established the prestigious Chancellor’s Health Fellowship program in 2004 to recognize high impact innovative work at individual health institutions that are aligned with the overarching mission of the UT System and have potential for broad societal impact on health care, education and research. The work of previous Chancellor’s Health Fellows has focused on patient care quality, public health and health care ethics, among other topics.

Data, mobile, social and cloud technologies are changing the ways we live, work and interact as human beings. Recognizing the potential of these technologies to improve healthcare delivery, Dr. Chin at UT MD Anderson launched a cross-industry and cross-discipline collaborative effort 18 months ago to develop the prototype of an oncology care delivery system that is patient-centric.

In this model of care delivery, cutting-edge technology solutions are developed to spread access to quality expert care directly to the community setting where most cancer patients are treated. This way, more patients can benefit from specialty expertise in their regions that is otherwise accessible in large part only at comprehensive cancer centers such as UT MD Anderson, under the current healthcare model.

A member of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies, Dr. Chin believes that this patient-centric model can address several major deficiencies identified in the recent IOM report on status of cancer care in the U.S. It has the potential to dramatically reduce disparity in access to expert care, enhance the effectiveness of care, and improve overall patient outcomes while reducing the cost. 

UT System leadership applauds the vision of Dr. Chin and recognizes that innovative solutions are needed to address the current healthcare challenges. Believing that her work in cancer has broad applicability across many disease areas, the UT System is asking Dr. Chin to help develop a forward-looking plan that leverages similar technology platforms to address diabetes management in a high-risk population of South Texas, where the disease is a critical health and economic issue. She will also work with the founding dean of the medical school at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Francisco Fernandez, M.D., as well as the university’s faculty and administrative leadership.    

“Enhancing health care in the Rio Grande Valley is one of the UT System’s top priorities, and Dr. Chin will play a critical role in our efforts,” said UT System Executive Vice Chancellor of Health Affairs Ray Greenberg, M.D., Ph.D., who, along with Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., appointed Dr. Chin to the fellowship. “We hope to leverage Dr. Chin’s knowledge and experience working on innovative health information technology solutions for the benefit of patients in South Texas and beyond.”

Dr. Chin is an internationally renowned physician scientist who has won numerous distinguished honors for her research. In addition to her work in cancer genomics and personalized cancer medicine, she has made multiple scientific discoveries spanning the fields of transcription, telomere biology, mouse models of human cancer and oncogenomics. She was elected to the prestigious Institute of Medicine of the National Academies in 2012. 

“Dr. Chin’s medical and scientific leadership and expertise can augment the clinical strengths being assembled by the new medical school at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and its affiliated hospitals and partners,” Chancellor Cigarroa said. “We are honored that she has accepted the fellowship, and we appreciate her willingness to lend her time and effort to help develop this innovative program in South Texas.”

During her one-year appointment as a Chancellor’s Health Fellow for the UT System, Dr. Chin will continue her roles as professor and chair of the Department of Genomic Medicine and scientific director of the Institute for Applied Cancer Science at UT MD Anderson. She will also continue to lead the project to develop a new cancer care delivery prototype at UT MD Anderson.

“Being selected as a Chancellor’s Health Fellow is a great honor,” Dr. Chin said. “At UT MD Anderson, we are making progress in collaboration with our colleagues in academia and in industry to build a different model of cancer care delivery. I firmly believe that our experiences, lessons learned and foundational capabilities in the cancer program can be leveraged to leapfrog an innovative program for diabetes management in South Texas and beyond.”

Other current Chancellor’s Health Fellows are Jan E. Patterson, M.D., director of the Center for Patient Safety and Health Policy at UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, who is focusing on clinical effectiveness programs; and Stephen H. Linder, Ph.D., School of Public Health, UT Health Science Center at Houston, who is focusing on public health.

About The University of Texas System

Educating students, providing care for patients, conducting groundbreaking research and serving the needs of Texans and the nation for more than 130 years, The University of Texas System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States, with nine academic universities, six health institutions and a fall 2013 enrollment of more than 213,000. The UT System confers more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees, educates two-thirds of the state’s health care professionals annually and accounts for almost 70 percent of all research funds awarded to public universities in Texas. The UT System has an annual operating budget of $14.6 billion (FY 2014) including $3 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. With about 90,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.