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Team of UTSA Researchers Net a $1.3 Million Health Services Research Grant

April 17, 2006

Three College of Business faculty members are part of a research team that was recently awarded a $1.3 million grant from the Agency for Health Research and Quality, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Former Provost Raymond Garza, professor of psychology and executive director of the Culture and Policy Institute, is the principal investigator on the grant which is a major collaborative effort involving faculty and research associates at UTSA, the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA) and the UT School of Public Health, San Antonio Regional Campus.

Donde Plowman, professor of management, is the co-principal investigator. “Receiving this grant is an important step toward establishing a health services research program at UTSA with the UTHSCSA,” said Plowman. “It also is important to our doctoral program in the College of Business because we will be able to support doctoral students and research assistants through this grant.”

Four research projects are funded through the new grant, each of which focuses on a critical health services issue and aligns researchers from each institution. The projects tap areas of expertise of faculty members from a variety of disciplines.

Two of the four projects will be led by faculty from the College of Business. “Organizational Complexity and Decision Making in Health Facilities and Services in Relation to Quality Improvement, Patient Safety, and Human Resources” will be led by Plowman, Dennis Duchon, professor of management, and Frank Moore, associate professor at the UT School of Public Health, San Antonio Regional Campus.

Project researchers seek not only to understand the changes that health care organizations make in response to rapidly changing and turbulent environments, but also to develop an evidence-based system of decision-making to better meet goals of delivering the best patient care possible.

The second study, “Decision Making at the End of Life in Mexican-American Elderly,” will be led by Ruben Martinez, interim chair of the Department of Criminal Justice and professor of public administration, and Miguel Bedolla, coordinator of the college's Business of Medicine program and also a UTHSCSA associate professor of family and community medicine.

Through interviews with 300 Mexican-American elders, the project will explore how socioeconomic status, acculturation, depression, capacity to perform daily living activities and religion are related to attitudes toward life support treatment and physician-assisted suicide at the end of life.

Both Plowman and Garza are hopeful that this research grant will serve as a catalyst for future collaborative ventures between UTSA and the UTHSCSA. The initiative is intended to enhance the capabilities of faculty conducting health services research, increase the number of faculty and graduate students involved in health services research and fortify ties between health services researchers at UTSA and the UTHSCSA.

Wendy Frost—

Please send your comments to: wendy.frost@utsa.edu

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