Initiative Five: Improving the Health and Quality of Life of Individuals and Society

The University of Texas at Dallas has established several important and successful programs such as those initiated by the nationally renowned Callier Center for Communication Disorders and the Center for BrainHealth that positively impact the quality of life in the Dallas-Fort Worth community.  These critical programs will be strengthened so that UTD can play an even more positive role in the community’s quality of life and future.

Action 5.1: Life Science Health Collaborations

The establishment of a collaborations program with UT Southwestern Medical Center is especially critical because the UTSWMC-UTD-UT Arlington team has the potential to transform the Metroplex into a global leader in biomedical research, with enormous positive benefits to society and to the economy of the region.  The School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences has increasingly emphasized its research role in the diagnosis and treatment of cognitive and communication disorders and is already collaborating with UTSWMC and local high tech industries in the areas of face recognition, aging disorders, medical imaging, natural language processing, computer processing of text, and human-machine interaction.  Additionally, in another collaborative effort, the School has established a neurotechnology initiative that is dedicated to creating and implementing technology that repairs and strengthens human abilities.  This initiative builds on the internationally respected work the faculty has done at the Callier Center with cochlear implants and is closely aligned with work being done in the School of Engineering and Computer Science.  The Economic, Political and Policy Sciences is engaged in a broad program of epidemiological research with UT Brownsville and UTSWMC, and faculty from both the Chemistry and Biology departments have a long-standing tradition of collaborating with UTSWMC and UT Arlington.  A very promising new collaborative effort is the Green Center for Systems Biology with its close relationship with UTSWMC.  The transdisciplinary and inter-institutional synergy from these collaborations promises to strengthen core areas in the sciences as well as the humanities, and these collaborations will be strongly supported and expanded.

UTD’s responsibility to society and individuals goes beyond security; UTD’s responsibility also goes beyond merely training technicians or preparing individuals for medical schools (of course, both of these tasks are important).  UTD’s emphasis on engineering, technology, science, and cognition positions the University to make significant breakthroughs in public and personal health.  The initiative to improve health and quality of life cuts across many of the Schools.  In addition to the Callier Center and the Center for BrainHealth, the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences has embarked on a program to enhance the health, education, and quality of life of children and families by establishing a Center for Child and Family Development which is investigating early childhood intervention, social and communication skills, and optimal aging.  This Center also works as a community outreach program and has a strong clinical component.  The The Economic, Political and Policy Sciences is working on health policies for underserved populations in Texas, and the School of Arts and Humanities has founded a Center for Values in Medicine and Technology and is in the process of creating an undergraduate major and an M.A. program in Medical and Scientific Humanities.  The School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics’ research efforts in medical imaging and visualization and in bioengineering also directly and positively impact the welfare of the citizens of the Metroplex and the nation.  For example, the Sickle Cell Disease Research Center is on the cutting edge of finding a cure for this debilitating disease.  The Medical Management MBA (in partnership with UTSWMC) trains physicians and healthcare administrators to serve citizens effectively and efficiently.  And perhaps most exciting of all, the proposed new department of Bioengineering holds tremendous promise for the invention of cures for many illnesses and defects.  UTD will continue to grow in these crucial areas and thereby even better serve the Metroplex and the State.

 

Updated: May 1, 2012