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State partnership creates research opportunities, internships

UNT and Texas Department of State Health Services research agreement

State health research priorities will be advanced, thanks to an agreement with the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) that will allow in-depth analysis of information maintained by DSHS.

DSHS has relationships with state public health institutions, but the agreement with UNT marks the first official partnership with a university.

An affiliation agreement establishing the partnership was signed Aug. 12 by Warren Burggren, provost and vice president for academic affairs, Vish Prasad, vice president for research and economic development, and David Lakey, DSHS commissioner. “Sharing data and ideas with academic researchers helps us track health trends and work toward our overall mission of improving the health and well-being of Texas,” said Lakey. Photo, from left, Burggren, Lakey and Prasad.

The relationship will allow UNT researchers and administrators to work strategically with DSHS staff to identify research projects that align with state initiatives, such as smoking cessation and obesity. The agreement also establishes a competitive internship program that will give UNT students the opportunity to work with DSHS staff.

“DSHS has a wealth of data about key public health issues such as cholesterol, tobacco use, and H1N1 and other illnesses,” said Denise Perry Simmons, senior director of research development, who coordinated the agreement.

This new agreement will allow UNT to work with DSHS to turn that data into findings that advance public health. It also will position the two state entities to cultivate a pipeline of better prepared students for the growing healthcare industry workforce.

Posted on: Tue 16 August 2011

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