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ASU Opens Laura Bush Institute for Women’s Health

ASU Opens Laura Bush Institute for Women’s Health

With a formal occasion highlighted by chamber music, wine, hors d’oeuvres and valet parking provided by the Block and Bridle Club, ASU’s College of Nursing and Allied Health staged the recent grand opening of its Laura Bush Institute for Women’s Health.

Representatives of ASU, the Texas Tech University System and San Angelo Community Medical Center along with San Angelo city and chamber of commerce officials and State Rep. Drew Darby gathered at ASU’s Center for Wellness, Engagement and Development (WED Center) to officially cut the ribbon signaling the opening of the new institute that will have a three-pronged mission.

“One of our primary focuses will be community outreach,” said Dr. Linda Ross, institute director.  “We will be doing symposiums, small group meetings and all sorts of things for women in the Concho Valley related to women’s health care.  We will also be providing education for health care providers, students as well as licensed providers.  The third component will be research.”

Research at the institute will focus on women’s health issues and be primarily done  by students and faculty from the ASU departments of Nursing, Physical Therapy and Psychology, Sociology and Social Work.  The institute’s first major outreach event is a Women’s Health Symposium scheduled for April 30.

In addition to the grand opening, the event also served as the stage for ASU to announce a partnership agreement between the Laura Bush Institute and San Angelo Community Medical Center (SACMC), including a significant contribution from SACMC to the institute.

“SACMC has provided funding for the institute and will be partnering with us on everything that we do,” Ross said.  “That involvement brings a real depth to the institute and it provides additional health care providers who can work with us on many of the things we will be doing.”

“We just felt that women’s health is such a big issue,” said Brad Holland, CEO of SACMC.  “Women make up more than 50 percent of the population.  They are also oftentimes the head of their families in making health care decisions, and we thought there was no better way to reward women in today’s society than by helping spur on research, education and outreach to that vital part of the population.”

ASU’s Laura Bush Institute is the seventh to be opened by the Texas Tech University System (TTUS), the first of which was in Amarillo in 2007.  All the institutes are dedicated to the cultivation and advancement of multidisciplinary science in women’s health, and to promoting the well-being of women through research, education and community outreach.  TTUS Chancellor Kent Hance was on hand to welcome the ASU institute to the system family.

“There was just not enough research being done on gender issues in health care,” Hance said.  “It is something we want to get everyone involved in.”

The institute is also the newest component of the WED Center, which also houses the Caregiver Research Institute, Community Development Initiatives (CDI) and the Family, Adolescent and Child Engagement Services (FACES).

ASU President Dr. Joseph C. Rallo said the opening of the institute is just another way the university is becoming more entrepreneurial in meeting the needs and demands of the community it serves.

“It gives us a very visible presence in the community and brings together under one roof a lot of different community oriented activities,” he said.  “Certainly, the Laura Bush Institute is a prime example of that.”

It was also announced during the grand opening that Jennifer Uduje, an ASU nursing student from Nigeria, has been awarded the CDI Scholarship to perform various duties at the institute.

In his opening remarks, Rallo summed up the feelings of everyone present, “It’s a great day for all of us.”