Scott Weaver, an internationally-renown expert in mosquito-borne diseases, has been named chair of the Microbiology and Immunology department. The John Sealy Distinguished Chair in Human Infections and Immunity, Weaver is a virologist and vector biologist who studies arthropod-borne viruses, focusing on their transmission by mosquitoes.

Weaver’s recent studies have focused on the chikungunya and Zika viruses. He has also developed promising new vaccines for several diseases including a chikungunya vaccine. Weaver holds national and international leadership roles include directing the Global Virus Network’s Chikungunya and Zika task forces. His most recent grant was from the Centers for Disease Control, which will allow him to lead the new Western Gulf Center of Excellence for Vector-Borne Diseases.

Frontera de Salud mission to Big Bend

The University of Texas Medical Branch’s Frontera de Salud medical mission to the Big Bend area is featured in latest issue of Texas Family Physician. Fourteen medical branch students helped physicians provide primary care at clinics in Alpine, Marfa, Presidio and Candelaria. The article notes that Frontera, founded in 1998, originally provided basic medical care to the Rio Grande Valley, but as access to care got better in the Valley, Dr. Norma Perez, the program’s executive director, identified the Big Bend area for its next project. The Big Bend area is sparsely populated and some regions have very limited access to health care, much less physicians, hospitals or ERs.

March health policy dialogues

Dr. Pedro Gozalo, associate professor, Department of Community Health at Brown University, speaks this week at the UTMB Health Policy Dialogues. His presentation, “Health Care Reform and Post-Acute Care: New Quality Measures, Inclusion in ACOs and Universal Function Measures,” begins at noon Thursday in the Levin Hall Dining Room on the Galveston campus. For information, email Becky Trout, rltrout@utmb.edu.

Coming soon, more food options at Galveston campus

Renovations to Café on the Court in John Sealy Hospital on the Galveston campus will be completed by mid-April and expanded food services, including a Chick-fil-A and new grill and hot food offerings, are scheduled to open April 20. The Café also has a Subway and there is an Einstein’s Bros. Bagels in Jennie Sealy Hospital.

Town hall distinguished lecturer next week

A co-founder of the Treatment Research Institute in Philadelphia, A. Thomas McLellan, is the featured speaker at the 2017 Town Hall Distinguished Lecturer series. McLellan’s presentation, “Modern, Effective Care for Substance Use Disorders: Findings from the 2016 Surgeon General’s Facing Addiction Report,” is presented by UTMB’s Center for Addiction Research and the Bay Area Council on Drugs and Alcohol.

McLellan, who previously was deputy director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, also was the principal developer of the Addiction Severity Index and the Treatment Services Review, which are used to better understand and treat people with drug abuse problems. The event begins at 11 a.m. March 29 in Levin Hall.

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