Center for global child health announced by Texas Children's Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine


Texas Children's Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) today announced the creation of the Texas Children's Center for Global Health and the appointment of renowned physician-scientist Dr. Russell E. Ware as director.

Focusing primarily on medically underserved populations, Texas Children's Center for Global Health will address major causes of child morbidity and mortality globally. It will also provide screening, treatment and education to positively impact critical global health issues affecting children such as sickle cell disease, malaria, tuberculosis, malnutrition and cancer.

The center will build upon the fifteen years of experience and expertise of the Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative at Texas Children's Hospital (BIPAI), which operates a network of clinics and satellite centers across southern and eastern Africa and in Eastern Europe. BIPAI clinics provide HIV/AIDS treatment for about 80,000 children, more than any other program worldwide.

Renowned physician-scientist Dr. Russell E. Ware is appointed director of the Texas Children's Center for Global Health
"Through BIPAI, we have learned how to create collaborative programs in developing nations that dramatically change the outlook for children affected by life-threatening but treatable disease," said Dr. Mark W. Kline, physician-in-chief at Texas Children's Hospital, chair of pediatrics at BCM and founder of BIPAI. "We believe it is our moral obligation to use this knowledge in treating other diseases -- to create programs that can literally change the world by positively impacting the health of children and families."

According to Mark A. Wallace, president and CEO of Texas Children's Hospital, this increased global focus is a logical next step in the shared commitment of BCM and Texas Children's as international leaders in pediatric healthcare. "Located in the heart of a city as globally diverse as Houston, our two institutions share a history of caring for children from all over the world," he said. "Even as we continue to expand services in our own community, our mission compels us to reach out to the most disadvantaged children around the world where our efforts can literally save lives."

Led by Dr. Ware, the first initiative of Texas Children's Center for Global Health will be a screening and treatment program for sickle cell disease in Luanda, Angola. Annually more than 6,000 babies in that country are born with sickle cell disease and most are undiagnosed, contributing substantially to the high mortality rate for children under age five. More than 20% of Angola's adult population carries the gene that causes sickle cell disease.

"Dr. Ware is most definitely a transformative figure and a physician scientist who is a giant in the field of sickle cell disease," said Dr. Paul Klotman, president and chief executive officer of Baylor College of Medicine. "His leadership will ensure significant strides in our globalization efforts and represents a major step forward in building on the BIPAI legacy to serve children and their families throughout the world."

An internationally-recognized expert in the field of pediatric hematology, Ware comes to Texas Children's Hospital and BCM from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis where he was Lemuel Diggs Endowed Chair of Sickle Cell Disease and the chair of the Department of Hematology. In addition to directing Texas Children's Center for Global Health, Ware will serve as director of a new Texas Children's Hematology Center and as professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine. The hematology center will serve children locally and globally, expanding current efforts at Texas Children's, especially in the areas of sickle cell disease, hemostasis and thrombosis, bone marrow failure and immunohematology.

Dr. Ware recently led a team from Texas Children's Center for Global Health to the Republic of Angola, where an agreement was signed with the country's Ministry of Health on
March 22 for a pilot program to screen newborns for sickle cell disease in two large maternity hospitals located in the city of Luanda. The screening program is slated to begin later this summer and is being supported by funding from Chevron Corporation.

"It is both exciting and humbling to direct a global program that continues the mission and legacy of respected colleagues at BCM and Texas Children's," said Ware, who assumed his new post on March 14."We know that the pediatric diseases we will tackle, beginning with sickle cell, can be managed effectively using existing treatment methods. This global initiative can create a new and better future for hundreds of thousands of babies and children---and that is a powerful incentive," he added.

A distinguished researcher and author of more than 200 scientific papers and 35 textbook chapters, Ware receives more than $10 million annually in National Institutes of Health funding. He holds an undergraduate degree in chemistry from Furman University and a medical degree from Duke University School of Medicine. He completed pediatric residency training at Baylor and Texas Children's and sub-specialty training in hematology/oncology at Duke. He also received a Ph.D. in immunology from Duke.

About Texas Children’s Hospital

Texas Children’s Hospital, a not-for-profit health care organization, is committed to creating a healthier future for children and women throughout the global community by leading in patient care, education and research. Consistently ranked as the best children’s hospital in Texas, and among the top in the nation, Texas Children’s has garnered widespread recognition for its expertise and breakthroughs in pediatric and women’s health. The hospital includes the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute; the Feigin Center for pediatric research; Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women, a comprehensive obstetrics/gynecology facility focusing on high-risk births; Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus, a community hospital in suburban West Houston; and Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands, a second community hospital planned to open in 2017. The organization also created the nation’s first HMO for children, has the largest pediatric primary care network in the country and a global health program that’s channeling care to children and women all over the world. Texas Children’s Hospital is affiliated with Baylor College of Medicine. For more information, go to www.texaschildrens.org. Get the latest news by visiting the online newsroom and Twitter at twitter.com/texaschildrens.