Texas Business reports: AUSTIN—UT Southwestern Medical Center has appointed Steven Warach, a neurologist and senior investigator at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as the founding executive director of the new Seton/UT Southwestern Clinical Research Institute in Austin. The recruitment of Warach was done in collaboration with Seton Healthcare Family.
Warach, whose own research focuses on using advanced MRI methods to diagnose strokes as early as possible, said he wants the institute to foster discoveries that result in immediate improvements across the spectrum of clinical medicine.
“I want us conducting the type of definitive studies that will change clinical practices on the day they are published,” said Warach, who will begin his duties Dec. 5. “This is a rare opportunity to be involved at the confluence of clinical, educational and research endeavors that will be of great significance for Texas.”
The Clinical Research Institute is the latest milestone in the two-year-old partnership between UT Southwestern and Seton, which is the leading provider of health care services in Central Texas. It also expands the footprint of UT Southwestern’s world-class research programs to the Austin area. UT Southwestern is home to five Nobel laureates, four of whom are active faculty members, and ranks among the U.S. News & World Report’s top 10 medical schools for research among public universities.
Warach’s initial charge is recruiting and hiring clinical investigators to join the UT Southwestern faculty in Austin. Their time will be divided between clinical work and research at the institute, and will help to form a focal point for patient-based investigation.
“We are pleased that Dr. Warach is joining our team and will foster clinical research studies in the Seton service area,” said Susan Cox, UT Southwestern regional dean of the Austin programs. “He will be creating the infrastructure to support a robust research program for faculty, residents and the community of Austin.”
Warach has been at the NIH since 1999 as a senior investigator. He also is chief of the Section on Stroke Diagnostics and Therapeutics at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. He graduated from Michigan State University with a doctorate in neuroscience and psychology before getting his medical degree at Harvard Medical School.
“Dr. Warach was identified after a national search as the very best person to lead this next step in our relationship with Seton,” said J. Gregory Fitz, executive vice president for academic affairs, provost and dean of UT Southwestern Medical School. “This has been a great partnership, and we look forward to seeing the Clinical Research Institute grow and develop in Austin, and to making a difference in providing the very best options for advanced patient care based on careful investigation.”
Seton’s larger goal is to improve the health of those it serves with a special concern for the poor and vulnerable. Seton is increasing its investment in medical education and research so that area patients receive necessary and timely medical treatment.
“Dr. Warach’s expertise in medical research will increase the quality of health care in Central Texas,” said Charles Barnett, chief executive of Seton Healthcare Family. “This research institute will help attract the best physicians nationally and offer cutting-edge treatments that aren’t available in non-research environments.”
The Cain Foundation granted $1 million to the Seton Fund to endow the Institute’s executive director position.
“The Cain Foundation has been involved in medical research for many years,” said Frank Denius, president of the Cain Foundation. “We are pleased to provide start-up funding for the executive director position at the Seton/UTSW Center for Clinical Investigation.”