February 14, 2005
CONTACT: Suzanna Cisneros Martinez, suzanna.martinez@ttuhsc.edu

LUBBOCK – The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Nursing was awarded $334,000 from The CH Foundation for a Regents Endowed Professorship in Rural Health Disparities.

Christina Esperat, Ph.D., associate dean for research at the Health Sciences Center School of Nursing, was awarded the professorship. Alexia Green, Ph.D., dean of the School of Nursing, said Esperat’s dedication to the development of the School of Nursing’s Larry Combest Community Health and Wellness Center as well as other community collaboratives makes her the most exceptional candidate to receive the professorship.

“Dr. Esperat continually focuses on addressing health disparities whether it is with research or practice programs,” Green said. “This new professorship is a wonderful opportunity to invest in the growth of a health disparities component at the Health Sciences Center.”

M. Roy Wilson, M.D., M.S., president of the Health Sciences Center, said investments in basic and clinical research and in medical education have resulted in unprecedented improvements in the lives of Americans.

“A 21st century challenge emerging from these achievements is basic fairness: that all Americans should benefit from advances in medical technologies and health care,” Wilson said. “The egalitarian principle would hold that none should be left behind — not the elderly, not those living in rural communities, not those of different racial or ethnic backgrounds.

“As an academic health sciences center geographically located in an area that is increasingly elderly, increasingly Hispanic and predominantly rural, we must confront the reality of health disparities in these populations head-on.”

Green said this funding by The CH Foundation will enhance the capacity of the School of Nursing to conduct research investigations on causes of health problems that lead to health disparities among vulnerable populations.

“The CH Foundation’s continued generous support enables the School of Nursing to target these populations,” Green said. “Our hope is to better the health of not only these populations but of the community overall.”

The Regents Endowed Professorship in Rural Health Disparities for the School of Nursing will subsidize the salary of the professorship holder. The Health Sciences Center has pledged $166,000 in matching funds to bring the total endowment to $500,000.

Esperat was instrumental in modeling community transformation through the intervention of nursing services and public policy to expand health care access for vulnerable populations. Her advocacy for providing health care to the medically underserved has earned her appointments to several state and regional commissions and committees.

She currently serves as a member of the National Council on Nursing Education and Practice, an advisory group to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Congress on nursing education and practice issues. She also is on the board of directors of the National Nursing Centers Consortium.