June 10, 2005
CONTACT: Suzanna Cisneros Martinez, suzanna.martinez@ttuhsc.edu

LUBBOCK – With more than 50 million Americans suffering from pain-related conditions, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and Gene and Carlene Messer are partnering to build a center that will work to find solutions for pain sufferers.

Groundbreaking is scheduled for 2 p.m. Monday (June 13) south of the B2 parking lot, 3601 Fourth St., for the new Messer-Racz International Pain Center. The center is named for the Messers, who have made a generous donation to the project, and for Gabor B. Racz, M.D., a professor and internationally recognized expert in pain.

Racz, who is Chairman Emeritus of the Department of Anesthesiology, said pain is one of the reasons medicine exists. “Our responsibility is to discover new methods of pain relief to improve medical care as a whole. Ultimately the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center may save patients billions of dollars in medical costs.

“My mission always has focused on quality of life for all patients,” Racz added. “This center will allow us to continue to search for new research and treatment methods for pain.”

The project includes construction of a 12,700-square-foot new health care facility designed for vertical expansion. It includes exam rooms, procedures rooms, nurse’s stations, preceptor spaces, consultation space, clinical operations support spaces and staff offices.

The existing International Pain Center, currently located at Quaker Avenue and South Loop 289, will move to this new location.

M. Roy Wilson, M.D., M.S., president of the Health Sciences Center, said the Messers’ generosity will impact millions of people.

“With their contribution, the Messer family will help us educate future generations of health care professionals to provide the best in pain care management and improve the quality of life for so many individuals statewide and worldwide,” Wilson said. “The Health Sciences Center considers it an honor to have the Messer family as friends of our institution.”

Project planning was conducted under the direction of Racz and Richard V. Homan, M.D., vice president for Clinical Affairs and dean of the School of Medicine. Racz received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians on Sept. 7 in Washington, D.C.

Racz was the first chairman of the Department of Anesthesiology in 1977. In 1996, Racz was honored by the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center when he was awarded the first Grover Murray Professorship, recognizing his distinguished achievements in the institution as well as internationally. In December 1998, University Medical Center named Racz recipient of a $1 million endowed chair in recognition of his “greatness in patient care, teaching and research” at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and University Medical Center.

Racz and colleagues have been involved in the lysis of adhesions technique evolution that resulted in treating, without additional surgery, many patients from all over the world suffering from failed back and neck surgery and spinal stenosis, a radiating pain originating from the spine. This has resulted in new CPT codes and multiple insurance approvals affecting treatments in clinics across the country.

Under his direction, the International Pain Center at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center has grown to international prominence, attracting patients and visiting physicians from around the world. His innovative work with nerve stimulators, spinal cord stimulators, radiofrequency thermocoagulation and a wide range of other pain management procedures brings many patients referred to his care from doctors throughout the world.

The construction project is scheduled for completion in 12 to 14 months. FKP Architects, Inc. (Houston) designed the new health care facility and Lee Lewis Construction, Inc. (Lubbock) will serve as the construction manager.

For more information, contact Suzanna Cisneros Martinez, Office of Communications and Marketing or Todd Hardin, building project manager, Office of Facilities Planning and Construction, at (806) 742-2166 ext. 264.