October 10, 2005
CONTACT: Julie Toland,

LUBBOCK – The Texas Pediatric Society has elected as its president Patti J. Patterson, M.D., vice president for the Office of Rural and Community Health at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.

The society includes 2,800 physicians, 600 medical students and is the largest chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“Dr. Patterson is an excellent choice to serve as president of this organization which focuses on ensuring that all children in Texas are safe and healthy,” said M. Roy Wilson, M.D., M.S., Health Sciences Center president.

The Texas Pediatric Society works to ensure that all children have access to high quality medical care. Patterson said pediatricians work to assure the most vulnerable children get appropriate health care –such as children in foster care and children with disabilities.

“As pediatricians we have a critical role as advocates for children at local, state and national levels,” Patterson said. “Pediatricians have a key role in stemming the tide of the childhood obesity epidemic. Numerous factors contribute to that epidemic. We must aggressively address those factors or our children will be the first generation in the United States history to have a shorter expected life-span than their parents.”

Patterson currently leads the Healthy Lubbock Initiative, a community-wide collaborative effort to address the developing health crisis of obesity. Obesity is rapidly becoming one of the most serious health threats in Lubbock and the region. This initiative responds to national calls for strategies to improve fitness and nutrition, especially for children.

Previously, Patterson was the previous executive deputy commissioner at the Texas Department of Health as well as served as the Commissioner of Health from October 1996 to September 1997.

Patterson joined the executive team of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in January 2000. She also holds the Marie Hall Endowed Chair in Rural Health, serves as the medical director for Telemedicine and is a professor in the Department of Pediatrics.

In March 2004, she was appointed by Tommy G. Thompson, secretary of Health and Human Services, to the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services.

The National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services is a 21-member citizens’ panel of nationally recognized experts that provides recommendations on rural health and human services issues to the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Patterson’s public health career includes 12 years of experience with the Texas Department of Health as Maternal and Child Health Bureau Chief, Executive Deputy Commissioner, and Interim Commissioner of Health.

Patterson assumed the duties of president at the society’s annual meeting Oct. 1 in Galveston. She will serve a one-year term.

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