The NMHI’s newly expanded facility provides advanced research support for Texas Tech along with clinical nutrition and weight-management care to Lubbock and surrounding communities.
Texas Tech University's Nutrition & Metabolic Health Initiative (NMHI) has been expanding its research, education and clinic missions for several years. Now, it has moved into its brand new home at the corner of 19th Street and University Avenue, allowing it to continue its mission in the new, state-of-the-art facilities.
The NMHI has three components:
- Education, with hands-on educational and clinical training experiences for undergraduate and graduate students;
- Research, through a variety of types of nutrition and metabolic disease-focused studies including largescale clinical trials; and
- Service to the community, via a wide range of clinical nutrition, wellness and weight management programs.
"For the past several years, we have offered research support to the broader Texas Tech community and formed collaborative relationships with colleges and departments across campus and the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center," said Dr. Martin Binks, director of the NMHI and an obesity and metabolic disease research scientist and clinician for more than 20 years. "We also provide clinical services related to nutrition and metabolic health to the general Lubbock and South Plains regions. With our expansion into the new, nearly 10,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility on the first floor of the Texas Tech Plaza building, our continued and rapid growth will continue to serve Texas Tech and our local community well."
The NMHI offers state-of-the-science nutrition and metabolic care. It has the best tools available to measure body fat and muscle mass, and advanced metabolic testing to accurately determine a patient's calorie requirements and identify potential metabolic issues that may impact their progress.
Its nutrition and weight-management programs help those with complicated medical needs, including high blood pressure, diabetes, liver and kidney disease and a range of other medical conditions. The NMHI medical team works closely with patients' personal health care providers to monitor key health indicators and deliver comprehensive coordinated care.
Other programs include demonstration kitchens to teach healthy cooking and meal preparation; exercise testing facilities to better understand the role of physical activity in health; facilities for drawing and processing blood and tissue samples for various scientific analyses; a metabolic kitchen, where food-science researchers can develop healthier foods; and programs focused on developing telemedicine interventions that will allow clinicians to work at a distance with patients who can't come to Lubbock.
"While we are able to do this type of work now, our ultimate goal is to utilize the support provided by donors to significantly expand these and other areas of the mission to become a world-class facility equaled by none," Binks said.
The NMHI boasts some of the most highly trained clinicians and scientists in the field delivering nutritional counseling with registered dietitians, behavioral health specialists and medical providers in both individual and group-based comprehensive weight-loss and wellness-focused treatment. They also can provide guidance related to obesity medicines and bariatric surgery in consultation with the patient's doctor. NMHI provides pre- and post-surgical nutrition and psychological/behavioral support for patients who choose bariatric surgery.
Faculty members also share their expertise to community groups through the NMHI Speaker Program.
"We are very proud to have an ongoing and intensive educational and training experience not only for nutritional sciences students but also for those from other disciplines, like psychological sciences and kinesiology," Binks said.
Through student involvement in collaborative research, inclusion in every clinical contact in the facility and more formal programs, such as graduate and undergraduate student provider programs and serving as a practicum site for the Department of Psychological Sciences, education is a cornerstone of the NMHI program.
"Our students are truly the lifeblood of NMHI," Binks said. "Seeing the way our patients and collaborators respond to the expertise and professionalism of our students is beyond heartwarming – it's a source of pride."
Even as it moves into its new, larger space, the NMHI is looking ahead to its future growth. Currently at 10,000 square feet, it is expected to double in size in the near future with the support of the university and its donors.
"We are very pleased with how our mission has expanded into a vibrant clinical research enterprise at Texas Tech University and our inclusion in the university's most recent strategic plan," Binks said. "Our next stage will focus on our continued expansion to the 20,000-square-foot facility and obtaining the operational and endowment support to ensure our continued growth and sustainability for future generations."
The NMHI will host a ribbon-cutting for its new facility from 4-6 p.m. Thursday (Jan. 16). Open to the public, the event will feature tours, demonstrations, a raffle and giveaways. To learn more about NMHI collaborative and educational opportunities, community programs and clinical services, visit the NMHI website or call (806) 742-NMHI.