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News Central Texas' New Medical Research Institute to Improve Patient Care,Foster Business Development

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Seton/UT Southwestern Clinical Research Institute of Austin Opens

AUSTIN, Texas - (Oct. 12, 2012) - The much-anticipated Seton/UT Southwestern Clinical Research Institute of Austin ceremoniously opened its doors today and, in the process, opened up an array of local possibilities for innovative medical processes and products, medical business development and - ultimately - improved patient care.

The institute is a partnership of Seton Healthcare Family and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Also playing leading roles will be the University of Texas at Austin and local biotech firms, medical device makers, professors, physicians and others with ideas on how to improve health care. The institute's researchers will offer expertise and testing models that can determine if their ideas can be successful.

"Our goal is to create best practices," said Dr. Steven Warach, the institute's executive director and a leading neurology researcher. "We will directly improve patient care at Seton and establish the institute as a leading center for clinical research networks across Central Texas, the UT System and the nation."

The institute's centerpiece will be a core group of clinical scholars - top medical researchers who will be found locally or elsewhere over the next five to 10 years and will lead research teams focused on medical improvements that directly benefit patients.

They will lead cutting-edge, high impact, patient-based studies under Warach, previously a senior investigator with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and widely recognized for his research on using advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) methods to diagnose and treat strokes as early as possible.

"To recruit the best, you have to offer the best opportunities. I want us conducting the type of definitive studies that will change clinical practices on the day they are published," Warach said. "This is a rare opportunity to be involved at the confluence of clinical, educational and research endeavors that will be of great significance."

Developing a medical research center for public and private research is No. 4 on Texas State Sen. Kirk Watson's "10 in 10" list of 10 major medical initiatives needed over the next decade to make Austin a medical center of excellence. Other items on the list are a UT Austin medical school and new teaching hospital to replace University Medical Center Brackenridge.

The institute is located in the Clinical Education Center at Brackenridge in downtown Austin. Formerly the Children's Hospital of Austin, the building is located next to University Medical Center Brackenridge at I-35 and 15th Street.

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