UTMB selected to manage center for Polar Medical Operations
The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston has been selected to manage medical operations for the United States Antarctic Program.
UTMB will work for the National Science Foundation, subcontracting for Lockheed Martin and its Antarctic Support Contract. UTMB's contract runs through September of 2016 with options for renewal in two-year increments through 2025, a deal that could bring $60 million to the university.
"This is a tremendous opportunity for UTMB," said Dr. David L. Callender, UTMB President, in a press release. "We are no strangers to the ice, having operated there for the last decade, providing critical medical support on occasion. This new agreement represents an expansion of the work we're already doing."
UTMB has provided telemedicine services to the continent for the last decade under a previous contract. The agreement with Lockheed Martin will bring a Center for Polar Medical Operations to the Galveston health center.
UTMB will now lead the medical screening process for the staff of 3,000 at Antarctica's U.S. stations in addition to providing medical staff, supplies and equipment. Each polar station will have its own physician.
Dr. Scott Parazynski, the future Chief Medical Officer for the new center and former NASA astronaut, says the continent's environment offers new challenges to medical staff.
"Antarctica is the most remote and extreme place on earth to live and work," Parazynski said in a press release. "It's our responsibility and privilege to assure those who are traveling there are physically up to the challenge and have the medical support they need once they get there."
For more information on the University of Texas Medical Branch, visit its website at utmb.edu.
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