Houston is home to one of the largest and most distinguished Department of Veterans Affairs health care systems in the nation. The Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center has one of the largest VA residency programs, drawing fresh talent from medical schools across the nation each year.
Veterans with mesothelioma are entitled to seek medical treatment anywhere within the VA system, and the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC) in Houston offers one of the best options in the region.
MEDVAMC is a state-of-the-art facility with almost 400 hospital beds and an automated supply-delivery system. It also has several indoor and outdoor gardens to promote patients’ relaxation and well-being.
The medical center strives to be a model institution for the VA network. MEDVAMC’s many honors include accreditation by the College of American Pathologists and The Joint Commission. The skill of MEDVAMC’s surgeons is reflected in consistently low mortality rates for major procedures.
Most of MEDVAMC’s staff physicians double as faculty members at the prestigious Baylor College of Medicine. The VA system in Houston has had a close affiliation with Baylor for more than 50 years.
Thanks to this partnership, MEDVAMC has fostered its own robust research and development program, which plays a major role in a national genetic research initiative known as the Million Veteran Program.
Local VA clinics throughout the region refer veterans to MEDVAMC for cancer treatment and surgery. When veterans must be hospitalized, free lodging is available for family members through the Fisher House Foundation.
The VA system in Houston was the first to have three Fisher Houses dedicated to it.
MEDVAMC’s advantages for mesothelioma patients come from its close ties to the Baylor College of Medicine and its partnership with the Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center.
The Lung Institute at Baylor College of Medicine’s founding director is Dr. David Sugarbaker. Previously, he founded the International Mesothelioma Program in Boston.
Sugarbaker is nicknamed “Mr. Mesothelioma” in the medical community because of his pioneering work in treatment for pleural mesothelioma. Thanks to his leadership, Baylor’s Mesothelioma Treatment Center has achieved worldwide recognition.
The good news for veterans with mesothelioma is when thoracic surgeons do a residency at the Baylor College of Medicine, they also treat patients at MEDVAMC.
Cancer specialists in Houston stay in close collaboration through the Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center. The center’s partners include MEDVAMC, Baylor, Texas Children’s Hospital, Ben Taub Hospital and Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center.
The Duncan Cancer Center has been recognized by the National Cancer Institute as one of the top treatment centers in the nation.
Researchers at Duncan are breaking new ground in personalized care and targeted cancer treatment. Cutting-edge resources, such as Baylor’s Human Genome Sequencing Center, have played a key role in their success.
The best hope for veterans with mesothelioma is to seek out a team who is up to date on the latest cancer treatment technology. The VA system in Houston offers this opportunity as well as VA health care systems in Boston and Los Angeles.
Former U.S. Army Capt. Aaron Munz is the director of the Veterans Department at The Mesothelioma Center, and he is a VA-accredited Claims Agent. He received the Bronze Star in 2004 during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Munz has intimate knowledge of how veterans were exposed to asbestos because he served under similar conditions. Read More