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Dallas spearheads new federal network in science and health innovation

Jay Brousseau
Culver PR
Pegasus Park in Dallas will serve as the new national hub for a project focused on improving patient experiences in the health field. ARPA-H, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is spearheading the project.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced this week that Dallas will lead a national health innovation network focused on improving patient experiences.

The network, part of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), will focus on research projects to address health problems like access, equity and prevention.

The collaboration will be housed in Pegasus Park in West Dallas, located near Parkland Health and UT Southwestern Medical Center. While Dallas will be the hub of the new Texas network, other cities participating include San Antonio, Houston and Austin.

Vice President of Life Sciences for the Dallas Regional Chamber Kelly Cloud said this project is one the chamber has been working on for about two years.

“Prior to this announcement, we were only seen as an emerging biotech life science market,” Cloud said. “I think this is a validation, and also a sign that we have a lot of amazing assets, and we have a lot of talent.”

Cloud said Dallas is the ideal spot to lead the network because of the diversity of both science research and patient populations.

“I think the sky’s the limit,” Cloud said. “I think there’s a lot of opportunities for us to come up with solutions that haven’t even been thought of yet. It’s going to bring so much innovation and activity, so it’s really exciting.”

Lyda Hill Philanthropies CEO of Biotech Initiatives Tom Luce helped lead the bid to bring the project to Dallas. He said the city’s location was also a plus for the network.

“The fact we’re in the central part of the country [with] easy access to both coasts, [and] we’ve got a great health care system, we decided to go for it,” Luce said.

As the ARPA-H site gets ready to hire program managers and decide on grant recipients and focuses, Luce said he hopes researchers there will tackle issues like diabetes, infant mortality, cancer and heart disease.

“We have such a diversity of population that if you can’t solve the problems of Texas, you can’t solve the problems of the country,” he said.

While the Texas hub will focus on improving patient care, another new hub in Boston will improve investments into emerging biotech advancements.

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Elena Rivera is the health reporter at KERA. Before moving to Dallas, Elena covered health in Southern Colorado for KRCC and Colorado Public Radio. Her stories covered pandemic mental health support, rural community health access issues and vaccine equity across the region.