The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) funded Center for Health Organization Transformation (CHOT) at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health will work with Ustawi Biomedical Research Innovation and Industrial Centers of Africa (UBRICA) on a project called UBRICA ONE to develop a master-planned biomedical industrial park to be located on 4,000 acres in Kenya’s Great Rift Valley. The biomedical industrial park will include hospitals, research facilities, residential areas, recreational areas and industry.
This will be the first international project of CHOT, an industry-university cooperative research center (I/UCRC) jointly located at Texas A&M Health Science Center, Georgia Institute of Technology, Northeastern University, and Pennsylvania State University. CHOT is funded by the NSF and health organizations to conduct research supporting major management, clinical, and information technology innovations in healthcare.
Research conducted by CHOT supports implementation of evidence-based transformational strategies within healthcare organizations. A number of progressive health systems from Texas and the Southeast are currently participating and others may soon join according to a release.
Texas A&M HSC’s expertise in health care management and IT combined with industrial engineering and IT expertise at Texas A&M’s and Georgia Tech’s Colleges of Engineering are at the core of CHOT’s health systems research work. CHOT scientists address implementation of information technology, Six Sigma, Toyota’s LEAN, Studer’s Hardwiring Excellence, cultural change, quality and safety, chronic disease management, and possibly other evidence-based management and/or major clinical change initiatives. The host universities’ research faculty and graduate students team with health system professionals on research projects selected each year by CHOT health system members who serve as the health transformation leaders on the CHOT advisory board.
Regarding the Kenya biomedical industrial park project, it is understatement to observe that African countries are not at the forefront of biomedical research, development, innovation, and commercialization of biomedical knowledge into commercial products and services. For example, no country in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) manufactures its own brand medicines or medical devices, and biotech/biomedical corporate activity in SSA countries is mainly manufacture of generic medicines by an unorganized group of entrepreneurs ungrounded on a unified platform of knowledge production for scientific discovery of medicines and medical devices, and essentially the enterprise for translation of science into everyday use domestic products and clinical care is non-existent in the SSA region. For complete products, these African countries rely on imports of all medical, scientific and technological goods and services.
African development advocates note that no nation ever successfully developed by relying on import of knowledge products from outside its boundaries, and nations reliant on importation of knowledge products become co-dependent on the exporting nation. There is ample evidence supporting the conclusion that a nation can only begin to comprehend its own development by developing its own knowledge base through investment in cutting edge research for discovery of knowledge in all fields, and in translation of discovered knowledge into commercial products and services that help solve problems of everyday life.
They affirm that Africa’s development can only be realized if African countries align their vision with practical intent to build world-class capability for local knowledge production in biomedicine, science, technology, and engineering, and that capability is nurtured in a center for excellence that will integrate advanced scientific research, advanced scientific education, advanced scientific translation, and commercialization of knowledge products. The current absence of such a facility means that the vision and desire of many African countries to develop is not achievable.
To overcome this problem, Ustawi Applied, a frontier markets knowledge conversion organization, proposes Ustawi Biomedical Research Innovation and Industrial Centers of Africa (UBRICA), stemming from the phenomenon of more and more Africans, both in the Diaspora, and in Africa itself, awakening to a deeper level of awareness that Africa’s development is properly the work of Africans.
UBRICA is one result of Africans venturing deeper and deeper into this space of awareness as a point of departure, or a source of a creative process for bringing something new into reality, enabling UBRICA to propose sophisticated projects in Kenya such as UBRICA ONE, to be designed as a World-class high-tech research and development center matching standards that apply in the U.S. The preponderance of UBRICA members of are Kenyan Americans, who propose and envision the same standard of development in Kenya they’ve come to enjoy when living and working in United States.
The first UBRICA ONE center will be located on a 4,000-acre site in Kenya’s Rift Valley, and upon completion will be home to five ultramodern academic specialty medical centers structured as world class hospitals; a center for advanced science in biomedicine structured for advanced research; and a center for biomedical translation and innovation structured for commercialization and manufacturing.
UBRICA is structurally underpinned by the theory of an advanced academic medical center built on the principle of integration to collocate the functions of advanced research in science technology and medicine [research], world class medical and science education [teaching], translation of research knowledge products into commercial products for everyday home use and in clinical environments [innovation], and delivery of the highest quality care possible [patient care].
In summary, the UBRICA ONE campus will comprise:
• Five world-class academic medical facilities built on a 1,000-acre medical campus at UBRICA ONE.
• An ultra modern research facility for innovative research in science, technology, medicine, biology, and health services built on 500-acre research campus.
• Residential houses built on 1,500 acres housing estate.
• An industrial Park for innovations leading to pharmaceuticals and medical devices manufacturing built on a 1,000 acres industrial site.
The CHOT research team will work with UBRICA to create a strategy for the biomedical industrial park as a sustainable human development enterprise that meets the needs of Kenyans and the environment in which they live. Initial research will be conducted on international development models of health specific to Kenya as well as conducting a stakeholder analysis in order to develop a strategic plan for UBRICA.
“We are pleased to add UBRICA as one of our industry partners, and to work with them on translating their vision for this enterprise into evidence-based strategy and design, says CHOT director Bita Kash, Ph.D., M.B.A.
Dr. Kash is an associate professor at Texas A&M University’s Department of Health Policy and Management, and Joint Associate Professor at the TAMU College of Medicine’s Department of Internal Medicine. She currently teaches healthcare strategic planning and marketing for MHA and MPH programs, the MHA Capstone course, and serves on multiple PhD student committees. Dr. Kash is also a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) and an active member of AcademyHealth, the Gerontological Society of America, and Academy of Management.
As Director and principal investigator (PI) of CHOT, Dr. Kash conducts research to support implementation of evidence-based transformational strategies within healthcare organizations. Her research model relies on the knowledge and experience of healthcare leaders to guide academic research — a cooperative paradigm that ensures research efforts are both meaningful and practically relevant to healthcare industry needs and that provides immediate decision support for CHOTs Industry Members, such as Texas Children’s Hospital, the American Society of Anesthesiologists, and Studer Group. Dr. Kash’s own areas of research include organizational capacity for change and transformation, implementation of new innovative models of care in primary care and surgical settings, nursing home staffing and cost, and healthcare strategic planning and management. Her most recent research projects, funded by CHOT, focus on examining elements of integrated primary provider networks as potential sources of competitive advantage using resource based theory (RBT). Dr. Kash’s research has been funded primarily by NSF, AHRQ, NIH, industry, and the State Department of Health and Human Services.
The research team will consist of faculty and students from not only the Texas A&M School of Public Health, but other Texas A&M University colleges and centers including the Center for Health Systems and Design and Architecture for Health Program at the College of Architecture, along with the Colleges of Education and Human Development and Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
“We at UBRICA feel very fortunate for CHOT to take this work of creating sound strategy for our proposed biomedical park. The results of the work by the CHOT team will break a brand-new path for globalization of health that will facilitate understanding on effective ways of dealing with the most complex health problems affecting people in Africa, says UBRICAs Chief Executive Officer Macharia Waruingi, M.D.. “The strategic plan that will come out of research by the CHOT team will also enable American health care leaders to understand how they can contribute effectively in building and managing health care organizations in African countries, to prevent and contain diseases of global health importance such as the Ebola virus.”
CHOT is one of NSFs 70 Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers (I/UCRC) in the U.S. and the only I/UCRC focused on innovations in health care delivery. Through their cooperative research model, CHOT researcher and industry members from across all spectrums of health care work with university faculty and graduate students to conduct research on strategies for improving health and transforming the delivery of health care.
Texas A&M University
The Center for Health Organization Transformation (CHOT)
Ustawi Biomedical Research Innovation and Industrial Centers of Africa (UBRICA)
Texas A&M University