Dr. Patricia Blair of UT Health Center named to national committee on research with prisoners

Monday, April 11, 2005

Dr. Patricia Blair of UT Health Science Center named to national committee on research with prisoners. Patricia Blair, Ph.D., JD, head legal counsel at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler, is the only Texan named to a prestigious 15-member national committee on protecting prisoners involved in research, UTHSCT President Dr. Kirk A. Calhoun said.

“The Institute of Medicine is the most prestigious authority in health care in the United States. To be asked to serve on one of its advisory panels reflects national respect for the individual selected and for her institution. UTHSCT is very proud of Dr. Blair’s selection,” Dr. Calhoun said.

Dr. Blair, executive director of UTHSCT’s Office of Legal Affairs, recently was appointed to the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Ethical Considerations for Revisions to Department of Health and Human Services Regulations for Protection of Prisoners Involved in Research.

The Institute of Medicine is an independent scientific advisory group that is part of the National Academies. The nationally known and respected institute provides advice that is unbiased, based on evidence, and grounded in science. Most of the institute’s reports are requested by government agencies and written by unpaid volunteer experts.

“The committee was formed to look at the current federal regulations on research in the prison population. Do we still need these rules? Do they need to be rewritten?” Dr. Blair said. In 1976, a national commission established the current guidelines that are now being reexamined.

The committee will:

The committee has met once and is scheduled to meet four more times. It will present its final report to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services no later than March 1, 2006.

Dr. Blair wrote her master’s of law thesis on the ethical and legal issues of health care provided to prisoners, studying prison nurses’ perceptions of their patients. She received her master’s of law degree in health law and policy from the University of Houston School of Law. Her research was part of UTMB’s Program on Legal and Ethical Issues in Correctional Health Care.

“Prisoners really impact our community health. They don’t stay in prison or in jail; they leave. Sometimes they are HIV positive, or have multi-drug resistant tuberculosis. If we don’t have a good system in place to treat them, then everyone is at risk,” she said.

Dr. Blair received her doctorate in clinical sciences and health services research from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston’s Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. She received her general law degree from Texas Southern University’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law.

NOTICE: Protected health information is subject to electronic disclosure.