Dr. Rola El-Serag named director of Baker Institute’s Center for Health and Biosciences

Rice News generic

HOUSTON – (Oct. 7, 2021) – Dr. Rola El-Serag will join Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy Oct. 18 as the L.E. and Virginia Simmons Senior Fellow in Health Policy and director of the institute’s Center for Health and Biosciences.

Dr. Rola El-Serag

El-Serag is currently the medical director of the Women Veterans Health Program at the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center and an associate professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. She serves as an expert educator in women’s health within the Department of Veterans Affairs, both locally and nationally, as well as an advocate for female veteran health.

Her work at the VA has focused on program development, improving the quality of health care, expanding health care services, reducing gender disparities and changing institutional culture by educating employees and patients about women’s health issues and gaps in care.

“As the world continues to find itself in the midst of a pandemic with unprecedented public health challenges and socioeconomic disruption, the research and expertise of our distinguished fellows and scholars could not be more critical in guiding policymakers, health care leaders and the general public,” El-Serag said. “I look forward to collaborating with my colleagues at the institute and all stakeholders in the advancement of scholarly research and, ultimately, the development of policy recommendations that positively impact health care and public health at local, national and international levels.”

Established in 2015, the Center for Health and Biosciences (CHB) employs comprehensive research analysis to develop health policy recommendations that promote health and well-being in the United States and globally. Combining researchers from Rice and the Texas Medical Center, the center offers a unique setting for medical and policy professionals to address four major research themes: U.S. health care, global health, public health and the future of medicine.

Within these areas, research questions capitalize on specific areas of expertise among the institute’s fellows and scholars, including health economics, maternal and child health, biomedical research policy and the control of neglected infectious diseases.

“We are delighted to welcome Dr. Rola El-Serag as the L.E. and Virginia Simmons Senior Fellow in Health Policy and director of the Baker Institute’s Center for Health and Biosciences,” said Edward Djerejian, director of the Baker Institute. “At this critical time of challenges to public health nationally and globally, the substantive management and leadership skills Dr. El-Serag brings as a physician, program developer, researcher and educator will propel the CHB to new levels. Moreover, her superb tenure at the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Baylor College of Medicine in Houston ideally positions Dr. El-Serag to build important bridges between the CHB and the Texas Medical Center’s various institutions to our mutual benefit, thus facilitating our collaboration toward relevant and timely research and programs on health policy.”

As faculty in the Department of Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine since 2004, El-Serag has served primarily as an educator in internal medicine and women’s health, teaching fellow faculty, residents and medical students.

El-Serag has received multiple teaching and clinical awards, including the Norton Rose Fulbright Faculty Excellence Award and Women of Excellence Award at Baylor College of Medicine. She received her medical degree from the Tufts University School of Medicine and completed residency in internal medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in 2002.


To schedule an interview with El-Serag, or for more information, contact Jeff Falk, director of national media relations at Rice, at jfalk@rice.edu or 713-348-6775.

Related materials:

Baker Institute’s Center for Health and Biosciences: www.bakerinstitute.org/center-for-health-and-biosciences

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Founded in 1993, Rice University’s Baker Institute ranks as the No. 1 university-affiliated think tank in the world and the No. 1 energy think tank in the world. As a premier nonpartisan think tank, the institute conducts research on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy. The institute’s strong track record of achievement reflects the work of its endowed fellows, Rice University faculty scholars and staff, coupled with its outreach to the Rice student body through fellow-taught classes — including a public policy course — and student leadership and internship programs. Learn more about the institute at www.bakerinstitute.org or on the institute’s blog, http://blog.bakerinstitute.org.