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School & Program Updates

School & Program Updates

Texas Joins CATCH to Boost Child Health, Prevent Cancer in Later Years

Cancer prevention experts at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center have allied with the CATCH Global Foundation, whose comprehensive child health program reaches children and their families in more than 10,000 educational settings nationwide, to promote behavior that will lower children’s lifelong risk of developing cancer.

[Photo: Dr. Steve Kelder (left) and Dr. Deanna Hoelscher]

“Establishing healthy eating and physical activity habits early in life is a powerful way to reduce lifetime cancer risks. Recent estimates suggest that a third to half of all cancers are preventable if Americans adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle,” said Dr. Ernest Hawk, MD Anderson vice president of cancer prevention and population science. “MD Anderson’s affiliation with CATCH Global Foundation greatly accelerates our ability to promote healthy lifestyles in childhood and adolescence.”

The University of Texas System Board of Regents approved the agreement that makes MD Anderson a founding partner in the foundation at the board’s February 12 meeting. CATCH, an acronym for Coordinated Approach to Child Health, is a program developed and disseminated by The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health.

The agreement is an initiative of MD Anderson’s Moon Shots Program, which aims to accelerate the conversion of scientific discoveries into advances that drastically reduce cancer deaths. MD Anderson will focus its initial CATCH efforts on skin cancer prevention education through the Melanoma Moon Shot and tobacco-use prevention through the Lung Cancer Moon Shot.

“Effective cancer prevention will play a powerful role in the future health of our country and in our team meeting its moon shots goals,” said MD Anderson President Dr. Ron DePinho. “It’s important that we deploy MD Anderson’s programs for optimum impact. With CATCH, we’re fortunate to combine our expertise with a successful, longstanding program providing a practical, research-based approach to child health that’s already national in scope.”

Mr. Kevin Dillon, senior executive vice president and COO/CFO of UTHealth, noted: “We are very pleased to see the programs created at UTHealth supported and disseminated by our sister UT organization—a great collaboration with direct preventive health benefits for our youth.  Since 1992, CATCH has been a flagship program for UTHealth, demonstrating the creativity and innovativeness of our child health faculty.”

Originally developed by a coalition of five research universities including UTHealth School of Public Health, CATCH has expanded through the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living within the school. CATCH includes programs for early childhood education, elementary school, middle school and after-school programs.  Each includes components for nutrition, physical education, classroom and community/family outreach.

Dr. Steve Kelder and Dr. Deanna Hoelscher, professors at UTHealth School of Public Health and founding directors of the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living, initiated the CATCH Global Foundation to ensure that effective programs are put into broad practice.

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