SAN ANTONIO -- One item on Governor Greg Abbott's list for the special session includes extending a task force on maternal mortality.
Texas has the highest pregnancy-related death rate not just in the U.S. but in the developed world as well. Lawmakers failed to address it this legislative session.
"To protect women in Texas, I'm calling on the legislature to complete their work," said Gov. Greg Abbott.
According to a University of Maryland study, in Texas the rate of women who died less than a year after giving birth doubled from 2010 to 2014. Abbott wants lawmakers to extend a task force studying the rate of maternal mortality.
"Armed with information and insight provided by the task force, our health care system can target better treatments for diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and post-partum depression," said Gov. Abbott.
University of the Incarnate Word will do just that. It's putting the finishing touches on its new medical school on the Southside.
"It's the most highest risk area in the largest disparities of health," said UIW Public Health and Research Director Anil Mangla.
The school will pair students with a family to examine all aspects of well-being, including the health of new mothers.
"It's way beyond just an office visit, there's much more to it. We have clearly shown that clinical care contributes to only 20% of a person's wellbeing, Mangla said.
Mangla believes the state's large rural areas, physical environments, and social determinants of health like education play a major role in the rates.
"These other factors we're looking at as a medical school are the social determinants of health. What is happening in the environment an individual lives? Is it access to care? Is it behavior? Is it the environment," said Mangla.
The special session will begin July 18. Meanwhile UIW will also welcome that first class of 160 med students in July.
For more on the study: https://d279m997dpfwgl.cloudfront.net/wp/2016/08/MacDormanM.USMatMort.OBGYN_.2016.online.pdf
For more on the UIW Medical School: http://www.uiw.edu/som/