UT Health Austin, Dell Children’s Medical Center open new Maternal Care Center

Sheryl‌ ‌Lawrence‌ ‌, News desk editor

UT Health Austin and Dell Children’s Medical Center partnered to open the Maternal Care Center on Jan. 18, the second phase of a partnership that opened the Comprehensive Fetal Care Center in May 2021.

The Maternal Care Center allows patients of the Comprehensive Fetal Care Center to receive prenatal care on-site, located adjacent to Dell Children’s Medical Center. Kenneth Moise, the director of the Comprehensive Fetal Care Center, said this is the first fetal care center in Central Texas to provide services such as high-level diagnostics for fetal conditions and a fetal MRI. Patients had to travel to Houston or Dallas to receive these kinds of services up until a few weeks ago, Moise said.

Moise said Ascension, one of the largest private health-care companies in the U.S., funded the center and is making a big investment in all areas of women’s health. Since the majority of patients had to travel from central Texas to hospitals in Houston or Dallas, Moise said Dell Children’s identified the need for specialized children’s hospitals in the Austin area.

Michael Breen, associate professor of women’s health, said George Macones, the interim dean of Dell Medical school who Breen said is well-known for specializing in maternal-fetal care, helped the partnership come to life.

“(The partnership) gave the support for the new clinics that needed to be built and the new fetal delivery center, which is integrated into Dell Children’s Medical Center,” Breen said. “Moms that are carrying these babies with all these different types of pathologies are able to deliver right there in the midst of the children’s hospital.” 

Breen’s research focuses on robotics used in surgery, and Breen is currently implementing the technology in the women’s health department at Dell Medical School. Breen said many doctors at the centers and Dell Children’s Medical Center are working in the field to advance technology to impact women’s health and fetal care.

Moise said the center recently performed a surgery to separate the blood vessels of two identical twins.

“Nobody’s been able to do that in Austin until just a few weeks ago,” Moise said. “We are beginning to introduce procedures here that are done in fetal centers throughout the country, but were never done in Austin, Texas.”