Michael E DeBakey VA Medical Center

Quick Summary

The Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC) is the primary health care provider for almost 130,000 veterans in southeast Texas. The MEDVAMC in Houston is one of several Veteran Affairs treatment hospitals that specialize in radiation therapy—a standard mesothelioma treatment. In addition to radiation therapy, veterans are referred to MEDVAMC for surgeries like cardiovascular surgery, gastrointestinal endoscopy, nuclear medicine, ophthalmology, and treatment of spinal cord injury and diseases like mesothelioma.

About Michael E DeBakey VA Medical Center

At MEDVAMC, approximately 4,000 health care professionals provide care to veterans. MEDVAMC is one of the most extensive veterans residency programs with 269.7 slots. For over 50 years, the MEDVAMC has served its veterans and trained healthcare professionals through its affiliate, Baylor College of Medicine. As a member institution of the Texas Medical Center the majority of MEDVAMC physicians are also faculty members of Baylor College of Medicine.

Each academic year, almost 2,000 students go through health care training at Baylor College of Medicine. Students train in fields such as nursing, dietetics, social work, physical therapy, and a wide variety of other medical specialties. This also includes training opportunities for healthcare administration, health information technology, medical records billing and coding, as well as health education students. MEDVAMC serves to enhance the quality of care provided to veterans.

Michael E DeBakey VA Medical Center Location & Overview

Here’s some highlights that the Michael E DeBakey VA Medical Center was awarded and has received accreditation for:

  • Awarded 2014 as re-designation for Magnet Recognition for Excellence in Nursing Services by the American Nurses Credentialing Center by the American Nurses Credentialing Center
  • Recognized for demonstrating low observed-to-expected mortality rates
  • Received in 2012 the official designation as a Kidney Transplant Center
  • Pathology and Laboratory Medicine was awarded accreditation by the Accreditation Committee of the College of American Pathologists, and its Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery Center was awarded a 3-year accreditation by Rehabilitation Accreditation Commission (CARF)
  • Earned the Gold Seal of Approval™ in 2011 from the Joint Commission as an Advanced Primary Stroke Center
  • Awarded in 2012 with a specialty accreditation by the American Psychological Association Commission on Accreditation for its Clinical Neuropsychology Postdoctoral Program.
  • One of only 18 APA specialty, accredited Clinical Neuropsychology Fellowships

Michael E DeBakey VA Medical Center is located at:

2002 Holcombe Blvd.

Houston, TX 77030-4298

(713)-791-1414 or (800)-553-2278

Michael E DeBakey VA Medical Center Patient Experience

The MEDVAMC provides affordable medical care to veterans, prisoners of war and active personnel in all branches of the military.It’s part of the most significant national healthcare network with 152 medical centers and 1,400 clinics across the country. MEDVAMC employs an extensive range of oncologists, radiologists, and surgical experts, and can offer veterans advanced medical care comparable to the treatment provided by prestigious cancer centers in the private sector.

MEDVAMC is a state-of-the-art hospital with 357 acute care beds, a 40-bed Spinal Cord Injury Center, and a 141-bed Community Living Center. It operates an automated, computer-controlled transport system delivers food, laundry, and supplies throughout the building.

The building from 1991 is designed with four outer sections and has four atriums that contain patio gardens, wheelchair basketball courts, and a rehabilitation pool. The MEDVAMC is unique in the way that it focuses entirely on the veterans during their treatment and the medical team ensures the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual of the veterans are looked after.

Mesothelioma Treatment at Michael E DeBakey VA Medical Center

Approximately 30% of all mesothelioma cases involve veterans. MEDVAMC helps with diagnoses mesothelioma and specializes in advanced procedures. MEDVAMC gives patients access to clinical trials, new diagnostic procedures and treatment programs sponsored by the National Cancer Institute.

At MEDVAMC veterans get life-saving mesothelioma treatments and can be selected to enroll in NCI-sponsored clinical trials.

MEDVAMC is staffed by students, residents and faculty members from Baylor’s College of Medicine and has a state-of-the-art Philips Wide Bore Computed Tomography (CT) Simulator that reduces treatment time to 30 minutes per session.

This advanced cancer-fighting technology allows radiotherapy specialists to fully map out and visualize mesothelioma tumors, to target tumors more efficiently and protect healthy organs and tissue. Therefore, every customized treatment targets the same malignancies.

Mesothelioma Doctors

Currently, the Mesothelioma Treatment Center include specialists in thoracic surgery, critical care, oncology, radiation oncology, radiation, pathology, and pulmonary medicine.  The following doctors lead the mesothelioma:

Director of the Mesothelioma Treatment Center

Thoracic Surgery

  • Bryan Burt, M.D.
  • Shawn Groth , M.D.

Critical Care

  • Jose Gregorio Casar, M.D.
  • Robert Southard, M.D.


  • Jun Zhang, M.D.
  • Anita Sabichi, M.D.
  • Benjamin Musher, M.D.

Radiation Oncology

  • Mark Bonnen, M.D.
  • Pavan Jhaveri, M.D.


  • Collin Bray, M.D.
  • Veronica Lenge De Rosen, M.D.
  • Rony Kampalath, M.D.
  • Juan Jose Ibarra, M.D.
  • Alexandre Frigini, M.D.


  • Thomas Wheeler, M.D.
  • Rodolfo Laucirica, M.D.

Pulmonary Medicine

  • Prasad Manian, M.D., MBBS

Mesothelioma Treatment Options at Michael E DeBakey VA Medical Center

As each case of mesothelioma is unique, the Mesothelioma Treatment Center (MTC) team personalizes its therapeutic strategy to each patient. This strategy may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, as well as palliative procedures for improving quality of life.

MTC also performs personalized genetic therapies by taking tissue the tumor and taking blood samples to evaluate cancer. Based on the results, MTC doctors may then encourage a multimodal therapeutic approach using more than one treatment type, providing customized treatment.

This recommendation requires an aggressive surgical resection in combination with chemotherapy and radiotherapy has shown promise in extending the survival of some patients at an early stage of the disease.


There are two types of surgeries that can be performed for pleural mesothelioma:


There are two ways chemotherapy can be administered:

  • Systemic Chemotherapy: Anticancer drugs are delivered either by mouth as a pill or by injection into a vein.
  • Intraoperative Chemotherapy: Anticancer drugs are delivered locally to the mesothelioma site, usually through a small tube straight into the thoracic or abdominal cavity.


There are two ways radiation can be administered:

  • Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT): Ensures the radiation beams are centered on the tumor before each treatment.
  • Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT): Provides maximum delivery of radiation to the tumor and spares the healthy tissue nearby.

Clinical Trials, Studies & Research at Michael E DeBakey VA Medical Center

There are 615 active research projects at MEDVAMC leading to cutting-edge medical and healthcare technology. The production of new knowledge, techniques, and products has improved prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and control of the disease.

Collectively, the MEDVAMC R&D Program includes four components such as Biomedical Laboratory, Clinical Science, Rehabilitation and Health Services.

Current and ongoing clinical trials at MEDVAMC are designed to:

  • Compare the success of two therapies — anetumab ravtansine and vinorelbine — as treatments for malignant pleural mesothelioma.
  • Combine two therapies (MEDI4736 (monotherapy) and MEDI4736 + tremelimumab)
  • Examine pharmacological properties of a new drug, pemetrexed, when given with well-known chemotherapy, cisplatin.
  • Collect and maintain a significant and secure database of information on patients and their overall medical experience involving thoracic surgeries, (including mesothelioma treatment).
  • Gather information on the types of immune cells found around and in the tumor.

Furthermore, the MEDVAMC Network of Dedicated Enrollment Sites (NODES) is working with veterans who have come back from Iraq and Afghanistan after 2001 to understand how brain injury and other deployment-related conditions affected their lives to improve veterans’ reintegration into civilian life by developing new tools and treatments.

VA Health Benefits for Patients at Michael E DeBakey VA Medical Center

The Department of Veteran Affairs offers benefits to injured or ill veterans which are more than financial compensation and disability pensions. These benefits help all disabled veterans adjust to life in or outside the United States military after suffering service-related injuries and diseases.

Mesothelioma is one of many disabling conditions that the VA recognizes.

Veterans suffering from mesothelioma through exposure to asbestos while serving in the military are eligible for the following Veteran Affairs benefits:

  • Burial and memorial services
  • Disability pensions
  • Education and training
  • Home loans
  • Insurance policies
  • Mental health assistance
  • Personal health programs
  • Preventative healthcare services
  • Survivors benefits
  • Transition Assistance

Even though it seems like an extensive process, filing for Veteran Affairs benefits is critical in helping to reduce the financial stress created by medical expenses. For help filing your VA claim, contact our VA Accredited Claims agents today. Our agents are experts in dealing with the VA and understand the processes of applying as well as the types of medical documents and asbestos-exposure proof required.

View Author and Sources

  1. Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center. “Clinical Trials.” Retrieved from http://mesotreatmentcenter.org/understanding-mesothelioma/how-is-mesothelioma-treated/clinical-trials.html. Accessed on January 16th, 2018.
  2. Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center. “How Is Mesothelioma Treated?” Retrieved from http://mesotreatmentcenter.org/understanding-mesothelioma/how-is-mesothelioma-treated/. Accessed on January 16th, 2018.
  3. Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center. “Radiation” Retrieved from http://mesotreatmentcenter.org/understanding-mesothelioma/how-is-mesothelioma-treated/radiation.html. Accessed on January 16th, 2018.
  4. U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. “Compensation.” Retrieved from https://www.benefits.va.gov/COMPENSATION/types-compensation.asp. Accessed on January 17th, 2018.
  5. Mesothelioma Veteran Center. “Va Benefits For Mesothelioma.” Retrieved from https://www.mesotheliomaveterans.org/veterans/va-benefits/. Accessed on January 17th, 2018.
  6. U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. “About the Michael E. Debakey VA Medical Center.” Retrieved from https://www.houston.va.gov/about/index.asp. Accessed on January 17th, 2018.
  7. U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. “Locations.” Retrieved from https://www.va.gov/directory/guide/facility.asp?id=61. Accessed on January 17th, 2018.
  8. Mesothelioma Causes. “VA Treatment Hospitals.” Retrieved from http://www.mesothelioma-causes.co/va-treatment-hospitals.php. Accessed on January 17th, 2018

Last modified: February 26, 2018