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DSHS Commissioner Appoints Seven to Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Review Committee

News Release
News Release
May 17, 2024

Texas Department of State Health Services Commissioner Jennifer Shuford, MD, MPH, has appointed seven new members to the Texas Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Review Committee, effective June 1. Legislation signed into law last year added seven new positions to the committee to add new areas of expertise and bring its total membership to 23.

“I am grateful these outstanding appointees have enthusiastically volunteered their time to help Texans understand the factors that contribute to maternal mortality and make recommendations to protect the lives and well-being of women,” Shuford said. “In this week following Mother’s Day, I thank all members of the committee, past and present, for their tireless work and advocacy on behalf of Texas mothers and babies.”

The newly created positions are physicians specializing in emergency care, cardiology, anesthesiology and oncology; a representative of a managed care organization; and two community members with relevant health care experience representing urban and rural areas of the state, which replace a previous community advocate position.

“I’m pleased with what the 88th Legislature achieved in passing HB 852, authored by Rep. Shawn Thierry, to expand the expertise of the Texas Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Review Committee. This will improve pregnancy outcomes for all Texans,” said Senator Lois W. Kolkhorst, who chairs the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services. “The expanded membership is based on recommendations by the committee in 2022 along with the Department of State Health Services. This larger committee will ensure that more diverse voices are heard from medical experts from across the state.”

Meenakshi Awasthi, MD, is a pediatric emergency medicine fellow at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. She founded Health Professionals Against Interpersonal Violence, a community-based group focused on raising awareness on the impact of intimate partner violence. She was involved with the American Academy of Pediatrics and helped author and adopt a resolution that called for the integration of community-based interpersonal violence education into standardized medical training. She received a medical degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. She also holds a master’s degree in global policy studies from the University of Texas at Austin.

Angeline Opina Gonzalez, MD, is an assistant professor of the Department of Pediatrics and Internal Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. She is board certified in internal medicine, pediatrics, pediatric cardiology and adult congenital heart disease and practices as an adult congenital heart disease specialist. She graduated from from Loma Linda University School of Medicine.

Barbara Orlando, MD, PhD, is the chief of obstetric anesthesiology at the University of Texas Health Houston. She is board certified in anesthesiology and received her doctoral degrees in France.

Diaa Osman, DO, is a hematology/medical oncology physician at Texas Oncology in Austin. He is board certified in internal medicine, medical oncology, and hematology. He graduated from the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine at the University of North Texas Health Science Center and holds a Master of Public Health degree in health policy and administration from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.

Avi Ruderman, MD, is an assistant professor of emergency medicine at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. He is board certified in emergency medicine and anesthesia critical care and previously served as a board member of the Texas College of Emergency Physicians. He received his medical degree from Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.

Ingrid Skop, MD, FACOG, is an obstetric hospitalist with the OB Hospitalist Group and the vice president and director of medical affairs for the Charlotte Lozier Institute. She previously served on the San Antonio Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force and is a current member of the Save the Storks medical advisory board. She is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology and holds a medical degree from the Washington University School of Medicine.

Lindsey R. Vasquez, MD, CPE, FACOG, is the director of maternal and women’s health at Molina Health Care of Texas. She is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology and an OBGYN physician for Legacy Community Health. She also serves as an expert panelist on the Texas State Medical Board. She received her medical degree from the Indiana University School of Medicine.


(News Media Contact: Chris Van Deusen, Director of Media Relations, 512-776-7119)