New Facility to Expand Research and Treatment for Pain

With more than 50 million Americans suffering from pain-related conditions, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and Gene and Carlene Messer have partnered to build a center that will work to find solutions for pain sufferers.

Construction has been under way since June for the new Messer-Racz International Pain Center. The center is named for the Messers, who have made a generous donation to the project, and for Gabor B. Racz, M.D., a professor and internationally recognized expert in pain.

Racz, who is Chairman Emeritus of the Department of Anesthesiology, says pain is one of the reasons medicine exists. “Our responsibility is to discover new methods of pain relief to improve medical care as a whole. Ultimately the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center may save patients billions of dollars in medical costs.

“My mission always has focused on quality of life for all patients,” Racz adds. “This center will allow us to continue to search for new research and treatment methods for pain.”

The project includes construction of a 12,700-square-foot new health care facility designed for vertical expansion. It includes exam rooms, procedures rooms, nurses' stations, preceptor spaces, consultation space, clinical operations support spaces and staff offices.

The existing International Pain Center, located at Quaker Avenue and South Loop 289, will move to this new location.

M. Roy Wilson, M.D., M.S., president of the Health Sciences Center, says the Messers’ generosity will impact millions of people.

“With their contribution, the Messer family will help us educate future generations of health care professionals to provide the best in pain care management and improve the quality of life for so many individuals statewide and worldwide,” Wilson says. “The Health Sciences Center considers it an honor to have the Messer family as friends of our institution.”

Racz was the first chairman of the Department of Anesthesiology in 1977. In 1996, Racz was honored by the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center when he was awarded the first Grover Murray Professorship, recognizing his distinguished achievements in the institution as well as internationally.

In December 1998, University Medical Center named Racz recipient of a $1 million endowed chair in recognition of his “greatness in patient care, teaching and research” at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and University Medical Center.

Last September, Racz received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians in Washington, D.C.

Racz and colleagues have been involved in the lysis of adhesions technique evolution that resulted in treating, without additional surgery, many patients from all over the world suffering from failed back and neck surgery and spinal stenosis, a radiating pain originating from the spine. This has resulted in new CPT codes and multiple insurance approvals affecting treatments in clinics across the country.

Under his direction, the International Pain Center at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center has grown to international prominence, attracting patients and visiting physicians from around the world. His innovative work with nerve stimulators, spinal cord stimulators, radiofrequency thermocoagulation and a wide range of other pain management procedures brings many patients referred to his care from doctors throughout the world.

The construction project is scheduled for completion in 12 to 14 months. FKP Architects, Inc. (Houston) designed the new health care facility and Lee Lewis Construction, Inc. (Lubbock) will serve as the construction manager.