February 10, 2022
Travis County Healthcare District Hires Renowned Dell Med Physicians and Faculty
(Austin) – Central Health, the local healthcare district, is expanding its clinical practices to serve a growing number of people with low income in Travis County.
Central Health is hiring two more physicians, Dr. Audrey Kuang and Dr. Jewel Mullen, to join its new Medical Executive Board and serve as medical directors with Central Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Alan Schalscha. Dr. Kuang and Dr. Mullen, physicians and faculty members at the Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin will help guide Central Health’s new and growing clinical practices along with Dr. Schalscha. An earlier addition to the Medical Executive Board is Jim Brown, who monitors the efficiency of hospital and post-acute care services.
“Central Health is building a better health care system that will address long-standing health inequities in our community,” Central Health President and CEO Mike Geeslin said. “As we expand our ability to practice medicine, we will fill gaps that will improve the access to quality care for people with low income. This is part of Central Health’s equity-focused systems planning initiative – an ongoing strategic planning process focused on addressing health care inequities in Travis County.”
Dr. Kuang will serve as the Director of High-Risk Populations for Central Health. Dr. Kuang completed her undergraduate studies at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her medical studies at the University of Chicago-Pritzker School of Medicine. She then completed her residency training in Internal Medicine at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, California, where she also served as Chief Resident.
In 2017, Dr. Kuang joined the staff of Central Health-affiliated CommUnityCare as an associate director and has served as the subject matter expert for individuals experiencing homelessness. Since her arrival in Austin, she has also served as an assistant clinical professor within the Department of Population Health at Dell Med.
“As the Director of High-Risk Populations, I look forward to addressing the complex health needs of patients across Travis County and directly minimizing the health care gap in the community,” Dr. Kuang said.
Dr. Mullen will serve as the Director of Health Equity and Quality as well as a subject matter expert on Central Health’s Medical Executive Board and committees. Dr. Mullen earned her bachelor’s degree and Master of Public Health from Yale University, where she also completed a post-doctoral fellowship in psychosocial epidemiology. She graduated from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, completed her residency at the University of Pennsylvania, and is board certified in internal medicine.
Dr. Mullen is currently Dell Med’s Associate Dean for Health Equity and Associate Professor for Internal Medicine and Population Health Departments. In addition, she is Director of Health Equity for Ascension Seton in her efforts to achieve system health equity goals.
“Health equity and quality are very important to me. Just here in Austin alone, we have people in some ZIP codes who live 10 years longer than people in other ZIP codes. We cannot call ourselves a healthy community as long as we see those kinds of disparities,” Dr. Mullen said. “I look forward to working with Central Health on providing quality care to vulnerable populations, eliminating health disparities and working toward transforming Travis County into a model healthy community.”
Central Health provides or funds care for about one in nine Travis County residents. Currently, Central Health has a network of 191 provider locations including community health centers, hospitals, specialists, dentists and urgent care locations. Hiring medical directors and establishing a Medical Executive Board are critical milestones for Central Health’s expansion around clinical practices.
Historically, Central Health has reimbursed partners for providing care to Travis County residents with low income, but in 2019, the Texas Legislature authorized Central Health to directly employ, contract, or appoint physicians. The Central Health Board of Managers voted to create the Medical Executive Board to ensure physicians employed by the healthcare district keep the ability to exercise independent medical judgment and recruit a diverse staff of physicians reflective of the people Central Health serves.
“Both Dr. Kuang and Dr. Mullen are invaluable additions to our clinical practice team,” Dr. Schalscha said. “With Audrey sitting both in the primary care environment within CommUnityCare, and here within Central Health, we have a unique opportunity to connect her subject matter expertise with policy makers—ultimately facilitating the direction of resources and benefitting some of the highest risk patients within our care continuum.”
Schalscha continued, “Jewel’s addition to the team provides a wealth of experience and critical health equity paradigm that is central to our practice of medicine.”