Suggested links
DeBakey VA Center in Houston

Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center

The Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC) in Houston, Texas, is a teaching hospital that provides primary care for over 130,000 veterans. MEDVAMC is affiliated with Baylor College of Medicine, home of the Mesothelioma Treatment Center at the Baylor Medicine Lung Institute. Learn why MEDVAMC is one of the top cancer treatment centers for military veterans diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma.

Speak with our nurse for help contacting this cancer center

About Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center

Approximately 4,000 health care professionals provide care through the Michael E. DeBakey Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center (MEDVAMC).

For over 50 years, MEDVAMC has served veterans and trained healthcare professionals through its affiliate, Baylor College of Medicine.

Because of its close ties with the Baylor Medicine Lung Institute, military veterans with mesothelioma can seek world-class care for this cancer here. The Center is recognized worldwide for its cutting-edge treatment of malignant mesothelioma.

As a member institution of the Texas Medical Center, most MEDVAMC physicians are also faculty members of Baylor. Residents and medical students of Baylor College of Medicine participate in inpatient and outpatient care at MEDVAMC.

Did You Know?

MEDVAMC is one of the largest hospitals in the VA health care system. It has been affiliated with Baylor College of Medicine since 1949.

For more information, including veterans support and how to locate top cancer treatment centers, get your Free Mesothelioma Guide. It has over 90 pages of comprehensive yet easy-to-understand information for mesothelioma patients and their families.

Mesothelioma Guide Images
Get Your Free 2024 Mesothelioma Guide
  • Symptoms & staging
  • Average prognosis
  • Life-extending treatments

Get Your Free Guide

Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center Location & Overview

Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center provides affordable medical care to U.S. veterans with mesothelioma and active personnel in all military branches.

Key Facts of the Michael E DeBakey VA Medical Center include:

  • 119-acre campus with 350 acute care beds
  • Outpatient clinics handling almost 1.4 million visits annually
  • 144 affiliation agreements with higher learning institutions in 19 states
  • Magnet Recognition for Excellence in Nursing by the American Nurses Credentialing Center
  • Accredited by the Commission on Cancer (CoC) program
  • The Joint Commission accreditation
  • College of American Pathologists accreditation

Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center Patient Experience

Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center is part of the most significant national health care network, with 152 medical centers and 1,400 clinics nationwide.

“At Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, our health care teams are deeply experienced and guided by the needs of Veterans, their families, and caregivers.”

- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

MEDVAMC employs a wide range of oncologists, radiologists, and surgical experts. It can offer veterans advanced mesothelioma care comparable to treatment provided by prestigious mesothelioma cancer centers in the private sector.

MEDVAMC is unique in that it focuses entirely on veterans, as its entire team works together to ensure veterans’ physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual needs are looked after.

Veterans Ratings of Appointments

Appointments for urgent needs

Percentage of Veterans say they usually or always get an appointment when needed.

  • Primary care: 68%
  • Specialty care: 76%

Appointments for routine care

Percentage of Veterans say they usually or always get an appointment when needed.

  • Primary care: 68%
  • Specialty care: 84%

Mesothelioma Treatment at Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center

The Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center offers state-of-the-art diagnosis and treatment to mesothelioma patients.

MEDVAMC patients with pleural mesothelioma (which forms in the lung lining) can get care from a team of specialists led by Dr. Lorraine Cornwell. Dr. Cornwell works closely with the leader of Baylor’s mesothelioma treatment program, Dr. Taylor Ripley, to ensure veterans get the best care possible.

Veterans can also get treated for peritoneal mesothelioma (which develops in the abdominal lining) at MEDVAMC by Dr. Eugene Choi. Dr. Choi is trained to use a combination of heated chemotherapy (HIPEC) and surgery that can greatly help improve survival.

Further, veterans may be selected to enroll in National Cancer Institute-sponsored mesothelioma clinical trials, which offer new and possibly more effective treatments.

Mesothelioma treatment at MEDVAMC may involve the following specialists:

  • Medical oncologists
  • Surgical oncologists
  • Radiation oncologists
  • Palliative care physicians
  • Pathologists
  • Radiologists
  • Oncology nursing staff
  • Social workers and case managers
  • Psychologists
  • Dieticians
  • Cancer registrars
  • Outreach coordinators
  • Quality improvement specialists

Mesothelioma Doctors at MEDVAMC

MEDVAMC includes specialists in thoracic surgery, critical care, oncology, radiation oncology, radiation pathology, and pulmonary medicine.

The following specialists treat MEDVAMC mesothelioma patients:

  • Dr. Bryan Burt
  • Dr. Eugene Choi
  • Dr. Lorraine Cornwell
  • Dr. Shawn Groth
  • Dr. Pavan Mukesh Jhaveri
  • Dr. Taylor Ripley

Finding a mesothelioma specialist you are comfortable with is critical to your care. If you would like help in this process, connect with our Patient Advocates now. They are available 24/7 and can help answer your questions.

Mesothelioma doctor talking with an older couple
Free Mesothelioma Doctor Match

We'll help you connect with a local mesothelioma specialist for personalized treatment.

Find a Doctor Near You

Mesothelioma Treatment Options at Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center

Since each mesothelioma case is unique, the Mesothelioma Treatment Center team personalizes treatment for each patient. Treatment strategies may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and palliative procedures to improve quality of life.

Doctors may encourage a multimodal therapeutic approach using more than one treatment type, providing customized treatment. View different treatments below.


Three types of mesothelioma surgeries can be performed:

  • Cytoreduction with HIPECExtracting cancer from the abdominal lining and then bathing the surgery site in chemotherapy drugs. Used to treat peritoneal mesothelioma.
  • Pleurectomy/decortication: Removing the lining of the chest wall and lung to treat pleural mesothelioma.
  • Extrapleural pneumonectomy: A more aggressive surgery for pleural meosthelioma, usually only recommended in rare cases, that removes all affected areas of the chest lining.


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 radiation delivery to the tumor and spares the healthy tissue nearby.
14 Questions to Ask Your Doctor packet
Free Download: 14 Questions to Ask Your Doctor
  • Preparing for treatment
  • Finding clinical trials
  • Getting a second opinion

Get Your Free Download

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

The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs offers VA benefits to injured or ill veterans. Benefits go above strictly 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 diagnosed with mesothelioma may be eligible for the following VA benefits:

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

Filing for VA benefits is critical in helping reduce the financial burden of mesothelioma treatment.

How Mesothelioma Hope Can Help You

Connect with us today for help navigating the entire process, including:

  • Accessing veterans benefits
  • Exploring mesothelioma treatment options
  • Finding a mesothelioma specialist
  • Locating clinical trials

You are not alone. Mesothelioma Hope’s Patient Advocates have decades of combined experience helping mesothelioma patients, including military veterans.

Circular Patient Advocate Images
Get Help From a Patient Advocate

Our trusted advocates with 65+ years combined experience are ready to assist you.

Learn Moreor call (866) 608-8933

Mesothelioma Hope has no affiliation with and is not endorsed or sponsored by Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center. Any contact information listed is for informational purposes only. You have the right to contact Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center directly.

Jenna TozziWritten by:

Director of Patient Advocacy

Jenna Tozzi, RN, is the Director of Patient Advocacy at Mesothelioma Hope. With more than 15 years of experience as an adult and pediatric oncology nurse navigator, Jenna provides exceptional guidance and support to mesothelioma patients and their loved ones. Jenna has been featured in Oncology Nursing News and is a member of the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators & the American Nurses Association.

Our Promise to You
Our Promise to You
  1. History. Veterans Affairs. (2022, October 13). Retrieved May 1, 2024, from
  2. Lorraine D. Cornwell, M.D., FACS. Baylor College of Medicine. (n.d.). Retrieved May 1, 2024, from
  3. Mesothelioma. Baylor College of Medicine. (n.d.). Retrieved May 1, 2024, from
  4. Michael E. DeBakey Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center: VA Houston health care. Veterans Affairs. (n.d.). Retrieved May 1, 2024, from
  5. Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center. Baylor College of Medicine. (n.d.). Retrieved May 1, 2024,  from
  6. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (n.d.). VA Houston health care. VA Houston health care. Retrieved May 1, 2024, from
  7. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2018, January 19). Veterans Affairs. Types of Compensation. Retrieved May 1, 2024, from
Get Help Connecting With Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center
How We Can Help

Mesothelioma Hope is passionate about helping patients and families affected by this aggressive cancer. A mesothelioma diagnosis can be scary and isolating, but we’re here for you at every step. Hope is only a phone call away.

(866) 608-8933
Medical Guidance
  • Get a second opinion
  • Find a doctor or cancer center
  • Access clinical trials
  • Improve your quality of life
Financial Assistance
  • Access $30 billion in trust funds
  • File a mesothelioma claim
  • Increase your VA benefits
  • Apply for travel grants
Supportive Care
  • Find a support group or peer mentor
  • Get help with daily tasks
  • Explore respite care options
  • Navigate life post-treatment