Medical School Moves Closer to Reality at University of Texas at Austin

May 3, 2012

AUSTIN, Texas — The University of Texas at Austin welcomes today's vote by the Board of Regents to invest in building a new medical school that will be part of our flagship university.

The university also applauds state Sen. Kirk Watson for his leadership in developing the “10 in 10” initiative to improve health care in Central Texas, which set the stage for today's vote and could culminate with a new medical school.

"UT has a great impact on Texas and the world. With a medical school, it would be even greater," said President Bill Powers. "The founding of a medical school would be an enormous event in the life of the university, would offer dramatic new opportunities for our students and our faculty, and would advance health care in Central Texas."

The Regents’ decision to allocate up to $30 million a year from the state's Available University Fund to establish a medical school will allow the university to engage in world-changing medical research and attract top faculty members and students. Just as important, it will ensure more doctors, new jobs and better medical care for Austin, the largest city in the country without a medical school or teaching hospital.

"This shows that our new model — one relying on innovative partnerships, the coordination of resources, and a ton of creativity and hard work — is working," Watson said. "This effort has been about building a bridge to a modern health care system and economy. The Board of Regents vote, along with other recent announcements, puts us most of the way toward completing that bridge."

Along with a pending $250 million commitment from the Seton Healthcare Family for a new teaching hospital, today's vote by the University of Texas System Board of Regents brings a medical school closer to reality than ever before. It clears the way for discussion about a possible site for the school and other important issues that must be resolved.

A new medical school would build on world-class programs at The University of Texas at Austin that are already dedicated to advancing medical research and improving health care. These include the Department of Biomedical Engineering, the Dell Pediatric Research Institute, the School of Nursing, the College of Pharmacy, the College of Natural Sciences and the Department of Kinesiology and Health Education in the College of Education.

For more information, contact: Gary Susswein, Office of the President, 512-471-4945 (office), 512-694-7909 (mobile).

29 Comments to "Medical School Moves Closer to Reality at University of Texas at Austin"

1.  cesar de la garza said on May 3, 2012

Huge news! Just awesome! This is long overdue and congratulations for all involved. The new medical school will be a tremendous addition to Austin and the University of Texas.

2.  Naufil Mulla said on May 3, 2012

This is awesome news. Hook em!

3.  Steph said on May 3, 2012

Now if only it would open within a year so I wouldn't have to leave Austin to become a doctor....At least future Longhorns will get to take advantage of it - Hook 'em!

4.  Tarvin said on May 3, 2012

Sounds like the cost of living in Austin will only grow due to this. No wonder the real estate lobby is in favor of the proposal.

5.  Daryoush said on May 3, 2012

This is great!

6.  Dr Dale Beeson said on May 3, 2012

With Austin's growth this will be a tremendous step forward for the area and the University of Texas. UT has a long history in medical education and this is an example of continued dedication to that tradition. The new dental school in Houston, where I attended many years ago, is another example of UT's strides in medical education.

7.  adam said on May 3, 2012

This school will be impossible to get into!

8.  Lorraine Cortez said on May 3, 2012

This is soooo awesome! My son is a freshman and this would be great!

9.  siraj said on May 3, 2012

this is very good news. this is good for my daughter when she grows up.

10.  Emmanuel said on May 3, 2012

Yes!

11.  Mr Me said on May 4, 2012

Do we know how long before it opens??

12.  Abbey said on May 4, 2012

I'm so excited about this. My plans are to attend medical school after graduation. It would be great to not have to leave Austin for this!

13.  Ryan said on May 4, 2012

Austin may not have a medical school per say, but what about the teaching hospital of Brackenridge for what I believe is used by UTMB, UTSW, and resident students? Is there really a "need" for more doctors in the saturated market of Austin?

14.  JB said on May 4, 2012

Is there an ETA?

15.  christopher the middle schooler said on May 4, 2012

is the medical center here good? I plan on being a plastic surgeon and i want to go here.

16.  eyedrd said on May 5, 2012

I am very pleased to hear that my alma mater, UT at Austin, is committed to establishing a medical school by providing $ 30 million per year and fundraising another $ 5 million per year for the next eight years. Austin community has proven its support with the amount of money to bring a medical school to Texas capital; Seton Healthcare Family has pledged to invest $250 million to build a new teaching hospital.
The South Texas leaders have expressed the concerns to the UT Board of Regents about the lack of funding for their Valley medical school and “demanded blueprint and a timeline for a Valley medical school.”

As I spent 2 years in doing my fellowship in South Texas, I experienced the severe shortage of physicians in the area and I share totally with the South Texas leaders’ concern. I am urging the South Texas leaders should seek advice from the president Scott Ransom of UNTHSC at Fort Worth on how to build a medical school, UNTMD, with a very low cost of $21.5 million over 5 year-period.

17.  Daniel said on May 9, 2012

The UT Austin medical school will not be admitting students any time soon. It's in the initial funding and planning phases right now. From what I have read elsewhere it will be about a decade before we have a medical school in Austin. So middle schoolers, start hitting those books. Everyone else, plan on doing residency or teaching here.

18.  Zong said on May 10, 2012

Long overdue. This is the last piece holding the university back from fully joining the top-tier universities. The benefits from funding to jobs to research advances will be huge. Now we just have to find space for it...

19.  Alex said on May 12, 2012

Once built, this will be by far the most popular medical school in the State. I went to Baylor in Houston, but if given the opportunity I would have gone to this UT Austin med school if it existed. One thing is for sure, I will be eager to apply there for a job to teach.

20.  Gaby said on May 17, 2012

There was a comment mentioning the need for a med school in the Valley. I believe only med students or those related in the medical field who have been in the Valley would understand that if a med school should be built, it should be done in the Valley. Physician extenders (like NPs and PAs) are the ones doing primary care. Few graduated med students end up going back to the Valley. The institution making a decent job to serve the community there is UTHSCSA with their 3rd and 4th yr rotations at the RAHC. The other med schools do a relatively poor job to encourage their students to serve in the Valley. In addition, Austin is surrounded by med schools in San Antonio, College Station, Dallas, and Houston. There is a teaching hospital for UTMB med students, although other med students should be able to rotate there. I read increasing tuition for students who will not benefit from this is not a good idea. Increasing tuition in UT has been an issue long before I became a Longhorn. In a nutshell, if there is still an URGENT need for a med school in the Valley, efforts, $$$, and enthusiasm should be allocated to this much more important option.

21.  linda said on May 17, 2012

This is wrong on so many levels. Brackenridge has been a teaching hospital for many decades, and Dell is as well. Enrollments in medical schools are set to decline as the federal government pushes towards less expensive providers such as NPs and PAs. UT Austin is landlocked. UTMB is in a much better position to expand, and expanding a medical school would be more economical than creating an entirely new one. This is entirely about prestige and power, and not at all about the citizens of this state.

22.  Joyce said on May 17, 2012

What will happen to UTMB in Galveston. Is this a way to shut it down and move to Austin?

23.  Bill Reed said on May 17, 2012

I hope this does not dilute the State support for the UT Health Science Center in San Antonio or UT facilities in Galveston, Houston, or Dallas. Looks like the committment from Seton sealed the deal, but I agree with eyedrd that the need is in the Valley.

24.  Tara Doolittle said on May 17, 2012

The medical school at Austin would be in addition to the six health institutions that are already a part of the UT System -- including UTMB Galveston. With the growth of the state's population, there is an increasing need for additional doctors and medical research facilities in Texas. The same day as this action on the Austin medical school, the Board of Regents also stated their support for a medical school in South Texas.
http://www.utsystem.edu/news/2012/05/03/ut-system-regents-authorize-next-steps-medical-schools-austin-south-texas.

--Tara Doolittle, Office of the President

25.  Angelica M. Reyes said on May 17, 2012

This is great news! Super excited for my little girl who wants to be a doctor, she can stay close to home and continue the family Longhorn tradition....

26.  Terri McCaslin said on May 17, 2012

From 1975 through 1988 I was employed by UTMB as part of their satellite Genetic Counseling clinic. We not only saw patients, but did local, regional and state-wide education for graduate students in Social Work, S.Ed., Nursing. We held Grand Rounds for Residents and Interns, and we saw approximately 1,500 patients a year. Were we laboring under the misconception that Brack wasn't a teaching hospital???

27.  Shayna said on May 18, 2012

Be careful what you wish. It could raise the prestige of the university and likely will. It could also mean that companies that do medical research will locate in TX, which is also good. However, medical schools are also a bit of a curse. A relative of mine was a senior administrator of a large state university in the NorthEast, which did not have a medical school, similar to UT currently. Being very familiar with the university's budget and funding, she said it was actually good that the school did not have a medical school, because of the significant cost of funding them. They are typically incredibly expensive and are subsidized by donations, gov't money, company research and the university. Regarding the latter, this means that higher tuition could be necessitated for the school in general to help carry the costs of the medical school. So, longer term, tuition costs could be impacted. People should be aware of both sides.

28.  Jeff said on May 18, 2012

The University of Texas already has 4 medical schools. I hope that Bill Powers understands that this medical school would NOT be under his purview, and shouldn't be.
I wish the Sisters in charge of Seton Hospital would give of their charity to helping to establish a Valley Medical School where it is needed.

29.  Odie Alvarado said on May 20, 2012

Having grown up in Austin this is welcomed news. At the time I was applying for med school Austin did not have the population to support a medical school now it does. I would only urge that the traditional approach of faculty lecturing for hours on end in traditional lecture halls end. Medicine if constantly changing. Please be innovative in your approach, smaller classes, eliminate textbooks, clinical exposure sooner, wide range of patients from indigent to private hospitals. Please emphasize fluency in medical spanish. Go beyond monetary rewards in medicine to the humnitarian rewards.