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July 7, 2015

TCU, UNT Health Science Center to create new medical school

Program will begin in 2018 and focus on providing a team-oriented, educational approach.

University of North Texas Health Science Center President Michael R. Williams (left) and TCU Chancellor Victor J. Boschini, Jr. announced the two universities would collaborate to create an MD school in Fort Worth, giving the city its second medical school. (Photo by Amy Peterson)

July 7, 2015

TCU, UNT Health Science Center to create new medical school

Program will begin in 2018 and focus on providing a team-oriented, educational approach.

TCU and the University of North Texas Health Science Center entered into a memorandum of understanding in July to create an MD school in Fort Worth. The school, which would accept its first class in 2018, will be among the leading institutions in the nation in providing a team-oriented, educational approach that benefits patients and shapes the future practice and business of medicine.

The memorandum calls for an initial class of 60 students and expanded over time to an enrollment of 240.

“A new MD school will give Texas more high-quality practitioners in an era of dramatic physician shortages,” said UNTHSC President Michael R. Williams. “Our students will become physicians who focus on their patients and learn to deliver care as part of larger health care teams.”

The MD school is expected to increase educational and research opportunities at the two institutions, while preparing the next generation of physicians to meet health care needs in Texas and beyond. Using existing educational, research and training facilities, along with faculty at both TCU and UNTHSC, allows start-up costs to be minimized and privately funded.

Donors in Fort Worth, the largest city in Texas without an MD school, have already pledged significant financial support to address initial start-up costs. In addition, the institutions will focus on effectively maximizing existing resources.

This allows Fort Worth to boast the nation’s most comprehensive health care education located on a single campus. UNTHSC, located in the Cultural District, currently has an osteopathic medical school, along with graduate schools for pharmacists, physician assistants, physical therapists, public health experts and biomedical scientists.

“This academic collaboration represents the first step in the establishment of a premier MD school and is one of the most ambitious our university has undertaken to date,” said TCU Chancellor Victor J. Boschini Jr. “Blending a medical education with liberal arts helps shape tomorrow’s physicians as ethical leaders who are skilled in interpersonal communication and nimble thinkers who thrive as part of a team to treat patients in ways that consider the whole human condition.”

Additional details will be decided in the coming months. TCU and UNTHSC jointly will name a dean for the MD school, who will report to provosts on both campuses. Faculty from both institutions will teach in the program, which is expected to begin accepting applications in fall 2017. Students will be enrolled at both institutions.

Moving forward, a medical school management committee with representatives from both institutions, the new dean and provosts will oversee planning.

The MD program is an extension of the two universities’ longstanding collaboration on science and health care issues affecting the Fort Worth community. To date, more than 1,200 students from nursing, speech-language pathology, social work, athletic training, medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy, physician assistant studies, public health and biomedical sciences have trained together on interprofessional education competencies. Existing collaborations include a range of programs that focus on everything from a community-based outreach program for older adults to a culinary medicine approach that explores everyday recipes for better health.

In addition, students in TCU’s Neeley School of Business and UNTHSC’s School of Public Health currently collaborate as part of UNTHSC’s master’s program in health administration.