The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler has announced an $80 million commitment from the East Texas Medical Center Foundation in support of a proposed medical school.
The announcement comes just six days after the University of Texas System said it would seek approval from the UT Board of Regents to establish a medical school in Tyler, which would be the first such school in East Texas. Combined with existing graduate healthcare degrees and residency programs at UT Health Science Center at Tyler and undergraduate health-related programs and a pre-med academy at the University of Texas at Tyler, the new medical school will enable students to complete their full medical education in Tyler and significantly benefit medically underserved rural areas in the region. In making its gift — the largest ever to establish a medical school in the state and the largest ever to an institution or organization in East Texas — the foundation asked UT Health Science Center at Tyler to pay special attention to rural healthcare delivery and mental and behavioral health.
The UT System has already allocated $95 million for construction of two new health buildings at UT Tyler, while UT Health Science Center at Tyler is in the process of adding residency programs in general surgery, internal medicine, and a rural psychiatry program as well as more than two hundred new residency slots within the UT Health East Texas healthcare system, which includes ten other hospitals and fifty-three clinics.
"We know [the gift] will expand opportunities for patients who need primary and specialty care, enhance the capacity of our local hospitals to treat and heal, and boost our economy and biomedical research capabilities, for starters," said IT Board of Regents chair Kevin P. Eltife. "Moreover, a gift of this magnitude — so soon after our announcement — will allow UT to accelerate the launch of the medical school, benefitting all towns and communities in Northeast Texas — and will have a positive impact on all hospital systems here including UT Health East Texas, CHRISTUS, and Baylor Scott & White."
"The foundation board is honored to make this essential investment in our community," said East Texas Medical Center Foundation board chair Elam Swann. "At the core of a region's vitality is its commitment to a healthy society. We have a desire and a responsibility to participate in that effort, and we hope our gift will inspire other individuals and organizations to participate."