UH College of Medicine: The Need

UH College of Medicine: The Need


Houston is a great city. It’s an opportunity city where people can
find employment, where they can gain the skills to be successful. Houston is a great place, a growing community
and I think we all have a responsibility for the wellbeing of our community. People like me who come to Houston just fall
in love with it. However, we do
have challenges. We rank 47 out of 50 states in terms of the
ratio, the number of primary care physicians per population. Surrounding the Texas medical center are geographic
communities that have major health disparities and health indices that are in some places
similar to those of Third World countries. We have plenty of specialists; some of the
top in the world. But really to be able
to have a program focused on primary care to really teach that broad base net that we
need to support our community is essential. Only about 20% of medical students that graduate
go in to primary care. So when we think about this world being more
about preventive care, about managing chronic illness, that needs to be done largely by
primary care physicians. I think everybody agrees in Houston there
is a gap. Who’s going to step up and
fill that gap? We are the largest public university in Houston. We will need to have a medical school. The mission of the medical school is to improve
health and health care in communities that have major health disparities. We’ll do that by training a new breed of
physicians, physicians who understand health disparities and their causes. All physicians should have solid training
in mental and behavioral health. We’ve partnered with HCA Houston Healthcare. HCA Health is not
only the largest hospital company in America but they’re also the largest hospital system
within the greater Houston area. We need a hospital partner to train our medical
students and our future residents. I am a huge supporter of this for many reasons. I represent 60 institutions and many of them
are leaders of medical schools as well as hospitals. They see this as extremely complementary to
the existing hospitals and medical schools that exist today. University of Houston has always been innovators
in so many ways. Thinking about designing a medical school
for the future, population health is the cornerstone for that mindset, meaning that you can’t
just treat patients when they come through the door in the clinic. You need to manage them remotely. And so I think the opportunity that the University
of Houston has is to really design an entire medical school around many of the technologies
that are here today. The Greater Houston Partnership is the voice
of the business community. When
someone is thinking about moving a business to Houston they’ll ask a number of questions. They’ll ask a lot of questions about just
the general economy and the policy environment. Is this a good place to do business? They’ll ask questions about the educational
system here, educational opportunities. And then the third thing on that list is typically
health care. There’s a greater concern today among employers
that the overall state of Houston’s health care system is not what we need it to be. I think healthcare is right up there at the
top of the spectrum. People want to know when they come there,
what are their healthcare options? I think of the University of Houston as being
an ideal proponent of focus on primary care, of focus on health care for the urban setting
as well as the rural setting, because that’s kind of where the University of Houston has
always been. It’s always found that balance between quality
and access. That’s what UH does. It reaches out and strengthens our entire
community. We have to lead. We have to set an example that we care about
people, because at the end of the day, whatever business we’re in whether it’s education
at UH, whether it’s petroleum business, furniture business, we’re all in the people
business. So if we can care about our people and our
citizens then we have done something right. The University of Houston over the past decade,
it is becoming a mecca for some of the top talent in the world. It is a natural progression of a medical school. This is really a step to the future. This is the beginning of what I think many
medical schools will do is really build a much broader base of primary care physicians
because that’s what our community needs. So when we think about the investment – this
is an investment in our future that will pay huge dividends. My appeal to anybody who’s listening is
come and be part of this journey. Come and be part of this dream. Come and build the city for tomorrow.

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