In the final days of the Texas Legislative session, lawmakers passed a bill that will provide startup money for a new medical school at the University of Houston and fund improvements to the college campus.
With a focus on training more primary care physicians to practice in underserved urban and rural communities, the medical school will receive $20 million in state funds in coming years to help get established. Federal accreditation is the last hurdle that remains for the long-awaited med school.
“Building great public institutions is truly a partnership with our elected leaders,” said Renu Khator, chancellor of the University of Houston System. “Their support will help our system’s 74,000 students succeed, which in turn creates a qualified workforce, healthy communities, and a prosperous Texas.”
The university plans to begin enrolling medical students in fall 2020. The school will be constructed on a roughly 40-acre tract southeast of the existing university campus.
The new institution would be Houston’s first medical school in nearly 50 years. Dr. Stephen Spann, founding dean of the UH College of Medicine, said the school will “help us achieve our mission of training more primary care physicians to address a significant statewide shortage.”
The bill passed by the Legislature also included funding for new facilities for the UH Law Center and Hobby School of Public Affairs, and increased funding for general operations and hurricane recovery at all four UH System universities. Lawmakers also authorized a dedicated student fee to pay for new wellness centers at University of Houston-Downtown and University of Houston-Victoria.