The future of medical education, care and research is taking shape at the Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin, the first medical school in nearly 50 years to be built from the ground up at a top tier Association of American Universities (AAU) research university.
In the words of UT President Gregory Fenves, “Nothing will embody [UT Austin’s] spirit of innovating excellence as much as the opening of the Dell Medical School. We are developing a new model for medical education that partners with the community, redesigning health care to better align with society’s interests in quality and value. We are creating and supporting partnerships and programs that will revolutionize the way Texans get and stay healthy, combining clinical work with an innovative learning culture that is team-based and multiprofessional, drawing on the strengths of the university.”
The medical school was created in unprecedented partnership with local taxpayers, who in 2012 voted to support a vision for better health in Austin and Travis County. The school, which is at the heart of a burgeoning health district in downtown Austin, will welcome its first class of 50 students in the June of 2016.
Community is at the heart of everything we do. From the people of Travis County; to key partners Seton Healthcare Family and Central Health; to UT Austin and the UT System; to local physicians, nonprofits, entrepreneurs and the families we serve and care for; we are connected in deep and meaningful ways to our community.
We are celebrating the creativity, diversity and innovation happening around us, and we’re doing it with a focus on improving health and making Austin a model healthy city.
The University of Texas at Austin was founded in 1883 by the Texas State Constitution and was the result of a mandate to establish “a university of the first class.” UT Austin is now one of the largest and most respected research universities in the world. It is a diverse learning community with more than 51,000 students hailing from every state and more than 100 countries. The Dell Medical School will be the newest of 18 colleges and schools on The University of Texas at Austin campus.
Since the inception of The University of Texas in 1883, medical education was part of the plan to build a “university of the first class.” However, owing to political maneuvering, the medical branch of The University of Texas was located in Galveston, Texas, a booming port city prior to 1900, in order to garner the votes needed to locate the main university in Austin.
For 125 years, the idea for medical education in Austin continued to germinate. In 2008, UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas approved preliminary plans to locate a regional campus there, developing projections to test the financial feasibility of starting a modest-size, high-quality, research-oriented medical school in Austin. By fall of 2009, UT-Southwestern had signed an affiliation agreement with the Seton Healthcare Family in Austin to partner in providing graduate medical education (GME) and pursue a vision of developing a medical school in Austin that would provide undergraduate medical education, GME, and clinical research.
In late 2011, Texas Senator Kirk Watson created a list of ten health-care centered goals he hoped to achieve within ten years for his Central Texas district. Number one on that list was to build a medical school. Senator Watson quickly created alignment with these goals from multiple constituencies, beginning with the UT System Board of Regents. In May 2012, the Board of Regents allocated $25 million of annual funding to a UT Austin medical school, plus another $40 million spread over eight years for faculty recruiting. In November 2012, Travis County voters approved a proposition to raise property tax revenue in support of health care initiatives for Central Texas, including $35 million annually for a medical school. And in 2013, the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation pledged $50 million over ten years to the school, which was named the Dell Medical School.
With significant funding sources secured, the UT System Board of Regents approved a plan in May 2013 to construct research, educational and administrative facilities, as well as a medical office building and parking garage on UT Austin property. Seton Healthcare Family and Central Health also confirmed plans to build a new teaching hospital on leased university land in the heart of the burgeoning health district. Construction of the UT facilities began in April 2014, with scheduled completion in May of 2016 – just in time to welcome the medical school’s first class in June.
The Dell Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas, the new teaching hospital, is scheduled to open in early 2017.
In January, 2014, UT Austin named S. Claiborne “Clay” Johnston, MD, PhD, inaugural dean of the Dell Medical School.
Creating the Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin is, essentially, the equivalent of starting a new campus. A comprehensive plan has been developed for a health district to be created on existing University property at the southeastern corner of the campus as part of the University of Texas at Austin Campus Master Plan.