TCU and UNT Health Science Center to create new medical school

Date Published: 
Monday, July 6, 2015


UNTHSC President Michael R. Williams and TCU Chancellor Victor J. Boschini Jr.

Texas Christian University and the University of North Texas Health Science Center have entered into a memorandum of understanding to create a new MD school in Fort Worth. The school, planning to 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 MOU calls for an initial class of 60 students, with plans for a full 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.”

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.

Additional points of interest in the MOU include the following:

  • Students in the MD school will be enrolled in both institutions.
  • A dean named jointly by TCU and UNTHSC will report to provosts at both campuses.
  • Both TCU and UNTHSC faculty will teach in the program.
  • The MD school plans to begin accepting applications in the fall of 2017.

Moving forward, a medical school management committee including representatives from both universities, along with the new dean and provosts from both institutions, will oversee plans for the new school.