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New UT Tyler Medical School Boosts the Region’s Economy, Workforce and Quality of Life

A new University of Texas medical school is bringing jobs and high-quality health care to Tyler.

By Teree Caruthers on August 5, 2022

University of Texas System
University of Texas System

Access to high-quality health care is often a deciding factor for relocating businesses, and quality care is dependent on a large pool of talent in health care fields. A new University of Texas affiliated medical school – the first in Northeast Texas – will address both these issues for the Tyler region.

The medical school, which is on track to welcome the first class of 40 students in June 2023, will have a special focus on primary care and mental health and will establish a pipeline of doctors who can attend school, train and then practice and live in Tyler.

University of Texas System
University of Texas System

Minding the Gap

“Northeast Texas has fewer primary care physicians and mental health professionals per capita than the rest of Texas, plus the population is growing,” says Kevin Eltife, chairman of the University of Texas System Board of Regents and former mayor of Tyler. “So there’s a considerable need for more physicians and to improve health outcomes of those who live in the region. A medical school is part of the plan to address this.”

Eltife says the medical school will augment undergraduate and graduate health science programs already offered by the University of Texas at Tyler in nursing, pharmacy and public health, among others. UT Tyler offers more than 80 undergraduate and graduate programs, and a recent merger with the University of Texas Health Science Center – now known as The Health Science Center at Tyler – has allowed the university to position itself to serve as a leader in health care education. UT Tyler is also a partner of the UT Health East Texas Health System, a regional network of hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation centers, freestanding emergency centers and urgent care facilities.

“The health system is providing new residency slots. Most physicians practice where they did their residencies, which ultimately will result in more physicians living and working in the region,” Eltife says. “This also potentially means residents of the region won’t have to leave town for specialty care. The medical school will create jobs, increase tax revenue and bring more prosperity to the area. All Texans should have access to quality medical care no matter where they live.”

Economic Booster Shot

Development of the new medical school is evidence of a sustained and substantial investment in the Tyler and Northeast Texas region by the University of Texas System Board of Regents to support UT Tyler’s aspirations to improve the education, health care and economy of the region. Over the last 10 years, the board has allocated $232 million to UT Tyler as well as the UT Health Science Center in Tyler.

Eltife says not only will the medical school create jobs for faculty and staff, but it will also generate a ripple effect of increased spending in the region, be a lure for relocating and expanding businesses and a draw for top talent. In addition, it will create additional jobs beyond the medical school, such as in the construction of new facilities.

“The community not only has been receptive, but it’s been a full partner and driving force in bringing this dream to a reality,” Eltife says. “The medical school would not have been possible without the efforts and tireless support of so many in our community and especially our business, philanthropic and health care leaders and elected officials,” Eltife says.

The East Texas Medical Center Foundation’s $80 million gift to launch the medical school and the R. W. Fair Foundation’s $4 million gift that will cover tuition for the inaugural class are two powerful examples of community leadership, he says.

“When I look ahead to welcoming that first class of medical students, I know there will very much be a sense of collective pride and accomplishment,” Eltife says.

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