College of Medicine Newsletter
02/25/2020, 02:00:01 PM
Spann's newsletter header

By now, I hope you have heard the great news about the University of Houston College of Medicine.  For those who have not, I’m proud and pleased to share it with you:

We have been granted preliminary accreditation by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), which allows us to begin recruiting and enrolling students for our medical school.   We have been preparing diligently – and optimistically – for this approval, allowing us to get underway almost immediately.

Our first class starts July 20, with instruction taking place in The Health 2 Building, which will serve as the temporary home for the first two years.  But please don’t let the word “temporary” mislead you. This is a fully equipped, professional teaching space with a Simulation Center including a clinical skills lab, as well as practice patient examination rooms, a state-of-the-art gross anatomy lab and large classrooms for team-based learning.

We’re confident that it will provide a first-class facility until the new $80 million College of Medicine Building is completed in 2022.  By the way, groundbreaking for that extraordinary 3-story edifice, which will be located on a 43-acre tract across from nearby MacGregor Park, has been tentatively scheduled for later this spring.

As you might expect, excitement is very high within the college and among our campus colleagues who all worked long and hard to reach this milestone. And we often had to do so with some restraint.  We were obliged to avoid making any overt assumptions or public statements that the UH College of Medicine would, indeed, be granted LCME approval.  But now that it is a reality, not an aspiration, we can all celebrate and say it out loud as much as we like: the UH medical school is open for business.

IT’S A GIFT – In another stroke of good fortune, the UH College of Medicine has received a  $5 million gift from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas.  This funding is intended to help us attract diverse students interested in primary care medicine. Our new medical school is planning for at least half of each graduating class to practice primary care to address the alarming statewide shortage of physicians in underserved urban and rural communities.  So this enlightened Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas contribution goes right to the heart of our mission and could not be more gratefully received.

STAFFING UP – We continue to assemble a first-rate faculty for the medical school, and I would like to acknowledge these recent additions:

  • Joel Blumberg, M.D., Clinical Associate Professor, Pediatrics
  • Michelle Carroll Turpin, Ph.D., Clinical Assistant Professor, Pharmacology
  • Gregorio Gomez, Ph.D., Clinical Associate Professor, Immunology
  • Jessica Hartos, Ph.D., Assistant Dean, Assessment & Quality Improvement
  • Shayne Hassler, Ph.D., Clinical Assistant Professor, Cell Biology & Genetics
  • Kristin Kassaw, M.D., Clinical Associate Professor, Psychiatry
  • Raj Kumar, Ph.D., Clinical Professor, Biochemistry
  • Camille Leugers, M.D., Clinical Associate Professor, Adult Medicine
  • Jacqueline Levesque, A.Ed., Associate Dean, GME & Faculty Affairs
  • Omar Matzuk-Villazon, M.D., M.B.A., Clinical Assistant Professor, Pediatrics
  • Kimberly Pilkinton, M.D., Clinical Associate Professor, Obstetrics & Gynecology
  • Kevin Rowland, Ph.D., Clinical Professor, Physiology
  • Steven Starks, M.D., Clinical Assistant Professor, Psychiatry
  • Kenya Steele, M.D., Director, Physicians, Patients & Populations
  • Julia Strait, Ph.D., Clinical Assistant Professor, Psychology
  • LeChauncy Woodard, M.D., M.P.H., Founding Director, Humana Integrated Health System Sciences Institute

As always, we appreciate your interest and support.  For more information about the UH College of Medicine, please visit our website or email us at .

Best regards,

Stephen J. Spann, M.D., M.B.A.
Founding Dean, College of Medicine
Vice President for Medical Affairs
Phone 713-743-7047
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