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They say the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step … but what they don’t usually add is that you have to keep taking steps.

That’s what we’ve been doing with the development of the University of Houston’s College of Medicine, continuing to make progress and build upon our excellent beginning.  We took another important step in the right direction recently with the Texas House of Representatives voting to recognize our medical school in state statute, adding it to Chapter 111 of the Education Code through the passage of House Bill 826.  This legislative recognition is significant because the Education Code authorizes public university systems in Texas to approve curricula and operational protocols for its medical schools. It also makes these medical schools eligible for related state funding.

It’s encouraging that this confirmation moved through the House relatively quickly and with virtually no opposition, a reflection of the widespread, bipartisan support for our efforts to establish a medical school that will address the state’s shortage of primary care physicians. We still need the Texas Senate’s sign-off on this legislation then the governor’s final approval, but we remain optimistic.   

Putting on a Clinic – Our commitment to improving community health care in general and our medical school plans both took a bold step forward with the opening of the Lone Star Circle of Care at UH.  This Federally Qualified Health Center, which is operating on campus in the Health 2 building, is providing primary care and behavioral health services to area residents.  As a FQHC, the clinic accepts Medicare and Medicaid and can charge on a sliding scale for those patients without insurance.  Commercial health insurance will be accepted as well.  So treatment will be both accessible and affordable, which I believe are the hallmarks of enlightened community health care. 

I am proud to say that five of our UH College of Medicine faculty members ( Drs. David Buck, Kathryn Horn, Winston Liaw, Brian Reed and Stephen Spann) are serving on the clinic’s medical staff, further strengthening our connection with this valuable community resource. Of course, having the clinic on campus will also offer very real opportunities for our students in health- and health care-related programs to observe and participate under the supervision of our faculty.  There are few classroom substitutes for getting first-hand experience like that.  

Although the clinic began operating in early April, there is a ceremonial ribbon-cutting scheduled June 11, when a host of local officials and civic leaders will be on hand to officially welcome the Lone Star Circle of Care at UH to our school and our community.  It is welcome indeed.

Accreditation Report – The UH College of Medicine took another essential step at the end of March, submitting our application to Liaison Committee for Medical Education (LCME) for official accreditation. 

We appreciate your continued support and interest in the UH College of Medicine.  If you have any questions or suggestions, visit our website or contact us at medicine@uh.edu

Best regards,

Stephen J. Spann, M.D., M.B.A.
Founding Dean, College of Medicine
Vice President for Medical Affairs
Phone (713) 743-0875
medicine@uh.edu
 
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