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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Academics & Research

Medical school will seek approval to grant M.D. degrees


Medical school at UH. The College of Medicine's   will be located inside Health 2 before moving to its own building in the 2020s. The College of Medicine this fall will be seeking approval to grant M.D. degrees from many agencies. Next year, it will also need to be approved for funding by the state Legislature. | Owen Zinkweg/The Cougar

The College of Medicine will be located inside Health 2 before moving to its own building in the 2020’s. This fall, the College of Medicine seek approval to grant M.D. degrees from many agencies. Next year, it will also need to be approved for funding by the state legislature. | Owen Zinkweg/The Cougar

The University will initiate its Liaison Committee on Medical Education application this month as part of the College of Medicine’s accreditation process.

This is the first of many steps for outside approval for the College of Medicine’s medical school, which will include funding approval from the state legislature next year. As of now, the College of Medicine and medical school program has been approved only internally by the University.

The Liaison Committee on Medical Education is the accrediting body for M.D. degrees in the United States. Deliberations concerning specific M.D. programs are confidential, according to the Liaison Committee on Medical Education webpage.

“Medicine is a great career,” said Dean of the College of Medicine Stephen Spann. “Ours will be a wonderful medical school with a particular focus on training primary care physicians and working with underserved populations with an emphasis on community health.”

The College of Medicine will also seek approval from both the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools this month and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board in October for its M.D. degree.

The College of Medicine is expected to enroll its first class in fall 2020, according to the College of Medicine report. The medical school plans to have half its students be underrepresented minorities in medicine, which include Hispanic/Latino and Black/African-American minorities.

To help achieve this, the College of Medicine plans to develop pipeline programs and recruit from UH itself, Spann said. The college will reach out to students as young as middle school to get them interested in healthcare careers.

“We have to really cultivate our very excellent pre-med students here,” Spann said. “We are a very diverse campus, and that will be a ready source of diverse applicants to the medical school.”

The College of Medicine’s associate dean for student affairs and admissions, Kathryn Horn, said life experiences are an important factor for achieving diversity.

“We want to make sure that you have physicians that will care for a diverse population of people,” Horn said. “Our goal will be to look for all areas so we have a diverse population.”

The College of Medicine plans to use the Texas Medical & Dental Schools Application Service, requiring students to write about their goals, backgrounds and life experiences.

“We are in the process of deciding how, as a school, how we will weight those,” Horn said. “We will be looking at MCAT scores, GPAs and grade transcripts.”

The first two cohorts at the College of Medicine will only have 30 students each, according to the College of Medicine report. Additionally, any student who gets into the first cohort at the College of Medicine will have their tuition paid for them in full.

There is difficulty in starting a medical school with a small class when application numbers pay possibly reach the thousands, Horn said

Last year, there were 5,777 students who applied to schools using the Texas Medical & Dental School Application Service.

For students planning to attend the College of Medicine’s medical school, UH plans for half of them to focus in primary care and hopes for many to work in underserved health communities around Texas.

“You have to look for people who grew up in a rural area,” Horn said. “(They) are more likely to go to a rural area.”

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