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Anonymous $3M donation funds inaugural College of Medicine class’ tuition

An anonymous donor’s $3 million donation will pay for the full tuition of the College of Medicine’s first class in Fall 2020. | Trenton Hooker

UH’s College of Medicine received an anonymous $3 million donation that will be used to cover the full tuition of the college’s 30-student inaugural class, the University announced Wednesday.

“What an absolutely exciting way to welcome the first class, inaugural class of the medical school,” said President Renu Khator. “I cannot thank enough our donor. I cannot thank enough the community.”

UH will open its medical school — the University’s 15th academic college — in Fall 2020, pending approval by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and accreditation by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education. Students in the first class will have their tuition paid for all four years thanks to the $3 million donation.

The College of Medicine will be accepting applications next year as it focuses on addressing the need for primary care physicians in Houston.

In the release, Khator said student debt is the biggest obstacle students face when going to medical school. The donation will give applicants the opportunity to attend the University and impact the field’s future workforce without that concern, she said.

The $3 million donation will go toward the University’s $1 billion dollar fundraising campaign, “Here, We Go,” launched in 2017. According to the news release, UH has received more than $9 million of it’s $120 million 10-year goal for the College of Medicine — a third of which is expected to come from philanthropy.

The College of Medicine seeks to improve health care by addressing the shortage of primary care physicians. According to the release, Texas ranks No. 47 in the primary care physician-to-population ratio compared to other states.

The school aims to have 50 percent of its graduating class specialize in primary care.

Dr. Stephen Spann, the dean of the College of Medicine, said alleviating the burden of student debt will allow medical students to pursue a career in primary care, a path only 20 percent of graduated students follow, according to TMC. 

Countries and states strong in primary care experience lower costs, high patient satisfaction and improved care, Spann said.

Applicants from Texas intending to practice in the state will be given preference, he said.

“We really want to train people who will practice in underserved areas of our state, both inner-city and rural, because we have great needs in both,” Spann said, according to KHOU.

Khator announced the donation Wednesday and thanked the community and donor via social media for their help.

“When you have the right cause that helps the city, helps the state and helps the students, I know the community pulls in,” Khator said in a video.

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