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Improved Health Care for Central Texans: Voters say “Yes” to University of Texas at Austin Medical School

Posted: Nov. 20, 2012

President Bill Powers and Dean Alexa Stuifbergen

President Bill Powers and Dean Alexa Stuifbergen

On Tuesday, Nov. 6, Travis County voters made history by voting overwhelmingly for Proposition 1, which ultimately will provide funding for a medical school in Central Texas.

Revenue raised through Proposition 1 will be used through Travis County’s health district, Central Health, to fund medical care and doctor training in a system of new community clinics and a new teaching hospital, which will train UT-Austin medical students.

“A medical school will enhance clinical training opportunities for nursing students, especially around inter-professional education essential to providing safe and high-quality health care,” said Alexa Stuifbergen, dean of the University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing.

Stuifbergen joined President Bill Powers and deans from several other UT Austin schools and colleges at a recent press conference to express their thanks to voters and to map out the university’s strategy to turn passage of the proposition into a bricks and mortar reality.

“A medical school will forever change the scale and scope of UT Austin education and research and will bring much-needed specialties and community health care to Central Texas,” said President Bill Powers in a recent blog post. “Our goal is to open the school to its first 50 students in the fall of 2015.”

But before that happens, the university will have to form a steering committee of academic and medical leaders in the coming months to begin a search for the school’s inaugural dean. From there, it will be possible to finalize a financial strategy and move swiftly ahead on numerous logistical fronts, such as where the medical school will be located.

The medical school will be a major research facility from day one, leveraging existing programs in nursing, biomedical engineering and pharmacy to improve the student experience; bolster research; and attract top faculty. It is expected to deliver improved health care for Central Texans by providing medical residents and clinics and by bringing more specialists to town.