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Texas A&M System Board of Regents Approves Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine Expansion Request

(COLLEGE STATION, TX) — The Texas A&M System Board of Regents approved the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine’s request to incrementally expand its class size from 80 to 200 students per class.

In an effort to address the health needs for the increasing population of Texas, the Health Science Center College of Medicine will expand its existing program by increasing the class size. At the present time, first and second year medical students complete their pre-clinical experiences in Bryan/College Station and then relocate to Temple for their third and fourth year clinical education. The increased class size approved today by the Board of Regents will be possible through the expansion of both pre-clinical and clinical experiences on both campuses.

“This expansion will extend our capacity to address the needs of all Texans,” said Nancy W. Dickey, M.D., president of the Health Science Center and vice chancellor for Health Affairs for the Texas A&M System. “Scott & White and the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System (CTVHCS) are our primary teaching facilities in Temple. Expanding our work with Scott & White and CTVHCS as well as our other community partners will enhance our ability to provide top-quality care, innovative education and particularly enhance leading-edge research in Temple.”

Dickey continued by stressing that there will continue to be only one medical school with two campuses within the Texas A&M Health Science Center—but its future is now even brighter as they broaden the resources and opportunities available for students on both campuses.

A 2002 study by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board concluded that the Texas population is “increasing rapidly with particular growth in those segments of populations generally needing high levels of care—the young and the elderly.”

Additionally, the study discerned that Texas now has fewer physicians per 100,000 population than the national average. It currently is at the low end of the United States Department of Health and Human Services recommended ratio of physicians per population.

The class size increase is expected to provide an efficient and cost-effective method to meet the needs of the State. To meet the requirements of the anticipated class growth the Health Science Center will undertake a campus expansion by increasing pre-clinical education in Temple and enhancing clinical education on the Bryan/College Station campus.

Christopher Colenda, M.D., dean of the College of Medicine said, “This expansion is the natural evolution of growth for the College of Medicine and capitalizes on existing resources in both communities. Expanding both campuses maintains our commitment to high quality, ‘student-centered’ education in medicine. Additionally, this expansion builds upon our existing research infrastructure, which will accelerate our efforts to translate research into prevention, treatment and cures for Texans.”

“To have third and fourth year medical students learning clinical medicine in Bryan/College Station and first and second year students in Temple will not only raise the visibility and importance of the College to the local community, but as has been demonstrated time and time again, medical school teaching programs raise the quality of medical care that patients receive. As a physician-scientist-educator for nearly 30 years, I can say from personal experience that students made me a better doctor for my patients.”

“The education of physicians is a complex process that is both labor and resource intensive’, said Scott & White President and CEO Dr. Knight. ‘To be successful, many constituencies must work together. Texas A&M, Scott & White, the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System and many others are supportive and engaged with this opportunity. We are all excited about this new concept and will aggressively move toward its implementation.”

Bruce Gordon, director of CTVHCS, noted that he is “extremely excited to be part of the program expansion for the College of Medicine, and it heralds back to the original founding of the school through the Teague-Cranston Act. Being part of the college has direct benefits to the care of veterans served by CTVHCS. Plus, this enables us to attract the best and brightest faculty.”

The request is expected to further enhance the Health Science Center’s ability to serve the people in both urban and rural areas of the State.

“The partnership between our College of Medicine, Scott & White, and the CTVHCS will be critical to the success of this endeavor. By strengthening existing relationships and building new relationships within the medical community we can ensure that we are caring for the health needs of Texans,” Dickey said. “When one person in our state is without needed care, we all suffer.”

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