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HOUSTON—The UH System Board of Regents has approved the establishment for a  College of Medicine Thursday.  The new school will focus on preparing primary care doctors to practice in underserved urban and rural communities in Houston and across Texas and ultimately improve health outcomes.

UH will soon seek medical degree approval from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and initiate the process for accreditation by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education. The UH College of Medicine would admit its first class in 2020.

“Training the next generation of physician leaders meets a clear and growing demand in Texas,” said Renu Khator, president of UH. “A new medical school will complement, not compete with other strong institutions already in place. We have an obligation to serve the city by responding to the economic, social and cultural issues affecting the quality of life in Houston.”

Most immediately, UH will finalize a partnership with HCA Healthcare’s Gulf Coast Division (Hospital Corporation of America) to bring 103 first-year resident positions to the Houston area by 2020, and expand to 309 total resident positions by 2024.

“We can produce a new training program that could bridge the gap in health care and be very cost efficient. It’s a win-win,” said Khator. “We’re fully prepared with elements already in place to effectively bring innovative medical resources to our community.”

UH plans to fund the 10-year startup phase through approximately one-third legislative appropriations, one-third philanthropy and one-third intellectual property revenue. The expected funding request for the startup phase from the legislature will be $40 million. Anticipated full enrollment is 480 students and 130 faculty and support staff.