TCU, UNT school of medicine separation agreement outlines cooperation still needed

The split between UNT Health Science Center and Texas Christian University over the governance of the allopathic medical school may be official, but cooperation between the two schools will continue, at least for the next few years.

The now-TCU School of Medicine will be leasing and using many facilities and faculty from the Health Science Center per the agreement, which spells out costs and terms of various needs of both institutions over the next few years. The agreement notes that, under the 2017 agreement between the two schools, HSC has provided the school of medicine with more than $5 million per year to use facilities and other services. Now, TCU will be paying HSC to use many of those facilities and services to continue school operations. 

“Throughout the collaboration, TCU has been the degree-granting institution for the SOM (school of medicine), and TCU has provided the resources necessary to fund the operations of the SOM beyond the in-kind support provided by HSC,” according to the agreement obtained by The Fort Worth Report. 

The TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine was formed in 2015 to realize a long-sought vision of bringing an innovative allopathic medical school to the area and helping relieve a shortage of physicians in the area. On Jan. 12, the two schools announced that TCU would now be running the school. All faculty have TCU credentials. 

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“This is an exciting and transformational medical school with remarkable students,” said TCU Chancellor Victor J. Boschini Jr. in a news release. “We are grateful to UNTHSC for their collaboration and for all of the hard work and dedication needed to get this school launched successfully. Our graduates will be Empathetic Scholars and will benefit from the vision of both schools for years to come.”

The agreement also notes that, if the two schools had not initially cooperated, the allopathic school of medicine would not have been approved. 

“Without the support of both institutions and without the vision, leadership, and commitment of HSC as well as TCU, the parties would not have been able to establish the SOM,” according to the separation agreement.  

Developing this program was a goal of many leaders in the community who sought to draw more medical talent to Fort Worth’s profile in both health care and biotech fields. 

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“The successful collaboration between HSC and TCU to bring the school of medicine to our community has been critical in raising the profile of health care in our community,” Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker said in a statement. “The innovative leadership and expertise both universities brought in creating this medical school will continue to have a positive impact in our community for generations to come. Fort Worth is incredibly fortunate to have both a D.O. and M.D. school in our city, and I look forward to the continued transformation of our city, health care community, and beyond.”

The school will now operate as the TCU School of Medicine with classes continuing on both the TCU and HSC campuses before eventually moving to a new space. 

“With the SOM expanding in complexity and population, the Parties agree the time has come for the SOM to find new facilities in which to operate,” according to the agreement. 

The first class of students began in July 2019 and will graduate in 2023. The School of Medicine currently is recruiting its fourth class, which will begin in July 2022.

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The TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine received preliminary accreditation from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education in 2018. In February 2021 a team of accreditors met with senior leadership, faculty and students during a virtual site visit before making their Provisional Accreditation decision. In mid-June 2021 the committee voted to grant provisional accreditation to the medical school.

The School of Medicine has also launched graduate medical education collaborations with JPS Health Network, Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center Fort Worth and Texas Health Resources all of which will remain in place. 

HSC will continue to operate the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, which last year was named by U.S. News & World Report as the highest-ranked osteopathic medical school in Texas and second highest in the nation.

The list ranked the college as the 57th among all medical schools across the country for primary care. 

Bob Francis, a former editor of the Business Press, is business editor of Fort Worth Report. His articles continue to appear in the Business Press.

This article was originally published by Fort Worth Report.