Texas Student Doctor: April 2011


News from the TMA Medical Student Section


MSS Meets at TexMed 2011 May 13-14 in Houston  

Take advantage of your TMA membership by attending TexMed 2011 May 13-14 at the George R. Brown Convention Center and Hyatt Regency in Houston. 

Mark your calendar for these Medical Student Section (MSS) activities:   

  • MSS Reception, Thursday, May 12, 7-8:30 pm, Location TBD 
  • MSS Executive Council, Thursday, May 12, 8:30-10 pm, Hyatt Ebony Room 
  • MSS Caucus, Friday, May 13, 6:30-8 am, Hyatt Arboretum 3 
  • MSS Caucus, Saturday, May 13, 6:30-8 am, Convention Center Room 350-D 
  • MSS Chapter Presidents, 1:30-2:30 pm Friday, Convention Center Room 352-A 
  • MSS Business Meeting, Friday, May 13, 2:30-4 pm, Convention Center Room 351-B 

Register for the conference and make your housing reservations online, or contact the TMA Knowledge Center at (800) 880-7955 or knowledge[at]texmed[dot]org. 

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MSS Executive Council Elections 

The TMA Medical Student Section (MSS) Executive Council is elected annually to direct the activities of the section at the state level. Applications are being accepted for the 2011-12 term.  

To apply, send a letter of intent and current CV to mssinfo[at]texmed[dot]org by April 22. 

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Board, Council, and Committee Reps 

Student representatives and alternate student representatives are appointed to serve one-year terms on TMA boards, councils, and committees.   

 Apply here by April 22 to serve for the 2011-12 term. 

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UT System Increases Medical School Tuition    

The University of Texas System Board of Regents in March approved tuition increases that will affect medical, dental, nursing, and other health professions programs, beginning this fall. Texas medical school tuition is among the lowest in the country and despite the increases will still be well below the national average. For comparison, once the increase goes into effect, the highest tuition at a UT medical school will be $16,855, while according to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the University of Virginia’s public, in-state medical school tuition is the highest in the country at more than $35,000 a year.     

Kenneth Shine, MD, UT executive vice chancellor for health affairs, told the Houston Chronicle that as a result of UT System's desire to maintain accessibility and to keep student debt down through lower tuition, "there's a concern, shared by students and faculty, the curriculum is being undervalued as people look to programs across the country."   

In preparation for deep budget cuts as state lawmakers deal with a large budget shortfall, leaders asked students to weigh in on the tuition increase proposal. Student Regent Kyle Kalkwarf told the Austin American-Statesman that he spoke with students at several campuses, and most supported the increases and the need to maintain quality and competitiveness. 

UT Medical School 

Current 2010-11 Academic Year Tuition Rate 


2011-12 Academic Year Tuition Rate 



UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas 




UT Health/UTHSC at Houston 




UTHSC at San Antonio 




UTMB at Galveston 




There's no word yet from other Texas university systems about possible tuition increases. 

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Bill Orders State GME Assessment   

Legislation making its way through the legislature directs the state Coordinating Board to include an assessment of opportunities for graduates of Texas medical schools to enter graduate medical education (GME) in Texas in its five-year master plan. The bill is House Bill 2908 by Dan Branch (R-Dallas), chair of the House Higher Education Committee.    

The bill requires the assessment to:     

  • Compare the number of first-year GME positions available annually with the number of medical school graduates; 
  • Include a statistical analysis of recent trends and projections for the number of medical school graduates and first-year GME positions in the state;  
  • Develop methods and strategies for achieving a ratio of 1.1 to 1 for the number of first-year GME positions and medical school graduates; 
  • Evaluate current and projected physician workforce needs in the state, by total number and by specialty, in the development of first-year GME positions; and  
  • Examine whether the state should ensure that a first-year GME position is created for each new medical student position. 

If the legislature passes the bill and the governor signs it, state officials would have a planning process to better enable them to prepare the physicians most needed in response to the state's health care demands and to help retain Texas medical school graduates in the state for GME and ultimately for medical practice.    

Texas is setting new records in all areas of physician workforce: medical school class sizes, medical school enrollments, medical school graduates, and newly licensed physicians. Even with these achievements, Texas has been growing its physician workforce at a rate barely ahead of its population growth. The Texas population has been growing rapidly for the past 20 years and leads all other states in net increases.   

However, the number of entry-level GME slots is not growing at the same rate. There are a variety of contributing factors for this. GME is expensive. Medicine is increasingly complex, and training costs are considerable. Not much relating to a hospital is low cost, and GME is not an exception. Experts estimate the cost of training a resident to be more than $100,000 a year. Medicare is the single largest payer for GME by far, and its support is basically frozen at 1996 levels. This has had a strong, chilling effect on GME growth. But at the same time, medical schools have responded to the recommendations to increase their enrollments. Medical schools have increased their first-year enrollments by 29 percent during the past decade. While we do not have the same statistics available for GME trends, we do know that GME has not grown at the same rate.    

The number of first-year medical students at Texas allopathic schools this year numbers 1,446. By comparison, Texas GME programs offered 1,378 of first-year allopathic GME positions in the national MD GME match last year.  In addition, there were 201 first-year osteopathic students in Texas this year, and many of those also will enter MD GME programs. While the of first-year medical students will not be ready to enter GME for three more years, these numbers help demonstrate the level of growth needed to accommodate medical school expansions. 

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2011 Family Medicine Match Positions Up 11 Percent    

For the second year in a row, more U.S. medical school seniors will train as family medicine residents, according to data released by the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP). The number of U.S. seniors matched to family medicine positions rose by 11 percent over 2010. In Match Day ceremonies across the country, these individuals will be among more than 16,000 U.S. medical school seniors who will learn where they are going to spend the next three to seven years of residency training. Texas match numbers have not been released.

Among primary care specialties, family medicine programs continue to experience the strongest growth in the number of positions filled by U.S. seniors. In this year’s match, U.S. seniors filled nearly half of the 2,708 family medicine residency slots. Family medicine also offered 100 more positions this year.

Meanwhile, the NRMP Board of Directors is considering a change to the policies governing the Main Residency Match [PDF]. Under the proposal, the rules of participation for all registered applicants would be standardized by requiring institutions participating in the Main Residency Match to place all of their core residency positions in the Main Residency Match or another national matching program.    

The board says it believes such a policy would address remnants of the problems that led to creation of the NRMP by eliminating inequities in how residency programs recruit U.S. allopathic senior students and other applicants, while simultaneously reducing the risk of undue persuasion when residency programs offer positions outside the match. Between 1998 and 2005, NRMP considered a similar policy but did not adopt it as a result of the difficulties encountered by some international medical graduates in obtaining visas to come to the United States.    

NRMP set up a Facebook poll at http://apps.facebook.com/opinionpolls/index.php?pid=ABCELApd8Mo so that you can share your thoughts about the proposal.  

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Baylor to Begin Professionalism Curriculum   

Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) students will receive new specialized training and education on professionalism as part of a recent grant the institution received from the Institute on Medicine as a Profession and the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation.   

"For most of the last century, professionalism was rarely taught in medical school; rather, professionalism was assumed without students having a clear understanding of expected behaviors," said Anne Gill, DrPH, RN, associate professor of pediatrics and medical ethics at BCM and principal investigator on the project. "Over the past 20 years, there has been more emphasis on professionalism in medical education, culminating with the 2002 publication of the Physician's Charter on Medical Professionalism. In keeping with the principles of the charter, we believe that by providing better resources, outlining clear expectations, clinical experiences, and guided reflection, we can help the students become exemplary medical professionals."     

BCM was one of five institutions across the country who received this grant. A total of 75 applied to participate in this prestigious program. The new training will begin with the 2011–12 academic year. BCM will receive $50,000 over a two-year period.  

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Conroe Health Center Gets Federal Grant   

The Lone Star Community Health Center and its family medicine residency program in Conroe received a $37,500 federal grant to become a teaching health center. 

The grant program, established by the health system reform bill to promote graduate medical education at federally funded community health centers, allows the centers to seek additional primary care residents through the National Resident Matching Program and to train 50 additional resident full-time equivalents beginning in July 2011.   

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TMLT Scholarships Available   

The Texas Medical Liability Trust (TMLT) will award four $10,000 scholarships in August. 

Recipients will be chosen in a competitive process that weighs students' financial need, along with their ability to evaluate the patient safety concerns in a closed claim study and to communicate their recommendations in an essay.   

June 3 is the deadline to apply. Entries will be judged by the TMLT Board of Governors, which is composed of nine Texas physicians. For complete details, review the TMLT Memorial Scholarship Rules and Regulations included with the application [PDF].   

For more information, e-mail William Malamon TMLT or call him at (800) 580-8658, ext. 5898. 

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TMA on Facebook and Twitter   

For more inside news about TMA events and issues, become a fan of the Medical Student Section on Facebook.    

You also can stay up-to-date about Texas medicine by subscribing via RSS to Blogged Arteries, which provides breaking news you need to know, and by following @texmed on Twitter.  

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