Furthering Medical Education in Texas Texas Medicine February 2016

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Symposium on Medical Education — February 2016

Tex Med. 2016;112(2):43. 

By Surendra K. Varma, MD, and John Jennings, MD

There has been great concern about the physician shortage nationwide and in Texas. The number of allopathic and osteopathic medical schools is increasing in the private and state sectors. The American Medical Association has assumed a leadership position, funding 11 medical schools in the country to accelerate changes in medical education.

Texas recognized it needed more medical graduates and approved two new medical schools to begin classes this year: The University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine. From 2017 to 2020, four more medical schools will open in Texas: the University of the Incarnate Word School of Osteopathic Medicine in San Antonio, Texas Christian University/University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth, Sam Houston State University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Conroe, and the University of Houston School of Osteopathic Medicine. 

Texas' residency positions trail the number of medical graduates Texas produces annually. The unmatched graduates look outside Texas for residency positions. There is general consensus that the majority of residents settle closer to their respective place of training. This could contribute to a physician shortage in Texas. 

The state legislature, particularly in the past two sessions, has recognized this problem. The initial funding approved by the 2013 legislature was close to $16.35 million. That amount increased significantly to $53 million in the 2015 legislative session. Medicine commends the state for recognizing the need to fund undergraduate and graduate medical education. 

This symposium issue on medical education covers these issues and more, including residency training costs, the Next Accreditation System, graduate medical education in rural Texas, Texas' physician workforce needs, the current state of education reform, and efforts to retain medical graduates in Texas. 

Medical education in Texas is moving in the right direction. The Texas Medical Association has been a major partner in advancing medical education initiatives. The Texas Medicine Editorial Board has rightfully decided to create this symposium issue. This special issue will help us in furthering our undergraduate as well as graduate medical education in Texas.

Surendra K. Varma, MD, is executive associate dean for graduate medical education and resident affairs, Ted Hartman Endowed Chair in Medical Education, university distinguished professor, and vice-chair of pediatrics at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. He is a coeditor of this symposium issue and a member of the Texas Medicine Editorial Board.

John Jennings, MD, is the immediate past president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. He is professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at the Permian Basin. He is a coeditor of this symposium issue and chair of the Texas Medicine Editorial Board.

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April 27, 2018

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