UT Health San Antonio, UTSA collaborate to reduce health disparities, train public health professionals
Contact: Will Sansom, UT Health San Antonio, 210-567-2579, firstname.lastname@example.org
Joe Izbrand, UTSA, 210-458-8754, email@example.com
SAN ANTONIO (June 9, 2022) — Bexar County Commissioners Court gave preliminary approval June 7 to award $10 million to UT Health San Antonio and The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) for development of The University of Texas School of Public Health San Antonio.
The allocation is from Bexar County’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding and will support startup programmatic, operational and educational costs including renovation of existing spaces at UT Health San Antonio and UTSA. A student census of almost 400 is planned within the first five years, with a Master of Public Health degree offered beginning in 2024 and a Doctor of Public Health degree program to be developed.
The University of Texas System Board of Regents recognized that the region’s persistent disparities in key health outcomes require a public health approach. In November 2021, the Regents voted to authorize UT Health San Antonio and UTSA to develop a new public health school.
“A free-standing, independent school of public health in South Texas has been a shared vision of the leadership of UT Health San Antonio and UTSA for some time,” UT Health San Antonio President William L. Henrich, MD, MACP, said. “Formation of The University of Texas School of Public Health San Antonio results from close collaboration between two UT System universities united around a shared mission to establish a research-intensive, community-centric school to improve health outcomes, reduce morbidity and mortality, and educate the next generation of public health professionals for our city and region.”
“We are immensely grateful to our Bexar County Commissioners for their support and significant $10 million investment in this collaborative effort to meet the demand for public health education in San Antonio as well as the growing public health needs of South Texas’ diverse population,” UTSA President Taylor Eighmy, PhD, said. “Both institutions are deeply committed to building upon our areas of expertise to ensure the new School of Public Health becomes a regional leader in preparing the next generation of public health leaders while creating healthier communities.”
San Antonio is a majority-minority city that, with its large and growing Hispanic population, reflects the demographic future of the nation. Many areas of the city and South Texas region are identified as Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration. San Antonio is the largest city in the U.S. without a school of public health.
Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic produced a strong demand and need for public health education surrounding vaccination, masking, social distancing and handwashing. The new school will enable local residents to train for public health careers to meet ever-emerging health challenges.
“Bexar County is primed for a school of public health, and we are pleased that ARPA support will help create it,” Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said. “The pandemic that we have weathered demonstrated the need for public health solutions for our population more clearly than ever before.”
Total startup costs for the School of Public Health are budgeted at approximately $40 million, including existing building renovations, programmatic development and recruitment of a nationally renowned dean.
The public is invited to tour The University of Texas School of Public Health San Antonio website.
The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UT Health San Antonio) is a primary driver for San Antonio’s $42.4 billion health care and biosciences sector, the city’s largest economic generator. Driving substantial economic impact with its five professional schools, a diverse workforce of 7,200, an annual operating budget of more than $1 billion and a clinical practice that provides more than 2 million patient visits each year, UT Health San Antonio plans to add more than 1,500 higher-wage jobs over the next five years to serve San Antonio, Bexar County and South Texas. UT Health San Antonio is the largest research university in South Texas with an annual research portfolio of approximately $350 million. To learn about the many ways “We make lives better®,” visit http://www.uthscsa.edu.
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The University of Texas at San Antonio is a Tier One research university and a Hispanic Serving Institution specializing in cyber, health, fundamental futures, and social-economic transformation. With more than 34,000 students, it is the largest university in the San Antonio metropolitan region. UTSA advances knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. The university embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property—for Texas, the nation and the world. Learn more online, on UTSA Today or on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube or LinkedIn.