Cigarroa says Health Science Center is ‘powerful stimulus’ to economy

UTHSCSAseal_BODYSan Antonio (March 10, 2005) – The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio has an impact of $1 billion a year on the South Texas economy, according to a new study sponsored by the UT System administration and announced March 9 in Austin.

Statewide, the nine general academic and six health institutions in the UT System add $4 billion in personal income and have a total economic impact of $12.8 billion, the study estimated.

The Health Science Center’s positive impact is in the form of direct spending and dollars that recirculate in the economy ($680 million), personal income added to the economy ($202 million) and charity care ($85 million). During fiscal year 2004, the Health Science Center accounted for 12,337 jobs both on and off campus, according to the study.

The Health Science Center is the major research university in South Texas. The $175 million in federal, state and private awards to the Health Science Center in Fiscal Year 2004 far exceeds all institutions in the region. Patented inventions such as the Palmaz Stent have returned millions in royalties to the area economy and the university has spawned many start-up companies.

“An academic health science center is a powerful stimulus to San Antonio,” said Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., president of the Health Science Center. “It is hard to overstate the economic and health benefits of having a health science center in a community.”

In addition to being a powerful economic catalyst, having the best and brightest scientists and physicians and their families in the community has a ripple effect that immeasurably affects the arts, philanthropy, and the education of young people, President Cigarroa said. The positive effects extend far beyond San Antonio to all the counties of South Texas.

Study authors noted that the Health Science Center is projected to spend nearly $125 million on capital improvements by 2009. Recent capital expenditures at the Health Science Center had an estimated $249 million impact on the regional economy, according to the study.

The Health Science Center, under the leadership of President Cigarroa, is called the “crown jewel” of the South Texas Medical Center. With an operating budget of $470 million, the Health Science Center is the chief catalyst for the $12.9 billion biosciences and health care industry in San Antonio. This is the leading sector in the city’s growing economy.

The Health Science Center has trained more than 20,000 physicians, dentists, nurses, scientists and allied health professionals, many of whom practice in the region and state. Health Science Center researchers are international leaders in stroke prevention, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, orthopedics, research imaging, pain management, genetics, nursing, dentistry, allied health, public health preparedness and respiratory disorders.

The operating budget has risen at a steady pace since 1973, when the total was $18 million. By 1980 the budget was $75 million and by 1990 it was $197 million. The budget reached $250 million in 1993 and $300 million in 1997. In 2001, President Cigarroa’s first full year at the helm, the total was $406 million. As the total budget has increased, the percentage of the budget coming from state appropriations has decreased to the current figure of 28 percent.

To read the executive summary or full text of the UT System economic impact report, go

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