New school will be dedicated to health outcomes and reducing region’s disease burden
The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UT Health San Antonio) and The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) are collaborating to establish a research-intensive, community-centric school of public health to improve health outcomes and reduce disease complications and mortality in South Texas.
The University of Texas School of Public Health San Antonio, approved by the UT System Board of Regents on Nov. 18, will also address demand for public health professionals in San Antonio and the South Texas border region and meet strong demand for public health education in the COVID-19 era.
In their presentation to the Board of Regents, William L. Henrich, MD, MACP, president of UT Health San Antonio, and Taylor Eighmy, PhD, president of UTSA, noted that the two institutions’ collective strengths are the foundation of a school of public health serving South Texas. Both UT Health San Antonio and UTSA are federally designated Hispanic-serving institutions.
The two institutions already collaborate on two Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree programs, one that offers a PhD in translational science and another that offers a PhD in biomedical engineering. The Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine at UT Health San Antonio has an existing Doctor of Medicine/Master of Public Health (MD/MPH) program.
Community engagement is a strong suit of both UT Health San Antonio and UTSA, along with other areas including data science, state demography, understanding of social determinants of health, behavioral science expertise, and epidemiology and biostatistics.
“This collaborative school of public health will implement a cohesive public strategy dedicated to the needs of South Texas,” Dr. Henrich said. “Unique health challenges of our region include infectious diseases, diabetes, maternal and child health, mental health and substance use disorders, health care disparities, cancer and injury prevention. Our faculty will propose innovative public health solutions to these problems.”
According to a timeline presented to the Regents, the first MPH students will be admitted in 2024 and the first doctoral students in 2025.
“This collaborative school of public health reflects our deep commitment to innovative programs and solutions to improving health and reducing the burden of disease in South Texas,” said Jennifer Sharpe Potter, PhD, vice president for research (interim) at UT Health San Antonio. “Along with our partners at UTSA, we look forward to developing the next generation of public health professionals to serve South Texas and meet the unique health challenges of this region.”