Prop 1 Passes: UT-Austin Gets a Med School

With the passage of Central Health Proposition 1, UT-Austin is on its way toward getting a medical school.

Update: At a press conference at the Tower Wednesday afternoon, President Powers called the Prop 1 win a “historic vote” and thanked Travis County voters. Alongside deans from engineering, nursing, pharmacy, and natural sciences, Powers and Provost Steven Leslie described the plans for establishing the medical school, saying they would “start tomorrow.”

Stressing a collaborative model between the academic and medical campuses, Powers and Leslie explained that the medical school may admit its first class as early as 2015. Check back with the Alcalde for an explanation of UT’s next step on the path to a medical school.

Original Post: Travis County voters approved Central Health Proposition 1 Tuesday night, 54 percent to 46 percent, including early voting results. The affirmative vote means UT-Austin will join the ranks of America’s top universities with a medical school.

Leading up to the election, proponents of the measure—including the Texas Exes—noted the estimated economic benefit to Central Texas, increase in health care access and quality, and improvement of UT’s ability to promote primary care, drug development, and doctor training.

This is a historic night for Austinites, the UT community and world-changing medical research,” said UT president Bill Powers. “I’m thrilled and grateful that Central Health residents voted to invest in health care and to help us move ahead with a UT Austin medical school.”

Revenue raised through proposition 1 will be used through Travis County’s health district, Central Health, to fund medical care and doctor training in a system of new community clinics and a new teaching hospital, which will train UT-Austin medical students. The Seton HealthCare Family has committed $250 million to build a new teaching hospital to replace the outdated University Medical Center Brackenridge, and the UT System has committed $25 million per year and an additional $5 million for the first eight years to build, administer, and purchase equipment for the medical school.

The proposition was considered the final piece needed to create an improved health care system based around a medical school, and a boon for the University.

Efforts will now focus on recruiting the first dean of UT’s medical school, beginning the selection process of designing and engineering the new school and hospital, and securing a Medicaid 1115 waiver to guarantee 146 percent matching funds from the federal government.

Creative Commons image from the League of Women Voters of California on Flickr.


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